Hyouka – 09

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Wow – that’s a three-part story?

[Mazui]_Hyouka_-_09_[695133C4].mkv_snapshot_01.12_[2012.06.17_21.08.28]I’m definitely OK with the relaxed, time-wasting appeal of Hyouka – generally speaking.  But stretching this movie script mystery over three parts makes for some pretty watery gruel, even by this show’s standards.  I guess KyoAni deserve credit for going all-in with this approach, but my patience was tested a little bit this time, and I was starting to drift by the end.  And perhaps most disturbing is the fact that no one is asking  what should be the most obvious question – why not just ask Hongou-san how she intended to end the story?  There’s obviously some reason why they can’t, and that’s the real mystery – but why do none of the Scooby Gang seem to realize that?

[Mazui]_Hyouka_-_09_[695133C4].mkv_snapshot_02.01_[2012.06.17_21.09.18]The bulk of the episode is taken up by the three lame theories of the Class 2-5 production crew, and this provided KyoAni with another opportunity to brag that their budget includes name seiyuu for small roles – in this case A.D. Nakajou Junya (Kondou Takayuki) Props Master Haba Tomohiro (Abe Atsushi) and Publicity Director Sawakiguchi Misaki (Ise Mariya).  Starting with the lamest first, Nakajou argues simply that the killer went in and out the window and is openly dismissive of the rules of mysteries.  Haba believes the killer was to lower themselves by rope from the floor above, as witness the fact that Hongou told him to procure a strong rope.  He fancies himself a mystery purist and derides Hongou as an amateur.  And finally, Sawakiguchi argues for the horror route, claiming that Hongou intended for a mysterious seventh character to kill the others one by one according to horror film convention, leaving only the main couple left. 

[Mazui]_Hyouka_-_09_[695133C4].mkv_snapshot_03.27_[2012.06.17_21.10.43]Each of these series is rejected for their own internal inconsistencies, and rightly so.  As this is happening there’s a mildly amusing sight gag as Chitanda slowly gets drunk on whiskey chocolates, and some modestly interesting banter among the Scooby Gang where it’s revealed that Satoshi is quite the mystery buff (though it doesn’t seem to be doing much good here).  Of course the title of the episode – “Why Didn’t She Ask Eba?” is a joke in itself – a play on the Agatha Christie novel “Why Didn’t She Ask Evans?” and a nod to the white elephant in the room during this arc.  When The Empress intercepts Houtarou on the way home and invites him for tea, it becomes pretty obvious that the other shoe is about to drop.

[Mazui]_Hyouka_-_09_[695133C4].mkv_snapshot_03.41_[2012.06.17_21.10.57]There’s not really a whole lot else to say about this ep, really.  The animation is fine, Godly even, but there are no standout sequences as there often were in the first several eps.  Houtarou was astonishingly comatose even by his standards, and while I generally find his low-key demeanor and the lack of imperative tolerable enough, there does come a point where you ask – if no one in the show can be bothered to care that much, why should I?  The conscious obsession with the trivial can be a little precious with Hyouka at times, and there was a whiff of that this week.  All in all I think this arc would have been better served to be two episodes at most – last week’s and this week’s content could easily have been combined into a single episode without the loss of anything really compelling, and offered a more involving final product in the process.

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[Mazui]_Hyouka_-_09_[695133C4].mkv_snapshot_08.35_[2012.06.17_21.15.52] [Mazui]_Hyouka_-_09_[695133C4].mkv_snapshot_10.36_[2012.06.17_21.17.52] [Mazui]_Hyouka_-_09_[695133C4].mkv_snapshot_10.42_[2012.06.17_21.17.58]
[Mazui]_Hyouka_-_09_[695133C4].mkv_snapshot_11.25_[2012.06.17_21.18.42] [Mazui]_Hyouka_-_09_[695133C4].mkv_snapshot_12.27_[2012.06.17_21.19.43] [Mazui]_Hyouka_-_09_[695133C4].mkv_snapshot_13.32_[2012.06.17_22.06.13]
[Mazui]_Hyouka_-_09_[695133C4].mkv_snapshot_15.11_[2012.06.17_21.22.28] [Mazui]_Hyouka_-_09_[695133C4].mkv_snapshot_16.56_[2012.06.17_21.24.12] [Mazui]_Hyouka_-_09_[695133C4].mkv_snapshot_17.22_[2012.06.17_21.24.39]
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  1. I

    Boring, no seriously boring.

