First Impression: Horimiya: The Missing Pieces

When your body is covered with tattoos that could get you expelled from your school, events that might be the norm for other students in Japan, like going to a communal bath or taking a swimming exam, can be a bit complicated. In episode one of Horimiya: The Missing Pieces, which animates chapters from the manga that didn’t make it into the single-season series, Miyamura has to find ways around exposing himself to these kinds of situations. The first half of the episode, covering chapter six of the manga, has the students going on a school field trip to Kyoto during the fall. Miyamura doesn’t know how to avoid the communal bath, though Ishikawa’s ridiculous excuse suggestion of being on his period works somewhat (and it comes up again in the second half of this episode—a running gag, perhaps, that we missed out on in the regular series?). Ultimately, though, Miyamura is rescued by Hori, who offers the girls’ private shower for his use, also providing an opportunity for the two to get a little closer. By the second half of the episode, covering the well-loved chapter 40 of the manga, the two are now together and it’s summertime. Miyamura is trying to avoid the required swim day, as is Sengoku, who wants to skip it because he doesn’t like to show his slender body. Kyoko is unable to help this time around, so Miyamura and the student council president must find another way this time.

I remember this girl…maybe this piecemeal series will make me like her better!

“Piecemeal” is a perfect way to describe this side story series, which fills in the gaps from the original. It’s a unique take on how to add more content to a show, with Horimiya joining The Quintessential Quintuplets in doing so this summer season. Another thing the two have in common is that both sped through their original run. Horimiya was the more serious offender of the two, covering sixteen volumes in just 13 episodes. But this return to the series may lead fans to forgive that massive mistake, especially with beloved parts like the pool chapter and, judging by the opening credits, the side story involving Hori’s parents when they were young, finally getting the anime treatment. The question is, does it work?

I wish I could give a more definitive answer, but my response is piecemeal as well. It is great fun to see these characters again. The original was initially so fantastic because of these wonderful characters, lovely music, great animation, and powerfully nostalgic tone. But in the end, it didn’t work, because only Hori and Miyamura’s story felt complete; we didn’t get to know most of the other characters well enough to care about them finishing their arcs, and so The Missing Pieces enables us to get to know these boys and girls (and adults, too) a little better. But the framework of the original show makes this side story a little odd. It jumps around in time, which sounds creative and could make sense, except that, again, I don’t know these characters very well, so it’s hard to reminisce about and enjoy their stories fully. I do think manga readers (I’ve only read several volumes of it) will like this show, though, and my hope is that, once the side story anime is complete, someone will post a chronological watch order integrating it with the original series. Maybe then, we’ll get the Horimiya we deserve—not in pieces, but a complete, beautiful tale, as it was meant to be.

Horimiya: The Missing Pieces is streaming on Crunchyroll.


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