[Review] Hyouka ep 5: I scream for ice cream

[The Truth of the Historic Classic Literature Club]

This has been my favorite episode of Hyouka so far. The truth behind the Classic Club’s past is revealed, and as it turns out, Chitanda’s uncle, Sekitani Jun, was unwillingly offered up as a sacrifice, made out to seem like the student body’s revolution leader so he could take all the consequences while the real puppeteers got away scotch-free (which is such terrible, awful bs). The mystery behind the anthology Hyouka’s cover art, a rabbit dragging a wolf down with itself while many other rabbits watch in the background, is also explained: the lone rabbit martyr is Chitanda’s uncle fighting the beast of the school administration while his friends and acquaintances watch on. If that’s not haunting enough, the reason why the anthology is called Hyouka is because Hyouka is Japanese for “ice cream,” a pun for “I scream.” It’s a lame pun, like Houtarou himself says in the episode, but given the context and especially, Houtarou’s strangely creepy thin cursive writing, it still sent a shiver down my spine.

The conclusion is pretty satisfying, but I was surprised that this mystery was over so quickly, since it dealt with so many pieces that we knew from the very beginning, like the name “Hyouka,” Chitanda’s uncle, and even a little of Houtarou’s sister. I guess we’re back to small mysteries.

[Review] Hyouka ep 4: Flatter than a stomped-on pancake

[The Past Days of Glorious Classic Literature Club]

The Thinker

I think Hyouka is, all in all, a victim of its adaptation content.

I’ve really come to appreciate the art style of Hyouka. Hyouka’s Wikipedia page says that it’s produced by Kyoto Animation, which, fyi, also produced The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya which is one of my favorites (not to mention my childhood favorite, InuYasha <3) so nice job, KA! Something about the characters’ hair, especially, really appeal to me, and of course, the sequences when the four Classics Club members were explaining their theories to each other were really creatively made. However! They’re a little like the Prezi presentations that my English teacher uses: flashy and engaging, but just CANNOT make up for how snorefully boring the content is. Blah blah, maybe there was a conflict, blah blah, violence broke out, blah blah blah, no there wasn’t violence but, blah, I’m just a database who can’t make conclusions. As an adaptation, that can’t be helped, so props again to KA for doing their best.

All I can say story-wise is… it’s getting there. It looks like they’re done solving little mysteries around the school, but the episodes are still going at a “get at least one thing solved every 22 minutes” kind of pace. That’s really more suited for Detective Conan, where the episodes aren’t usually continuous with each other, but that still falls on the mysteries not being interesting enough to support an entire episode. (So in case you missed it, the content falls flat again!)

Another thing: It’s becoming really obvious how forced-together the character cast is, and by that I mean that these characters, if they were real people, would never sit around brainstorming the details of something that happened 40-some years ago. Houtarou’s reason is kind of given (he somehow can’t say no to Chitanda), but I can’t see people like Ibara or, especially, someone as high-energy as Fukube doing something so… boring. I’ve had more fun making up writing science reports.

And heck, if Houtarou’s always going to solve it in the end anyways, what’s the point of even having the others? Just crown him head detective and be done with it. That kid is practically the incarnation of Holmes!

[Review] Hyouka ep. 1

I became interested in this anime after seeing the above picture of Hyouka, which portrays it as a refreshing, upbeat type of school anime, so I was surprised to find that the main character, Oreki Hotaro, is a quiet sort of guy who mainly keeps to himself. His dismal-sounding motto is, “I don’t do anything I don’t have to do. What I have to do, I do quickly.” It actually seems like a pretty good way to live until you realize that instead of just giving up unnecessary recreations to focus on more important things, Hotaro actually gives up bothering with academics, sports, and socializing – basically anything that a high school student could focus on.

(If he went to school in America, it would be a pain trying to get accepted into college with his credentials.)

Somehow, he’s managed to keep one good friend, Fukube Satoshi. The two of them join the Classic Literature Club with a hugely-enthusiastic girl, Chitanda Eru, who is definitely set up to be Hotaro’s savior from his own lethargy because for some reason, he can’t say no to this girl.

Twice in this episode, Hotaro’s imagination show us a magical world with moving hair that bind Hotaro to Eru and words that jump off paper to join into a black flood, which is both awe-inspiring and unexpected. For someone like Hotaro to have such a vivid and creative imagination, there may be hope for him as a main character yet.

Shouldn't you be busy reading classic literature in Classic Literature Club?

Cliches are semi-heavy in Hyouka. We have a male lead character (Hotaro), who isn’t particularly interesting himself, but serves as someone through which we can view the more exciting characters – primarily, the upbeat female lead character (Eru). This setup is pretty common, and immediately, I can name Haruhi Suzumiya and OreImo as two animes that implement this trope. We also have the extrovert-introvert best friends, which is not impossible to occur outside the anime world, but considering that Satoshi is outgoing enough to make up for Hotaro ten times over, it’s an anime miracle he doesn’t ditch Hotaro for a larger ring of friends. Plus, there’s also the thing about characters meeting each other through a club.

 
With those cliches and the fact that it’s a school anime, Hyouka’s already under some heavy scrutiny, but the episode gets a lot more interesting with the mysteries. We find out how clever Hotaro is through his rationalizations (and the great stunt he pulls with The Golden Web!). I have a feeling that with Eru around, Hotaro’s going to undergo a metamorphosis and shed his shell pretty soon into a real likeable character.