How would you rate episode 7 of
I can't help but feel that this episode of Horimiya tried to do too many things in too little time. On one level, I do appreciate that they didn't make too big a deal out of Miyamura and Hori sleeping together for the first time – in fact, it'd be relatively easy to miss that it even happened if not for the post-credits scene. I say that not because of any distaste for sex scenes in shows, but instead because so many romance anime and manga (and, if we're being honest, YA fiction) with teen protagonists paint sex as the final step in a relationship, the culmination of everything, that it's really nice to see a story where it's just a piece of the whole thing. It's another step that the characters are taking, and I like that it isn't made into a huge Event.
On the other hand, wow, there is a lot going on this week, and tropes aside, it maybe would have been nice to give the characters a little more time to just enjoy being together in a new way. It's easy to see that the Miyamura Goes to Hokkaido section is intended to show just how much Hori has come to care about him and therefore build towards the sex scene (and her biting him to leave a mark of ownership) – he was always around before, so she didn't really have time to think about what it was like without him. His absence demonstrated to her, as well as to us, that he's important to her on a level that's different from her other friends and even her family (or at least her dad), and while drawing that out could have gotten old quickly, it also could have made their reunion sweeter.
There is an overall great use of body language in this episode, however. Watching Hori slump further and further into herself as she counts down the days until Miyamura returns is very well done, as is the way that his whole family, clearly together for some sort of funeral or memorial service, all tiptoe around the house. The best body language, however, belongs to Yuki in the first half of the episode. Even before Hori notes that she's the kind of person who will never reach out and actually take what she wants, backing down in the moment or even before it, we can see it in the direction of her gaze, the heavy drop of her arm when someone else reaches for the same magazine, or the stiff, deliberate way she keeps herself from looking at the barely-hidden images of Sakura and Toru through the frosted window. She's hurting, but she can't bring herself to let anyone know, possible hiding from herself as much as anyone else. It's a feeling that may be familiar to anyone who has ever been taught to put themselves last out of misplaced ideas of old-fashioned politeness or femininity (which is more common with an older generation, but still pops up now and then). It's based on an idea that somehow we are less important than those around us, that self-denial for the sake of making someone else happy is virtue of the highest order – and what's especially interesting is that we've never seen Hori engage in that behavior.
That she's encouraged to by Yuki, Sakura, and Remi as pertains to her love of horror movies (and Miyamura's dislike of them) makes a good contrast to Yuki's behavior earlier in the episode. Of the four girls, Yuki's the only one still following that pattern of behavior, even though the other two also encourage Hori to give it a try. Remi's the most unapologetically herself even though it means she comes off as abrasive, but Sakura takes the plunge to try to get closer to Toru even though she suspects that Yuki may like him, or that he still has feelings for Hori. And Hori quickly gives up on attempting to act like someone she isn't when Miyamura points out that she's the person he fell in love with, not some mythical girly-girl. When he later goes on to assure Souta that he's not stealing his sister from him, it's a reminder that you can be more than one thing to more than one person – you just have to be true to yourself.
Hopefully that's something Yuki will come to realize before the story's done.
Horimiya is currently streaming on FUNimation Entertainment.