Hyouka – 12

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It’s funny how I seem to like this mystery series better the less mystery there is.

[Commie] Hyouka - 12 [792BB444].mkv_snapshot_00.49_[2012.07.08_20.14.50]I’ll go on the record now and say that might just have been the best culture festival episode I’ve seen in anime.  Why?  Well, for starters, this was a culture festival that’s actually part of the plot and not just a contrived excuse for characters to act in a certain way for entertainment value – they’ve been building up to it for the entire series, basically.  But I also think this is a mode that Hyouka does exceptionally well – the exquisite art of time wasting in high school.  The series just comes alive for me in episodes like this – the characters become much more loveable, and very few shows have ever has the ability to transport me back to those days in my mind like this one does.  If there was ever a series genetically engineered for a culture festival episode, it’s Hyouka.

[Commie] Hyouka - 12 [792BB444].mkv_snapshot_01.20_[2012.07.08_20.15.39]Needless to say, this was an episode much more to my tastes that the somewhat ponderous four-part “Why Didn’t They Ask Eba” arc (and I’m finding my tastes with Hyouka tend to run directly counter to the bulk of the fan base).  In addition to all this reasons above, there’s also the fact that this kind of story is a perfect opportunity for KyoAni to really show off their visual brilliance.  This is a playground for the artists and animators – so many different venues, so many rooms, so many costumes, so much action going on at the corner of the eye…  No one can do this kind of stuff better than they can.  Never has an anime culture festival looked more like a place I’d love to waste a few hours.

[Commie] Hyouka - 12 [792BB444].mkv_snapshot_01.38_[2012.07.08_20.16.11]Another element I enjoyed here was watching all the characters with their differing ways of dealing with the event.  Houtarou is very much his old self, barely able to keep his eyes open the night before, but the others are all wide awake for their own reasons.  Satoshi is giddy with excitement at the prospect of experiencing his first high school culture festival (and his decor certainly reflects his larger-than-life personality).  Mayaka is awake out of worry – worry at being a social pariah because she has to cosplay with the Manga Club, and because she made a mistake and ordered 200 copies of the anthology.  And Chitanda is dutifully thinking ahead, making a pilgrimage to the Shrine to pray for success the following day. 

[Commie] Hyouka - 12 [792BB444].mkv_snapshot_01.43_[2012.07.08_20.16.02]The festival itself was pretty much KyoAni shamelessly showing off, but they’re so good at it I won’t begrudge them.  Some of the highlights were Satoshi’s costumer (“My Saturn!”), the Karuta Club in action, actual breakdancers (well, this is a 10 year-old series) and the karaoke featuring the lovely pop classic “Ue wo Muite Aruko”, which is to this day the only Japanese-language song to hit the Billboard Top 100 chart in the US – as “Sukiyaki”.  In short, it was colorful, silly, and looked like a great deal of fun – it’s hard to blame Chitanda for constantly getting distracted on her mission (though she does have the attention span of a chipmunk).  And yes, there was a mission – to try and sell as many of those 200 copies as possible and bail out Mayaka – and Chitanda was on her way to ask the Student Council President Tanabe Jinrou (played by no less than Fukuyama Jun) for a better selling spot (denied).  Meanwhile, Houtarou is dutifully sitting in the Classic Club’s backwater, unnoticed by the world, thought he does manage to sell one copy to a wayward member of the Fashion Club (with one of the worst smile attempts ever).  After all the fuss last week, it was sort of reassuring to see Houtarou slip comfortably back into his slacker  mode.

[Commie] Hyouka - 12 [792BB444].mkv_snapshot_02.41_[2012.07.08_20.17.14]I also have to give a plug to the new ED, which I absolutely love – not for the song itself so much, though it’s fine, but for the animation.  It’s a classic KyoAni number, really smartly crafted and full of wit, featuring Chitanda and Mayaka as Holmes and Hercule Poirot and Houtarou and Satoshi as Lupin and Moriarty.  I don’t know how much sense it makes in the context of the series but it’s clever and a nice nod to the mystery tradition at least nominally at the center of the show.  Also, I do plan to blog the special “Episode 11.5” as soon as a decent version of it is available subbed.  Where are those Fairy translation glasses when I need them?

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ED: [君にまつわるミステリー] “Kimi Ni Matsuwaru Mystery”

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  1. d

    Apparently there was a 11.5 episode (or Hyouka special) for this. I thought it was odd while watching this episode that Houtarou's sister suddenly is back and they act it's as if it's been like that for a while. Also Houtarou seemed pretty down after last episode's conclusion, but miraculously recovered as if nothing happened. That 11.5 episode did fill the gap for those two issues somewhat.

  2. I know – it's in the post!

  3. H

    I found Chitanda's "Ikemasen!" cuter and more endearing than "kininarimasu!" Plus carrying her calligraphy around, and wearing her award was precious. And I agree that this cultural festival looked like a tremendous place to spend time.

    I also loved the ending, both for the music and the animation, and Houtarou with a monocle and top hat!

  4. S

    This series is fun when the mysteries are small and the animation budget is big. hehe

    Satoshi brings so much fun to this episode. I also like Houtarou's running commentary when Satoshi was talking in the club room. That was great.

    The ED really caught my eye when I was watching. Houtarou as Moriarty was just a blast.

