Posted by psgels on 30 April 2012 with categories: Hyouka

My big issue with Kyoani is their lack of ambition. They’ve got some amazing animators in house. The could bring the most amazing stories to life with that. But no, we need the random antics of high school girls! In particular it’s the series Lucky Star, K-On and Nichijou which all failed to capture my interest. worst of all was Lucky Star, which I actually finished in the hopes of finding out why people were so lyrical about it. I didn’t figure it out. And it was a chore. Hyouka features high school students talking to each other a lot, but finally it’s actually going somewhere. The characters aren’t randomly yapping about the same things over and over: there is progression. That’s what caught my interest for this series, and I want to see where it’s going.

Which brings me to another quirk of Kyoani: taking really long to build up and set up everything. This is a double-edged sword: if all of the build-up gets to the point of annoyance, then it will have failed its purpose. The trick with these kinds of series is to still have something redeemable when building up. For example I rate Kobato higher than Mirai Nikki because Kobato’s first half, even though it was random and often cheesy, still was very genuine and had interesting characters. Mirai Nikki meanwhile was a drag because there were too many characters who just weren’t. Kyoani’s series try to tackle this problem with realism: having characters act realistic and down to earth. It worked well with Air and Clannad, but Haruhi and Kanon suffered from characters trying too hard to be moe, leading to me dropping both before eventually giving them a chance to properly sit them out and appreciate what they were building up for.

Hyouka is looking good. The premise of this series hasn’t come up yet (that whole another-like premise of a student dying 30 years ago), and instead it’s keeping itself busy with random trivial mysteries. The way it goes to solve these is actually quite interesting: the train of thoughts of the character sin particular is interesting to watch, even when things are as silly as wondering why five different students would borrow the same book for five consecutive weeks.

The animation of this series is also very fluid and dynamic, but it’s especially the few scenes of symbolism each episode where the artists can really show off to make this a feast for the eyes.
Rating: *+ (Great)

25 Responses

  1. TheDoorIntoSummer says:

    If Clannad – or any Key VN, for what matters – has characters that act realistic and down to earth in them, then I’m Santa Claus.

  2. jzar says:

    I do find it interesting so far…..hard to say though if it can hold the long haul. I wonder if this has an manga source or is it original?

  3. AidanAK47 says:

    “Kyoani’s series try to tackle this problem with realism: having characters act realistic and down to earth. It worked well with Air and Clannad, but Haruhi and Kanon suffered from characters trying too hard to be moe, leading to me dropping both before eventually giving them a chance to properly sit them out and appreciate what they were building up for.”

    Psgels…you are doing it again. Remember. An animation studio adapts a work. They don’t write it. They can make changes here and there but any compliments on the story or characters go to the author. Not the animation studio.

    And yeah, Air and Clannad having realistic and down to earth characters? Not a chance in hell. As for Haruhi’s characters were more stereotypes than MOE. I believe that was intentional for them to serve as parodies of such overused stereotypes. Still doesn’t change the fact they are stereotypes though…

  4. akarimizunashi says:

    congratulations! now you can finally have a kyoani series with blatant development, but unfortunately it’s at the expense of the most generically uninspired writing and character interaction.

    explain to me again how chitanda isn’t simply pandering to lonely otaku and trying way too hard to be moe? I understand you may not have enjoyed haruhi, but why not be a little less hypocritical.

  5. Denizen says:

    It does piss me off when KyoAni gets so much praise. It’s animation is fluid, but not nearly as impressive as the stuff showcased in say Birdy Decode or those shows which bust out the sakuga occasionally. That can be excused, but the lack of ambition not so much.

    KyoAni gets love, and yet the likes of Brains Base or Bones who have been around for the same amount of time have covered a gigantic amount of genres, settings, demographics and animation styles. These studios have pushed the boat out and made quality work, yet apparently I am meant to be in awe of a studio that produces boring high school girl shows every year without fail, and has a financial interest rather than a desire to make cool show. Munto was great, but it seems not even KyoAni cared for that.

    Hyouka I hoped would be a step in the right direction, but it’s honestly just…boring. It’s like they simply took the utter irrelevancy of some of the dialogue and plot of others shows and injected it into a mystery setting. The mysteries so far have been absoutely terrible, there’s simply no reason to care – even in a deliberately mundane setting, you can write much better scenarios than that. The production values are good but they are just wasted.

    • Martin says:

      As a professional animator i would say Kyoani is a talented animation studio. Their shows dont exactly have the standard flashy action sakuga moments (Nichijou is an exception); their excellence is in their character animation which is something the common viewer takes for granted. Not to mention there’s also the excellent bg art and compositing. Their usual genre of choice is not my cup of tea but I can overlook that and take notice of the talented and cohesive group of animators they have.

