Anime: Hyouka


Would you say Hyouka is a good or bad anime? I think the answer to this question really comes down to what you look for in an anime. Is it plot? Is it characters? Is it animation? Or perhaps, it’s a combination of all three.

 

Hyouka is a well received and well liked anime. I do not deny that. It’s strongest points were its choice of stylistic animations, its strong male characterizations and decent storyline. However, it is not without flaws. Female characters fell into usual stereotypes and the mysteries were too simple. Also, there wasn’t much of an ending.

Hyouka touts itself as a mystery anime in a school setting. What it actually is a slice of life anime. It runs through an entire Japanese school year and most of the major events that occur in a year.. There’s spring where the freshmen find a club, and here we are introduced to Oreki – the minimalist. Forced to join the classics club by his sister, he wants nothing more than to expend as little energy as possible. Then there is Chitanda and her trademark – I’m curious. The last two to round out the club is Satoshi – the database and Mayaka the most normal of the lot. It begins with them unraveling the mystery of why the book that the club produces is called Hyouka. Summer arrives as they continue to grapple (and solve) the mystery and then there is autumn with the cultural festival and new mysteries that abound. Finally it ends off with a few standalone episodes (and mysteries) in winter comprising the new year and valentines day.

What caught my eye was the animations, especially seen in the screenshot I used for this review. It’s from first episode and is the main reason why I became interested in the anime. The mysteries are decent, so if you’re a huge mystery buff then perhaps this isn’t the best anime for you. It is the explanations and the animations used in the explanations that really set this anime apart. It gives it style and artistic value. Most of all, it gave me something to remember, even if the mysteries were forgettable (or just plain mundane).

The other point that slowly drew me in was the characters of the two boys. There’s serious character development going on and honestly some of the best I’ve ever seen in an anime. I’ve never felt so connected or emotionally invested in characters before. There was something realistic and relatable in those two boys. The struggle they had in coming to terms with who they were as people with limited talents and abilities is something we don’t often see. It was a theme that in my opinion was the core of the series. Each and every character came to realization of the abilities that they had and the limitations that they faced. Each of them responded in different ways. For me, this focus on this particular theme really made Hyouka stand out.

I cannot say that it’s a great anime, because for a mystery anime, it wasn’t very good. Having said that, the characters were well done, and the animation was beautiful which does make Hyouka a cut above the rest. Although lack of endings is definitely a no in my books. I don’t care if you’re setting up for a second season, the ending was painfully anti-climatic and felt like the mysteries had run out of steam.

What did you think about the character development in Hyouka? Are there any other animes with good character development that you would recommend?

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Comments
5 Responses to “Anime: Hyouka”
  1. TWWK says:

    I know a lot of people enjoyed the show, but I found myself bored by it. I dropped it about five episodes in, right before the big reveal of Chitanda (sp?)’s past, which couldn’t keep me gripped even though it was fashioned as a cliffhanger.

  2. Genki Jason says:

    Interesting read. I feel the same way that you do about Hyouka. I love the animation, design and music involved in the show and have used it for wallpapers/blog images. Did you watch Another? That’s a supernatural mystery with beautiful animation and the story is really good.

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