One of the Winter 2018 series reviewed by MT, KyoAni‘s Violet Evergarden, seems to be such a big hit with its beautiful writing and flawless art! That’s why I decided to do a series review on another one of Kyoto Animation‘s masterpieces that I personally like, Hyouka!
Hyouka centers on Oreki Hotarou and his life in the Classic Literature Club. At first, he was only forced to join by his older sister, who is a graduate of his school and a former member of the club, since it was in danger of being disbanded. He wasn’t at all interested in participating, as he wanted to conserve his energy by living a gray-colored high school life. But soon enough, he finds that impossible to fulfill, especially because of his club mate, Chitanda Eru! She keeps dragging him to solve mysterious events and answer thought-provoking questions surrounding their everyday life, all because of her insatiable curiosity. Along with Oreki’s old friends and their fellow club mates Fukube Satoshi and Ibara Mayaka, they find that being in the Classics Club is actually pretty interesting and that Oreki might actually have a talent for solving mysteries.
Just from the synopsis, you can sense that it’s a lighthearted show. It might seem boring or uninteresting, but I assure you that once you give it a try, you’ll totally be sucked in! The mysteries, as shallow as they may seem, are well thought-out, especially since there are times that the clues given to everyone are so few! You’d always wonder how it’ll be solved! Plus, there are also some mysteries that are more than just silly problems. The motives of the characters that started some of them are all deeply rooted in their own personal reasons. So even if the events seem petty or cause misunderstanding, you can’t help but sympathize with them. Maybe you’ll even find yourself reflecting on some of your own experiences, as I have! All of the themes tackled in this series are so relevant and relatable, which makes it even closer to my heart.
Speaking of characters, I love how the four main cast and members of the Classics Club are written so solidly! All of their personalities complement one another, but also sometimes cause them to have small rifts. Eventually, you’ll see them all growing and developing due to their experiences, but you know they’re still them because of the smooth transition. Another thing I love is that there’s still romance, but it’s really only secondary to the main plot and never pushed. Compared to some shows where the protagonist is a talented guy who has two or more girls interested in him, there’s nothing like that here. Oreki’s too focused on being lazy, Chitanda’s too innocent for that, Ibara likes Fukube, and Fukube, well, he knows Ibara likes him. Now, you might be wondering how the side characters are like. I can say with confidence that most of them are interesting, especially the ones who regularly appear! You’ll like some of them for sure, too!
Probably my only problem with this is that…I really need another season! The whole 22 episodes cover the members’ first year in high school, so I want to see their second year! The way the ending left us hanging about a certain aspect, it’s not fair! Well, I might be exaggerating a bit… it’s actually really not that bad. There’s no mystery left unsolved or anything. It’s just that it’s something I personally wanted to see, but…Oh, just go and watch before I spoil anything!
Art & Music
This is KyoAni we’re talking about! They’re basically like the Disney of Japanese animation in my eyes, so of course, the whole show is eye-candy! Even though this is just a chill show, it’s still very important for the movements and voice acting to be precise and fluid. The animators succeeded in that, hands down! You can really feel the emotions of each character, whether in their facial expressions or their body language. I also thought that every episode was well directed, especially the parts where they explain the mysteries and the solutions. Those really show awesome creativity as each one has different art and animation styles! Unfortunately, I don’t think my explanations can give justice to the beauty and funkiness of it all, so I totally recommend just seeing it for yourselves!
Of course, a show would be uninteresting if the characters are not appealing, or if the backgrounds and colors in each scene are dull. The characters are all so aptly designed, fitting each of their respective personalities to a tee! I think it made them all the more memorable, even if some might think their designs are generic. The backgrounds are gorgeous, too! Along with the BGMs, they make you feel as if you’re actually there with the cast, as well as adding to the emotions needed to be depicted using the colors and the sounds!
No show would be completely wonderful without extra talented voice actors, right? For me, voicing out casual lines is just as hard as overly emotional ones, so I salute all the seiyuus in this relaxed show, where the delivery of lines is important, especially during investigations and interviews!
Themes & Trivia
Light Novel: Hyouka is an adaptation of the award-winning light novel series Koten-bu (what the Classic Literature Club is called in Japanese) by Yonezawa Honobu. As of writing this, there are six novels published, with the anime covering the first to fourth novels.
Mystery: If you’re a fan of this genre, then you’ll notice a lot of shout-outs to different mystery literature like Sherlock Holmes or Agatha Christie’s stories, as the gang sometimes use them as references.
Hyouka? ‘氷菓’ means frozen dessert in English. So now you might be wondering, what does that have to do with the story? Well, you’ll just have to watch to find out! When I found out the answer, I thought it was very clever, but also very sad.
Usually, I don’t care much for school-life stories, unless it’s about romance, or it’s full of mysteries. As I wasn’t expecting this show to have the latter and a bit of the former, I was surprised when it captured my attention this much! So, as I’ve been telling you multiple times already, I hope you also give it a go! Once the questions start, you’ll never be able to stop watching, I’m sure of it!
- A captivating mix of ‘relaxing’, ‘puzzling’, and ‘interesting’!
- Wonderful writing in every episode, relatable themes in every arc!
- Eye-candy art and animation!
- An enjoyable cast of characters, making you root for the main ones and wanting more of the side characters.
- No overbearing, annoying romance!
- The relaxing aura it sometimes gives off might not be everyone’s cup of tea
- Second season???
Well then, what are you waiting for? Start watching this show and get piqued by all the curious things it has to offer! Then, let us know if you loved it or not! If you’ve already seen it though, head on straight to the comments section!
Official Website: http://www.kyotoanimation.co.jp/kotenbu/