Posted by psgels on 7 May 2012 with categories: Hyouka

I personally love mystery stories, but since they require much more build-up than usual, it’s always a question whether or not they will succeed in the end. Hyouka has some very good papers, though. The detail with which it portrays its characters is more than enough to keep my interest, especially since none of them try to be too annoying/stupid etc.

There are multiple ways in which this can be classified as a mystery-series. The least interesting is the detective story format of each episode. They are very impressive of the characters… until you realize that everything is written by just one guy who can plan out everything, leading to the “detective”‘s observations to just turn superhuman, turning him into something like a narrator instead.

The other type of mystery was done really well in this episode, and really convinced me to sit this series out. It’s the kind that builds up to an overall story by revealing a tiny bit each episode about the overall mystery. The previous episode started with the revival of the Literary club, they hinted at the Anthologies. This episode reveals the anthologies, along with the whole reason for reviving the literary club along with the mystery that happened so many years in the past. This episode was really good at that, ending with a great little cliff-hanger.

And I also think that this series is really good at fleshing out its characters. Their dialogue between them is inspired, but take for example at the beginning of this episode, and they touch things like the edge of teacups, or the girl adjusts her hair. Seriously, Kyoani uses its budget well here. Does that make the animation perfect… nah. There are times when the animation is a bit too bouncy, which goes against this attempt at realism. Fate/Zero meanwhile has better CG, Lupin III has more artistic artwork and camera angles, Apollon’s animation is smoother and Zetman’s is more expressive. And so we’re in a season with a ton of series with awesome animation that all stand out in their own way.

Oh, and a question to the people living in Japan: do people really make such a big deal over smoking there? I mean, it’s not unheard of for teenagers to smoke, and while it’s frowned upon, it doesn’t really seem scandalous. Also, I was wondering why that guy chose a classroom of all places to start smoking things up, since he was using a classroom and all. If he went through so much trouble to set up infrared sensors, couldn’t he have searched for a better place to do it?
Rating: ** (Excellent)

14 Responses

  1. Scruffy says:

    The Japanese smoke like trains. However I think the point was he was doing it under-age (there is an age limit) and at school, plus his family has a reputation to keep. Anyway, loved the soundtrack that went with this episode. Very mellow.

    • tktym says:

      what Scruffy said, although the underage thing isnt that much of an issue. . .there has been a campaign to stop underage drinking and smoking, but usually sponsored by politicians who want to get more point for their voters, and like most Japanese laws, its more like “guidelines” or “Suggestions” They have cigaretts and alcohol in vending machines, but they have recently required a taspo card to operate (basically a card that you put money on that verifies if you are 20 years old) but really that doesn’t stop kids from smoking and drinking, Ive seen groups of high school kids smoking in a somewhat hidden area. Most of them get a friend to get smokes and drinks from the 100 million convenience stores that are in minutes of any location in Tokyo, or any major city. of course, no student would be stupid enough to smoke or drink at school. . . and really anime is pretty much not really representitive of Japan at all, It’s just not, its like some bizzaro fantasy put up on tv that no one really takes seriously (except the otaku that it panders to)

      but yeah Japanese people smoke like crazy and get offended when you tell them to stop smoking, there have been a few cases when taxi drivers have been assaulted because they told their customers not to smoke in their cars. . .

      It’s weird though, because they have smoking sections around the train stations, that lots of people obey, but then many people just don’t care and smoke wherever in public. Also Smokes are pretty cheap . . .like 4-5 dollars a pack(300-400 yen) Smoking can also be seen as a social thing in companies, which is why a lot of people pick it up. . .to network and get in with the group when doing business. . .it’s weird I know…

  2. WT says:

    I grew up in Taiwan and perfectly understand the scandalous view on smoking, especially for a teenager. Adults (parents and teachers) expect you to behave well and focus on the entrance exam for college. Smoking to them is a negative sign. The legal smoking age is 20 in Japan. A high schooler is no more than 18 of age. Also, that upperclassman’s family is prominent in education, which means they’re educated and are expected to educate their children well.

  3. martin says:

    I’m glad you pointed out the little character animation touches. Theres not many other studios that would do those “insignificant” things with their budget. Thats one reason why Kyonani will still command my attention.

  4. jzar says:

    The smoking may have been a bit over the top…..it was kinda of let down…I thought he was sniffing the glue or something REALLY strange. Ok, I really thought he was making some chemical drug….:)

    Yet it did sort of make sense, some kids will freak out over being ‘bad’ even just for smoking.

  5. Armpit says:

    What WT said is 100% accurate. He freaked because of his family and who they are. Getting caught smoking in high school in Japan will get you a suspension almost every single time. That wouldn’t of been good press for a prominant family.

  6. steelbound says:

    I wonder if it could have something stronger then cigarettes, like maybe marijuana. Oreki never actually says that he smelled cigarette smoke and that would explain that guy’s countermeasures better.

    • Armpit says:

      I am pretty sure they clearly stated it was cigarettes.

      I don’t know if there is anyone in Japan dumb enough to bring that much weed to school. No matter who his father is he would of been expelled and most likely served 5-10 years in jail. Japan don’t f around when it comes to drugs.

      • meow says:

        No. I’m pretty sure it was an assumption. The question was basically what kind of smell would you want to take that much effort to hide and their answer was tobacco. It isn’t clear what smell the guy was actually trying to hide.

        Personally I don’t think it’s that easy to hide the smell of tobacco, especially that quickly. It sticks everywhere. Their club publications will wind up smelling faintly of tobacco too.

        • Armpit says:

          Weed is a stronger smell while its active.Tobacco does have that gross lingering effect because it gets stuck on walls and in fabric. Too be honest i think most non smokers would of smelled it regardless. I can smell smoke on peoples clothes even when they have tons of cologne on,and i don’t even have to be that close.

