Hyouka is an anime that I have been looking for extensively ever since I found all these adorable gif with a purple eyed girl. It was cute, I could not stop looking for it. Ironically enough, I found the name today by mistake. As soon as that happened, TheBetterCup and I watched the first episode without a second thought.
-What is the cartoon about?
The story begins with the main character, Hotaro Oreki, joining a school club on his sister’s request. He then meets a fellow member named Eru who intrigues him, somehow getting him to do things he usually would not (this usually occurs when she looks at him and her eyes begin to glisten. Then a surreal image occurs in his mind, and he ends up doing what she wanted without thinking). His best friend later joins as well, followed by a girl who went to middle school with him. Together they make up the Literature/Classics Club. But they solve mysteries together, little simple ones that occur logically and are not all that fantastical as you would think (most of the time).
-Who are the central characters?
Hotaro Oreki is the main character who joined the Classics Club because it had no members, and his sister wanted him to join. He is extremely calm, passive, and apathetic. His life motto is “If I don’t have to do something, I won’t, but if I have to, I’ll do it quickly.” His goal is to conserve energy, but it makes him seem lazy (which he is not, because he does what is necessary only). He stays in the club and gets out of his comfort zone because of Eru. Even though she is energetic and her curiosity requires that he does not fall in line with his energy saving ideas, he follows her whims because he finds he is unable to ever ignore them. She has a strange affect on him that at first he finds troublesome (turns out he just liked her). Oreki is extremely logical and is skilled at solving mysteries in minutes.
Eru Chitanda is the ditzy and extremely curious young girl that joins the Classics Club. She is usually very lady-like, polite, and sensible girl, but when she becomes excited over a mystery she acts almost child-like. She becomes energetic, persistent, stubborn, and a little nosy. She will not stop thinking about the mystery until its solved (but not in an overly done annoying type of way. Do not worry she is likable and realistic character). She has a very romanticized view on the world and her motto is “I’m curious!” She also earns top grades, and comes from a wealthy farming family. The way Oreki solves mysteries is really amazing to Eru, and she admires him greatly for it.
Satoshi Fukube is Oreki’s best friend who also joins the club. He is a complex character. He comes off as cheery, and eccentric, often being sarcastic and making lots of jokes. His motto is “If the joke is not in the moment, it is nothing but a common lie.” He sees that jokes can lead to misunderstandings, and so he is always aware of how it may be taken. Fukube has a perpetual grin, but he is actually self-deprecating. Distancing himself once he begins to get close to others, he is obsessed with not becoming obsessive (over people). He has an impressive memory, and refers to himself as a human “database”. He and Mayaka have known each other since middle school, and they end up liking each other.
Mayaka Ibara is nitpicky, almost perfectionist type of girl (a personality I tend to like in characters because I find them easy to connect to ). She is very strict, rudely straightforward, and impulsive person. She does not always see eye to eye with Oreki (whose energy saving ways baffle her), but they slowly warm up to each other. On the other hand, she and Eru become very close friends fairly easily. She loves manga and is an artist herself (but she is embarrassed to admit that she is into reading manga). Mayaka gives her friends cute nicknames showing that she cares about them very much.
-How is the Artwork?
The artwork is extremely beautiful (it is the reason why I was so desperate to watch), and very colorful in a way that is subdued, like pastels, not viciously bright and rainbow like. Though the scenery is very detailed, its so simple and soft seeming. It does not bogg down the veiwer’s eyes. It reminded me of water colors, to be honest, and this lent well to the simple mysteries (of the mundane and every day variety) and surrealistic nature. The animation is extremely fluid, and the atmosphere is very lighthearted.
-What makes the cartoon awesome?
The entire story is full of comedic moments that are not very forced. The apathetic character, Oreki, and sarcastic joker, Fukube, dynamic makes a very funny pair. The characters and situations are not to over the top which makes them easy to relate to and keeps them from falling into the ‘basic anime’ plot. Yet even though it is funny and easy going, their is still enough complexity (thanks to Fukube) giveing it enough drama so that the plot is not to boring.
Also to add to how amazing this is, the anime has some magic going for it. It is not magic of the wizarding kind, or of the alien type, nor even of the mystical. The magic here is surrealistic, and usually occur in Oreki’s mind. Instead of using dialogue to show how it is he feels, the creators rely on this method of magical perspective to show Oreki’s feelings. He has strange moments were he imagines things happening. The first scene like this has Eru’s hair almost growing like a tree and it gets you completely off guard. But the softness and simplicity just give it this dream like effect. I really like it.
Lastly the entire story, though categorized as a mystery, focus’s on character development. Much depth is reached through the simple, and mundane activities (which is pretty impressive), and the characters grow well into becoming likable and unique. If this is something you have yet to see, I definitely suggest at least checking out the first episode.