Horimiya OVAs

I am loving the anime Horimiya. It’s the epitome of what a romance anime should be! It doesn’t have that awkwardness that many in this genre have, it has a good pace, great humor, and the characters are relatable. I’m sure the manga readers and webcomic fans already know about the Horimiya OVAs, but I just found out about them. They were created before the anime. And what a delight they are! Some of the scenes we’ve seen in the anime already, and other parts we might get to see soon. There are some differences between the OVAs and the anime currently airing.

In the first OVA, we have meaningful moments like the ones below:

Hori, and Shindou (who we meet later), are confident and self-assured. They approach Miyamura with a sincerity that he isn’t used to. They don’t care what others think, and befriend whomever they feel drawn towards. And Tooru, while slower to warm up, has embraced Miyamura as a friend too. The judgements, critiques, gossip, and negative behavior of others can have detrimental effects on the recipient. Thankfully Miyamura is open to making friends and building relationships.

I appreciated Miyamura, acknowledging his inner child/past self, that was hurt and isolated. How many moments growing up, and even as an adult, do we feel stuck in a bad moment, or life circumstance, and a positive solution seems elusive. Having that feeling of “it’s going to be okay” and better days are around the corner, and that we’re not alone, can help us bridge that gap. From a feeling of hopelessness, turmoil, to hopefully arriving at a place of peace. Acknowledging that inner child is important. Doing so, in my opinion, h,elps us appreciate our growth, and the challenge we worked through. If we have any associated behaviors that may no longer be helpful to us, or self-sabotaging or harmful tendencies, we can be aware of them, acknowledge them, and address those issues. Behaviors may be good or bad for us, depending on the intention, and what it brings to our life (example: a form of self-expression versus seeking physical pain as an unhealthy coping mechanism). There are many layers to why life experiences affect our behavior, and the ways we handle life’s curveballs. But it’s good to be aware of what’s helpful to us now, and what behaviors we may want to change, or release.

AnimeRude Tuber on YouTube shared the OVAs below, if you’re interested in watching. There may be a spoiler or two, if you haven’t read the source material.

OVA 1

OVA 2 has cute scenes, like the part with the sidewalk.

And Hori’s brother, Souta, loves Miyamura so much that he wants him to move in already!

But it also had moments that were frustrating. I have not read the source material, so I’m not sure which depiction is accurate. But the scenes with the student council in the anime annoyed me, but the way it was portrayed in the OVA infuriated me. I used to participate in student council, I know it has merit. What frustrated me, is seeing how diligent, reliable, responsible, and hard-working Hori is, and how others get a free pass. I like to think I’m as hard-working as Hori, so the scene that unfolded with Remi was familiar. The application of different rules and different expectations for people in similar roles of responsibility, is an unfortunate reality. Hori is responsible in her school life, and at home caring for Souta, that taking on additional duties so Remi can slack off seems incredibly unfair.

But as frustrated as I was for the situation that unfolded, ultimately the power lies with Hori. I like to be helpful to others and I tend to be a workaholic. So I get where Hori’s coming from. I’m also learning to have balance in life. Hori could’ve established boundaries to prevent the student council from dumping their work on her. As illustrated below, Hori had a chance to reclaim her time and force them to handle their own workload and “the mascot’s” errors.

The second OVA is below. I like that Miyamura is in tune with Hori and noticed her anxiety planning for her future and was supportive. And of course the way he handled the student council and their misdeeds! Not that violence is the answer.

It seems President Sengoku had some dirt on Hori. So I’m sure she regrets her past behavior and the way she treated him.

OVA 2

Below is OVA 3. The way they translated the scene with the drinks makes more sense, than the way it was translated in the anime on Hulu. I cannot bear to watch scary movies, so I can relate to Miyamura’s feelings. We got to see a jealous Hori! I hope she appreciates that Tooru has extra supplies she can use.

We also meet Shindou and I love how he describes Hori as self-assured. What does that look like? Is it how one carries themselves? Their posture? What they wear? Eye contact? Body language? All of the above? The energy they radiate? I agree with Shindou’s description of Hori, she carries herself with confidence, and is sincere in her interactions with others.

OVA 3

OVA 4 kicks off with Hori being less than truthful about her favorite genre of movie.

In this way, Hori reminds me of Yukino Miyazawa from His and Her Circumstances/Kare Kano. When it comes to integrity and character, Hori is the same person. But she acts embarrassed over trivial things, that I wouldn’t think requires her to feel ashamed, or that she has to hide it. Not wearing makeup at home, watching horror films, and beating five guys at arm wrestling doesn’t sound embarrassing to me (although as mentioned earlier, I have no tolerance for scary horror films, my reaction would be similar to Miyamura’s!).

