Horimiya: How Miyamura Breaks the Shonen Male Lead Mold

The hit rom-com animated series Horimiya quickly makes one detail clear: its characters are hardly stock shonen or shojo archetypes. Serious effort was put into making the lovable cast more intimate and unique than being a collection of tropes, and Izumi Miyamura makes this especially clear.

One of Horimiya's main themes is that there is always more to a person than meets the eye, and first impressions aren't everything. That's something newcomers should know when diving into this series, as Izumi Miyamura defies nearly every cliche, convention and stereotype of male leads in anime, regardless of genre.

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The Gentle Nature Of Izumi Miyamura

What makes Izumi Miyamura, the male half of Horimiya's main pairing, so special is that he's not special. Izumi is more interesting than his mopey school exterior suggests (which is on purpose), but he feels no need to be flashy or flamboyant to be a worthwhile person. He is not longing for fame, attention or approval -- instead, he is content to just be himself in a quiet but comfortable life, and that may set a good example for many viewers. Characters and real-life people Izumi's age have practically their entire lives ahead of them, with plenty of time to figure out their lives and gradually work toward becoming who they ultimately want to be. Izumi is in no rush to be an attention-grabbing star, either in his own world or as a manga/anime hero. That kind of patient humility is a valuable trait to have.

Instead, Izumi defines himself with his good deeds, quiet self-confidence and warm heart, all of which are sure to endear him to just about anyone. He isn't the most terribly exciting person, but he doesn't need to be -- and it sure works for Kyoko Hori. On the outside, Kyoko is wildly popular and animated at school, always standing in the spotlight, but she finds it exhausting and just wants to live a quiet, responsible life at home and look after her younger brother Sota. She isn't looking for a high-voltage boyfriend like a soccer star or a typical "big man on campus."

She quickly discovers Izumi's true nature and finds it highly appealing, and even feels a little intimidated at first. Izumi easily integrates into the Hori household as a welcome guest and establishes himself as a big brother figure to Sota.

Izumi Miyamura Gives Everyone A Break

Time and again, Izumi proves his "slow and steady wins the race" approach gets some serious results, setting him apart from many other shonen male leads -- regardless of genre. Izumi is never boastful, vain or impatient, nor is he trying to prove anything except to Kyoko, who is important to him. In many ways, this makes Izumi a welcome break from all the panties-stealing, nosebleed-prone comedy male leads who keep ending up face-first in girls' chests or tossed into detention after some high school shenanigans. Instead of being an anime Bart Simpson, Izumi Miyamura is the gentle boy next door who's impossible not to like, even if other male leads would deride him for being boring or passive by comparison.

Of course, wild and reckless male leads like Son Goku and Naruto Uzumaki can be a lot of fun, as well as hot-headed ones such as Futaro Uesugi or Kyo Sohma. Once in a while though, manga and anime prove that an ideal young man can be so much more, and gentle souls such as Horimiya's Izumi Miyamura are ready to turn things down to a dull roar and give everyone a break. Sometimes gentleness is the greatest strength of all, and there is far more to healthy masculinity than wild antics or reckless bravado.

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