Is Hori’s relationship toxic?

Authors note: So unlike a lot of talented writers I follow and interact with, I don’t do scheduled posts. They way I write/ intake content/ write OUTSIDE of Otaku Post I just don’t have the creative fortitude. With that being said I think I’m in a bit of a block, I haven’t been too thrilled with the last three articles I’ve drafted, they are missing, something. So I may go awol for an amount of time, finish some chapters of my novel and come back.

Horimiya has taken the winter charts by storm. A refreshing new rom-com that throws out the typical anime norms. Paired with its unique pacing and characters, Horimiya to me has breathed new life in the typical romance space. But this rise in popularity brought the story under a certain critical light, specifically against the story’s main heroine, Hori, Kyouko. What starts as a slow romance between Kyouko and her quiet classmate Miyamura, Izumi takes a rather aggressive turn as the twos relationship blossoms. I am specifically talking about Kyouko’s jealously and temper towards Izumi, most of the time for things that are not his fault/ outside of his control.

With this abuse has come sharp critics. Stating that the series romanticizing controlling and often abusive relationships, this is also compounded by Kyouko’s preference of how she wants to be treated by Izumi in the later episodes and chapters. Showing gleefulness when her boyfriend yells, usually harshly for what many (even Izumi) sees as minor issues. But, ever so the dependable boyfriend, Izumi sucks it up, at times abusing his girlfriend for her own preferences. This has created a bit of a rift in the anime world. One side, calling it out as toxic and unhealthy. Others defending it stating that it’s a high school relationship, teenagers typically are not comfortable with their selves, projecting their jealousy on those close to them to make up for it.

While both of these points are relevant and arguably accurate, I think a lot of people have missed the overall point. BOTH of these arguments are true. I’ve seen a lot of shade being thrown Kyouko’s way, terms such as ‘bitch’ labeling her. Personally, even with my VERY profane language I generally dislike labeling people with that term, but the general idea is the abuse coming from Kyouko is damaging to their relationship and Izumi personally, and she is a bit of a jerk for doing it. I think Horimiya is very self-aware of this notion, anytime Kyouko has gotten jealous, popped off about some stupid stuff she always immediately regrets it, her pride getting the better of her when it comes to apologizing.

This behavior is very relatable to a lot of people, myself included. It is insane to think It has been around 10 years since I was in high school but how I felt and acted is still very real to me to this day. Though I didn’t go about such behaviors as Kyouko does, usually using physical violence paired with nasty language, I was more subtle. I was very insecure, something I have grown out of in a lot of ways thankfully, allowing me to become self-aware of that harmful behavior. Jealousy can be a nasty thing, it has a way to blind a person to what is actually true and rational in their world. A perfect example of this, Kyouko does not own Izumi, nor does Izumi own her. This is a concept that exists within most modern (and older) relationships. This self-gratifying sense of ownership. If it isn’t of the person, it usually of the relationship, simply because the relationship exists therefore something is owed to one or the other.

I think this is where most of the conversation misses the good and bad of what Horyimia has to offer, and why it is doing as well as it is. Horyimia flies because of the quirky, relatable, subtle cuteness of it. It plays around this narrative of a young awkward love that exists within the group of friends that are at the same time dealing with their own, awkward subtle love. The toxic, often relatable but questionable moments just add to that element, it is a key to telling a story even if it does make me a little uncomfortable to see Kyouko be called “useless bitch” but maybe I’m just being sensitive.

Honestly, I want to mention that whole thing is a little strange to me. But I get in context the humor that would come out of such a kink and I am not one to judge it, assuming Izumi is completely fine with it which I’m not so sure of.

Really the biggest take away I think from all of this is simple. Is their banter realistic? Yes, toxic? Also, yes, but those things aren’t mutually exclusive, and like most relationships people grow and change, things that used to be irritating to one suddenly don’t matter. I look forward to doing a review for this series once the last episode goes live here in the states. Horimiya has been a real fun watch in a lot of ways and I am actually kinda happy it spurs conversations like this. Anime overall has always had a rather vile underbelly when it comes to the context of toxic relationships or sexist themes, but hey, look, we are actually talking about it!