    Did anyone from the film club actually listen to these theories, before showing their juniors how "intelligent and humble" the people in their club are.

    The only thing I got from this whole episode was looking into your link for Mariya Ise's MAL page and thinking that she's quite cute. Should be an Idol if she isn't one already. The Otaku will laud her.

  2. I think she's done a bit of idol stuff, in fact. She's very cute, indeed, and a good singer.

  3. n

    I don't think she's that cute. She's okay. She's got eyes of a killer~! heh. I kid, I kid. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

    …..seriously my issue with "some" female celebrities is that you google their names and you get like 5-6 totally different faces on the first page(!), depends on their makeups/lighting/air-brushing (oh, they are of the same person). You draw some eyebrows in, put in fake eyelashes, etc, volia, your eyes suddenly become twice as big! Anyway, ranting over. Not even sure why I went there anyway~~. It's not a knock against our fairer sex, but "some" of the offenders.

  4. e

    @nobo: ouch XD. She's normal-to-cute imho, taking into account official photos are almost never wysiwyg.

    In defense of my supposedly fairer sex… photomanipulation is something the actual celebrities may have very little decisional power upon, and must bend to the beauty value system to keep their job regardless of subscribing by genuine accord to such values.
    So… who's the offender here? just the lady? the photomanipulation professionals (for all we know she might have been wearing minimal makeup for the photoshoot and every retouch was a postproduction decision) ? the celeb lady's agency/sponsors/whatever? or the public and trend makers pushing for – and supporting – only a few beauty templates hence you basically comply or you'd better prepared for fewer jobs/no jobs? :>
    Also… we shouldn't forget that makeup in history has not been just a women's thing, or some women's thing. I fondly remember a BBC doc on the French monarchs… make-up galore for the King as much – if not more- than for his courtesans, satin ribbons and high heels and fake moles, blush and heels and crazy curly wigs to look imposing, majestic and fashionable to the max.
    Last but not least… peer and society pressure tend to ask from us to wear make-up regardless of gender… and not even the kind you find in jars and spread on your face either ;p.

  5. B

    Personally I thought the episode was fine, but I've achieved 100% buy in on this show already. I like the characters and the languid pace so I'm willing to forgive it for dragging things out perhaps a LITTLE longer than they should have.

  6. l

    If the pay-off isn't good on episode 10, I will put this on hold.

  7. d

    I like the slow. Too many fast moving stuff in life today. Finale should be a blast. Even if it is not. I still love this.

  8. A

    It had its funny moments but the theories were complete garbage. In fact some of it was actually funny because of how quickly and bluntly Houtarou destroyed their bad theories.

  9. K

    From the Kyo-Ani webpage, this arc will be 4 episodes long. I know because I'm still translating that novel volume.

    To be fair to Kyo-Ani, writer Gatou Shouji (of FMP fame) ought to be applauded for compressing three pretty mundane novel chapters into one episode, again with liberal use of "Shaft style" animation to make what is basically a scene with everyone sitting on a table talking less mundane.

    (DISCUSSION ONLY, NOT SPOILER) All of this is of course "the Empress" manipulating Houtarou into taking over as the new scriptwriter without him even realizing it, hence her purposely choosing three people she knew very well had no idea in solving the unfinished script.

  10. d

    Well how come no one is stepping forward on who they think is the murderer? Not even you, GE???

    I personally think that mystery of behind Hongou will turn out to be another lame one. This show has constantly proved that its main mystery is a lame-o. So forget that. I am interested in the killer!!

    First two assumptions: a) the door wasn't locked at some point. Otherwise, how did the victim get in the first place?
    b) they said that no one could get the master key beforehand since it was at open space and would be seen by someone in doing so.

