Convenient censoring is convenient.
|There’s nothing to report today really (thanks for your support in the Aniblog Tourney!!!). Anyways, this week Hyouka continues doing what it does with little to no regard to what other series have done before. Oh Hyouka, you mild mannered rebel, you.|
So this week on Hyouka, the club goes off to the mountains or somewhere/ onsen as Eru’s way of thanking them for solving the case of her uncle. There, they stay with some of Mayaka’s conveniently located family (even more conveniently, they also happen to own an inn. SUPER conveniently, the inn is going under renovations so there are no other customers) and meet some of her family members. Namely, her younger cousins. Later, the group tells ghost stories and just like pretty much every inn ever in anime, this one has a story about someone dying in it. Apparently some guy hung himself a room and so people got superstitious in the room (plus there’s a rumour that someone else died in the room because of that). Obviously that’s not a very good way to attack business, so the family built another wing. The ‘haunted’ part of the building is closed off due to the renovations. Did I mention how convenient this whole setup is?
This plot setup also involves mild amounts of bromance and nudity
Dead body? Check. NOW it’s a mystery anime.
Mayaka claims to have seen the ghost hanging at night. Normally this wouldn’t really mean anything, but Eru saw it too, so now she’s curious. Oreki takes the case, but unlike most Hyouka episodes, this one has clues spread out evenly throughout the episode. I was pretty impressed about that since it made the episode more engaging and gave you pieces to a puzzle before you even realized that there was a puzzle to be solved. (…Who am I kidding, it’s Hyouka. There’s always something that needs to be solved.) Anyways, as far as the actual solution behind the mystery, it wasn’t as exciting as the mystery made it seem, but’s that’s the beauty of Hyouka. It can turn something extremely out there and make it simple and realistic. The clues were all there, Houtarou just needed to fit them together. I feel bad for the younger sister never having to do that because her older sister is possessive, but I like how they ended the episode on that happy note with the two of them getting along. This episode was just an extremely abridged example of the ups and downs of siblings…. With a ghost (not really) mystery thrown in there.
Oh god, they’re both curious. HOUTAROU, RUN FOR YOUR SANITY. RUN!!!
It was nice to see different scenery rather then the classroom this episode. As expected, KyoAni’s attention to detail is great when it came to the atmosphere of the place. I’m impressed that they managed to give it the same laid back feel as the school. Normally you’d think that a story about high school students on a trip would be filled with excitement (…or at least as much excitement as Houtarou is capable of) and activity. Instead, it felt more like watching people take a trip to visit their relatives in the countryside where the population of the town is 1000. (…Though to be fair, visiting relatives was partially what Mayaka was doing). The atmosphere of this episode was relaxed, quaint and comfortable. It was actually pretty enjoyable and calming to watch. Though they broke right out of that when they needed to. That ghost story scene was wonderfully animated.
… Those conveniently censored parts were very distracting though. I didn’t think KyoAni had that kind of thing in them. Naked girls? Sure, I would expect that. Showing mostly the guy’s side of the hot springs for once was a weird shift. It was almost classier in a way considering that the ED to this is pretty fanservice filled. Hell, there weren’t any peeking attempts OR girls trying to molest each other/ commenting on each others bust sizes. This episode actually had a plot. I think I’m so used to anime cliches that it feels weird to watch something like this. It is nice to see them breaking out of the cliches (and bonus points to them for not being obnoxious about the fact that they’re breaking cliches).
So as for the story portion, I think this was one of the better episodes for me (and no, not because of the surprise nudity). It was levels above what happened last episode in terms of excitement and the mystery actually had clues this time. There was a lot this episode the foretold the answer to the mystery at the end. Not that I could have guessed at the solution by myself, but it was easier to follow then some of the things Hyouka has thrown at us before. The clues to the mystery of Eru’s uncle were all given directly to us by the club and really, the other mysteries have been too short to need multiple subtle clues for them to be solved.
As far as the characters show, it appears that Houtarou is getting more and more interested in Eru. Hell, he barely even put up a protest when she wanted to know about the mystery of the hanging man she saw. He’s slowly and subtly getting used to her constant demands. It was really clear too from that scene where the two were walking to the baths that he’s more comfortable around her now. It’s been great so far how they’ve eased him into accepting Eru over a period of time since the first episode, all he wanted to do was get away from her. The same goes for Mayaka being less… thorny. I don’t know if it was just because she was around her family or what, but she seems to be getting along more with Houtarou now. Her amusing sarcasm is still there, but she’s not attacking him outright like she used to. So the characters keep developing here (as they tend to do in pretty much every anime), but here it seems more… natural somehow. Maybe it’s the slower pacing of the show or something else, but it’s rare (minus the first few episodes and a few times where the animators CLEARLY want you to notice something) that anything you learn about the characters seems forced.