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View Poll Results: Hyouka - Total Series Rating
Perfect 10 36 32.43%
9 out of 10 : Excellent 48 43.24%
8 out of 10 : Very Good 17 15.32%
7 out of 10 : Good 7 6.31%
6 out of 10 : Average 3 2.70%
5 out of 10 : Below Average 0 0%
4 out of 10 : Poor 0 0%
3 out of 10 : Bad 0 0%
2 out of 10 : Very Bad 0 0%
1 out of 10 : Painful 0 0%
Voters: 111. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 2012-09-19, 00:35   Link #1
Kairin
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Hyouka - Overall Series Impressions & Total Series Rating

This thread is to be used for discussing the entire episodes of Hyouka ... your thoughts about the show, overall impressions, expectations and hopes about Blu-Ray/DVD-exclusive footage etc.

A few subjects you might want to ramble on about:
  • General impression of the series.
  • Opinions on the overall story, writing & plot devices.
  • Thoughts about the animation quality.
  • Characters/Character Design
  • Voice Acting
  • Which kind of footage (Blu-Ray/DVD-exclusive) you feel you'd really like to see.
  • What the show meant to you.
  • What could the creators/animators/writers have done better.

And so on.

The poll represents your total series rating. In other words, how you would rate all the episodes combined (1-10)? If you'd rather rate the whole series by technical/artistic merits, you can do so. An example:

Animation Quality: 1-10
Voice Actors: 1-10
Script: 1-10
Soundtrack: 1-10
Editing: 1-10
Enjoyment: 1-10
Emotional Involvement: 1-10

Average = Total Series Rating

Or a combination of the two. Or your general gut feeling.

Feel free to discuss and more importantly, have fun
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Old 2012-09-19, 00:44   Link #2
Guardian Enzo
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I think I pretty much said all I had to say in the episode 22 thread. But - at the risk of sounding too much like, well... me - doesn't it make a difference when you have a school-based show where both the boys and girls are fully-realized characters?
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Old 2012-09-19, 01:31   Link #3
zRichard
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Got completely hooked by one of its parts: the mysteries. They were mundane, as exiting as a turtle race, but very fair and carefully crafted. I wrote a lot at other communities about them and re-watched each episode about three times digging clues and stuff. It felt really good to figure stuff out successfully, the show rewarded with satisfaction to those who spent time to think seriously about riddles.

I won't pretend that I'm a good critical rater, so I always put my enjoyment first regarding scores. I've been watching anime for 20 years now and I've never been so engaged with a show before. Writing so much about it, discussing online how it wasn't just KyoAni's moerotic creation #155. In fact, the only thing I didn't like about it was related to this last point: ED1 was just bad and completely out of place.

Hyouka took Kanon06's place in my Favorite KyoAni Anime pedestal.

And while it would be good to happen, I really doubt there'll be a show that will take its place as the best anime of the year.
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Old 2012-09-19, 01:37   Link #4
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9/10

As a mystery anime.. I find this very entertaining. The characters are interesting and understandable. It always keep my mine working, trying to follow the "problem solving" of the gang.

The plot was really planned carefully and given a lot of thought.

The animation is superb beyond the usual anime series... One of the best anime, not of the season, but for the year and beyond...

The side romance is very appreciative. The pairings were made known quite early and obvious which removed my doubts for a complicated love triangle.
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Old 2012-09-19, 02:15   Link #5
GMT
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In this episode of Hyouka . . . wait, this is the thread rating the whole series, isn't it?

Animation Quality: - 9/10
Kyoto Animation is a studio with no fewer than two feature-length animated films under its belt. One expects the studio to deliver the goods, and Hyouka does so.

Voice Actors: - 9/10
The voice acting here is top-notch. The voices fit the characters, and in some cases, manage to fill out the characters in ways that the dialogue or story fails to do.

