My changes to these posts are so frequent..anyways this what you may expect to see for Summer’s posts, and I’ll have a schedule by the end of June.
Contrary to most people’s opinion, I actually liked this episode of Hyouka. Not the best, and probably the weakest so far, but I felt it did a great job with a bunch of high school kids actively using their brains (!) outside of the classroom (!!) for a meaningful purpose (!!!) – I know, “that can’t possibly happen in real life!”, is what people are probably thinking and I myself agree that what the Classics Club did to understand the mystery behind Chitanda’s missing uncle was a bit unorthodox, but it was meaningful. And that animation…
I’ll get it out of the way: the animation is just beyond spectacular. There’s the scenery porn that rivals any P.A. Works series, the scene with Houtarou and Satoshi on the bikes and of course the montages that artistically illustrate a very engaging and sharp narrative to the viewers. Putting it simply, if KyoAni wasn’t behind this then this episode would be the very definition of boring, heck probably even more boring that the first two episodes of Kimi to Boku (and THAT was boring, even for a slice of life fan like myself). As of right now, I’m definitely putting Hyouka in the 9 range for animation because it’s just that awesome. But you know who else deserves some attention..
But I found myself really appreciating Satoshi a lot more than before. The poor guy is the third (or fourth?) wheel in this show, in the cover art for the first Blu-ray volume he’s absent completely in favor of our other hero/heroines, every scene is basically Houtarou and Chitanda with bits of snark by Mayaka and because of his busy schedule, he makes less appearances so far than the others. Sure that costume he wore last episode was beyond awful in a fashion sense, but here his conversation with Houtarou on the bikes seemed kind of pointless, but in Hyouka there’s bound to be something someone says that really sticks out later on. Maybe Guardian Enzo is on to something…
..The conversation between Oreki and Fukube that opened the episode was interesting – more so than we had any reason to suspect it would be. It felt extraneous and unnecessary – which is exactly what made it interesting. Actually, it was more of a monologue by Fukube than a conversation, and it effectively amounted to a statement of purpose – “I’m neon bright by nature. I won’t tone myself down to fit in.” In a show where most of the dialogue has been fairly generic that was probably the most interesting speech I’ve heard, and it’s hard not to wonder if there’s a more general statement of defiance beneath the surface. I’m not suggesting that Fukube is gay, or that he needs to be in order to be interesting – but wouldn’t it be refreshing to have a gay character who’s not played for comedy or part of a fujoshi-bait series, or whose orientation is the main theme of the show – but just an interesting guy who’s part of the regular cast?
It’s true that Satoshi definitely has a bit of a hidden rebellious attitude (hidden because his role in the student council would conflict with a more rebellious personality), and he was the first one to suggest that the students of Sekitani Jun’s era at Kamiyama High were likely student activists which could imply some sort of a rebel streak though the novel readers would scoff at this idea. Of course rebellious =/= being gay, but indeed I find myself agreeing with Guardian Enzo’s observation that could Satoshi be gay in a show that makes no effort to appeal to the fujoshi or a show that uses it for laughs. Honestly I welcome such a character, but attitudes change slowly and anime is no exception to that rule. The point is, there are many tell tale signs that someone is gay and I don’t think Satoshi is (though Daisuke Sakaguchi’s last role definitely screamed BL…).
Moving on to the actual episode it was merely the group coming up with possible theories to Chitanda’s uncle disappearing and having each one thoroughly rebutted by the next one to speak until the man with the brains used his toilet thinking skills to come up with a convincing theory that had no objections from the others. That’s the entire episode in a nutshell, minus the bits with Houtarou and Satoshi, and no doubt that left many people rushing to see if the snooze alarm was turned on. Next week looks to be the big reveal, but with this show anything can happen.