WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Horimiya Episode 11, “It May Seem Like Hate,” now streaming on Funimation.
Horimiya has constantly driven home the message that no one should be judged by how they initially appear on the surface. There are many layers to each character, and some hide particularly dark secrets and/or insecurities. However, if any character's personality felt safe to draw conclusions on, it was the gregarious, green-haired jokester Shu Iura -- until now.
While Shu's jolly, often class clown-like nature has won him many friends -- despite scaring poor Honoka Sawada half to death -- it turns out he has a whole other side to him when it comes to his younger sister Motoko. The two often misinterpret each other's intentions which leads to confrontation, but Shu is extremely protective of Motoko and will do anything to ensure her happiness and success.
Though he's mostly been a background character to this point, Shu is an integral part of Hori and Miyamura's group and is particularly close friends with Toru. Constantly popping up at inopportune moments and unable to stay quiet, he's an even bigger bundle of energy than Yuki much of the time. Sometimes his extroversion goes too far and gets him into trouble though. As Miyamura is trying to help Sawada -- his next-door neighbor who also loves Hori -- adjust to all the males in their social circle, Shu's personality keeps frightening her. Sawada doesn't dislike guys; rather, it's especially outgoing guys who make her nervous. Though it's all presented comedically as Sawada keeps hiding from him, it seemingly further establishes Shu's heartwarming and social -- if occasionally bumbling -- personality.
But when he's at home with his younger sister Motoko, Shu takes on a whole different nature. He's completely serious, unsmiling, and highly demanding. While Hori has shown she can be demanding with Sota, their relationship is more laid back and shows clear mutual trust and love. Shu and Motoko are different, constantly arguing and even getting physical with one another. His gruff distance and her worries about slipping grades lead to confrontations and emotional distance.
Despite his hard-nosed attitude, Shu loves Motoko deeply and only wants what's best for her. He takes his older sibling duties very seriously, to the point where he asks Hori -- known for being one of the top students in their school -- to tutor Motoko for her high school entrance exam. It says a great deal about Shu's different auras at home vs. school when Motoko tells a shocked Hori how rarely she sees her brother smile. Along with the fears over her subpar grades and her uncertain future in school, Motoko worries that Shu's behavior means that he hates her.
Hori, however, understands the truth: Shu is only hard on Motoko because he loves her and wants her to be successful. When Motoko tells him about a teacher who laughed at her choice of high school, Shu asks her to bring said teacher home so he can punch his lights out. And as she's studying at Hori's house, Shu and Toru go out to buy her a special charm that will bring her good luck on exam day. It may seem like hate at times to Motoko, but Shu's only desire is to be the best big brother he can. Once again, Horimiya unveils a multi-layered personality that defies snap judgments while showing the complexities of sibling relationships.