Script: - 7.5/10
There are times where the show is carried by its visual direction and the effort of the voice actors. Certainly, it has more heft to it than, say, K-ON!!, but the source material isn't as obtuse as Haruhi, and I'm left with the vague feeling that, perhaps, they could've done a better job. Yes, I understand that it's focused around Oreki Houtarou, and I appreciate his character development. However, the tight focus on him tends to do little justice to Ibara Mayaka, and Chitanda Eru spends so much of the series being a relatively superficial character of informed attributes, that her character development at the end comes close to skirting the line of rushed exposition.

Soundtrack - 6.5/10
The use of BGM is very well thought-out in this series, and the opening and ending songs are certainly catchy ... but, six months from now, I'm not going to remember this show for its soundtrack.

No score for editing is given, since I've not read the source material; so I can't really speak to KyoAni's editorial choices with respect to its adaptation to screen.

Enjoyment: - 7.5/10
Did I immediately fall in love with this series, like I did, Haruhi? Sadly, no. Did I like it as much as I do the entirety of K-ON!? Maybe. It's a series that started out managing to be intriguing enough to follow, and grew on me over the course of its run. And, certainly, I think highly enough of it to mention it to other people that I think might be interested.

Emotional Involvement - 6.5/10
It's more a series that I think about on an intellectual level, rather than one where I feel the characters pain or triumph. While I can appreciate the thought and symbolism that go into the budding relationship of Oreki and Chitanda, I don't feel any emotional investment in whether or not they actually get together at the end.

Total Series Rating 7.7 / 10
The Good: The natural-feeling development of Oreki, as a character. The depth given to Satoshi. The visuals and the voice acting.
The Not So Good: Certain elements of pacing, especially the development and exposition of Chitanda's character. Much of her character development seems to come right at the end of the series. In the end, of course, the important question is: Will I add this show to my permanent collection, should someone decide it's worth the licensing fee? The answer: Absolutely.
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Old 2012-09-19, 06:50   Link #6
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Hyouka is mature.

Sometimes I wonder why we generally associate a “mature” show with one that contain violence, death, suffering, destruction, sex, etc. Would we call a person with those qualities mature? No. Hyouka is a mature show by being calm and collect on how it present itself. It does not make the characters betray their own character to drive the story. It does not conform to the general demand of “exciting” storyline or “cool” characters. It plays on its own set of rules: use everyday mystery to develop the characters. It does not cheap out by using the usual plot devices found in its peer (murder, supernatural event, etc.). On the other hand, it does accomplish the job. I have to repeat myself a bit about how Hyouka shows character development instead of screaming it out at the audience. To me, that show a respect to both the viewers and itself. I found that mature, or “classy” as someone else might want to call it.

Hyouka is beautiful.

I don’t exactly mean the visual. It is top-notch, but it’s only a part of Hyouka’s beauty. I’m very impressed by the way the story flows and how the characters develop. There is something in how Houtarou’s energy conservation mindset gradually crumble and how he and Eru getting closer ever so slightly every time he solved a mystery that I found very charming. I think it’s like a breathtaking view of on top of a mountain as oppose to a skyscraper in a city. It feels natural as oppose to artificial.

Hyouka is magical.

It takes a great skill to make a good show out of an interesting premise, but when one take a simple premise and make a great show out of it, I call that magical. Hyouka has flaws, but I feel like a lot of those are intentional. I wrote an (bad) idea on how to make Hyouka less “boring” in the last episode thread, but it would have broken the spell. The mundane part define Hyouka as much as the active one. It’s the same with how Eru presented herself in the last episode. Both the ever-curious with sparkling eyes girl and the very composed lady behind the curtain are one and the same Chitanda Eru. If you want her, you have to take all of it. I’m glad I did.*

I’d give it a 9.5/10. It’s clearly above 9 for me, but not quite a perfect 10. But I’ll vote for 10.

A bit of a personal note: Hyouka is the first show I decide to take part in the discussion here. I enjoyed myself for these past six months. Thanks everyone for the great discussions.

*Watched the show. Too bad I can’t take her .
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Old 2012-09-19, 17:31   Link #7
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There's one thing in particular that I think that anime, as a medium, has a tendency to do better than all other entertainment mediums.

