Alright folks, let’s talk some Hyouka. Time to exercise your brains and turn that curiosity light bulb ON. Hyouka (also the same name of the first volume of the Classic Literature Club that’s also a implied term of “Ice Cream”) is an anime series adapted from the mystery novel written by Honobu Yonezawa. The story? Well, if you’re curious like a certain purple eyed girl in the series, Hyouka details the Kamiyama High School’s Classic Literature Club and its members having fun while solving mysteries and enjoying the time of their boring lives. It all begins with the unenthusiastic young boy by the name of Oreki Houtarou. He is the type of guy that is hard to make friends with because Oreki in his minds and his friend describes him as someone who is not keen in joining clubs, play sports, or socializing. Despite this, he is very intelligent and observant of the tinest events as well as having an insightful intuition. After joining the club reluctantly by his elder sister, the mysteries, fun and, Hyouka stories begin.
Hyouka does not have one unrealistically prodigious detective that can unravel and deconstruct even the most intricate of puzzles but a range of characters, some unique to each case, that all contribute key aspects leading to the solution. This makes for a more fulfilling and genuine resolution as you feel part of the process rather than a bystander in awe of some amazing detective. The solutions themselves are meticulously well-written and thus accurate and realistic yet simultaneously complex making you feel slightly more intelligent by the end of every one. Some may find the lack of ramification in the mysteries innately boring as the characters aren’t actually usually directly involved in them, for they act for their own various reasons but they at least create a desire for you to solve them.
However, what makes Hyouka so enjoyable is not the satisfaction of decrypting it all but the development of our 4 main characters throughout each one. Hyouka is an example of how the high school slice of life genre could be achieved as the relationships between our characters are captivating yet incredibly realistic with each action remaining true to the psyche of high schoolers and the ways they make decisions. The pacing is slow but constant and we can see a smooth progression in the development of our characters which tackle real-life issues that high schoolers face but nonetheless in a Hyouka-esque fashion, usually amongst the mysteries. Besides the hyperbolised curiosity of our female lead, the dialogue is extremely genuine and for me at least, indistinguishable from your real life conversations with friends at school. As the characters interact more with one another and face their problems, we are shown a vast array of emotions and considerable depth to their actions and motivations which are relevant, accurately portrayed and likely to be issues that you yourself may have faced.
Kyoto Animation is always praised for it’s good art and animation. But Kyoto Animation decided to take Hyouka to another level in art. Hyouka is by far one of the most beautiful animes I’ve ever seen. The characters design is designed so well and fit with their personality almost perfectly. The backgrounds were created with such detail that it felt like I was watching an anime movie instead of a tv show. Movements are also fluid and small details like the wind blowing the character’s hair is also greatly done. I remember watching the first episode and the first thing that popped into my mind was “wow, that animation is out of this world!” No but seriously, the production quality is top notch and Kyoto Animation does not disappoint. With its gorgeous artwork and beautiful style of presenting the characters, it goes on without say that “a picture is worth a thousand words”.
The soundtrack fits the anime perfectly. From comedy to drama to the start of the mystery the soundtrack fits the mood perfectly and only brings more enjoyment to the viewer. The first and second openings are also great songs that went on my playlist after first listening to it. The two endings are also quite good and I enjoyed them. Overall, the story and mysteries for this anime are well crafted. Most of the mysteries were interesting and enjoyable.But sadly, A few of the mysteries were poorly made and downright boring. Luckily, these mysteries are only a few and were rather short. There is also a good bit of romance and comedy in this anime.