Perhaps someone who has read the manga or webcomic can explain, but why is Miyamura so harsh towards Shindou? He genuinely cares for Miyamura and befriended him when others wouldn’t, yet Miyamura has a short temper with him. In the middle of the street, Shindou gets punched and yelled at to stop wondering the streets year round, and to go back to online shopping! I am curious about this girl Miyamura used to like! Was she similar to Hori? It seems Shindou’s title of Best Friend may be self-declared.

We also got to meet the fellow below! Well kind of.

This episode had heart warming moments, and more of Jealous Hori. Sengoku was having flashbacks of Hori when she used to be a bully, and did not have any comforting words for Miyamura.

Hopefully as the series progresses, Hori learns to work through her anger and jealous tendencies. I am forever grateful for the person I had in my life, who helped me grow past my emotional outbursts. I used to have knee jerk reactions to everything. Perhaps it’s having Aries as my sun sign. Ultimately I learned that emotion can cloud the message you want to convey, and in relationships clear communication is paramount. Not only in romantic relationships, but all relationships. Connections with our family, friends, co-workers, and others, benefit from each of us being able to express ourselves clearly. Meditation, Reiki, and being present, has helped me tremendously. Sometimes just getting fresh air for five minutes helps. Every day is another chance for us to try again at communicating clearly, and appreciating the positive relationships in our lives.

OVA 4

I’ll continue watching the anime currently airing, but I did enjoy watching all of the OVAs! I’m thankful they were posted on YouTube otherwise I wouldn’t have run across them when I did.

The Sentiments of Others: Fred Abberline And The Humanity of Ciel Phantomhive

***SPOILERS AHEAD***

Ciel Phantomhive, was focused on his mission to pay retribution to those responsible for the death of his parents. He even made a pact with a demon (Sebastian) to reach his goal. Despite making a deal with the devil, there is part of Ciel that remains very human. The desire for revenge has not made his heart completely cold. He shows warmth and patience towards Lizzie, his fiancée. He is forgiving towards his staff for their blundering ways. And Ciel does care about other people, although he tries to hide how big his heart truly is. If you haven’t seen Black Butler, it’s on Hulu. You may like it if you enjoy supernatural mysteries.

Ciel perseveres despite being betrayed by those closest to him. Being exposed at a young age, to the cruelty of others, Ciel is shocked by the warmth, integrity, and sincerity of Fred Abberline. Abberline is the Inspector from Scotland Yard, and he wants to make the world a better place. He joined law enforcement to make that dream a reality. He doesn’t have a big ego, he doesn’t lord his authority over others or to act superior, and he isn’t led astray by temptation. Abberline truly joined law enforcement for the right reasons. Ciel compares him to Noah and wonders what a person of that character is like, he’s an anomaly in Ciel’s world of greed and betrayal.

Ciel is the Queen’s Guard Dog. He helps with the tasks no one likes talking about and is diligent in his duties. Sebastian, the demon butler, helps him with these Underworld assignments. Abberline knows that Ciel is being used and would like to relieve him of his duties. If Abberline can make London, and the country, a safer place then the Queen won’t need Ciel to handle the unsavory and dangerous assignments. Abberline’s optimism seemed like naivety to Ciel, but the sincerity of his words, even for a moment, made Ciel believe if anyone could do it, it would be Abberline.

Being engaged, and knowing fatherhood is around the corner, has bolstered Abberline’s resolve to make London a safer place. He overcame a difficult childhood, he saw his parents killed, and was on his own at a young age, so in many ways Abberline relates to Ciel. He didn’t get to share in the experience of having a cult try to kill him, or living in a mansion, but he empathizes with other aspects of Ciel’s life. Wanting to do the right thing, and seeking justice, Abberline follows his intuition and releases Ciel from confinement (Ciel was restricted to a room while they were working on an investigation). Abberline and Ciel briefly join forces on the investigation regarding a murder and illegal drugs.

I know all the fans gush over Sebastian, and that personality might be fun for a tryst, but I’d much rather have a Fred Abberline. Those types were rare in Ciel’s day (1880s) but unfortunately they may be just as rare these days.

Abberline and Ciel both want to take down the bad guys, they just have very different ways of achieving that goal.

**SECOND SPOILER WARNING*** (IN CASE YOU DIDN’T SEE THE ONE EARLIER)

Since Abberline went through the trouble of telling us about his engagement and becoming a father, I started worrying something bad was going to happen to him.

Plus this ominous line:

So I did what anyone else might do, and googled Fred Abberline. What a delight to see that he was alive and well. I’ll continue watching.