That thing is what I like to call "enhanced realism".

What I mean by that is the ability to take something fairly mundane, lowkey, and/or unimportant, and build it up to be something captivating, entertaining, and interesting. Anime can make the mildest and most common of disputes seem dramatically important, and it can make the most lowkey and common of special events (like a high school cultural festival, or a march through town) seem very special indeed.

And I don't think there's any anime that pulls this "enhanced realism" off more carefully, impressively, and shrewdly, than Hyouka does. Ultimately, that is this show's greatest strength - The ability to make you believe that the molehill being addressed is an epic mountain being scaled.

No other anime has done the cultural festival as well as Hyouka has, and I don't know if any other anime could focus an entire episode around a truly mundane mystery and make it a decently pleasant and engaging watch like Hyouka can.


However, Hyouka sometimes goes a bit too far here. While I generally found its arcs very pleasing, I also found two of them to be a bit dragged out. Nothing that severe, but enough so that some steam started to go out of Hyouka's otherwise well-winded sails for me.

And while I found the Hyouka main cast very well-written and likeable enough, it took me awhile to truly care about them, and even in the end I don't know if I'd consider either amongst my favorite anime characters of all-time.


Still, Hyouka was an unique anime with a distinct charm. In many ways, it really highlights the talents of KyoAni - Hyouka has an enhanced realism heart, and KyoAni does enhanced realism spectacle as well as any other animation studio around, and better than most. Hyouka and KyoAni truly made a very fitting match, not unlike Oreki and Chitanda themselves.

Hyouka also had pretty good consistency. None of its episodes was what I would call bad. They all had their strengths and likeable scenes. Even the episode that was all about Chitanda wondering why she became upset with a teacher, had some good dialogue and the adorably hilarious image of a multitude of mini-Angel Chitandas climbing all over Oreki.


Hyouka isn't perfect, but it's arguably the best at what it does. And there's no question that it's wrote and presented with tender-loving care. A bit more of what I call "the Fun Factor", and it may well have been amongst my all-time favorite shows. But even as is, it deserves a high rating and I will remember it fondly.

8/10 for the Hyouka series taken as a whole.
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Old 2012-09-19, 18:04   Link #8
sudolicious
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Amazing show overall, in pretty much every aspect. Still, I think there would've been room for more, in my opinion they wasted too much time on this one-episode cases or otherwise trivial stuff - and I'm not talking about the school festival arc here, I loved every minute of that - and so the character development came a bit short... I don't have a problem with it being subtle, but the overall development simply could've been bigger and more prominent. It felt kind of rushed, especially towards the end (Satoshi losing to Houtarou in the arcade in one episode, 10minutes later he reminds Houtarou of that incident to show how much his character changed...).

Still, I'm complaining on a very high level here, I'm sure KyoAni did the best they could with the given source material. It was definitely one of their better shows and probably the best Anime in 2012.
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Old 2012-09-19, 18:39   Link #9
bellsboy66
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This show is going to be added to the rather limited selections of shows that I will actually
buy, if it is release in the US.
For me, probably the best thing you can say about it, was that it was simply fun.
It made me laugh, giggle and shout out loud at times.
Yes, it was beautifully animated, written and directed, the production staff did an outstanding job and should be congradulated on it, along with the wonderful voice cast.
But all that would have been for naught if it hadn't been fun to watch.
I routinely rushed home from work to download and watch it, and in that alone, since in many ways I am like Orecki in my energy conservation (i.e. lazy as all get out) it was unique.
So to grade it:
Overall - 9.5 (there were a few times it seemed to drag a little, at least to me)
Sheer fun to watch - 100
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Old 2012-09-19, 18:42   Link #10
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While I don't pretend to be an objective viewer, I'll do my best in conveying just how much I loved this series. For that, I'd like to evaluate this show from two separate angles.

Firstly, Hyouka is slice-of-life done right.

