An Oasis of Thoughts

Hyouka – 01

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KyoAni, can you make more of this and less moe garbage? Please and thank you. This is by far the most fluid animation I’ve seen in a while, and the imagery is just as great. I kinda felt that this was a bit dull, but there’s potential (surprisingly a lot of these shows are really showing promise). Is this going to be a real mystery series because it really should have introduced us with a much more harder one to solve, but I have faith in KyoAni to do the right thing.

Synopsis

We have Yet Another Apathetic Protagonist, Houtarou Oreki (Yuuichi Nakamura). He does little at school – no clubs, no sports and no socializing. The episode shows him reluctantly joining the Classics Club, at the behest of his older sister. Joining him is his good friend Satoshi Fukube (Daisuke Sakaguchi), while they talk about how lazy and apathetic Houtarou is. After getting the key to the Classics clubroom, he meets Eru Chitanda (Satomi Satou) who is immediately mesmerized by the look in Eru’s eyes. The three then spend the rest of the episode solving various mysteries at the school, though they turn out to be fake (and one was manufactured by Houtarou). Afterwards, while walking home with Satoshi they talk more about Eru and Houtarou does seem genuinely intrigued by her.

The Visuals

Shows like these are hard to talk about, because this episode..nothing really major happened. Besides the character introductions, there wasn’t much to talk about in the story department. But the visuals, now that I can talk about. Besides the general animation being notably higher than average, there was a lot of nice imagery in this episode: When Houtarou looks at Eru, he finds himself entangled in her hair..which blooms flowers and when the three were investigating the unauthorized poster. The last one did a great job in portraying Houtarou being overwhelmed by the ‘enthusiasm’ of the posters. Unlike Shaft or Silver Link, it did feel a bit off but because it’s animated by a much more capable show (and thus it doesn’t scream ‘low budget’), but I thought these were a nice touch.

The Characters

Cast and Recent/Notable other roles (color coded if shared)
Houtarou Oreki – Yuuichi Nakamura (Gai – Guilty Crown, Tomoya – Clannad, Kyousuke – Oreimo)
Eru Chitanda – Satomi Satou (Manami – Oreimo, Ritsu – K-ON!)
Mayaka Ibara – Kayano Ai (Inori – Guilty Crown, Muginami – Rinne no Lagrange, Menma – Ano Hana)
Satoshi Fukube – Daisuke Sakaguchi (Souta – Guilty Crown, Sunohara – Clannad, ,Shinpachi – Gintama

Yeah there’s a lot of overlap with these seiyuu, just take a gander at the red. Notice anything? Oh like Clannad being animated by KyoAni? I think the casting choices were done intentionally: making Houtarou the straight man and Satoshi the best friend of the protagonist. I’m not that annoyed, but it’s hard to get a feel for these characters when throughout the episode you go “Oh hey I’ve heard these guys before, but where..?” and you already have an idea of what these characters can be. Besides that, I did enjoy Houtarou: he reminds me of myself, apathetic and just uninterested in school life. Eru gave off a bubbly feel, but something about her felt off to me but I don’t know what exactly. Satoshi is your typical friend of the protagonist, but his ‘database’ of information makes him stand out a bit than other similar characters.

Opening Theme: Yasashisa no Riyuu by Choucho (The visuals are amazing. Something about this singer that I really love, because a lot of her songs end up on my iPod – and I don’t even watch those shows!)

Overall, while this wasn’t the best introductory episode there is a lot of potential here. With KyoAni, you’ll probably be getting the very best treatment and I’m looking forward for this one.

Score: 3/5

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One thought on “Hyouka – 01

  1. Just watched this a little while ago after seeing your post – then checked the MAL folder for it. Amusing the hate it’s getting from people who want Action Now. I liked it a lot. Oh, yes I realize they didn’t do any real mystery stuff and all, but hell this was an introductory episode and those little things went a long way towards establishing their abilities and potentials. And the art/animation was great.

    Oh, and Houtarou was doomed the moment he looked into Eru’s eyes when they first met – his soul is hers now. It will be easier for him if he just accepts it.

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