      I did enjoy both seasons of birdy decode (more season 2 actually) and appreciated the forward thinking animation. I’d recommend Nichijou if you want to see Kyoani having fun with animation (if you can get past the moe of it like I did)

  6. LifeCarrier says:

    I sadly have to agree with you. I enjoyed Haruhi (more the first season than the second) and this show gave me a haruhish vibe on the first ep which kept me interested.

    Chitanda had my moe alarms ringing on the first ep, but I hoped it was only for the show introduction and she’d be developed further than “an eccentric belle” from then onwards. Seems that’s not gonna happen.

    I can’t quite point my finger at it, but there´s something I find haruhi characters had that’s been missing in some of Kyoani’s shows like K-on or this one, which made their moe traits less annoying. Sure Mikuru was moe but she seemed to have a personality, and her moe traits seemed to be in line with it. On these other shows it seems to be forcefully inserted and out of character at times, it’s off putting when a character acts so unrealistic to pander lonely otakus as you say.

    • LifeCarrier says:

      Oops this was meant as a reply to akarimizunashi

    • Puran says:

      You’re comparing something that had two seasons and a movie, with something that had a whole two episodes to develop the characters…

      Two episodes in haruhi we had the episode 0 (the movie) and the introductory episode…

  7. LifeCarrier says:

    I felt your concern for pacing on this episode psgels.

    Aside from the new character introduction we got a whole lot more of the same we got on the first episode, Chitanda is cute and excitable, Houtaro is stand-offish and collected, Satoshi is easy going and takes jabs at houtaro any chance he gets, a trivial mysery gets solved.

    Maybe I’ve become too accustomed to 12 episode shows but I felt this episode a little redundant and thus boring, not that much happened that wasn’t already seen or implied on the first one.

    I hope it’s not like K-On where the same tropes get repeated each episode supposedly entertaining.

  8. Orange says:

    Aside from eye-candy, there isn’t much else, is there?

  9. hoiut says:

    No comments on the ED, psgels, anyone?

    Maybe my memory eludes me, but I can’t recall KyoAni making such a… strange, yuri-esque otaku-pandering ED.

    And maybe I’m just seeing it ALL WRONG. But seriously, what the heck is with the ED?

    • Orange says:

      I believe it’s fanservice without fanservice? It’s very strange, but the term ‘otaku-pandering’ seems out of place. Certainly things like this have appeared in other shows and are more ‘intense’. I don’t think it’s breaking any boundaries.

    • B. says:

      I had a similar feeling.
      It was really out of place. :/

  10. wicked says:

    Having read the source material, the anime is on somewhat of a chapter per episode by the current pacing, maybe a little quicker. Light novel characterization are essentially like manga characters, having certain aspects pop for instant identification, though the same tropes works in most western television, just different traits are accentuated. However if you’re looking for murder mysteries, this will not end well. As the author and the material they chose to adapt specializes almost exclusively on “Mundane” mysteries, which loses it’s appeal sometimes if the “mundane” portrayed doesn’t resonate with the audiences’ own experiences on some level. I’d defend that it’s not so boring as each chapter presents its own little hint about the central mystery, but in the end, it’s actually not a mystery that audiences might get particularly invested in. Those expecting a high stakes situation for drama is probably not going to get it. Watch as a slice of life piece with mysteries infused is a probably a better mindset than watching it as a mystery piece with slice of life e;ements

    • LifeCarrier says:

      I’m glad I read your post, seems like I might be dissapointed by the end. What can you tell me about the romance part? Is it an important aspect throughout? Is there drama regarding the relationship that the four of them have?

      If it’s just them solving mundane mysteries without much romantic development I don-t think it’s gonna cut it for me.

      • wicked says:

        It would depend on how they adapt the source material. the volume they chose to adapt did not advance the romance. Hyouka was the first of a series of books featuring the same “scooby gang”, but due to the rather non-mainstream material, there’s unlikely any further adaptation of the series. According to the current pacing they have about a 2-3 episode leeway to add something more, and they have Shoji Gatoh, author of FMP! for series composition.

        The drama is not between the main cast at all, though it’s something that Chitanda has an intimate connections to. The main mystery will be revealed in the next episode, and for many people, that’d be the best jumping off point. The book is essentially about Chitanda, though most actions taken by her was she “forcing” Houtarou to solve problems and mysteries.

        The light novels are very much categorized as manga, and this work leans toward a shonen manga title(though the main character is the antithesis of a shonen manga lead character), any romantic interest is meant to be subtle so that it doesnt destroy the overall dynamic of the group.

    • rubix says:

      A show that isn’t overly dramatic, doesn’t have cheesy action scenes, or forced plot gimmicks? But decides to focus on a realistic portrayal of a normal high school life with realistic everyday mysterious that most people could relate to? If this is the direction this show is headed, I don’t think I’d mind. It sounds pretty mellow, something nice to cool your head off with. Undoubtedly, people who want some kind of hook would probably be disappointed, but as a person who’s a bit tired of watching high-intensity shows, this seems like a nice change of pace.

