Horimiya Volume 9
I’ve enjoyed reading the volumes between my last review and this one, although I didn’t have much to say about them. Much of the uniqueness of the premise, with the kids being their authentic selves only when they were together, out of school, was forgotten as we got perfectly fine but more typical stories, like one about competing at the sports festival. Miyamura even cut his hair and quit wearing his fake glasses as the couple revealed themselves to their friends and everyone hung out.
Volume 9, as you might guess from the cover, with the original couple shown, gets a little closer back to that concept. After a comedy beginning, involving various ways to fall asleep under a kotatsu (heated futon table), artist Daisuke Hagiwara seems to remember that, oh yeah, Miyamura has a bunch of tattoos that other people aren’t supposed to know about.
Much of this book involves checking in with Yoshikawa and Tooru. They’re pretending to date, because Yoshikawa thought that was easier than turning down a guy who liked her (teen logic, right?), but that pretense gets in the way of Sakura’s interest in Tooru. Yoshikawa has trouble admitting when she wants something; she’d be happy for their relationship to be real, but she won’t say anything about it.
For some reason, this odd character quirk really spoke to me. I could understand why someone would not want to give their desires reality by acknowledging them. So much easier to ignore them and quietly suffer when things don’t happen the way you want because no one else knows what that is. Better to have that happen than to risk someone turning you down.
To balance this deep dive into feelings, there are continuing jokes about Hori eating so many mandarins she turns into an orange. I liked those, too, because they evoked the more stand-alone stories that started the series. Those bits are small and comfortable and, like citrus, make for a nice palate cleanser between the more dramatic chapters.
The volume ends with a lovely Christmas piece about what various characters are doing for the holiday. I could almost feel the snow that populates the various panels. Combined with the other elements, Horimiya volume 9 was a great blend of what I like about the series — some comedy, some exaggeration, some strong feeling, some romance.