Hyouka – 03

Burst Link! …oh wait that’s the wrong anime.

We’re back this week again for more mysteries! Honestly, more than looking out for awesome mysteries, now I’m trying to enjoy the setting, characters and of course the byouuutiful animation. Let’s see what Hyouka has in store for us this week~

It turns out that Eru’s *cough* confession, was actually a request for Houtarou to help her solve a mystery of her own. When Eru was an adorable little child, she asked her uncle a question with regards to the Classics Club, which he used to be a part of too. However, he hesitated to answer her and when he finally did, his reply made Eru cry. Then he proceeded to be a heartless beast and didn’t comfort a bawling, wide-eyed child. Eru has been hung up over it ever since as she simply cannot remember what her question and his answer were. Unfortunately, her uncle has vanished, and Eru wishes to find out the truth behind this incident before he is declared deceased (which is legal in Japan after a person has been missing for 7 years). Houtarou, being the lazy dude he is, refuses at first, but eventually half-heartedly agrees to help her in a rather tsun manner.

Houtarou then receives a letter from his sister saying that the old copies of Hyouka have been stored in a chemical safebox in the old clubroom – the Biology Prep Room. Eru, Houtarou and Mayaka head towards there, and find out that it is currently being used by the Wall Newspaper Club. A club member, Tougaito, appears to be jumpy and is reluctant about allowing them into the room to search for the anthologies. After some persuasion by Houtarou, Tougaito eventually not only allows them into the room, but ends up helping to move the entire bunch of anthologies into their own clubroom.

Talk about double-faced… His mood swings are comparable to that of the Incredible Hulk’s

Back in their own clubroom, Houtarou then explains to the Eru and Mayaka his brilliant strategy. He realized that Tougaito had been anxious about the entire matter as he feared he would be busted for smoking in the classrooms – the fact that he had turned the fan on, opened the windows, frantically sprayed deodorant and even installed infrared sensors had led him to that conclusion. In the end, when Houtarou threatened to bring the supervisor in to help them search for the anthologies, Tougaito had no choice but to help them do it himself, as he had probably also hidden his cigarette butts in the chemical safebox. …This would probably have all been easier if Eru didn’t have a cold though – her superior smelling-skills would’ve detected the tobacco scent immediately.

Alright, that’s it! Who farted? >(

After browsing through the old anthologies, Eru then recalls a memory – she had asked her uncle about a specific article in the second issue. It had mentioned something about her uncle turning into a legend, as the things he had done had to be “forgotten because it was definitely not the story of a hero”. Eru is then thrown into a dilemma as although she is dying to know the truth behind the matter, she fears that the answer will only bring her despair as it is meant to be forgotten. Houtarou then tells her that it should just be viewed from a historical perspective, as a classic – now all that’s left to do to uncover the truth is to read the first issue… only that it’s the only book that’s missing from the set.

This angle makes it look like a confession scene…

What do you mean there’s no yaoi in such a big pile of anthologies?!

As I said in the opening paragraph, I’m going to look at this series from a different perspective from this episode onwards! No moar expecting mindblowing mysteries, but rather I’d like to focus on the handling of the character personalities and the beautiful settings that this anime manages to craft. In this episode, I enjoyed watching the way Houtarou played with Tougaito’s mind. I love how smugly good he was at manipulating the feelings and fears of another person to accomplish his goals – not only can he easily solve seemingly complex mysteries, he has the skills and abilities to understand the way others think. (On a completely unrelated note, I watched the Avengers recently and this way of manipulation reminds me of Black Widow. Although on a smaller scale, I suppose, but still cool.) That is amazing! It just goes to show how Houtarou actually has a really brilliant mind; it’s just hidden by that lazy attitude of his. But this uncaring Houtarou also has a fatal weakness – Chitanda Eru. He seems to be unable to reject her/leave her alone, for some inexplicable reason, but it’s also adorable in a way. Every genius has his weakness.

Finding out about Eru’s motive in joining the Classics Club was really… surprising. Not really in a bad way, although the entire mystery behind it was different from what I had expected it to be. It would make sense that Eru would be so fixated on something that happened so long ago though, knowing her determinedly inquisitive personality. Throw in the factor that this mystery actually involves her uncle, someone that’s close and important to her, and BAM! She can’t let it go and I bet she’s practically dying to solve this mystery. You can imagine how frustrating it would be for Eru, who’s actually pretty smart herself, to be unable to just recall a few sentences that would mean so much in her life. And then Houtarou comes along, and she sees hope – she’s smart, but he’s smarter, and that imaginative mind of his may finally lead her to a solution.  He’s her light now, and that explains why she was so anxious to get him to help her, so nervous during the confession.

