Posted by psgels on 22 September 2012 with categories: Anime Reviews, Hyouka



Kyoani annoy me at times. I mean, they employ some fantastic animators and they’re superb at keeping up a crisp and consistent animation quality, but they just keep making shows I don’t care about. I just don’t like pure slice of life series in which nothing happens or that just keep repeating themselves. Thankfully with Hyouka, they went for a series that had a dash of mystery, so for the first time in years I finally could really enjoy their work again.

And Hyouka still has a ton of slice of life. It aims to be very down to earth, and create believable characters. The difference here with K-On, Lucky Star and Nichijou is that there is something going on other than random slice of life. Each of its episodes is dedicated to the characters trying to solve some sort of mystery. And the mystery aren’t the regular ones that you’ve gotten used to in anime. The characters here are o crime solves, but instead the mysteries are all very mundane and simple, especially the episodic stories. Think of a kimono that is missing, or some other detail that just doesn’t fit right. It’s all about speculating and coming up with theories, while the characters live their daily lives.

The series is laid out with basically three major arcs, and all kinds of random episodic stories inbetween them. The episodic stories are nice and creative, but this series really sets itself apart in its multi episode arcs. The stories around them are simple, yet have very complicated stories behind them. They are full of people speculating different theories, and often getting things wrong. The storytelling takes a while to get going due to all of the slice of life put into it, but that allows it to put a ton of detail in these stories, examine everything on multiple layers, and the pay-off really manages to make use of its build-up.

And if it’s an attention to detail you want, then Hyouka really delivers on that. Whether it’s in the relationships between the characters, or the different environments. Kyoani’s animation really brings those to life. The characters themselves are all teenagers who at first sight seem like the usual stereotypes, yet develop into completely different directions. There is one character who will probably get on people’s nerves a lot though: Chitanda. She’s well fleshed out in some areas, but also rather forceful. Or make that very forceful.

Hyouka is just a very well made shows that loves to use its own simplicity as a smokescreen for a detailed cast of characters and setting. It’s subtle in a lot of different ways, so if you like these kinds of series, then definitely give it a show, because it has a lot to deliver in that area.

Storytelling: 8.5/10 – Slow-paced, but very detailed and subtle.
Characters: 8.5/10 – Relatively little character development, but it’s made up for it by likable acting and excellent characterization.
Production-Values: 9/10 – Kyoani managed to really bring the characters alive with their animation here.
Setting: 8.5/10 – Loves the mundane type mysteries. Doesn’t really make for an epic series, but it’s most definitely very interesting to watch.

Suggestions:
Hourou Musuko
The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya
Hana-Saku Iroha

18 Responses

  1. wicked says:

    Random comment, I dont know Nichijou is a slice of who’s life, but i want that life, that life is awesome.

    • UltimateReaper says:

      I’m sure there are plenty of lives we’d all want to have. Unfortunately, reality is a hard program to control.

    • meow says:

      Goat-suplexing principals, schoolgirls that pull out heavy weapons out of nowhere (somehow making huge explosions without causing any harm) when they become tsundere, closet yaoi doujinshi artists that become superhuman martial artists whenever their art is about to be exposed. And Soccer-Go. Tough act to follow. And the girl with the thing on her back is the most normal girl there. XD

    • martin says:

      ha, i think the show title “Nichijou” is a bit of a misnomer (relative to our real life). it was a random slice-of-life show, but with craziness.

      I partially enjoyed Hyouka (didnt watch all the eps). It is very apparent Kyoani has got a lot of awesome talent, I’m hoping they tackle something very different on their next project.

  2. UltimateReaper says:

    Hyouka was very believable and interesting to watch. There was plenty to love about this show and it’s story. It was a great ride, one that allowed me to enjoy a type of genre which I don’t normally do.

  3. Taara535 says:

    It was a very good show. I disagree a bit on Chitanda. I thought she was a very interesting character and well-portrayed. Forceful, enthusiastic characters are not always a bad thing.

    • meow says:

      Gotta agree too. She’s not just another Kyoani moeblob. Her forcefulness is a character trait, one that she can restrain when the need arises. While she often gets curious about frivolities, she can prioritize. I especially like that little scene at the end of episode 11, where she all but forgot about the movie over her concern for Houtarou. I think a lot of her attention to frivolities may have to do with seeing Houtarou dealing with them too. She’s got surprising depth and character that belies her moeblob image. And being a moeblob isn’t bad at all. Who here wasn’t charmed by her antics in the Kanya Fest?

  4. sushiyassin55 says:

    Excellent series, my fav show from KyoAni discluding Clannad

  5. Aphel says:

    Awesome show. Really really liked the characters, especially Ibara. She’s way cuter than Chitanda in my books.

  6. meow says:

    My weekends just got a lot more grey now that Hyouka is over.

  7. Kamen Grinder says:

    I don’t understand your rating system. Everything is stuck between 80 and 90 and you even need to add decimals some time. If you take away 80 points from the score and make it a rating on 10 points things start to make more sense.

