Hyou-ka – 08

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There must have been a seiyuu convention in Kyoto the week this episode was filmed.

Leave it to Hyouka to have a change of pace episode and still have nothing really happen.  This series certainly isn’t getting any easier to write about, but my enjoyment level is pretty consistent – I suppose once you buy into the premise (in my case, effectively watching myself and a few friends as we wasted time after school) it works pretty well.  If you weren’t the sort of kid who sat around empty classrooms endlessly debating nonsense and enjoying it (we even messed about with Tarot cards), I could see where this show might not be your cup of tea.  Fortunately or not, I was – and it is.

Here’s what I enjoyed this week.  I liked seeing that Chitanda was every bit as…Chitanda while chatting as she is live (“You don’t have to fix every typo, you know.  We’ll understand what you’re saying.”  “Relaly?”   Houtarou’s “not happening” when he opened the door and found the weather too hot.   I found the film “Mystery” by Class 2-5 to be pretty hilarious.  It was interesting seeing first-class animators try to tackle representing wobbly, cheap, hand-held live-action filming à la “The Blair Witch Project” (which I suspect was huge around the time this was in the novel).  The effect ended up being something like an 8-bit game, but it was certainly interesting.  The acting was hilariously bad – the eventual victim, Kaitou (Konishi Katsuyuki) shouting all his lines and staring straight ahead.  Senoue’s (Hirohashi Ryou) “Gyaaa!” when they discovered Kaitou’s body.  The severed hand.  It was all deliciously awful, like basically every student film I had to sit through in high school.

There was a pretty impressive group of seiyuu on-hand for the festivities, too.  In addition to the names above you also had Miyu Irino as one of the actors, Yukana as Irisu “The Empress” Fuyumi, the girl who recruits Chitanda to get the Classics Club to watch the film, and Yuuki Aoi  (who sadly isn’t in much at the moment) as Eba Kurako, the girl who guides the main foursome at the end.  It’s always interesting to see good actors playing bad actors – some are better than others at it, but it comes off in pretty entertaining fashion here.

Of course, as usual, the “plot” is pretty thin – I was actually hoping there’d be a twist where a real crime did occur during the shooting of the movie, but I suppose that would be out of character for Hyouka.  There are some major holes in the story Irisu tells the group, as Houtarou picks up on immediately.  The most obvious is the so-called author of the script, Hongou-san – if she was simply ill, why wouldn’t she simply tell the class what the ending was, even if she was too sick to write it herself?  There would be no need to get the Classic Club involved then of course, and that’s likely the real mystery in this arc – just what’s really happening with this author?  There are clues in the chat sequence that starts the episode, where Irisu (presumably) appeared to be texting to Hongou while she was chatting with Chitanda.

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  1. S

    Don't underestimate the task the animators were up to this episode. They actually dropped a lot of money on those movie scenes. If you take a close look, they were compositing 2D & 3D almost seemlessly. I think there might have been a real-life shot in there as well. (The shot of the light on the keys)

    While they were definitely going for the found-footage style, they were using something like the tech from Time of Eve to pull it off. It worked really, really well too.

    But, yeah, Hyouka is the series where nothing happens, yet it's not funny but you still enjoy it. It's definitely a KyoAni work, haha.

  2. x

    As I said last week, I'm one of those who think that Hyouka is a great Mystery anime, this episode reassured my opinion even more than before.

    I'll spread some some facts on the table. I think it is interesting were this arc is going.

    * So at first we have a cellphone exchange between Irisu and someone asking for forgiveness (the script writer?). I don't know if it's Hongou but Irisu tries to calm her down and tells her that she will do what she can, etc. Re-watch it.

    * Then a chat between Irisu and her "Sempai". This person directs her to the Classic's Club. This "Sempai" tells her that they will "dance" for her if she "uses them right". So we have an unknown sempai that knows both Chitanda and Irisu and set them up to chat.

    * Quite a bit of time passes (she finishes her drink).

    * Then we see Empress chat's with the Fool (unskilled with computers, can't type JPN and typing in that language isn't simple). It doesn't show but it feels like they were setting up a 1-on-1 screening. Irisu then tells her to feel free to bring friends over, "maybe three" (specific much?).

    * Movie screening, etc. Why can't they ask Hongou how the story finishes? Is she so ill that she can't even answer a simple question? Odd.

    * The episode ends with "Why didn't she ask EBA?" subtext.

    ———- Theory

    To me, this "Hongou" person isn't the writer of the script. It's someone else, most likely Eba Kurako. When she was asked about Hongou, unlike the previous questions, Eba took a second to think and describes a person very much like the Empress Irisu. She also tells them that she's her best friend.

    What I think that happened: Eba being the writer got stuck. The blocked Eba asks her best friend (Irisu) for help via text. Then Irisu, asks the same from her "sempai". She learns about the Classics Club and she is now going to use them to think of a good end for the script.

    This theory reads good but it doesn't answer an important question: "Why didn't she ask Eba?". I don't think Eba is that much of an amateur writer, she followed all those rules after all. So why doesn't she cut some slack on her best friend to finish up the script?.

