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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  • Bam
    (Friday, Oct 24. 2014 06:43 AM)
    @Friend: perfect, I on the other hand am not as fast lol
  • Friend
    (Friday, Oct 24. 2014 06:19 AM)
    I should have the rough draft ready by the next 24 hours, so I’ll show it to you then.
  • Friend
    (Friday, Oct 24. 2014 06:16 AM)
    @Bam :-) “Rome wasn’t built in a single day”
  • Bam
    (Friday, Oct 24. 2014 06:14 AM)
    @Friend: very pragmatic- I like your style ;)
  • Friend
    (Friday, Oct 24. 2014 06:09 AM)
    @Bam Heres what I’m planning to do: I’ll draw the city as it might have looked like pre-industrial revolution and post-columbian. So, maybe the late 17th century. Then, I’ll add in the changes brought in by industry. Afterall, every building isn’t built at the same time, so it’ll give that contrast of old/new, making the city much more authentic.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Oct 24. 2014 06:07 AM)
    @Friend: hard question … needs some serious thought if we’re trying to feel authentic.
  • Friend
    (Friday, Oct 24. 2014 06:04 AM)
    What would they use electricity for, if they’ll even accept it?
  • Friend
    (Friday, Oct 24. 2014 06:04 AM)
    @Bam I’ve been thinking about that as well. Their irrigation was already a masterpiece, so I think hydraulic piping would only perfect their skill at city planning. Now, energy is what I’ve been stuck on.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Oct 24. 2014 06:02 AM)
    @Friend: you’re on the right track with the modernization of the culture, but I need to ponder a little bit about what would’ve happened in that scenario. Metals, medicine, energy and irrigation would be the significant advances that they could use without serious industrialization, but I need time to think what these would’ve all meant to them and where they could’ve taken their society with it.
  • Friend
    (Friday, Oct 24. 2014 05:56 AM)
    @Bam Yes, it’s very bright and sentimental. It is a morning prayer/celebration. \.0/

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