    Lastly, ep 11.5 is currently an ONA, so 360p is all that'll be available until it releases on BluRay as part of one of the Discs. In January 2013. (That's the note at the bottom the whole time) Granted, 11.5 is mostly an excuse to have Mayaka & Chitanda in swimsuits for 23 minutes.

  5. A

    >Granted, 11.5 is mostly an excuse to have Mayaka & Chitanda in swimsuits for 23 minutes.

    Just watched 11.5 and I have to say I disagree. They didn't wear vulgar swimsuits and their bodies weren't the focus of the episode at all. We saw of Chitanda what Houtarou saw of her, and that is crucial in understanding his motivation (not that we don't know it yet).

    It wasn't a fanservice episode.

  6. J

    Why should that mean they only have a low quality version of it? Do they broadcast it at a lower version for some reason?
    (new around these parts, just wondering.)

  7. E

    AFAIK, it was only streamed online, originally in ustream.

  8. I

    Even if the fan base is against you Enzo, I agree that this was my favourite episode of Hyouka so far. I spent most of it like Satoshi at the comedy act.

    And unlike most school festivals in anime (School Rumble's being an exception) I'd love to be in the midst of chaotic fun Kyoani has drawn for us.

    Also its great to know that even if other anime companies have decided not to bother making proper OPs (Muv-Luv, Kuroko, KoitoChoco, Rinne 2) Kyoani will buck that trend with a funny new ED.

    Chitanda is the start of a new moe, Curious moe. I'd rather have no mystery than light mystery when it comes to Hyouka

  9. A

    “Ue wo Muite Aruko” was way popular in the 60's. (Yeah, I remember them) It always seemed to me that the instrumental covers sounded very "Western". Western as in High Chaparral, Johnny Yuma, The Rifleman, and the like.

    There was a version that featured horns, which made it sound like those kinds of tunes.

    When I heard the song in the episode, I first thought they were covering an American tune! Took a bit to jog the cogs in my brain.

  10. A

    Shoot, I hate posting as "Anonymous". skyhack

  11. d

    I agree Jap Cultural Festivals are fun. Although they are usually over crowded and food is either unhealthy are taste weird. Haunted house is a must though. At least the one I had in Mid Sch was more manageable and fun.

  12. B

    Haha I like this ep. I get the impression from reading comments that a lot of people don't really like Chitanda but I think she's super awesome and watching her in this episode was a treat. Satoshi of course is always great as well.

  13. K

    Enzo, Fukuyama Jun's character is the Festival Committee President, NOT the Student Council President. That one is voiced by Morikawa Toshiyuki in a cameo. We'll be seeing more of Fukuyama in this arc.

    Concerning the Manga Club's cosplayers, most of their cosplay characters (Vocaloids) don't even exist when the original novel chapter was even written, probably only KoF's Shiranui Mai is "old" enough, so it's clearly Kyo-Ani having a bit of fun here.

    But just when you thought that wasn't fun enough, Chitanda had to steal the show with her own cosplays. HNNGG

    This episode is also memorable for its cameos, with Taketatsu Ayana and Kotobuki Minako joining in as Ibara's Manga Club colleagues. All that's left is for Hikasa Youko to complete the K-ON cameo set.

    A bit puzzled by why Kyo-Ani chose to conceal Houtarou's sister's face. She may be the mastermind for the previous arcs, but those are more like slice-of-life arcs rather than anything sinister. Then again, we never knew Kyon's real name for the simple reason that we were never told of it.

  14. K

    The ED is good, finely complimented by all the Holmes and Poirot titles in the background.

    Some interesting allusions in the ED cosplays:

    As Lupin was rarely caught, this would suggest Satoshi would always try to elude Mayaka and her crush for him.

    OTOH, Moriaty was promptly vanquished by Holmes. So Houtarou probably has no luck in trying to get away from Chitanda.

  15. K

    You know what, forget what I said.

    I just checked some of the screenshots of Kyo-Ani's ED sketches, it shows Houtarou as Lupin while Satoshi is Moriaty, thus throwing my allusion theory out of the window.

  16. D

    That moriarty. So bored. Does not fit the character at all. Lol. He does not even seem like a criminal

  17. E

    Yeah, this is basically how to waste time in school spcifically in cultural festival. nothing happened but this might be my favorite episode of hyouka so far.

    And SUKIYAKI song!!!

  18. g

    wow i love this episode to bits. it's so witty!

  19. K

    I loved the sheer amount of detail KyoAni put in to the actual cultural festival. Posters everywhere, stair art, etc… And it actually looks like something a student could actually make.

    Chitanda is just absolutely hilarious and adorable at the same time. I liked how they seamlessly slipped in Chitanda cosplay, without detracting much from anything else.

    Seems like Karuta becoming more and more popular. Ever since Chihayafuru, there have been several animes that reference Karuta in some way, shape or form.

  20. K

    Cultural festival episodes are Kyo-Ani's forte, from Haruhi (Live Alive), Clannad, and especially K-ON, it just gets better and better.

  21. f

    the animations were nice and the cultural festival was a nice change of pace from the gloomy backdrop of the previous arcs….but nothing happened.

    I swear, I have to watch hyouka in chunks or else I might have to claw my own eyes out waiting on plot development for the next month

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