Mangaka: HERO, Daisuke Hagiwara
US Publisher: Yen Press
Status: Ongoing (Complete in Japan, should complete soon in US at 16 volumes)
Age Relevance: Middle school and up
How Essential Is It?: Must Have
Curricular Connections?: Independent reading.
Reader’s Advisory Tags: Romance, humor, relationships, friendships
Live-Action: Not available for streaming in US, but you can see the trailer HERE.
Content Warnings: Some mild suggestions of teenage intimacy.
Publisher Synopsis: A sweet “”aww””-inspiring tale of school life begins!! At school, Kyouko Hori is known for being smart, attractive, and popular. On the other hand, her classmate, the boring, gloomy Izumi Miyamura tends to get painted as a “”loser fanboy.”” But when a liberally pierced and tattooed (not to mention downright gorgeous) Miyamura appears unexpectedly on the doorstep of secretly plain-Jane homebody Hori, these two similarly dissimilar teenagers discover that there are multiple sides to every story…and person!
A wildly popular series both in Japan and abroad, romcom Horimiya is the story of two teens who find love when they discover that the personas each of them are portraying at school are contrary to who they are outside. At school, Hori appears to be the most popular and attractive girl, while Miyamura seems to be a geeky loner. However, outside of school, Hori is really just a laid-back girl with a lot of family responsibilities and Miyamura is a handsome punk with multiple piercings and tattoos. The mutual discovery of each other’s true identities leads to the pair developing romantic feelings.
The romance is set fairly early on, and the series eventually radiates out to the larger friend group that Hori and Miyamura are part of. This is a series that really engages teens, both for the romance, but also for the relatable friend dynamics. It’s a series that works great from middle school on up and deals quite a bit with teenage feelings and relationships.
Side note: Horimiya is often mistaken for shojo because it has a romantic plot, but it’s actually shonen. You can tell the difference because of the panel layout and the decidedly different tone. That said, this series has no defined “gender” and circulates well in my library regardless of my students’ gender identities.