Pardon me for using such an ambiguous genre, but that's exactly what it was. As many would agree with, the cast is a well-developed bunch that managed to grow from adolescents to adults as the show went on. The important thing here is that the developments were all gradual and subdued to the point that they were hardly noticeable until we reached the end. But much more than the characters themselves, the show managed to capture the bittersweet essence of growing up. In addition, the well-timed background music and the shots at the beautiful countryside scenery helped enhance that wistful experience.

On the other hand, Hyouka is also a subversion of the established mystery genre.

In my own terms, Hyouka places great stress on the heart of the mystery genre. Unlike most mystery stories, which mainly focus on the whodunit and the howdunit, this show places even greater value in the whydunit, which is arguably the most human aspect of any mystery. All throughout the series, much love and care is placed to dissecting the motives of each culprit, how entire perspectives can change in after the culprit's motives are analyzed. It implore us viewers to look into the "heart of the mystery", or rather the sincere human intentions that went into to the mystery in the first place. As such, I believe that the mysteries in Hyouka were not so much the tricks involved but were instead those found within the human heart. In that sense, I'd say the whole this is similar to what Umineko was trying to do ("Without love, it cannot be seen"), but this pulled it off much better.

Now, I won't call this an instant masterpiece just yet, but this show will certainly serve as a standard for it's genre in the seasons to come. Still, this is Japanese storytelling at its finest, I believe. My more objective side can't help but give a 9 for a few minor draggy nitpicks in the beginning, but my sentimental side gave it a 10 out of 10 anyway.
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Old 2012-09-20, 00:53   Link #11
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Absolutely beautiful and surprisingly subtle show. Admittedly, I found the mysteries and pacing to be a bit lame and boring at times, especially the first two episodes where I found myself wondering if KyoAni was trying to be Shaft, but I'm beyond happy that I stuck with this show.

I loved how the character development was gradual and came about with realistic experience (rather than combat or paranormal phenomena as in most other shows). Oreki's growth from lazy guy who didn't give a f--- about anything to somebody who wouldn't reject an opportunity to show his talents, open to new experiences, and in love with Eru was a very refreshing change from the typical male protagonists who barely change and have random girls and a string of events hoisted on them.
Then there was Satoshi, who after seemingly being happy in a support role had to come to terms with his own limitations and jealousy that ended his ambitious past, which culminated in his implied effort to begin his own growth after his idiotic behavior on Valentine's Day.
Oddly enough the girls get relatively less focus compared to other shows. Chitanda seems to fill the moe role and doesn't really change much throughout the show, but different facets of her and her life are slowly revealed. As her conversation with Oreki in the last episode implies, her life had been set, she's effectively already fully developed.
As for Mayaka, she seems to serve mostly as a friendly antagonist (as opposed to the manipulative Irisu), her constant criticism of Oreki forcing him to focus his thoughts, and her pursuit of Satoshi forcing him to confront his own insecurity. It would have been nicer to see just a bit more of the bitching and drama her personality seems to have gotten her into, because there's an avenue for her growth as a person.

The theme about expectations and effort vs talent vs reality, which I didn't actually get until the amazing and emotional episode 17, was what nailed this show in my heart. It was the underlying thing that drove the characters' behaviors, and glued the whole show together for me. Can't remember the last time there was an actual mature and relevant theme like that.

10/10. It's not flawless, but I love it more than many other shows in years. Now just to wait for the second season that will in all probability never be made.
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Old 2012-09-20, 03:37   Link #12
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One word.

FLAWLESS
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Old 2012-09-23, 19:02   Link #13
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The whole day I was like "Why hasn't the new episode of Hyouka shown up yet?" then I realized it has ended. Good run. Don't stop being curious.
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Old 2012-09-25, 05:27   Link #14
~Yami~
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Animation Quality: 10

like this so much.... I mean when Houtarou and friends facing a mystery, there'll be some illustration.... yeah! this illustration is something that truly top every mystery anime I ever watched... who cares about Conan??? Hyouka is better!

Voice Actors: 8

"I'm curious" still ringing in my head..
yeah so far I think only Houtarou and Chitanda's voice actors are doing great job... others are not bad as well though...

