Jormungand, Sengoku Collection, Lupin the 3rd: Mine Fujiko to Iu Onna, Natsuiro Kiseki, Nazo no Kanojo X, Tasogare Otome x Amnesia, Shining Hearts: Shiawase no Pan, Sakamichi no Apollon, Haiyore! Nyaruko-san, Upotte!!, Space Brothers, Queen’s Blade Rebellion…I know that’s technically a list rather than a real sentence, but that is the list of shows that began in the spring season and would have been in the top five episodes I watched each week. There’s probably a very noticeable series that did not make that list if you kept track of when I started doing those weekly recaps again. That would be Hyouka if you were paying attention.
Rather than just sit back and talk about how everything changed with the quiz game at the cultural festival. I’m going to talk about the past and what I really disliked about the first half of the series.
I have a good idea of what struck me so badly about the opening half. The fact that at the heart of it you had a socially awkward lead character who had to be dragged everywhere to do anything. This made him really, really boring in my eyes. Then there was Eru who seemed to be curious about everything just for the sake of moving the story along. Satoshi and Mayaka seemed mere afterthoughts. The former just spewed facts without offering opinion, the latter seemed to just fawn over the former for existing. I didn’t get it either.
Worst of all, however, seemed to be those fancy animated set pieces that occurred as the group talked about the mystery of the day. It felt like it was overwhelming the story itself, even though that story felt as though a bunch of stuff was discussed by a bunch of one-dimensional characters and Hotarou would solve everything for everyone at the end.
In addition, some of the timing for when it aired couldn’t have been any worse for it. The story of how the anthology became known as Hyouka seemed a sad story of student life in the late 60s. Ultimately, it was just a futile protest that got a few days for a festival in exchange for a student just being kicked out of school. At the same time, Apollon was set in the same time period and made the student movement feel like it had more consequence. It made Hyouka‘s storyline look like someone just had a bad day by comparison.
I guess the real story is why I kept watching. It probably had more to do with the quality of shows I was watching in the spring that it actually seemed okay, even if only visually. While I also do probably pull the trigger on dropping shows to quickly (Garupan, SSY, thousands of others, etc.), I also have a habit of hoping against hope that something that seems made of mediocrity can be something better. In the case of Hyouka, it was just about making me thing about Satoshi in a different way. Then, actually upping the sexual tension between the pairs of characters as modern detective fiction does.