Hyouka: Mystery solving, interesting characters and beautiful animation and music. What else do you need in a school anime?
In A Nutshell:
Hyouka tells the story of Oreki Houtarou, a high school boy whose life motto is “I don’t do anything I don’t have to do. What I have to do, I do it quickly”. His school life takes a turn when he seems himself involved in the Classic Literature Club at his school. There he meets Chitanda, Fukube Satoshi and Ibara. The four of them begin to investigate a case that occurred 45 years ago through the collection of works called “Hyouka”. Oreki will also have to solve other little mysteries surrounding the school.
Meet the Characters:
Oreki is the main character. He is a high school student who is… quite lazy. Oreki hates having to be active because he sees everything as a waste of energy. Despite of that, Oreki is a highly intelligent person with great deductive skills. He has an older sister who asks him to join the Classic Literature Club in the first place.
Chitanda is a beautiful and sweet girl. She’s the first member Oreki meets from the Club. She is very curious and passionate about everything that surrounds her. She often holds onto Oreki to solve every little mystery she finds. Her most used phrase is “I can’t stop thinking about it”.
Fukube was Oreki’s friend before joining the Club. However, they are complete opposites. Fukube is a very smiling and cheerful boy, but no one understands Oreki better than him. Fukube is not as smart as Oreki, but he has a great memory and often refers to himself as a database.
Ibara is a bit different from the rest. She doesn’t like Oreki very much and she is not as sweet as Chitanda. She is much more strict, both with the others and with herself. She enjoys manga and has a passion for drawing. Despite of the small conflicts they can have, she really ends up caring a lot for the Club and sees herself immersed in the mysteries they work on.
A Brief History of Hyouka: The When, Where and How
Hyouka was originally a 2001 novel by Honobu Yonezawa. It is the first volume of the Classic Literature Club series. A manga adaptation drawn by Taskonha was released in 2012 on Kadokawa Shoten’s Shounen Ace. The anime adaptation came out that same year and was produced by Kyoto Animation and directed by Yasuhiro Takemoto. The series has 22 episodes.
I’m going to be honest here. When I finished Hyouka, I didn’t quite know whether I loved it, or if I was a bit disappointed. After checking on forums, I realised that some ranked Hyouka as one of the best School/Slice of Life animes in the last years. Others thought it’s overrated.
Here’s why. From the first minutes of Hyouka, you know you are watching something special. After all, everything that comes from Kyoto Animation is guaranteed to be a visual experience just from the drawing and the animation alone (Suzumiya Haruhi, Free!…). The first episodes included songs by Beethoven and Bach and, if that wasn’t enough, we had a main yandere character who looked like a cross between Shinichi Kudo and Haru Yoshida.
Strangely, some of the main plots are dropped within the first 5-7 episodes, leaving you with a feeling of “what now?”. I personally had to keep watching to see where the big surprise was because SO MANY people had been praising this series. Considering that Hyouka had 22 episodes, some of the episodes included fillers or showed scenes that had little to do with the main plot, which can make some viewers confused because, again, where did the main plot go? Where is the story leading us? There were episodes that I really enjoyed and that would make me watch 5 episodes in a day. Other times, I couldn’t even finish an episode and kept dragging it for 2-3 days. It’s not an issue with the pacing, but with the story. At times I had the feeling that the writers weren’t quite sure where to go next.
Is that to say that this is a bad series? No. Hyouka works because it has all the right ingredients to make an incredibly beautiful and interesting anime about the lives of four deeply curious high school students. Whether watching its 22 episodes was worth it or not is up to the viewer and their expectations. If you like mysteries and series with great animation, I say give it a try because there’s a high change you will enjoy it.