Script: 10

can you imagine mystery in slice-of-life anime?? xD
it makes me realized that there are a lot of mysteries occurring in school life

Soundtrack: 8

not a strong point.... but not bad!

Enjoyment: 10

hahaha.... first anime that consists of conversation between two people for 24 minutes but makes us don't get bored at all....
enjoying every single arc explained in this anime....

Emotional Involvement: 10
not strong point until last three episodes.... finally Hyouka is showing their romance point!
Chitanda X Oreki or Mayaka X Satoshi are okay and developed well... good job!

10/10... yesterday I'm still wondering in torrent site then I realized that no more Hyouka
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Old 2012-09-29, 23:15   Link #15
ahelo
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Just copypasta from ToR:

Objectively, Hyouka should be fairly boring. Well, in fairness, most premises of KyoAni shows are fairly damn standard too. The thing that Hyouka excedes on though, is its execution and the addictiveness. You CANNOT watch an episode of Hyouka without watching the one before. If you did, the episode will be fairly boring. The thing with Hyouka is, is that it slowly builds upon itself. Layer by layer, characterization by characterization, Hyouka grows on you like a mold in a bread. Houtarou slowly becomes more involved, Chitanda slowly becomes more open and involved, Satoshi slowly becomes a guy we can all probably relate it, Mayaka slowly becomes more compassionate. Character dvelopment isn’t forced; it happens naturally. Houtarou didn’t suddenly become someone who would care about whatever Chitanda did; He slowly went to that point (he hasn’t even reached it yet after 22 episodes) and it just makes it oh so real.

The thing that helped Hyouka pulled off what it did is its narrativistic/novel-like tackling of the dialogue, narration and monologues. everything is laid out, explained andthen laid out some more. At first I thought this was pretty annoying and boring (I mean did they really hae to spend a minute explaining why Houtarou conserves energy) with the way it tell more than it shows, and most shows that do this end up failing miserably since it doesn’t take into account that it has animation that can explain it (Hi Index, Accel World), but the thing with Hyouka is that it also shows. I guess it helps that a fucking awesome Animation studio is behind this (otherwise Hyouka wouldn’t work at all). Anyway kudos to Mr. FMP man for writing such a detailed script.

Another thing that Hyouka managed to do is to create the best Cultural Festival anime has ever witnessed. Better than School Rumble. Better than Haruhi. I guess it helps that they gave 6-7 episodes for it. Actually at the point of the cultural festival, I was pretty much ready to say that Hyouka is a masterpiece (just to justify how great that Cultural Festival was).

Animation = Self Explanatory. KyoAni in movie-levels except its a TV series. Overall, Hyouka ended up being one of the best series that aired in Spring and it was my favorite series throughout Summer.

9/10
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Old 2012-10-01, 04:07   Link #16
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I am not going to talk about the plot or the characters, the consensus is fine to me ('tis good), but focus instead on what is Hyouka's most remarkable asset: animation.

Quite a few people touched this already, albeit lightly: as a fan of animation, Hyouka is a true gem. This work is proof that KyoAni truly deserves the accolades it receives as an animation studio. With perhaps the exception of Ghibli, which works on a rather different paradigm, Kyoto Animation is perhaps the finest animation studio in Japan.

I remembered being absolutely delighted with Haruhi Suzumiya when I watched it the first time, and then the second, and third, and each time I noticed more and more that the series always seemed alive: every bit of Kyon's long-winded narration, funny as they were, could not have worked nearly so well if the screen didn't keep moving to keep up. Bystanders interacted and moved, long explanations were accompanied by visual and auditory cues, the "camera" rarely stayed still, unless staying still was the point. Tone, color, music, animation, everything worked to support the story's momentum.

Hyouka is Haruhi's successor in that regard. KyoAni did many other series, with varying production values, but no other anime until now from the studio had placed similar demands on them. The anime-manga-light novel industries often have difficulties transitioning the various franchise adaptations between them, owing to different needs of each medium. The ordinary novel -- as Hyouka is -- is a more difficult task. Narration is at least as dense as the denser light novels, which Haruhi was; characters developed subtly, steadily; the "action" relied less on movement and actual action. The Hyouka novel series' own premise, lacking in "page-turner" qualities such as the weight and urgency of the mysteries, made this an even harder task.