We could have definitely deep-dived more into this but this is just my quick take away so take what you will out of it. As always, thanks for the read!

Published by Johnathan

Freelance weeb and ranter.

5 thoughts on “Is Hori’s relationship toxic?

  1. I can definitely see why some may not like their relationship, but I could never go as far as hating Hori. I’ll admit that I feel bad for Miyamura having to yell at her and fuel her masochism when it pains him to do so, but I find the fact that he does it anyway to be a cute part of their relationship. I’ve never seen an anime take this approach to kinks before, and I think Horimiya’s actually handing it in a fairly mature way. It’s a side of love we don’t see portrayed very often. Still, I never expected it to stick around for this long, and I do hope they come to some type of agreement. As they’re in a relationship, it is their job to make the other happy in every way they can, but as they grow, they’ll need to have a serious discussion about what both of them are and aren’t comfortable with. Just didn’t expect this anime to bring up questions like that at the beginning.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have to agree on the front of how the series is portraying her kink. Though for me it does come off as kinda, awkward. And of course with these sort of things its give and take, how much on each side. On the other front of Hori’s jealous fits though, she at least acknowledges she is being unreasonable and they do try to confront that. Though that is just one step in that process and I’d hardly say the most difficult.

      Honestly this isn’t really anything new in anime, Taiga is one of the most beloved tsunderes ever and she literally just beats the shit out of Ryuuji and their friends. I think it is the sensibleness of Horimiya, Taiga was so over the top it made little sense, but the subtle notions, Hori’s jealous fits, her controlling urges, are all things that are not only real but fairly common in young (even old) relationships. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t harmful.

      That’s my take from it anyways.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Tsundere is always what I come back to when I see this discussed, and how people don’t say much about that generally. I think it’s as you said, that Horimiya and Hori herself aren’t as overtop as the type of series where we usually see stuff like this, so it makes us think about it with an equal amount of realism than when we watch a loud, short girl punch people all the time.

        I also think the kink aspect adds something a little different to the table since it isn’t only bringing potential physical harm, it’s also causing Miyamura a lot of mental distress, which could end up being more dangerous in the long run. There’s also the fact that she wants it, which adds a whole layer of complications to their relationship. I think if they don’t sort things out, it will potentially be toxic, but I do believe they are both sensible enough people to figure things out in time. Really interesting couple, I think.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I can honestly say you have thought on the kink side WAY more than I have which is not only refreshing but appreciative. You are addressing possible issues in both respects that I in a lot of ways wrote off because I thought it was just, like I said, awkward.

        Horimiya has definitely painted an interesting narrative that I don’t think a lot of people were expecting (which isn’t a bad thing). I knew the last chapter of the series was published I think last week? (Fact checked, March 18th) So as the show will not be able to convey the things we are discussing but I am looking forward to see how the series closes out in print form. (I am on chapter 88 at the time of this)

        I’ve been in a weird head space writing wise so it’s been intimidating to have these conversations, more so than it would be normally. So I do want to personally thank you for not only giving your thoughts but expanding on them, it has been a very pleasant exchange that has calmed some of those stresses!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. No problem!

    I think one of the coolest things is how two people can talk about the same topic in different ways or highlight different aspects. We’re all different people with different views, so seeing how that affects the way we write is always fascinating to me. We all get to bring something unique to the same table.

    Writing or any kind of creative work can get stressful at times. It tends to be a self-validating hobby, so we’re often very hard on ourselves because of that. I’ve only been doing the blogging thing since December 1st, so even calling myself a blogger feels weird. I’ve gotten stressed out quite a few times, and now that I have people who I know read my stuff every so often, it’s added to that. Those nasty thoughts of if write good enough keep coming back, and it freaks me out a bit. But I snap out of it eventually and try my best to improve. So, I’d just take it easy. It happens. Take a nice break if you need to, and clear your head. Your well-being should always come first. Don’t strain yourself.

    And thank you for the discussion too! Being able to have chats like this is why I fell in love with the community.

    Liked by 1 person

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