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!

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  • Bam
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 10:00 AM)
    There was no hype machine back then. The internet was still in its infancy. So when a show became this popular there was certainly some merit to it. The organic/machine hybrid mecha was relatively new, and the scene construction and cinematography was for the most part immaculate. There’s a reason why the mecha genre is divided to “pre-Eva” and “post-Eva”.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 09:53 AM)
    It also didn’t hurt that the character, costume and mecha designs were slick and attractive, done by the under-appreciated Yoshiyuki Sadamoto.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 09:31 AM)
    It came up with clever scenarios to common mecha tropes, and answered the questions that would arise from them:
    -Why do we use mechas with melee weapons against alien invaders instead of conventional weapons? AT fields on Angels.
    -Why use kids to pilot them? The Gehrin Project.
    -What happens when you put kids in sever combat situations? Extreme PTSD.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 09:27 AM)
    These types of deconstruction shows that are run-of-the-mill now didn’t really exist back then. Eva did afterall became the tropemaker for Gainax endings. To see the creator’s psyche twist in front of our eyes was incredible. The show went from a regular monster of the week mecha series to a deranged psycho-thriller by the end of it.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 09:23 AM)
    Eva was fresh and quite unique for its time. Not that everything they did was original, but they certainly put their own twist on it. I also enjoyed the “fuck-you” ending of the tv series. Anno always defended it as intentional, but we all know it was really a budgetary constrain. well, at least we got the amazing End of Evangelion movie to supplement it.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 09:21 AM)
    @K-of: yup Eva geek here, guilty as charged. In my defense, I watched it week-to-week when it aired back in 96, and the landscape of anime was a lot different back then.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 09:19 AM)
    @Kaiser: sorry I was gone for a bit.
    I saw all the other shorts, and have saved the new ones and will get to them soon as well. Thx, I usually always enjoy your recommendations- we share a similar taste in a lot of stuff.
  • AidanAK47
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 04:57 AM)
    Space patrol Luluco > kokoro connect > Kiznaiver.
  • mamamoo
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 04:26 AM)
    kokoro connect > kiznaiver
  • AidanAK47
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 12:09 AM)
    Man, and it was already doomed to fail.
    Well 8-bit is adapting it so I am sure it will be crap no matter what happens.

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