Yet KyoAni carried the day, using many opportunities to display almost extravagant flourishes of animated expression. Take the first episode; it started not unlike Haruhi's chronological first, with the main character going to school -- and all around him we saw many, many students interacting, greeting, doing things which real students do, and for Hyouka a very busy club recruiting scene in front of the school building with countless "actors" simultaneously doing many things at once. The follow up introductory scene which Satoshi and Houtarou introduced Houtarou's motif occurred in a near empty classroom -- and yet the three other bystanders, although not focusing on the two, reacted to their presence. All this is already quite above the standards of most anime studio's average budgets and quality, but the first "flourish," the first "kininarimasu" moment was accompanied by a sudden and dramatic shift from the realistic style, and Chitanda became for a brief moment a fairy-like entity, a nearly literal "honey trap" for poor Houtarou, her hair growing to "capture" him even as her hypnogaze, er, her presence, captivated him.

Even more interestingly, there is a remarkable consistency in the use of these flourishes. Every single dramatic shift in animation is always linked to Houtarou's own perspective. The "fairy Chitanda" was Houtarou's impression of her, the "rose-colored" atmosphere of the cafe scene in episode 3, created by manipulation of color tones and lighting, intensified as Houtarou anticipated a potential confession, and stopped immediately as his expectation was cut down, returning the cafe to a realistic style. There are many other such moments, some used to affect mood, such as the dramatic conversation in the tea house, others to enrich a mystery explanatory narration, and some to emphasize that Houtarou was in his own head as he tried to figure out the mysteries, such as the scene when he "walked" through the many screens of the student movie on his way to inventing the movie ending. They're sometimes subtle but powerful, other times naturally fitting in despite not being what the characters literally see, and this subtler style greatly enriches the otherwise steady and potentially numbing rhythm of a school life series revolving around "lite" mysteries. The one time the "flourish" is outright overwhelming is the final episode's grand parade, and it is again tied to Houtarou's point of view, as he was so overwhelmed that he was floating along as if on a dream.

Many other animation studios enjoy flourishes of stylized animation. The most popular example in recent times is perhaps SHAFT, whose every series has a trademark style. Yet unlike SHAFT's series Hyouka does this at no cost to realism; whereas, say, the Monogatari series cut down on virtually all "redundant" visual elements that help build realism (bystanders, a proper sense of distance, realistic backgrounds). For that series it worked, so long as the audience was on the same page and accepted that they were in a highly stylized, virtually empty world cut down to the barebones, but in something like Baka-Test it tested the limits of verisimilitude. Had such a style been the foundation of Hyouka the anime, it would have been a catastrophic disaster, because Hyouka's characters and plot are not only subtler and denser than your usual light novel (being "mainstream" novels), but they also grow and change in the "real" world, and to cut them off from it is to lose a very important context. By keeping its feet planted on the ground at all times, Hyouka keeps a remarkable consistency throughout, while remaining entertaining.

Visuals, of course, are not the only elements of tone. I particularly enjoyed the various background music used in this anime, classical or otherwise, as well as the highly traditional Japanese music used in the final episode's parade. In particular, the use of Bach's "Air on the G String" to set a soothing, normalized tone at the end of episode 19 was an absolutely delightful closure to a delightful episode. I admit I dsliked or at least was lukewarm towards the first OP and ED, but the latter pair charmed me, especially the delightful detective genre spoof theme on the ED's animation. I still believe that the mixture of musical genres and the leitmotif character themes used as background music in Haruhi Suzumiya was superior overall (+ the OP and ED there), but I digress.

And what a digression. I guess I'll cut it short here.

[/TL;DR? TL;DR!]

