Pretty and popular Kyouko Hori is officially dating gloomy loner Itsumi Miyamura — and after a pair of classmates saw them leave Hori’s house together, now everyone knows. When Miyamura appeared in class at the end of Volume 4 with his hair cut short, he caused an uproar, and Volume 5 opens on Hori’s icy-cold jealousy over the attention he’s starting to receive.
In my review of the previous volume, I mentioned that a major event spelled out big changes in Hori and Miyamura’s relationship. Since we’re now in Volume 5, I can tell you: Miyamura cut his hair short enough that his ear piercings are visible — as is his face, which at the start of Volume 5 has the girls in their class in a veritable uproar. Hori was shocked at the end of Volume 4, but now she’s outright angry at the attention other girls are paying to her boyfriend.
Throughout the series, Hori and Miyamura have experienced similar problems either at the same time or in an alternating manner, and after Miyamura was prompted to cut his hair because others thought he wasn’t good enough to be Hori’s boyfriend, Hori is starting to experience a similar sense of jealousy, although she deals with it very differently (as they often do).
The theme isn’t strictly confined to the two of them, either. While the opening of the volume deals mainly with Hori’s jealousy and lack of self-confidence, eventually both protagonists’ attention is drawn to a new challenger approaching: Honoka Sawada, a first-year student who starts following both Hori and Miyamura around to demand to know when they’re going to break up.
The jealousy plotlines in Volume 5 are really some of the most realistic the series has addressed so far. Jealousy is a very normal part of learning to be in a relationship, and while both characters have been shown being jealous in prior volumes, it’s in this volume where they discuss and address it directly, which is a common aspect of the Horimiya series as well as one of my favorite aspects.
Now that we’re at Volume 5, I’m really running out of things to say about the art, aside from acknowledging how clean it is. This volume does include some extra material in the back: there are two bonus comics, one about Hori and Miyamura’s friend Ishikawa-kun and a gag page about the recurring background character Iura, along with an autobiographical comic by Daisuke Hagiwara about changes between the serial magazine version of the manga and the compiled book-bound copies.
Horimiya continues to be one of the best slice-of-life romance manga out there, and its development is natural and comfortable while exploring not only the lives of the protagonists but also the lives of the people around them. I would definitely recommend this series as a great place to start for readers of young adult romance interested in trying out manga.
Story: 5 out of 5 stars
Art: 4 out of 5 stars
Overall: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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