Hyouka – 14

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The jump in quality from “Eba” to Kanya Festa” may be one of the most dramatic intra-series leaps I can remember.

[Mazui]_Hyouka_-_14_[A74CB077].mkv_snapshot_02.49_[2012.07.22_22.46.02]One of the first comparisons I made with Hyouka was to “Seinfeld”, and this arc really goes a long way towards showing just why it felt that way to me.  The ability to make doing effectively nothing really interesting is a lot harder than it sounds.  “Seinfeld” was probably the best ever at it, and Hyouka is one of the best anime ever at it.  The “Eba” arc reminds me of the last couple of seasons of “Seinfeld”, after Larry David left, when the show had too much plot and lost the essence of what made it work.  “Kanya Festa” is right in Hyouka’s sweet spot, though – agreeably silly and obsessive about the small details.

“What did you do today?”
“I got up, I went to school, and I sat at a table selling pamphlets.”
“That’s a show!”

[Mazui]_Hyouka_-_14_[A74CB077].mkv_snapshot_03.55_[2012.07.22_22.47.08]Well, throw in some cooking, a game show and a catfight in cosplay and that’s not just a show – it’s four shows, which is what this arc will be after next week’s episode.  But rather than drive me crazy I’m loving it, because this culture festival has been about the best one I can remember seeing in anime.  Mystery?  Oh yeah, there is one, and it pops up again this week for about seven seconds – and that’s just how I like my Hyouka mysteries, of the “Oh, by the way” variety.  I suppose Houtarou’s sister is probably behind these silly stunts with the “thefts” and notes, but we’ll find out soon enough.  As always with this show, when it’s working it’s about the journey, not the destination.

[Mazui]_Hyouka_-_14_[A74CB077].mkv_snapshot_04.54_[2012.07.22_22.48.07]There wasn’t anything this time that had me howling like the game show spoof and Satoshi’s performance in it, but a steady buzz of amusement ran through the whole ep.  I quite liked the “Trick-or-treat!  Yaaaaay!” girls who traded two bags of cookies and a crucial (you knew it would be) bag of flour for a copy of Hyouka and Houtarou’s Glock squirter (not as dirty as it sounds).  The meat of the ep (sorry) was devoted to the Wildfire contest – four teams of three students each, cooking for 20 minutes each.  An interesting concept, sort of “Iron Chef” in shifts.  It’s impossible not to notice that the President of the Cooking Society (wearing a fake nose and glasses for some reason) is played by Sugita Tomokazu, and he has a lot of fun with the role (as he always does).  KyoAni seems intent on hiring every name seiyuu in the directory for this show.

[Mazui]_Hyouka_-_14_[A74CB077].mkv_snapshot_07.59_[2012.07.22_22.51.12]The whole contest was a lot of fun, especially with the rollicking BGM track played over it.  The facial gymnastics of Satoshi and Chitanda were consistently amusing, as was some of the stuff cooked up by the competing teams (does Giseyaki even exist?)  Mayaka was late, finishing up her poster for the Manga Society, but arrives with 15 minutes left only to find that the ADD/HDD Chitanda has managed to use the team’s entire supply of ingredients apart from a bag of shrimp heads and the butt ends of a few veggies.  Enter Houtarou with the aforementioned bag of flour, which he relays via Satoshi to Mayaka with ten minutes left.  What does she make?  Kakiage of course – a kind of mish-mosh cross between tempura and a pancake.  The highlight for me, though, comes at the end of the contest when Houtarou declares of his limited role, “That was hard work.”  The subtext of course is that Houtarou is someone who actually cares about the success of the team (as witness his restless leg during the contest).  Mayaka is doing this very much to impress Satoshi, and I confess, I was quite surprised to find all three of them such accomplished cooks. 

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  1. N

    I'm actually not as huge a fan of this arc as I was the last.

    Don't get me wrong, I like it and how it portrays the school during a festival (honestly, it's probably done this the best of most anime), but I'd really like to see the mystery aspect be given a bit more attention (which I'm guessing will happen next week). What's happening is fun to watch and all, but I love it most when Oreki is playing the Sherlock-in-training role.

    Plus, this arc hasn't really done much with the character insights from the end of the previous arc, which I found a touch disappointing.

  2. E

    I think they wrapped up the aftermath of Eba's arc in episode 12.5

  3. j

    Not even the Empress can resist the power of Chi-chan.

  4. d

    A man once said to a well known clown, "Nothing is the finest thing a person can do if he's good at it."

  5. E

    It's really weird whenever I see Satoshi because it's like I'm watching watching myself, from the general info contest to cooking (Oh, my high school memories… wanna go back). Though, I might be a better cook than him. This is really the best anime school festival.

    I thought they'd show the judge's expression eating the avant garde cooking, that flame and overuse of soy sauce, of the theater(?) club. I imagine Tomokazu's voice when eating that food (is that even considered a food?).

    Googled giseyaki and got this: http://www.kikkoman.co.jp/homecook/search/recipe.php?numb=00000516

  6. C

    Houtaro reminds me of myself.

  7. d

    with the constant drop of speed per episode i expected this to be a shuten.
    Looks like its going to be rapid express from now on.

    Animation quality went down. Their hands seemed weird. Workers getting Summer fatigue?

  8. S

    Fear the Chitanda and her cooking prowess.

    And, yes, she is curious, haha. I also liked the little wrap up of the Empress storyline from last arc, with her explaining how to convince people to do things for you. She played Oreki so well.

  9. A

    Houtaro conserving energy by not waving his hand when he put it up to say goodbye.

  10. H

    This arc is exceedingly enjoyable, just as it is. And now we get to the 'mystery' as they have finally realized that all the missing items are connected somehow. Maybe this will be the thing to get Houtarou out of the club room?

    Also, I thought Irisu teaching Chitanda persuasion techniques was pretty funny (and realizing that Chitanda already uses persuasion techniques, even to get Irisu to teach her persuasion!). I'm watching that wondering how many of those words Chitanda is actually absorbing, and then thinking later that that's pretty much how she gaslights you: She seems to be flighty and unfocused, and almost puppy-like in her attention, yet then drops some minor detail nobody else saw.

  11. K

    Houtarou's sister's broken pen sure went a long way to bring such an outcome. How was it possible that she could have foresaw this chain of item swapping could yield such results for the Classics Club?

    Kyo-Ani once again demonstrates its prowess of summoning A-list cameos. This week besides the eponymous but ever entertaining Sugita Tomokazu, we also have Itou Kanae as one of the "pumpkin girls".

    It was fun to see even "the Empress" Irisu couldn't resist Chitanda's "Geass" (as some fans like to call her glittering eyes whenever she goes "Kini narimasu"). This goes to show that it's not just Houtarou that gets flustered in her presence. Rather than their family connections, maybe that's really how the Chitanda managed to befriend Irisu, who rarely reveals her true feelings. lol

    (And seeing Irisu agreeing to help Chitanda rights away, perhaps the Tarot interpretation concerning the Empress possessing "motherly love" mentioned in the previous arc may not be too wrong after all. )

  12. A

    Major leap in tone, no leap in quality whatsoever. Quality has been consistent since the first episode.

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