Last edited by relentlessflame; 2012-10-01 at 17:16. Reason: do not discuss neg rep
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Old 2012-10-01, 08:22   Link #17
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7/10 For me,So many time this anime can't get my emotion involve cause Hotaru is lack of emotion (or too lazy).
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Old 2012-10-04, 22:18   Link #18
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Best show I watched this year by a long shot everything considered.

Edit: Okay to be fair Jinrui was more my type of show and a fair bit more entertaining I guess ._.
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Old 2012-10-08, 14:31   Link #19
Aquifina
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For me, Hyouka is slice-of-life anime at its best, dealing with serious themes while not having to resort to a dramatic setting, such as supernatural powers or war to move character development along. Indeed, even the primary plot of devices of mysteries in general involved relatively day-to-day problems, unlike something like Case Closed where murders are being involved.

For me, Oreki's character drives the show along, and he serves as one of the more appealing anime leads I've seen in a while. Unlike so many anime leads, he isn't burdened with some kind of terrible dark secret--he's just, well, indifferent to all things in life at the start of his show. He's obviously something of a genius, but the flip side for his astonishing capacity for analyzing any situation is his emotional dullness--which he himself realizes. Some of his indolence comes from normal adolescent insecurity, but much of it is just his personality. Indeed, during the chocolate episode, he himself tells Chitanda he doesn't feel things as intensely as she does, which is spot-on. There is something vaguely disquieting about this trait--it reminds me of the desensitization one sees in career EMTs/firefighters and police officers, who for the sake of their own emotional survival and the people they're trying to help, *must* become somewhat cold toward scenes of human suffering. It's clear that Oreki powers of analysis are related in part to how emotions affect him less than others, which helps allow his judgment to be not clouded by emotion. For the most part, he even lacks the egotism and pride that goes with genius, and which can cloud judgment in even the most brilliant.

But Oreki is anything but a robot, and his attempt to live by his emotional hard-wiring (low-energy living) is the kind of seemingly cool but lame solution a teenager would come up with. It's hardly a way for any person to live his life, much less reach the potential he has for doing great and good things in the world. Indeed, while Satoshi describes himself a database who can draw no conclusions, Oreki is the genius with neither muse nor purpose--a supercomputer devoted entirely to minimizing its own electricity consumption, as opposed to finding cures for cancer or inventing cold fusion *or running a family business).

While Oreki represents cold reason at its best, Chitanda is all about the innocent delight of discovery and pure emotion, almost unvarnished by artifice or cunning. She feels everything deeply and intensely--true to both her herself and her feelings. She wants to find out the truth behind her uncle's story, even though she knew it led to tears. When faced with injustice, she loses her temper, social conventions be damned. She owns up to her responsibilities as President of the club when the problem of extra anthologies come up, despite the fact it isn't really her fault. When she tries to follow Irisu's advice to be more cunning and deceptive in her emotional registers, she finds the experience exhausting and ultimately untenable.

Gifted with a superior memory and physical senses, she cannot at all match Oreki's gift for cold data-driven analysis, empowered by his emotional dullness, but in the film arc she teaches Oreki the lesson that it is dangerous to ignore emotional truths when dealing with human behavior. Indeed, in the hot springs episode, she already teaches him a lesson about cynicism, when her view of sibling love is vindicated at the end in the face of Oreki's dreary views of the subject (which is itself false to his own relationship to his sister, who is clearly looking out for him). By ep. 18, Oreki has emotionally matured enough due to Chitanda's influence that he is actually interested in getting right the motivations of his old English teacher--and he has learned enough to empathize better with what his teacher was feeling when he saw the rescue helicopter on its way.

The two represent a tremendous pairing. While colder than most, Oreki is *still* a teenage boy, and he's clearly attracted Chitanda from the get-go, and by the end he's almost overwhelmed by those feelings. But it obviously goes far beyond this. At the start of the series, Oreki claims to be devoted to energy conservation, but the film arc shows how much he craves finding a purpose--and by the end, I dare say he finds that purpose. When Chitanda insists on him helping the mysteries, he lets her drag him along, partly because it gives him some kind of direction to a fairly aimless life. And her plea to him about her uncle stirs in him his fundamental decency, even if he does not have her passion for justice or empathy for others. When he accepts her request for help, he bluntly tells her he cannot truly bear her burden for her, not because he is a stereotypical tsundere, but because cold reason says that is the truth--but more importantly, he *does* help Chitanda and resolve the mystery of her uncle. And it is partly his coldness that allows him to see the true message behind the title of the anthology. At the end of that arc, Oreki finds that Seikitani's rose-colored life had its own downsides--downsides that only his gray colored lenses could find.

