Well, I’ll be shocked: this episode was much more interesting then the last two by a long shot. This was a really nice (almost) Chitanda-free episode and we got to see a different side to Mayaka, Satoshi and Houtarou in exchange. As much as I like Chitanda, this was the episode where everyone else ought to have shined. Perhaps, I’ll reverse my decision on dropping it.
I’m sure Irisu-senpai means well, but I couldn’t help but wonder if all the praise she was giving Houtarou was part of something sinister, I mean she already knew that the other three’s ideas were bogus to begin with and was only testing him but Houtarou and us the viewers aren’t sure if her praise was truly honest or just another one of her tests. Let’s face it, when we as people get praised for something we tend to forget everything else around us. Houtarou clearly took the praise a little too well and the rest of the episode was him trying to live up to her expectations. I think he knows he has a lot of potential, the whole “I’m just lucky” schtick is just a cover because deep down he wants to get praised for something.
The same goes for Satoshi, who showed a rare serious moment. He too longs for acknowledgment, the whole “I’m a database only” schtick is yet again a cover for his need for praise. He clearly is jealous a bit of Houtarou, stating that he could never have been the star (or in this case, the protagonist of the series) and that scene with his changed expression really took me by surprise. We need episodes like these, that add another angle to these characters instead of the borefest that was the last two episodes. I really wish Satoshi was the protagonist of the series, but I could hear the thousands of KyoAni fans drop this series all at once if that were possible.
But Mayaka was the surprise star of this episode. It was her that brought the attention of the rope that essentially rendered Houtarou’s theory invalid completely. She, like Satoshi, figured that Irisu worked up Houtarou but unlike Satoshi she actually took part in finding out who killed Kaito, but then again you can argue it was “the arm of the law” as the reason why Satoshi couldn’t help solve the mystery instead of his jealousy towards Houtarou. As much as Houtarou has the brains, he needs everyone else around to keep his ego afloat because with everyone out of the picture this episode, Houtarou’s final deduction was way off the mark and why it was off the mark was because of Irisu-senpai’s overflowing praise, honest or not.
I’m glad the mystery is over next episode and the new OP/ED should also premiere next week which I’m looking forward to. If Hyouka would have episodes like these constantly, It would make me as a blogger proud to blog them. This was the best episode for some subtle character development for everyone.