by Rebecca Silverman,
How would you rate episode 12 of
There's definitely something a little ominous about the way Horimiya's penultimate episode ends on a proposal and a promise of forever. If it was the last episode, I wouldn't say that, but with one more to go, it feels awfully like foreshadowing. Not that I really expect the series to end on some sort of tragic note, and, let's face it, after a few weeks of watching Hori be terrible to Miyamura, even an ending where they break up and go their separate ways wouldn't feel all that bad. While I do know a few couples, mostly my parents' age, who have been together since high school, I also wouldn't call that the norm. Generally speaking, though, there's a two-fold element to any romance's ending: are we the viewers happy with how things ended up? Are the characters? I feel as though Horimiya is only going to hit one or the other for a lot of viewers, no matter which route it ends up taking.
All of that aside, this episode is a very mixed bag. On the positive side, we're back to seeing our main couple in a much cuter light than has been the case for the past few weeks. There's a sweetness to their interactions in the episode that has been lacking, and its return is absolutely welcome. The biggest conflict for them is pretty much that Miyamura is way too popular with Hori's family, meaning that if she doesn't actively grab it, she's not going to get any time with him for herself alone. While we still see that Miyamura isn't great at saying no, it's in a much less dangerous context, and that's a really nice change. If I'm being cynical, I'll add that this may in part be brought on by Hori's sudden realization that graduation is looming ever closer, which scares her, but honestly that's more brought on by those unfortunate middle episodes rather than anything present here.
Another thing that episode twelve does right is the Yuki/Toru relationship. The two of them are still very much bumbling into love, although Toru does confirm that he's started to like Yuki in a more-than-friends way. Entertainingly, neither Iura nor Sengoku has really got a clue what's been going on with him emotionally, something that he has exactly zero idea of. The scene with the three guys in the fast food place where Toru acts like he's been wearing his heart on his sleeve but neither of his friends ever noticed is one of my favorites in the entire series, not just because it's funny (which it is), but because it's just so true to the characters. Toru's a champion at jumping to any sort of conclusion, Sengoku's all about keeping his head down and doing his own thing, and Iura…okay, we only met Iura in episode eleven, so we'll just leave him out of this. He's the fly in the ointment of the whole scene because we're clearly meant to know him a lot better than we do now, and that's totally on those in charge of adapting the series.
I feel like I could say that about a lot of this show, honestly. Or at least the second half specifically. When Horimiya is on, it's on, bringing us a sweet, cute romantic comedy about people who are both more and less than who they seem to be. When it's off, it turns into a tangled mess of too many underused characters, toxic relationships, and the nagging sensation that we're supposed to know a whole lot more than it's deigning to tell us. This episode is really equal parts of both: Hori and Miyamura are back on track, Yuki and Toru are starting to come together, and the funny moments are actually funny. But we've also got a bunch of characters we've only just barely met or who haven't really been developed (Sota's friend, anyone?) doing things that we don't really care about because we barely know them. It's annoying on more than one level, and I hope that the final episode can do something to make this end without a sour taste in our mouths, because this is a story that deserves better than it's been getting from its anime adaptation.
Horimiya is currently streaming on FUNimation Entertainment.
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