  8. Arno says:

    A wonderfully narrated story, but which stopped in the last four episodes, which were just irrelevant fillers with fake plots and fake character development.

    In fact if you watch attentively the ball was dropped earlier, in the conclusion of episode 17, where the solution for the manga girls’ sub-plot was recycled for the main plot.

    However I will remember it as one of the best character development inside a mystery series.

    Except maybe for Chitanda, which never really existed apart from being a “kininarimassu” catalyser for Oreki.

  9. jreding says:

    Production values 9/10, psgels? What’s 10/10 then?! Most anime movies pale in comparison to say Hyouka episode 15 if you ask me.

  10. Banana Cake Juice says:

    What about the music? it was amazing!!

  11. MilkyWay says:

    Though the anime was wonderfully drawn and I did enjoy the art style and the characters. This just didn’t seem to be my cup of tea. It got boring really fast when they try solving mystery that really no one could care about. It was like, Eru was someone I thought was adorable, then just wanted to slap her cause she finds the need to consently get into everyone’s business when she really has no place to be there.

    So for me, I couldn’t finish this anime cause it got to uninteresting fast. So in my book. This would be 3/10.

  12. Anuj says:

    Most interesting show with amazing theme songs

  13. Ameya Kale says:

    Hyouka was a really interesting show! I started watching from the episode where Oreki analysed a random radio announcement in school and reaches a superb conclusion… I was hooked, right there and then! 9/10 from me!

Leave a Reply

Shoutbox

Name:
Email:
For:  
Mail will not be published
  • Bam
    (Wednesday, Mar 4. 2015 12:44 AM)
    @Ebod: while it would definitely be ideal if a Japanese actress like Yukie Nakama or Keiko Kitagawa played the role of major Kusanagi, Hollywood practices make it very improbable. So the options left are either Asian actresses that are known in Hollywood such as Rinko Kikuchi, or American actresses of Asain decent like Natalie Mendoza or Grace Huang.
  • Ebod
    (Tuesday, Mar 3. 2015 08:22 PM)
    V for Vendetta for me has always been a more “literary” work than Watchmen, but Watchmen is spectacular because it’s a story that can only be told in full scope in the comic format. While I feel like many major themes and events from V for Vendetta could easily be adapted into, say, novel format, the same could not be said of Watchmen. Also, the racist whitewashing Hollywood does of Asian characters really has to stop.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Mar 3. 2015 06:30 AM)
    Watchmen was deemed ‘unadaptable’ for about thirty years, so just getting what Snyder got out of the material is a huge success; it is said that what he did was to write a book version of Ingmar’s Holy Mountain. Watchmen is the only graphic novel to ever win a Hugo award and is easily the most intricate and multilayered Alan Moore comic, so it’s no surprise that it continues to top ‘best comics of all time’ charts to this day.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Mar 3. 2015 06:20 AM)
    I beg to differ. Doctor Manhatten is the most intriguing character of Watchmen and the comic is a giant in ,not only in the comic world, but the history of literature itself. It is a deconstruction of superheros and Dr. M shows how afraid the world would really be when faced with a ‘superman’ and how a creature in such a higher realm of time and perception would show apathy toward humans and their foolish struggles.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Mar 3. 2015 06:15 AM)
    GitS just won’t work. Maybe in a world before the Matrix, but not now with so many elements of it borrowed liberally by so many franchises in various mediums. Scarlet Johansson is decent in roles that fit her. She was enjoyable in Lost In Translation, but race aside she has nothing in common with Kusanagi. This is a travesty and the franchise is dear to me so it especially burns my ass.
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Mar 3. 2015 06:10 AM)
    While I am no fan of man of steel, Nolan and Snyder, just about anyone would have a hard time taking a difficult character like superman and making him work on screen.
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Mar 3. 2015 06:08 AM)
    Apart from Veidt and Rorshach I could never get into the characters all that much in watchmen. I also found the film overly long and mediocre acted for the larger part. But to each there own. For Alan moores works I always preferred his Miracleman, swamp thing, V for Vendetta stories.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Mar 3. 2015 06:06 AM)
    Nolan can produce the action plus personal and dark story that Alita would need, and he also brings talent such as composer Hans Zimmer and Cinematographer Sally Pfister to the table. Him and Snyder have too much combined integrity to make a mockery out of Alita like Spielberg did with the GitS license.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Mar 3. 2015 06:03 AM)
    Well Snyder has respect for his source materials and that is key in anime-to-film adaptations. Hell I’m a big Watchmen fan and I thought his version was (almost painfully) close to the comic. You’re not going to get that anywhere else in Hollywood. Also the combination of Nolan/Snyder is quite different than them individually.
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Mar 3. 2015 05:34 AM)
    And directed it as a co-production with America, using a Japanese cast.
    Yeah…this is impossible…

1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · 5 · »

Featured Posts

Durarara!!X2 – 07

I think the problem with this episode was evident right from the opening scene. I had to do a double take when seeing a very poorly drawn Simon. I even questioned whether it was a new character entirely. But no, the animation budget took a nosedive. Or the guy who was to do the inbetweens […]