What I failed to realize was…the anime did not follow the manga. And my queasy feeling was correct. As I thought, Abberline dies. He was on the receiving end of a sword stab meant for Ciel.

The heroic scene, where Fred Abberline saves Ciel Phantomhive was riddled with irony. I was disgusted with Sebastian as he was in no rush to prevent Abberline’s death. Sebastian is a demon and could’ve easily thwarted the attack. But his inaction, was a reminder that he is a demon, with no regard for human life. Sebastian ascertained quickly that Abberline would save Ciel, even at his own peril.

Meanwhile, Sebastian is staring off into the distance. What the hell Sebastian?!

The thing is, the thing which we know as the viewers, is Ciel doesn’t have a future. If he hadn’t asked for Sebastian’s help, he would’ve been murdered by the cult, and unable to seek justice for his parents. Ciel made a pact with the devil. He’s already given up his soul, and his future. Abberline’s sacrifice seems like it was in vain, but knowing his character, he would’ve given his life for Ciel regardless.

Ciel is incredibly angry with Sebastian for Abberline’s death. Sebastian points out that Ciel was unharmed. I suspect Sebatian didn’t care for Abberline. His sincerity and desire for peace, was in conflict with Ciel’s need for retribution. Sebastian probably found him a distraction to Ciel. Yet, I wonder why the anime decided to have this scene, which is different than the manga. Why create this heartbreaking scene? It changes the vibe between Ciel and Sebastian. I think it altered the way the viewers felt about Sebastian (or maybe just my feelings).

The following days, Ciel is depressed. Even the staff noticed his sorrow and try to cheer him up. They call Lizzie for assistance (which shows how worried they were, because she’s notorious for making them wear horrible outfits).

Ciel tries to make peace with the situation. Knowing Abberline left behind his fiancée, and unborn child, Ciel sends gifts and a letter. He had his servant Tanaka do this instead of Sebastian. Did Ciel blame Sebastian and not want his assistance? He makes him do everything. Would Sebatian think Ciel’s compassion was a weakness, so he wanted to conceal it? Perhaps he wanted to do something kind without judgement.

Did you watch this scene? What do you think of the letter Abberline’s fiancée, Maria, received from Ciel? What do you think it said? Did he describe her fiance’s bravery and heroism? Did Ciel talk about Abberline’s kindness and love for her and his child? Maybe Ciel left her his wealth? Ciel plans to die soon (Sebastian is supposed to take his soul once he achieves his plan for revenge), and he doesn’t have an heir, maybe he’s leaving it for her and the baby? Whatever words Ciel wrote, they touched Maria’s heart. Wherever Abberline’s spirit is, I know he felt appreciation and gratitude to Ciel for thinking of his family.

Having gone through all that, I hope Maria and her baby survived that firestorm that rained upon London. Not everyone survived the events that took place. Ciel is at death’s door (I’m going based off season one, before anyone raises their hand to say “well, actually…” lol). The servants are fighting Pluto, who is now breathing fire. There’s an angel who is acting less angelic than Sebastian, wrecking havoc around town. Ciel is injured and plunges into the water. Lizzie wonders about him and if he’s alright.

Sebastian pulls Ciel from the water, and later he wakes up in a boat. On the cusp of death, Ciel realizes he is inching towards the inevitable. As his cinematic reel plays around him (scenes from his life), he thinks about Lizzie, and wonders how his employees and Pluto are.

Then beautiful flickers of blue light catch Ciel’s eye.

When death comes, I wonder if we get to see the sentiments of others. If so, will it be beautiful blue lights? I think Ciel was surprised to see so many. He was loved and he had a big heart. I don’t know if I’ll have any blue lights, but it’s a wonderful thought.

Lizzie’s feelings for him made one final appearance, as the blue flower ring, that blew away in the wind made it’s way to Ciel.

Earlier in the season, Ciel met Prince Soma and Agni. Ciel’s words to the Prince were harsh, but he was trying to open up his eyes to the world around him. Sebastian and Agni entered a curry contest. Agni was impressed with Sebastian’s winning entry, curry buns. Wanting to help London recover, the Prince and Agni give free curry buns to those in need (recipe inspired by Sebastian). The boy in line reminds me of Ciel (he’s the same boy who gave Ciel and Abberline clues to Ash’s involvement with the crime). Ciel, and even Sebastian, were such positive influences on Prince Soma and Agni that they wanted to pay it forward. I’m sure their sentiments were among the blue lights Ciel saw upon his death. Perhaps Abberline was right when he said, “what changes the world is people’s faith that tomorrow will be better, that they can make it better.”