Speaking of the confession scene, I love how Hyouka really makes full use of their advantage in animation and graphics to add meaning to the story. The scene in the café was beautiful in so many ways – the 2130123 angles used, the background noises (the melodious cling of the teacups) and also the illustrations in the pop-up book, helped to add many levels to the feelings and significance of Eru’s request. I was particularly ~entranced~ by the heart-shaped clock in the background, and Joojoobees over at Abandoned Factory has explained the symbolisms of it very well. Adopting a different perspective has helped me to come to appreciate Hyouka more too, and I thank all of the lovely commenters here for sharing your opinion! This may probably be the end of the 3-episode-test for many watchers and my view on this anime is – if you’re looking for some fast-paced, mind-blowing awesomazing mystery-solving action, you’re better off watching Another or something of the like. Whatever it lacks in pace/action, Hyouka makes up with the impactful scenes and settings that it delivers consistently, and little things that you’d find out about the characters as the story progresses. Hyouka’s mysteries surprise you in little ways, and you’ll enjoy with the comfortable settings and rich emotions.


A stressed-out jyoushi kousei doubling as Metanorn's loli with a soft spot for sappy romance animanga. She will watch anything with bishies in it. :3
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8 Responses to “Hyouka – 03”

  1. BlackBriar says:

    That’s the strangest request I’ve ever heard. Helping someone remember what someone else told them. Where would you start? I think Eru is beginning to overestimate Houtarou’s abilities. He may be a genius but he’s only human and doesn’t have all the answers.

    Though they’re not exactly the same person since he gave Eru a chance with her request, Houtarou’s sometimes insensitive attitude reminds me a lot of Sasuke Uchiha. But he also has a Sherlock Holmes way of analyzing people and his surroundings which I find impressive. It’s amazing how he figured Tougaito out after one meeting and fun watching Tougaito being so manipulated. I understand his frustration when Eru said they would have to search the whole school. I, myself, wouldn’t waste time doing that.

  2. skylion says:

    I think Chitanda knows everything she needs to know. I’m calling it way early. She is a lying liar that lies. I’m willing to be wrong on this one; not taking bets or anything. So, this would be the mystery under my call: why would she manipulate him?

    My own gut instincts aside, she might be blocking what her uncle said. She made herself forget, and now that she wants to know, she just cannot summon it up.

    Love the Sherlock Scan, loved that Mayaka was part of it, and the whole investigation. The tsun between her and Oreki is a great part of the show.

  3. Foshizzel says:

    I like the part where they solved the mystery.

    Well at least now we have a story to build off of at last! And rambling best friend character was not around to annoy me, but hey I really do enjoy this series because of the artwork.

    That said I really hope the story can continue to push the series along at a great pace because we all know awesome artwork is nice and all, but we crave some story.

    Chitanda continues to make me watch even if some out there in the blog world might find her to be boring…

  4. Rakuen says:

    Houtarou’s weakness may be Chitanda, and she may be a cute girl, but I have to wonder if she’s any safer than the cocaine Sherlock Holmes took. We know what drugs can do to you, but we have no idea where this rabbit hole might go. I’d say it has to be somewhat disturbing. You don’t just go around blocking memories all willy-nilly.

    On the other hand, it could stay mellow like this for its entire run and I’d still probably watch it. Hyouka has the charm factor on lock.

  5. lvlln says:

    I’m liking the introduction of the main mystery, which was integrated well into the episodic mystery in this one. Since it’s about the school and about the classics club, there’s opportunity for the central one to be solved bit by bit using each episode’s own mystery as a tool, and I see potential for a lot of fun in that.

    And seriously, the visuals really are impressive. It’s like KyoAni saw what studios like DEEN or A-1 Pictures do Sankarea or Tsuritama this season and decided to show them how the pros really get it done (obviously impossible since production happens way before a season starts). They’ve always been known for their high visual quality, but I’ve never seen them be so creative with the direction.

    Watching how good this is turning out makes all the shit KyoAni produced between summer 2006 and now all the more painful.

  6. Bob from Accounting says:

    Holy willy the PLOT is rearing its ugly head. And it looks like it has the potential to be mildly interesting! Hooray! Anyway, Houtarou was a gigantic boss in this episode with his manipulation of the guy who looked kind of like Itsuki from Haruhi. I don’t know why but I kept thinking that that guy had a seedy porn stash hidden in his clubroom, not cigarettes.

  7. Joojoobees says:

    Thanks for the shout-out.

    My guess is the over-arching mystery is going to be much more consequential than these mini-mysteries, but even if they all end up being on this scale, I think I will still enjoy it, because these all seem like real mysteries that could reasonably expect to be found in a school. That makes this show much more grounded than most shows, with murders happening every week.

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