Created by Kyoto Animation, Hyouka is a story of Oreki Hotaro a boy whose motto is “I don’t do anything I don’t have to. What I have to do, I do quickly.” The motto of many high school students nowadays, including me a few years back. This all changes when his sister forces him to join the Classics club and he meets Eru Chitanda a beautiful girl. who can not tear herself apart from something if she finds it interesting. Together they solve mysteries they happen to come across much to Hotaro’s dismay.
The plot of Hyouka follows the Classics Club as it solves the mysteries that pop up throughout the school. Yeah. That is about it. Which to be honest, there is nothing wrong with that. A concise plot is fine, if each individual arc is done well with interesting dialogue and strong themes. Sadly Hyouka did not deliver with each arc or episodes being very formulaic. Though the insight into Hotaro’s mind can be interesting, it was only interesting for me the first couple of episodes. Also the greatest downfall to this plot was the lack of an ending with impact. It just left me unsatisfied.
The characters themselves were decent personalities that were not too stereotypical, but still fell into some archetypes. The lazy one Hotaro, Chitanda who got the lazy one to do things (aka hyper girl but not really hyper this time) Satoshi the friend (who calls himself a database) and lastly Mayaka (cute / kind of tsundere). Each of them had potential to create depth to Hyouka but the development was simply lacking. High school is often a time where one truly defines who they really are. Hyouka tries to embody this with Hotaro, who begins as a lazy bum, and then ends up as a less lazy bum. Thats about all the character development I got from this show.
Soundtrack for the show was pretty average in my mind, strong vocals, but nothing else really excited me. Looking back after finishing Hyouka I could not remember one insert song that really stood out. The only reasoning the 1st opening theme stood out to me was because of the animation.
As for the animation and character design, Kyoto Animation is always impressive. The opening I mentioned earlier with the strong transition from dull colors, to vibrant blues and greens really stood out. This transition was a simple comparison to Hotaro’s life, but was effective. Everything was very smooth, and I would especially like to point to the scenes where Hotaro’s imagination takes over the background and Chitanda’s curiosity finally gets to him, as beautiful renditions of someones mind. The character’s designs were varied, and very crisp. I know anime has always had a knack for animating deep eyes, but I really enjoyed it here in Hyouka.
They had a strong question about human nature with “Are things that do not matter really worth wasting your time on? and is it right to just live a life with a daily routine, with nothing special happening in your life?” These are good questions but I feel that they did not go in-depth with them. The show had potential but just came out for me as an average watch. The strongest point of the show other than the animation is the ability of Hotaro to discern the culprit, and how they explain it to all make sense in the end. Though it is formulaic if you did not marathon it like me you may enjoy it more.
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