It’s been a frantic day and I’m tired and all, but boy – that was about as content-free an episode of any anime as I’ve seen for a while. I feel even better about comparing this series to “Seinfeld” a few weeks back, because the first part of this week’s Hyouka was pretty much lifted from a “Seinfeld” ep – the one where George, Kramer and Elaine figure out that they’ve never really seen Jerry get mad. So first they try and get him mad, and then he tries to get himself mad, but when Jerry tries to act mad he just ends up being funny.
OK, bottom line – I really didn’t hate this at all, in spite of the nothingness. Why? Well – I suppose the main reason is that it reminded me of a few of my days in high school. I was in the Philosophy Club, which was really a fancy way of describing a bunch of eccentric kids getting together in a classroom and talking about anything that was on our minds, while our advisor – the coolest teacher in school, Dave Hawkins – occasionally stopped by to join the conversations. The bit with Chitanda talking about her Seven Deadly Sins theory was my favorite bit in the episode, because that’s exactly the sort of thing we’d waste time on as the clock ticked towards five o’clock. I would have found it especially interesting if she’d gotten around to Lust, and explained why it was good in moderation (and it certainly is).
Another reason I sort of liked the ep is because the author (or the series writer, I suppose) had the good sense to wink at the audience at the end by having Houtarou say “And thus, another day of my high school life was wasted.” You said it, Kid – that about sums it up. It would be hard to think of a much thinner “mystery” to premise an ep on – why did the math teacher screw up, and why did Chitanda get mad? The character stuff was mildly amusing, mostly confirming that Mayaka is hopelessly nuts for Satoshi and Houtarou is starting to get a little “too” interested in Chitanda – his slacker indifference act is starting to seem a little forced where she’s concerned.
All of that certainly didn’t add up to much, and the visuals were only stellar rather than jaw-droppingly great. I don’t expect to see the quality drops you normally see from other studio’s shows that start out great with a KyoAni series, and indeed we haven’t yet. I didn’t see anything that wowed me like the first five eps, though. I did love watching Houtarou try and thread a new lead into his shaapupenshiru, a classic bit of KyoAni braggadocio, though Chitanda’s flashback lacked the brilliance and perceptiveness of the better examples Hyouka has offered up so far.