Hyouka 02 – Review

Hyouka – A mystery series where what the girl wants is more important than the truth

Episode 02 – Activities of the Glorious Classic Literature Club

This episode  brings us to the end of the introduction of new characters and the episode finishes on a cliffhanger (kinda).

Judging from the way things are progressing, we can expect the next episode to cover the main mystery plot of the series.

I love the contrast between the vivid colours of the characters when placed against the duller background settings

Review

As with the first episode, the animation is definitely one of the biggest positives of this series. The nice use of textures mixed with a slightly desaturated colour palette provides a nice serious tone to the series whilst the “adorable yet pretty” character designs counter balances it with a bit of mainstream fun.

One of the big execution positives of the episode was how the dynamic-angled shots were used to boost the duller scenes to make them more interesting.

For me, if the story isn’t interesting enough, it is always good to know that at least the animation is there to pick up some of the slack. This had definitely gave me hope in knowing that the animation in the first episode wasn’t simply a one off thing to suck the audience into the series. Hopefully this consistency will carry on through the rest of the series.

Just as important as animation in this series is the soundtrack. One of the more disappointing series background music for me this season was ‘Sakamichi no Apollon‘. To put it simply, whilst that show had some awesome Jazz songs in it and awesome moments of music application, it was disappointing to be faced with constant background silence during those other slower paced moments. It grated on my nerves that a series that had a focus on music was so temperamental with their on and off moments of brilliance.

Seems like the show has developed a habit of introducing the mysteries using different animation styles.

Whereas in Hyouka, despite the uninspired choice of background music, the execution of those songs were nicely done and for the most part, it had helped with building the atmosphere of the series.

One obvious way in which the music had benefited the series was during the mystery buildup. The case in this episode (as with the previous episode) was really uninteresting and simple. However, through the use of background music to build-up the tension, the case had created some sort of appeal for itself.

Once again, this episode places a huge importance on Oreki and his incessant need to save energy.
(If I were to meet a man as whiny as this guy in real life, I might just give him a good kick to shut him up.)

As for how his attitude is meant to be important to the overall storyline?

Your guess is as good as mine.

The first episode had done a well enough job in establishing that Oreki is lazy (or in ecofriendly terms – he loves to conserve energy) and that due to Chitanda’s whirlwind personality, he is finding it harder and harder to live by his motto. This becomes obvious through Oreki’s actions in trying to pacify Chitanda’s curiosity.

It had felt unnecessary to re-establish that fact in our minds over and over again, and unless that personality trait is to come into play in the near future (with a big impact on the overall plot) I can’t see a reason for this loop.

Another positive aspect of the show was the fact that the character introductions for this series only spans across two episode. Whilst the character introduction process usually tend to be on the tedious side for most series, this series had managed to ease through this stage of things by placing the focus on the mystery whilst integrating the characters into the situation in an almost normal manner by having the mystery play-out around Oreki instead of giving the other characters too much attention.

At this stage, the show is obviously trying to build up to something, but I am uncertain as to what it’s really trying to accomplish overall. The tone of the series definitely seems to be leaning towards Slice-of-Life with a hint of light mystery, but until we dive deeper in the main storyline I can’t say for certain if that is really the path the series is going down towards.

One things for sure though, this is another one of those series where the club doesn’t seem to have a proper plan of action and what happens simply revolves around what the club members feels like doing at that moment in time. It reminds me of all the other club series with harebrained focuses (or a focus that gets lost along the way) but with a touch of solemness to things due to Oreki’s approach to life coupled with the animation style.

Overall, the series has yet to leave me jumping for more, but at the same time, it hasn’t done much wrong to make me want to drop the show. It is currently hovering on the realm of being safe with no risks having been taken in the series when it comes to creativity. It definitely doesn’t seem to have an “out there” plot like Mawaru Penguindrum had, but it is neither a shit show that simply plays on the fan service side of things.

Episode Rating – 6.5/10 – Its was simply more of the same as seen in the first episode.

-ra

Question of the Day:

How many of you were expecting this to either be a K-ON or Haruhi copycat series?

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About Saranaufogus

An Anime fan who can't seem to keep her thoughts to herself.

Posted on May 1, 2012, in Anime, Hyouka, Reviews and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. So far, Hyouka is a snore-fest, a gormless Haruhi-lite if you will, and the cheesy house aesthetic or style wears on me as something annoying, sometimes even irritating. Probably explains why I never bothered to watch a single episode of K-ON!

    • Lol! Ouch…

      Although I did watch the first season of K-On, I couldn’t really motivate myself to watch the second season of it. You aren’t missing out on much if the first season of K-ON is anything to go by.

      “and the cheesy house aesthetic or style wears on me as something annoying, sometimes even irritating.”

      I can understand where you are coming from. =/

      Here’s to hoping the next episode is totally different from the first 2. =P Wanna hold your breath?

      • No, because I’m already spoiled rotten by a great slate of shows this season:

        Lupin the III: Mine Fujiko to Iu Onna
        Fate Zero S2
        Sakamichi no Apollon
        Nazo no Kanojo X
        Eureka Seven AO
        Space Brothers

        Given such stiff competition, I’m dropping the rest, except for Sankarea, Tasogare Otome x Amnesia, and Tsuritama.

      • Haha, alright. I’ll let you know if episode three gets better. =P

  2. I lay on my bed and pretend I am a banana

    Honestly didn’t expect this to be like Haruhi or K-On. I had very high expectations for it. Till now, the show has proven me wrong and is indeed very boring and I really think it should get into the actual mystery already. Quickly.

    • Banana,
      I didn’t have any expectations myself, and did not read any synopsis or whatever of this show going in.

      But when I watched the very first (narration-wise) episode of Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, I immediately recognized its subtle genius.

      With Hyouka, despite zero expectations, I smell a derivative attempt that gradually infects everything. Maybe the third episode will jumpstart the show? :)

      • I lay on my bed and pretend I am a banana

        I personally really hope it does. I am actually considering dropping it if it stays like this for a really long time.

    • “Honestly didn’t expect this to be like Haruhi or K-On. I had very high expectations for it.”

      Haha, it kinda reminded me of Kami-sama no Memochou – high expectations that didn’t deliver. The first episode of Kamisama was great but the rest was far from being the same in quality.

      This is worse though since we have yet to witness anything “brilliant” from it.

  3. I really hate that when I develop some expectations and then I am faced with something totally different.

    The series had a really bad start. I know it may seem like I am beating a dead horse, but the first mystery killed any interest I had. It was not only bland and pointless, but it had a plot hole. Now, let me explain:

    -Anime starts first mystery- the locked doors
    -Anime establishes that Eru has an exceptional hearing (and seemingly smart, but whatever)
    -Anime shows reason for locked doors- a huffing and puffing janitor with a ladder
    -Anime states that Eru was locked in by this janitor and did not hear him- a dude that is as sneaky as a truck
    -Anime fails and continues to troll me with more such mysteries (well, that was unnecessary)

    Hyouka is not a completely bad anime, but it is just “slice of moe” as for now.

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