By ep. 21, we see Oreki that is still Oreki--still a bit emotionally dull, still coldly analytical, but someone who cares deeply about Chitanda, and about his other friends in the classic literature club. This lets him defuse the near catastrophe of ep. 21, defusing Chitanda's anger and guilt with the sort of ruthless but necessary lie Chitanda could never come up with, while covering up Satoshi's failure of courage. But in his confrontation of Satsoshi afterwards, we see both his scruples toward Chitanda (fulfilling his promise to get the chocolate to him), and an actual moment of real anger on her behalf. But like any real friend, he in the end recognizes that none of us are perfect.

By ep. 22, we see an Oreki that has gone from perceived slacker to being praised by a distinguished elder for having his act together. He nearly passes out from his curiosity at Chitanda's appearance, and acts like a lovesick puppy. But he's still Oreki of the constant frown, processing everything around him with the cold instrument of reason. And Chitanda shows in full force the burden of her responsibilities, laying it all out for Oreki to see. In the end, Oreki can't truly say what he feels--it's a bridge too far for him still, but he has the sagacity to realize better why Satoshi did what he did. Most importantly, Chitanda has more than an inkling of the truth--in some ways she knows Oreki better than he knows himself (her comment in ep. 19 that he rarely thinks about exactly how he solves cases speaks volumes)--and I think his blush and lame reply about the weather is all she needs to know what he really feels. Combined with the gorgeous scene, where Nature itself seems to ratify the pairing, I found myself happy with the ending, giving us plausible relationship and character development, with more than enough closure, and enough left to the imagination.

As for Chitanda, another comment I'd add is that the writers pulled off something very difficult in my view--they combined huge, cataclysmic amounts of moe with real depth and seriousness. This starts as early as the Seikitani arc, continues with her emotional introspection in ep. 6, followed by a little flirtatiousness on her part in ep. 7 at the hot springs, followed by the film arc, where she teaches Oreki something about emotions, and the festival arc, where while not being moe, we see her strive to fulfill her leadership responsibilities. In the end, only Oreki's ruthlessness solves the problems of the anthologies, but at the end of the series, we know that Chitanda learns some hard lessons about her own gaps in competence during the arc. In 18, she sees manifest signs of Oreki's own emotional development, and a dating arc of sorts follows, with Chitanda displaying some serious feminine cunning. In ep. 21, we see the depth of her commitment to her friends, and in ep. 22, we see Chitanda not as a cute, child-like girl overflowing with moe, but as a responsible young woman talking seriously about her family and her future with the young man she's in love with.

At this point, I'm sure whoever's read this far is exhausted, and I'm exhausted with writing, but I'll make obligatory (but brief) comments on the tremendous animation and supporting characters--not only Satoshi and Mayaka, but also Tomoe and Irisu. And I think it should be pointed out that some of the mysteries themselves have serious themes--sacrifice, heroism, and historical truth in the story of Sekitani; deception and manipulation of others in the film arc; frustrated talent and the festival arc; even the sad fact that while that English teacher had some hope when he saw the helicopters, his friends still died. But the series had a wonderfully positive tone, and these sadder plots simply gave it real depth and realism, highlighting all the more the sweetness of the ending.

Last edited by Aquifina; 2012-10-09 at 08:54. Reason: Brain-cramp (thanks to Skane! for the copy-edit)
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Old 2012-10-08, 20:00   Link #20
Skane
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Join Date: May 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aquifina View Post
Spoiler for Tidiness:
Cookied.

Highlighted a mistake in the sixth paragraph for your amendment.

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