    Because the Empress doesn't hate mysteries stories, instead she loves them very much. To the point of refusing to learn about who's the real culprit until the story is completed. That would be cheating, and being the kind of person that she is, it would be unforgivable to do that.

    Extra clue: Irisu asked Eba up to what point of the movie she had to see to learn all the necessary clues to solve the case, the bare minimum. She edited the original footage (there's more of it, as seen on the preview) to end where it ended for the screening (at the end you can see that it's a DVD and there's no more footage to see). To back this up, we can see that she seems to be quite tech savvy in the first part of the episode.

    Extra clue 2: Irisu isn't a liar, she's a deceiver. Writer's block can be considered a condition and "Hongou Mayu" Eba's alias/screen-name. Being a liar wouldn't fit her "Empress" character.

    TL;DR: The movie's case isn't the REAL case.

  3. x

    Movie's case:

    It might have been the girl Oreki acused on a whim (the uninterested one).

    * She and yellow shirt guy were the only ones on the first floor.

    * There's a small shaft-thing there in the wall that connects the two rooms at the end of the passage.

    * I guess she tricked the guy to search other rooms while she went directly to commit the crime.

    * Did the kill and closed the door with the victim's key from the inside.

    * This is cheating but: From the preview you can rule out plenty of them. Glasses guy and short girl scream horrified at yellow shirt guy's death. None of them is the killer.

    * Uninterested girl is killed in the preview but I think it is after the "final fight".

    * She's the prettiest actress, may have been picked for this important role for that.

  4. R

    I think it's a prank and no ones dead. It's either that or the girl that said leave the master key there.

  5. A

    I love this show; however, having already said that I feel there isn't really any character development yet. The animation is amazing and the plot well its getting there, but the characters itself are not really develop even chitanda seems still a bit plain nothing really intriguing. I hope in the episodes to come it'll change.

  6. Actually Satoshi has gotten quite a bit of developing – he drops some very revealing philosophical musings in every ep. But no one (either in the show or the audience) is paying much attention.

  7. d

    Aaahhh yes!
    I think so too. I pay extra attention when Satoshi's talking and I predict an arc that shows the depth of his personality.
    I actually think, based on hints in each episode, there is a much darker shades to him than the rose-colored life he claimed to have (in a not evil way of course, it's Hyouka we're talking about).

    I might be wrong but I really wish that would happen.

  8. R

    Is it possible that the title of this arc was inspired by Agatha Christie's "Why didn't they ask Evans?" novel?

  9. Not just possible, I'd say certain.

  10. A

    Yep, as I'm a great fan of Agatha Christie it's certain they referenced that. Even the preview where everyone dies one by one seems to similar to "And Then There Were None."

    The title also reflect my thoughts on this ep – why isn't Oreki(or anyone else) pointed out that they just can ask Hongou who the culprit is? Hopefully that's actually is the mystery of this arc.

  11. d

    Chitanda being so perfectly perfect in what she does… its weird that she would make spelling errors on a message board…
    Most probably she was turned on. To hyper Chitanda mode. Too fast for her own good

    @Enzo: Cant wait for the day when the Hyouka entry is a few snapshots with the line "repeat first 3 lines of previous post"

  12. C

    I found the tarot conversation pretty cool because it's an interesting take on the characters themselves, as well as the relationship between Oreki and Chitanda.

    An amateur summary:

    Mayaka – Justice – Represents law, and a force of order. The Judgement thing was a joke about how she harasses him based on the name of the card, not its properties (Rebirth).

    Satoshi – Magician – Potential and clever wit. It's a little grandiose though, and he's probably paying himself a huge compliment.

    Chitanda – The Fool – Journeys, new beginnings and potential, but with a slightly difference nuance from The Magician (Tarot is kind of vague that way, for extra BS manoeuvring potential). This refers to how she starts off each case.

    Oreki – Strength (Satoshi) – He's probably teasing Oreki based on the card's art, which depicts a lion being tamed by a young maiden. It doesn't really fit otherwise (Taming/Channeling wild passions, which is NOT Oreki).
    – The Star (Chitanda) – An incredibly positive card about hope, joy and positive change. It's unambiguously happy. I found this one kind of adorable myself.

  13. C

    Eh, I don't see typos till I hit post apparently:
    *Potential, and clever wit
    *slightly different

    Evidently, I have Chitanda's need to correct typos too.

  14. s

    Good information! I know next to nothing about Tarot cards, so it was an interesting read.

  15. There's an inference to The Fool that's kind of, "Thirst for knowledge but no wisdom" or something like that, that defined Chitanda pretty well.

    I don't know why Satoshi doesn't get more attention – he invariably says the most interesting thing every episode.

  16. K

    Not only have Kyo-Ani put a lot of effort to make the homemade video as "shoddily" realistic as possible, they practically blew the budget for this episode with so many A-list seiyuu cameos all doing deadpan dialogue. lol

    Yukana fits "the Empress" role well, considering she used to do another cute and manipulative immortal in Code Geass before.

    Kyo-Ani is taking a lot of liberties yet not sacrificing any of the original's integrity. This arc will probably end in 3 episodes, meaning I'm going to have to speed up on my translation on Baka-Tsuki, but no promises the anime won't overtake my progress.

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