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)