Posted by psgels on 29 May 2012 with categories: Hyouka

This episode was interesting. The mystery was pretty simple, but what caught my attention was how it highlighted the cultural differences between Japan and the west. I mean, for a western guy like me, it very quickly occurred to me that the teacher just misread the small capital a and d, but the characters were making such a big deal out of this and building it up for so much. But yeah, these are Japanese kids who have a completely different alphabet.

This show really likes looking at the meaning of words and letters. We don’t really have that: sure, words have origins and all, but when we talk about the origin of a word we mean to refer to the first time in which the word got used. In Japanese, every kanji has a meaning and a way of writing. Hiragana and Katakana don’t, but this focus on calligraphy is completely different from how we in the west see letters. And with this episode this series tried to bring that same mentality over to the latin alphabet. Quite interesting.

And then there was that bit about the seven deadly sins. And in that discussion I have to praise Chitanda for acknowledging this very important thing that these discussions in anime often seem to ignore: balance. I really enjoy series that are about lots of talking, but I get really annoyed with series with characters who talk just for the sake of talking. A lot of Shaft series for example went way too far with the latter. Hyouka is in the middle of this: it’s got a lot of high schoolers talking to each other in random conversations, but it’s always about something interesting and fleshes out the characters.
Rating: *+ (Great)

8 Responses

  1. meow says:

    One thing I found weird about Chitanda’s discussion today was how she broached the subject about what happened to her during the Math class. She seemed to have trouble recalling what set off her anger and even seemed to waver over what question she wanted to ask Oreki. It wasn’t clear to her what was actually bothering her. In the end, it somehow it became a question of what caused the teacher to make a mistake on the progress of their class. I’m not sure what to make of it.

    Well, this episode seemed to be setting the theme for the real meat of this arc coming up later. Wrath and it’s triggers? Misunderstandings? Penitence after the fact?

  2. martin says:

    this was definitely an interesting episode. early on i was wondering when the ep was gonna take off untill i realized at the 10 min mark that this whole ep would take place in one room. its done before in film + tv, but it always makes for an interesting watch.

    and once again i liked the visual touches in this one.

  3. RABUJOI says:

    I was a little confused about what Chitanda was asking for: was it “Why did the teacher make this mistake?” or “Why was I the one who spoke up about it?” We only “see” her version of events (making use of crash dummies and mannequins with masks), but we do hear Chitanda raising her voice to the extent she’s definitely at least a little angry with the situation.

    Oreki solves the issue of the teacher’s mistake, but it’s left ambiguous why Chitanda got mad. This gets at the larger mystery that really intrigues Oreki: what makes her tick. Why she acts the way she does. Why she can’t stop thinking about things. And why he can never say no to her when she’s up in his face.

    It’s great how the answer is right there as soon as the box of latin letter cookies are opened…we’d have to watch again, but seeing those letters before him probably sparked Oreki’s sudden conclusion. After all, only a little nibble to a “d” cookie and you have an “a” cookie.

  4. Frost says:

    This would be so good if the “mysteries” werent a bunch of irrelevant stuff, and if Chitanda wasnt so damn annoying

    Why does she have to overreact to everything? Cant she just shut the hell up for a minute? I guess they made her that way to contrast with Oreki huh… Still, even Haruhi is better than her

    • wicked says:

      That’s kind of the point. Irrelevant stuff are things that people gloss over, or doesnt care about because it doesnt involve them, but to actually get to a reasonable explanation usually takes more work than one would think.

      If it was a murder mystery, then it’d be too easy to fall into cliche with Oreki the lazy but skilled detective and Chitanda the overly curious damsel in distress.

      This is a very curious choice of adaptation on Kyoani’s part, nothing about it screams marketability, and it most certainly does not target the usual mystery/thriller crowd. As you say, the mysteries at its core are often plain and irrelevant.

  5. ichobi says:

    Chitanda being overly proactive is definitely a ‘moe’ factor. It sells, and people like cute characters. Heck I like her myself. This show isn’t meant to be serious mystery, so the moe factor definitely soften it up. Same way it works in Haruhi with Mikuru.

    • The Doctor says:

      Agreed on the moe factor, I like Chitanda a lot myself, and she is the perfect opposite to Oreki.

      • akarimizunashi says:

        chitanda is a selling point of the series for most. people like moe characters and people especially love female leads that are trying too hard to be cute in a unique and quirky way. they love it even more when such cute, unique and quirky female lead has a catchphrase that she repeats over and over again with twinkling eyes like “I’M CURIOUS.”

        I was led to believe that psgels hated that however, and alone led to his dislike of certain shows like haruhi. I continuously fail to see how chitanda is any different though.

        it also seems like a lot of people came into this series with misconceptions as to what the show would be like and seem to be mistaking it with some deep suspenseful anime mystery drama. instead of wishing it was something else, I find that it’s usually better to accept something for what it is or move onto something you’d most likely enjoy more.

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  • Emma
    (Sunday, Dec 21. 2014 07:02 AM)
    Oh for fucks sake sword art? You put HIV drama into your show?
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Dec 21. 2014 06:57 AM)
    Pretty much looking forward to the next two episodes and hope it gets more seasons too.
    I also liked how bleak it was.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Dec 21. 2014 06:55 AM)
    *how twisty
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Dec 21. 2014 06:54 AM)
    . I was told to stay away from story six. Story seven was the most developed and ambitious of the selection but I feel mixed on it and didn’t really get into it until midway or so.
    Still I do love weird tales anthology stuff and this all fit the bill for me.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Dec 21. 2014 06:54 AM)
    The first story even I have to admit was genuinely horrifying, uncomfortable and got under my skin and of the selection it still stands out as having the greatest impact. The second one was good social commentary but doesn’t really give me much I didn’t already know. Stories three and were the most emotionally investing for me. I thoroughly enjoyed who twisty, twisted, truly nasty and cruel story five was and it is my second favourite of the lot.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Dec 21. 2014 06:54 AM)
    I did however feel that some of the dialogue and acting could have done with some very very slight tweaking in parts/some segments.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Dec 21. 2014 06:53 AM)
    Okay even though I don’t watch western tv shows all that much I finally properly spent whole day going through black mirror. For the larger part this is creative, unpredictable, well thought out/written, varied, I like the technological end of it, the stories manage to fit into the short film runtime without ever feeling like they needed more time and its clear that Charlie Brooker has a lot to say with this and is very intelligent man, some of it does ring fairly true.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Dec 21. 2014 03:17 AM)
    @Aidan: …Jesus I read that wrong at first and read it as Liam Neeson…
  • AidanAK47
    (Sunday, Dec 21. 2014 02:09 AM)
    @swa, and hearing those lines voiced by Liam O’Brien would be a godsend.
  • swa
    (Sunday, Dec 21. 2014 01:24 AM)
    Even in slow paced intermezzo episodes and with just a couple of lines, still so GARcher.

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