      • wicked says:

        There is a more central mystery at work that is somewhat dramatic, but it is nothing thrilling, rather it’s somewhat of a bitter truth.

        • Andmeuths says:

          Episode Three Rule seems to be in effect for Hyouka.

          Personally, I enjoy the ambiance in the show. For one, the characters are rather more realistic variants of several common archetypes.

          I really cannot grasp the hostility to towards the show, beyond… it’s boring.

  11. akarimizunashi says:

    I guess my post came off as negativity towards hyouka, but it’s rather a distaste towards people making excuses for present enjoyment.

    if you develop some RULE that whatever you label as purposeful ‘moe’ is inherently less-valued and a cheap gimmick, then stick to it. in your praise for one show that you are currently enjoying (possibly in comparison), why disparage other shows that are essentially doing the same thing that you supposedly object to?

    there is nothing wrong with personal preferences. if you personally cannot stand female characters that are trying to hard to be moe and accept that notion as your defacto creed in judging anime… then that’s just how you feel. I would never object to someone’s preferences but I’m totally clueless as to how chitanda or any of the characterization in this show should then be exempt from your established negative judgment.

    I certainly don’t intend this post to be mean spirited in any way as I always appreciate your dedication to this wonderful blog, but I’m slightly put off by your need to denigrate other works by kyoani in order to justify your affection for this show.

Leave a Reply

Shoutbox

Name:
Email:
For:  
Mail will not be published
  • Nyangoro
    (Friday, Jan 30. 2015 03:39 PM)
    The only live-action anime adaptation that I’ve ever been even a little interested in was a possible adaptation of Monster by Guillermo del Toro for HBO. Naturally, it was never mentioned again.
  • AidanAK47
    (Friday, Jan 30. 2015 01:35 PM)
    Yep, another bad live action anime movie that pretty much only has the name in common with the source. But lets be honest even if it had a compedent staff it would still suck. Because american directors don’t give a crap about anime source material.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Jan 30. 2015 04:46 AM)
    Things only went downhill from there when Avir Arad, a man who has no respect for source material or artistic integrity, became the project producer and further confirmed Scarlett Johansson of all people as the lead role of Major Kusanagi. Shame on you Spielberg for spearheading this travesty!
  • Bam
    (Friday, Jan 30. 2015 04:44 AM)
    What a tragedy-
    earlier this month we got the news that DreamWorks has resecured the rights to the live-action Ghost in the Shell movie and has attached Rupert Sanders (the incompetent director of Snow White and the Huntsman) to the project.
  • Vincent
    (Friday, Jan 30. 2015 01:36 AM)
    Himouto is getting an anime my god. The hype is up
  • Bam
    (Thursday, Jan 29. 2015 06:49 AM)
    Yeah the ear-monster from Garden of Eartly Delights is in the eclipse.
  • Bam
    (Thursday, Jan 29. 2015 06:48 AM)
    @Emma: lol no not you, that Anime Campus ad and the way every word is capitalized.
  • Emma
    (Thursday, Jan 29. 2015 06:47 AM)
    @Bam: I bring him up because apparently somewhere in the berserk manga Miura took inspiration for one of the panels and it was to do with one of the godhand characters.
  • Emma
    (Thursday, Jan 29. 2015 06:45 AM)
    @Bam: O- shi- =P I rushed that comment cause I had to rush out to do something which is why it sounds so phoned in lol
  • Bam
    (Thursday, Jan 29. 2015 06:45 AM)
    If you’re talking about Hieronymus Bosch then yes. I have seen two or three triptychs from him which are vividly detailed and thematic. I enjoy this medieval type of art.

1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · 5 · »

Featured Posts

Durarara!!X2 – 03

If its one thing you to can credit Narita for it that just when you think he cannot possibly make a stranger character, he then does. So the monster that Shizu smashed into the air in the last moment gets their story told and I am sure there are not many who would have guessed […]

Death Parade – 03

Well this isn’t quite what I expected. This episode was a much more lighthearted fare with it being about love. It was better than the last episode but still not to the level I expected from this series. The game this time barely factored into the story at all. The twist on it was that […]

Durarara!!X2 – 02

If this episode had a focus then the stars would be Celty and the Orihara sisters. Though there were other events such as Anri and Mikado going to karaoke with Erika and Walker but it wasn’t really all the important and seemed to be there to foreshadow a new character and set up what looks […]

Death Parade – 02

Well this isn’t the best start. I must admit to being disappointed in this weeks Death Parade. Mainly because it was essentially a recap of the first episode. This episode was from the perspective of two characters who were watching the events of the first episode. With a white haired ponytail girl introducing another to […]

