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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  • Bam
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 11:14 PM)
    Synecdoche is incredibly rich in detail, and keen return viewers can find a lot of things they missed the first time thru. Kaufman didn’t have a single teacup in a shot that didn’t mean something. Pacing is a bit of an issue, but if you notice the passage of time you can see that was deliberate as well. The movie could’ve been livelier, but for a movie about death and decay that would’ve been a bit of a sell-out.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 11:01 PM)
    @Emma: Birdman and Synecdoche have a lot of thematic elements in common, and given that Synecdoche was released in 08 makes me realize that Alejandro González borrowed quite a bit from it; although in the end they are different enough to justify Birdman’s existence. Where Synecdiche was a better written movie, I feel that Birdman was the better directed one.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 04:15 PM)
    And I’d go as far to say this beats out birdman for me by miles.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 04:14 PM)
    The film is a solid mood piece thanks to the in tone cinematography, a great performance from Hoffman that along with his characters drama makes for an emotionally investing film. And before it gets TOO sad theres all those bits of dark humour fitted in there that work out pretty well. This is probably my favourite work by Kaufman currently.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 04:14 PM)
    Well Bam, I had a go of synecdoche there. A bit of a slow burner, near the end slightly drawn out, however that last stretch was forgiven by that bonkers ending.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 01:23 PM)
    The voice of the main character got kind of annoying though, the dub wasn’t all that good either.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 01:22 PM)
    This was based on/was a homage to a series by the Gigantor creator and having grown up with gigantors 90s reboot this felt like a nice throwback, plot is fairly simple but used effectively. It’s a shame that it feels like there was more to tell but at seven episodes I suppose it avoids outstaying its welcome.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 01:20 PM)
    Decided to marathon Giant Robo, I think this was mentioned by someone on here before. I guess it was fairly entertaining, great action direction, looked good for its time, you don’t notice the hour long episodes go by, adequate characters, nice retro artstyle also, not sure if I got excited over this as big O and Mazinger however but still fun enough nonetheless.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 07:10 AM)
    Seeing Hoffman in before the devil knows your dead and his character being dependent on drugs, that was another thing that hit me a bit knowing the circumstances of his death. Watching most wanted man I could also see that he was wearing out physically.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 07:00 AM)
    This is not Anno bitching about otakus jacking off to his characters and turning around and selling Rei panties, this isn’t the idiots at Shaft throwing around meaningless camera angles and the oh-so-symbolic teeth brushing scenes, this is a human being looking you in the eye with fear and telling you that he’s dying; morbid, honest, moving and remarkable.

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