Crisis averted — to some extent. The beginnings of a love triangle form between three of Hori and Miyamura’s friends, and Hori and Miyamura experience new stages in their relationship that make Miyamura recall his lonely past before meeting Hori at all.
Volume 6 opens with other characters, but largely explores the nuances of romance as a teen. Not all of the characters could possibly end up with a happily ever after — like another manga I’ve reviewed — yet the story reflects some very real experiences that teens have when pursuing and entering relationships.
There are two major plot points I want to address in this review; there may be spoilers ahead, although I’ll try to keep them ambiguous and mild.
First, this volume depicts the first time that Miyamura and Hori have sex. It’s shown extremely vaguely, and I read the scene multiple times for this review just to make sure I was interpreting it correctly.
Sex in manga does bother some people, but there’s no actual sexual content depicted, and the presence of the scene is there for the sake of character and relationship development. Most remarkably, this actually drives forward the relationship between Miyamura and Hori’s younger brother, Souta, who worries his sister will be taken away from him.
Second, one aspect of the story I actually take issue with happens towards the end, when the two get into an argument and Miyamura shows up the next day with a bandage on his face. It’s not uncommon for manga to depict characters hitting one another as humorous, but based on the reactions of the characters, this comes off as bordering on partner abuse.
Both Miyamura and Hori’s closest friends tell them that it’s not okay that Hori hit him in the face hard enough to leave a mark; Miyamura doesn’t seem especially upset, only shocked, while Hori exhibits a deep sense of guilt. On one hand, that entire chapter focuses on how Hori needs to apologize to Miyamura for what she did, which is significant, but as it happens at the end of the volume, there’s no way for readers to know quite yet whether or not she’ll stop from doing it in the future.
Nevertheless, I’m intrigued to see a manga address partner abuse, even in such a vague way, and especially addressing that partner abuse in a heterosexual relationship can come from the woman, not just the man. If you think you may be the victim of partner abuse, or if you suspect someone you know might be, please make sure you get help.
Despite my reservations about the final major plotline of the volume, Horimiya Volume 6 is a solid read and one of the most thoughtful slice-of-life manga you can read. I would definitely recommend this volume for readers who are in high school and college who are starting to navigate romantic relationships and the series as a whole for any romance reader interested in a realistic depiction of how relationships progress.
Story: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Art: 4 out of 5 stars
Overall: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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