Some Really Quick First Impressions: The Leftovers

Sorry for leaving these out but they are not really worthy of a full impression. So I am just tossing down my two cents here. Seiken Tsukai no World Break – Hoo boy…maybe I spoke too soon about Juuou Mujin no Fafnir being worse than Absolute Duo. Because beside this trash heap it’s at least […]

Some Quick First Impressions: The Rolling Girls, Yoru no Yatterman and Sengoku Musou

The Rolling Girls Short Synopsis: What did I just watch? I am just going to break it to you. I have no idea what to think of this show. This is a work by the same studio who animated Attack on titan. It is an anime original show (meaning it is not based on anything) […]

Some Quick First Impressions: Durarara!!X2, Soukyuu no Fafner Dead Aggressor – Exodus and Aldnoah Zero Season 2

Durarara!!X2 Short Synopsis: People are strange, when you’re a stranger. It felt like a lot happened, but nothing really changed. That is the first season of Durarara summarized perfectly. The show itself even seems to revel in this. That said the main enjoyment of Durarara is seeing the cast of wacky characters interact with each […]

Some Quick First Impressions: Kantai Collection, The iDOLM@STER Cinderella Girls and Tokyo Ghoul √A

Kantai Collection Short Synopsis: Our protagonist sucks at playing battleship This is an anime based on the popular browser game of the same name. I haven’t played it but from what I hear it has ship daughters and some form of strategy. So I went into this blind, not knowing what I would get. That […]

Some Quick First Impressions: JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure S3, Death Parade and Assassination Classroom

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure – Stardust Crusaders Egypt Arc Short Synopsis: Our protagonist is going to Egypt to kill a vampire Jojo’s first season was a breath of fresh air with it’s ridiculous entertainment value. However with the second season I found that a lot of it’s magic had been lost as the series took a […]

Latest Reviews

Clipboard06

Nerawareta Gakuen Review – 84/100

Let me talk a bit about Ryousuke Nakamura. For a long time, this guy was my hero. He started off as an assistant director to Monster, in my opinion a big reason why that series got such a ridiculously solid adaptation, and then in 2008 he came with the groundbreaking Mouryou no Hako. No TV-series […]

Clipboard03

Kick Heart

Okay, so I didn’t want to exit 2013 without having seen Masaaki Yuasa’s Kick Heart. It’s only twelve minutes anyway, and I consider him to be one of the best anime directors out there. The story here is pretty silly and mostly serves as a backdrop, so I mostly want to talk about the nature […]

Clipboard01

Kyousogiga Review – 90/100

Everyone’s taste is different, and that’s a wonderful thing because that allows us to have so many different forms of media that all aim toward their own niche. My blog is obviously written from the perspective of my own taste, and even when a show doesn’t cater to it (which is nearly always), I love […]

Clipboard04

Ore no Nounai Sentakushi ga, Gakuen Lovecome o Zenryoku de Jama Shiteiru Review – 80/100

Noucome! You do not want to know how long I have been waiting for a series like this. More than half a decade, at the very least. Finally a series comes along and puts the incredibly overused harem genre in its place. And it actually does it well. Thank you! So to elaborate: the harem […]

Clipboard01

Pokemon: The Origin Review – 75/100

Normally I try to avoid spoilers with these reviews, but screw it, it’s Pokemon. Pokemon The Origin is a bomb of nostalgia. If you haven’t played Pokemon Red, Blue or Green, then you will not enjoy this one slight bit. This really is made as pure undilluted fanservice for the fans of the first games. […]

Clipboard08

Tamayura – More Aggressive Review – 75/100

I’m not going to dedicate a post for my impression for the final three episodes of this series. It was just too boring to write much about. I guess that that gives a pretty accurate indication of what I think about this series. Right at the start of Tamayura’s second season, I asked one question: […]

Clipboard04

Silver Spoon Review – 86/100

When Noitamina started airing two series per season, it was amazing. It’s a timeslot that on average tends to be aimed at a much older audience than usual, and having two series with the same mentality definitely helped to bring more diversity to anime overall. Unfortunately it’s a schedule that could not be kept up […]

Clipboard07

Yondemasuyo, Azazel-San Z Review – 82,5/100

Reviewing a comedy sequel usually is quite simple: in most cases it just drops the bomb and runs out of inspiration, and in rare cases it actually manages to stay hilarious. The tricky thing with these kinds of series is that you need to remain funny, and you need to have the inspiration for that. […]

Clipboard05

Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet Review – 81/100

Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet tells the storyline of a planet that is completely submerged, with only giant ships residing on the surface, while one of those ships gets visited by this guy and his AI-mecha from this very technologically advanced civilization. Yes, this show is about world building. What this show managed to do […]