          All i know is i can’t see a kid from a prominant family dumb enough to bring marijuana to a japanese school. A single joint will net you 2-5 in jail regardless of age or prior arrests.

  7. Litho says:

    From my experience there, the only place you could possibly even find a weed dealer is in the Okinawan islands. They’re almost non-existent in Tokyo. Most dealers prefer pills and stuff.

    As for the episode, I quite liked it. You could say I’m slowly warming up to the series, especially now that the “main” plot has begun. The K-On character designs still rub me the wrong way, though. I just can’t seem to take those embryo faced girls seriously. The other 3 characters simply aren’t as high-quality as the protagonist, voice acting and dialogue wise. Kinda similar to Haruhi, in that sense (none of em were as interesting as Kyo or Kyon or whatever his name was), not that I’d consider Haruhi a benchmark in any sense.

    Also, what’s with the focusing on the eyes? Do the chicks have Geass powers or something?

    The bit with the paper/cardboard cut-outs, telling the story of her uncle, was really well done, though.

  8. RABUJOI says:

    I really liked Oreki’s manner of casually prodding the kid to see whether his suspicions about him smoking (something) were valid. He never raised his voice or even got up close to him, but psychologically, he had him cornered. He was totally in control of the situation.

    The girls, meanwhile, were amusingly oblivious to what was going on with the two guys, but they didn’t come off as blind or naive, just less observant. They were looking for the anthologies, not for the reason the upperclassman was acting so strangely.

    His recap of the incident to Ibara, in which the clubroom was reconstructed in abstract colors and patterns, was nicely done. Oreki’s imagination has proven to be a very cool-looking thing to behold, contrasting nicely with the realistic world he lives in.

  9. meow says:

    He was totally in control of the situation.

    Let’s hope it doesn’t come back to bite him later. I have a bad feeling that he might have stepped into something dangerous. There’s something about the way that guy asked for everyone’s names that made me uneasy. And we still don’t know for sure what situation would fit the things that Oreki observed. I mean, infrared sensors feels a bit too sophisticated for hiding a smoking den. Ordinarily, kids would pick some out of the way part of school where the smell would be less obvious and hard to pin on regular inhabitants. Why a regularly used classroom? I was actually wondering if maybe he was running a drug lab. With a med cabinet (in a biology classroom??), it sounds like ingredients for making illegal drugs might be readily available. And the smell the guy was trying to hide may have been cooking fumes. It just didn’t occur to Oreki and the others because it’s out of their experience. Like Armpit mentioned, the penalties for drugs are pretty serious. This guy might feel cornered just assuming Oreki might know something.

    Well, with luck, the guy will just shut everything down, flush all the evidence down the toilet and pretend nothing happened. Things might get ugly if he’s part of a gang though.

    • tktym says:

      it was tobaco. No one in Japan is that stupid to bring pot/do drugs/sell drugs on the school grounds of HIGH SCHOOL.

      5-10 years in. . .JAPANESE JAIL.

      yeah, that is not the country you want to go to jail in, period.

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  • Emma
    (Saturday, Aug 1. 2015 09:47 PM)
    @Aidan: I would recommend downloading it rather than browser-playing it as my browser kept crashing when I tried to.
    Its quite short but it gives a great teaser and introduction to the game, that gets me excited for it.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Aug 1. 2015 09:45 PM)
    @Aidan: Mangagamer have released the demo for kara no shoujo 2, they’ve also confirmed a release for Autumn. Its probably better to call this demo more of a prologue/compliment to the game with content exclusive to it.
    Demo/prologue here: http://mangagamer.org/kns2/
  • AidanAK47
    (Saturday, Aug 1. 2015 02:14 PM)
    @invicableGod, Yep that comment was spam. Should have got rid of it first time I saw it.
  • Wicked
    (Saturday, Aug 1. 2015 01:10 AM)
    well, this place changed a lot. Gotta say, I’m not a fan of how they adapted GATE into an anime. It feels too decompressed. Manga did a better job at keeping the tension taut
  • ;(
    (Saturday, Aug 1. 2015 01:08 AM)
    Also I am not the blog, I’m just a poster… I really hope you have enough sense to tell the difference…
  • ;(
    (Saturday, Aug 1. 2015 01:07 AM)
    @Emo: you’re saying all that like that doesn’t fit your description to a T. Kinda sad actually…
    Well I guess now at least I gave you one more thing to get angry about so your day seems just a bit more active than your last.
  • ;(
    (Saturday, Aug 1. 2015 01:03 AM)
    I don’t think people are really expected to read it from the start anymore. I mean that’s probably why it stays popular in Japan considering people would have to be in their 20s at least to keep up from the start without reading hundreds of chapters just to keep up.
  • ;(
    (Saturday, Aug 1. 2015 01:00 AM)
    Well admittly comics don’t seem to be that easy to follow (don’t actually read comics despite liking a lot of DC and marvel media), but anyway it’s not like the other long-running shounens in terms of continuity and more like the long-running comedies like say Kochikoma.
  • ;(
    (Saturday, Aug 1. 2015 12:56 AM)
    If you don’t like it, it’s cool.
    If you don’t feel like watching a thing that still airs weekly that’s also cool.
    If you leave it because it’s long or far from ending, you’re really missing out for little reason. One Piece is like western comics, the characters and setting has been around for years but each saga comes as a standalone story and for the most part is directed at both veterans and newcomers.
  • jerkocaust
    (Saturday, Aug 1. 2015 12:35 AM)
    ;( tell me more about this world, oh anonymous anime fan on some minor anime blog who spends his days rotting at home watching anime, tell me more about this world you must know from the window of your computer monitor

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