Death Parade – 07

Why is the girl from the last episode still around? This episode brought up three rules about arbiters. The third rule, about arbiters not having emotions, Is odd to me. For the arbiters we have been introduced to are very emotional. They state that Decim was given human emotions yet he is the least emotional […]

Durarara!!X2 – 06

Turns out that assassination attempt got Celty to see her life flash before her eyes. I suppose taking a tumble off a moving motorcycle is a fatal thing. But well in the last arc we saw two people survive getting blown away at about the length of a football field. So I cannot say I […]

Death Parade – 06

Death Parade in a risky move has taken things in a new direction. A daring adventurous move that no one expected. And it is…absolutely terrible. Death Parade, what happened? Did no one read over the script and do a shaft head tilt in wonder? Was there not an Animator who said “Excuse me sir. But […]

Durarara!!X2 – 05

We have yet another new character entering the show. A motorcycle gang leader who has a massive fondness for woman. Personally I am not a fan of him. His brand of female overprotective crazy just seems like a downgrade from the shows already huge cast of crazies. He looks like a character whose introduction serves […]

Death Parade – 05

If asked about how I think of death parade so far, my answer would have to be divided. On one hand the premise is rife with potential and it does have moments where it rises above the bar. But it also seems confused as to what it wants to be. We have death games between […]

Durarara!!X2 – 04

The current story arc ends abruptly and unexpectedly. I am rather surprised that it came here. From how this was portrayed it felt this would be a longer arc than it turned out to be. So with its end I must think back and wonder. What exactly did this arc accomplish? We got introduced to […]

Death Parade – 04

Now this is more like it. An arcade game between two strangers with dark pasts. Excellent. But both did have a similar problem. That being they are both people who couldn’t see past themselves. It’s nice to see people react differently to the game. Here we have the two of them mistaking it for a […]

Durarara!!X2 – 03

If its one thing you to can credit Narita for it that just when you think he cannot possibly make a stranger character, he then does. So the monster that Shizu smashed into the air in the last moment gets their story told and I am sure there are not many who would have guessed […]

Latest Reviews

Clipboard06

Nerawareta Gakuen Review – 84/100

Let me talk a bit about Ryousuke Nakamura. For a long time, this guy was my hero. He started off as an assistant director to Monster, in my opinion a big reason why that series got such a ridiculously solid adaptation, and then in 2008 he came with the groundbreaking Mouryou no Hako. No TV-series […]

Clipboard03

Kick Heart

Okay, so I didn’t want to exit 2013 without having seen Masaaki Yuasa’s Kick Heart. It’s only twelve minutes anyway, and I consider him to be one of the best anime directors out there. The story here is pretty silly and mostly serves as a backdrop, so I mostly want to talk about the nature […]

Clipboard01

Kyousogiga Review – 90/100

Everyone’s taste is different, and that’s a wonderful thing because that allows us to have so many different forms of media that all aim toward their own niche. My blog is obviously written from the perspective of my own taste, and even when a show doesn’t cater to it (which is nearly always), I love […]

Clipboard04

Ore no Nounai Sentakushi ga, Gakuen Lovecome o Zenryoku de Jama Shiteiru Review – 80/100

Noucome! You do not want to know how long I have been waiting for a series like this. More than half a decade, at the very least. Finally a series comes along and puts the incredibly overused harem genre in its place. And it actually does it well. Thank you! So to elaborate: the harem […]

Clipboard01

Pokemon: The Origin Review – 75/100

Normally I try to avoid spoilers with these reviews, but screw it, it’s Pokemon. Pokemon The Origin is a bomb of nostalgia. If you haven’t played Pokemon Red, Blue or Green, then you will not enjoy this one slight bit. This really is made as pure undilluted fanservice for the fans of the first games. […]

Clipboard08

Tamayura – More Aggressive Review – 75/100

I’m not going to dedicate a post for my impression for the final three episodes of this series. It was just too boring to write much about. I guess that that gives a pretty accurate indication of what I think about this series. Right at the start of Tamayura’s second season, I asked one question: […]

Clipboard04

Silver Spoon Review – 86/100

When Noitamina started airing two series per season, it was amazing. It’s a timeslot that on average tends to be aimed at a much older audience than usual, and having two series with the same mentality definitely helped to bring more diversity to anime overall. Unfortunately it’s a schedule that could not be kept up […]

Clipboard07

Yondemasuyo, Azazel-San Z Review – 82,5/100

Reviewing a comedy sequel usually is quite simple: in most cases it just drops the bomb and runs out of inspiration, and in rare cases it actually manages to stay hilarious. The tricky thing with these kinds of series is that you need to remain funny, and you need to have the inspiration for that. […]

Clipboard05

Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet Review – 81/100

Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet tells the storyline of a planet that is completely submerged, with only giant ships residing on the surface, while one of those ships gets visited by this guy and his AI-mecha from this very technologically advanced civilization. Yes, this show is about world building. What this show managed to do […]