    Now my handful of experience of reading stuff like Kindaichi mystery files in my youth should help me. Here's my take: for a) the killer pretended to go to her room, but instead followed the victim, killed him, and locked the door behind. Then went back to her room and changed her clothes, cleaning the blood on her. But this is too easy.

    So if following b), the killer must have had a real master key in her possession the whole time and pretended to run back and get it and swapped the real thing from her pocket with the fake one while doing so. They were two girls running to get it. It must be one of the two. Since she had it the whole time, she needed an excuse to swap them, thus volunteering to get it.

    Well, that's all I've got for now. No spoiling from those who read the source novel/manga!!

  11. Honestly, Doodle, the Scoobies don't seem to care that much, and I think the reason you're not seeing much fan speculation is that not that many audience members do either. I'm just not drawn into this mystery enough to have a strong opinion.

  12. B

    As someone who has NOT read the LN, my theory is that Hongou didn't even intend an ending, she tried to write a mystery in the Sherlock Holmes style (all her reference to the genre was Holmes) but realized partway through that it was way above the level of a novice like her and hit a brick wall. This whole arc is either her lying to her clubmates about being sick to avoid telling them that she can't do what she promised, or else she did tell them she can't do it and it's a plot by the club to try to get the Hyouka group to come up with a plausible endingin her place so they can finish filming. The reason I'm not speculating on who the killer was is because I don't think Hongou planned it that far in advance, frankly.

  13. x

    >not seeing much fan speculation is that not that many audience members do either.

    I don't agree with that. Both reddit and /a/ threads have plenty of speculations and "detectives" trying to work around the "case".

    This is /a/'s thread: http://archive.foolz.us/a/thread/67281231/#67281231. Reddit's in my previous comment.

  14. F

    Enzo, "Why didn't she just as EBA" isn't the name of the episode, its the title of the entire second volume.

  15. The point is exactly the same, really…

  16. F

    One would presume that this point will be addressed before the end, considering that its literally the very first thing you would see upon picking up the volume, along with the Japanese title "A Fool's Credits".

  17. S

    While not much actually happens in Hyouka, a drunk Chitanda was well worth watching episode 8. You knew exactly what was going to happen when she opened the whiskey chocolates box, but it was worth the watch. 🙂

  18. j

    I'm with Beckett in the 100 percent club (probably too small to call it a camp). But I've got to admit that I care nothing for mysteries and kinda enjoyed Endless Eight.

  19. B

    I actually love mysteries but it's been pretty obvious since episode 1 that the mysteries in this show were in name only so I don't let their weakness distract me from liking the show. The show is about watching how the different characters with their various personalities think about the world around them and the conclusions they reach based on that unique form of thinking.

  20. A

    "if no one in the show can be bothered to care that much, why should I?"

    I see that phrase on the net since the show first started airing and well I just had to say some things on that.
    What does it matter if the characters "don't care?" Is that a flaw? Of course not.That doesn't say anything on the series actual worth.They are different characters behaving and thinking differently. Some of them do care,like Chitanda, some don't-or at least pretend they don't- like Oreki. And isn't that fresh in a way? To not care that much cause they actually know that it's not that important and there are no stakes.
    Τhe trivial as you say,mysteries, on this show are actually some of the most plausible we've ever seen in anime. Most series centered around mysteries have these over the top tricks and murders every week. They try to make you involved in a different way. That's good,I'm actually a fan of them. But Hyouka is different. It's not a series about mysteries and how to solve them, but about kids who like these kind of stuff and enjoy the thought process of mystery solving.They try to find exciting situations you only read about in novels in their school lives. It's like watching Case Closed and pause it before the revelation. You don't care that much but you still think it through. It's fun in a way. You point out contradictions, guess who the murderer is and all that. Hyouka is about that, while at the same time having excellent production values and quality writing. So I really think that people have some kind of distorted expectations while watching Hyouka. The "mystery tag" can be misleading I guess. People come expecting murders and cool detective finger pointing. But it was never about that really.

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