I’ve been watching Hyouka for about 6 months now. It only has twenty-two episodes to the whole thing, but I took my time watching the show because I realized almost immediately that I would be extremely sad once it ended. I finally finished watching the show last night and I’m happy and sad that I’ve seen it to its completion. The show is an adaptation of a series of light novels, it covers four of the five that are currently out, the author has said he is going to continue writing about Houtarou and The Classics Club’s adventures throughout high school, but I have serious doubts as to whether he can write enough of them quickly enough to warrant a second season. Withstanding all this, Hyouka is now in my top five favorites of all time.
Hyouka is a mystery anime, but it’s not your typical mystery show. The stakes of each of the mysteries are pretty small, it tries to prove that the scale of the mystery isn’t the interesting part of the story the execution of the story is the important part. I have trouble accurately describing why I love the series so much because it’s different than just about any anime I’ve seen so far. It’s a slice of life mystery anime. It’s visually stunning, the animation and character design is some of the best I’ve seen. Houtarou visualizes a lot of his thinking process and when he does it results in some of the most stunning sequences in recent memory.
The show at it’s center is about Houtarou Oreki, high school student and completely withdrawn into himself. His way of life is all about energy conservation, his motto “If I don’t have to do it, I won’t, if I have to, make it quick.” The events of the series are catalyzed by him needing to join a club at the behest of his sister who’s off abroad. She asks him to join her former club the Classics Club in order to prevent it from being disbanded. He figures since he’ll be the only member he’ll get to conserve energy to his heart’s content, but soon it becomes clear that this won’t be the case. Houtarou is joined by his soon to be closest friends, Chitanda Eru, Fukube Satoshi, and Mayaka Ibara in the Classics Club and his dreams of a restful high school life go right out the window. Chitanda Eru is the main driving force of this with her never-ending curiosity often becoming the vehicle that drives the plot forward. Chitanda is often the reason that Houtarou becomes involved in the mystery at all. Chitanda is super naïve and straight-forward she’s super bright and bubbly, but without getting annoying and she’s one of the more entertaining characters in the show. Satoshi is probably the character with the most depth in the show he has a whole slew of emotions swirling around inside him, but he never shows them to anyone, except the viewer and sometimes Houtarou, his arc throughout the show is one of the most compelling. Mayaka, is a firecracker and always about a second away from bursting in anger or some other outburst, she may pretend to dislike Houtarou, but they get along pretty well.
I’d say without spoiling anything that the series is about Houtarou breaking out of his shell and becoming more forward and learning to socialize with everyone and live life to it’s fullest. There really wasn’t a weak episode of the bunch unless you count the fanservice OVA episode 11.5, but it even serves a purpose within the greater narrative so I can’t even really be mad at it, even though it doesn’t really fit the tone of the rest of the series. I can’t really recommend this series enough; it’s slow, smartly written, funny, and at times really heartwarming and if you enjoy either mystery or slice of life shows I’d say it’s a must watch.