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The Izumi Scene In Horimiya That Went Too Far

Dedicated "otaku" — i.e. obsessive manga and anime fans –- won't be surprised to hear that the popular anime series "Horimiya" broke the record for most-watched premiere of a rom-com among users of the MyAnimeList site (per Anime News Network). Originally published as a manga web series titled "Hori-san to Miyamura-kun" in 2007, the series is written and illustrated by Hiroki Adachi, working under the pseudonym HERO. As the same anime fans may know, the Cloverworks' TV anime adaptation, using the ship-title "Horimiya," ran from January to April of 2021.

On its surface, the series presents what appears to be the straightforward story of an unlikely but lighthearted friendship between popular, straight-A high school student Kyouko Hori and dour, awkward loner Izumi Miyamura. Before long, though, the two teens discover that each of them is concealing an alternate identity from those around them. At home, Kyouko dresses down as a no-nonsense, no-social-life caretaker to her little brother, while away from school Izumi is a pierced-and-tattooed, outgoing kind of guy. 

While their budding relationship progresses from the meet cute moment to the sharing-big-secrets phase with audience-pleasing freshness and humor, there is one Izumi scene in "Horimiya" that some viewers clearly think went much too far.

The slap scene between Izumi and Kyouko outraged some fans

One of the likely reasons for the success of the manga and subsequent anime adaptation of "Horimiya" is the relatable and complex nature of the opposites-in-love dynamic between Kyouko and Izumi. When friction develops between the two, however, it's not because one of them is mistreating the other, but because Kyouko wants the passive, always accommodating Izumi to be more assertive with her, which only makes him uncomfortable. Then, in Episode 19 of the anime, this dynamic takes a shocking turn when Izumi forces himself to comply with Kyouko's wish for him to be more aggressive — by slapping Kyouko in front of their friends.

Some fans found this unacceptable. Commenting on a Youtube clip of the scene, user Sofia protested, "why [is it for] men the first thing that comes to their mind for equality [is] to hit women, that's sick and disgusting." YouTuber dragonanimekid agreed that the scene crossed the line, writing, "Are their [sic] real people who prefer when their bf or gf treats them like dirt?"

In fairness, it should be noted that other commenters pointed out that Kyouko earlier asks Izumi to slap her in order to, paradoxically, prove he loves her. Typical of those fans was YouTuber Spring Freddy, who wrote, "Don't hit women unless they ask you to. If you've watched the anime they both consent ... and Miyamura agrees to be rough with her ... Consent is the key to any relationship." 

Regardless of fans who thought Izumi's action is foreshadowed in the series as something both characters agreed to, many viewers felt this disturbing scene in "Horimiya" went entirely too far.

If you or someone you know is dealing with domestic abuse, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233. You can also find more information, resources, and support at their website.