While browsing Crunchyroll I happened upon this series and was curious because the art style looked like something I could get into. I was putting it off for a minute, especially since I had finished my review for citrus not that long ago, but I needed to watch anime and actually enjoy it rather than doing it just for work on this website…that was going to start here.
Starting up Hyouka, I was pleasantly surprised by exactly how beautiful everything was animated. The aesthetics of the show definitely suits my needs; I like anime that is well drawn and well animated. Something I immediately noticed was how the character design really reminds me of K-On!「けいおん!」or Kyoukai no Kanata「境界の彼方」, I did not look it up but am pretty sure it is probably from either the same light novel author or the same animation studio (which I was right about, looked it up and both were done by “Kyoto Animation”). Honestly, I was full-on ready to dive in after experiencing how much love was put into making sure this anime was easy on the eyes, it is good to see pride put into work.
Anyways, the first episode of Hyouka is titled “The Return of the Time-Honored Classic Lit Club” and is just about Hotaro becoming a member of the Classic Literature Club on behalf of his sister’s wishes. Things take an unexpected turn when he runs into a curious club member named Chitanda Eru, who begins to invade Hotaro’s world.
It is made apparent that the protagonist of this series is going to be Oreki Hotaro, someone who seems to be incredibly lazy. Actually, let me put that differently: Hotaro is someone who likes to “conserve energy” by allowing himself to avoid any activity that is greater than that of doing nothing; which is nearly everything. “If I don’t have to do something, I don’t do it. If I have to do something, I do it quickly” is actually his motto, and it makes sense considering he wants to do nothing as often as he possibly can.
This character is quite believable, rather, he is not someone who is outcasted by chance or by being different…it is a choice. The choice is obviously due to boredom and not finding actual interest within anything, while it is clear that he has motivations of his own from time-to-time, obviously he is content wasting away doing nothing. No goals, ambitions, or worrisome thoughts about missed opportunities or the fading days of youth passing him by seem to phase this perennially gray person.
His entire demeanor is spoken about by his close friend, Fukube Satoshi. Satoshi seems like he is a character designed to bring balance to Hotaro’s stillness; being a blazing fireball of energy and monologue where as Oreki is the inverse. It is obvious that he likes Satoshi as a friend and that he considers him close, but his personality is not enough to break through the mold of Hotaro’s mundane facade.
From the first introduction of Chitanda Eru as a character, she was demanding the attention of the audience with her cheerful demeanor, infectious personality, and moe appeal. The general kindness her expressions give, the simple cuteness of her features, and the alluring sense of abrasive curiosity is a melting pot for a memorable character. I was impressed by how Eru’s character alone can reassure someone that they picked the right series and cannot wait to see more of her interactions, though that is not the biggest thing.
Immediately upon entering the bubble of Hotaro, Eru slowly begins to tear down that thinking which colors him in shades of gray. Oreki even acknowledges to himself that his problem is going to be “this little lady” in response to thinking about how he can retain his peaceful days of energy conservation. Something about this girl seems to draw the main character in, and he seems to also act upon instinct without thought as if they are clouded over by something else. I see a potential romance brewing, at least from his side, which begins to make him question nearly everything he thought up to that point… that or he breaks his vow and begins to do things despite not having to do them in order to appease her (such as the “Joro Spider Society” hunt at the very end of the episode despite it expending more effort than it takes to just say “I don’t know”).
The main character reminds me a bit of Hikigaya Hachiman from the anime My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU 「やはり俺の青春ラブコメはまちがっている」, though he is a lot less steadfast and analytical (at least in regards to the inner workings of people). The anime itself does remind me of My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU simply because it shows that meeting people can affect everything you know about yourself, life, and can alter your very perception on reality.
The effects of him when he looks at her, the way that Hotaro gets lost in Eru’s eyes when he sees her is proof enough that love at first sight exists. This anime is showing that even the most stubborn mountain can be moved when given the right motivation…or when just the right heart strings are pulled. It is something curious, but it is something exhibited everyday in the very life we live; you will be more reluctant to stick to your old ways if it means missing out on something or someone that catches your interest.
Overall, Hyouka has ensnared me from the very first episode. I am hoping for more of Eru’s cute curiosity which seems insatiable, and the reactions it will yield from Hotaro who already sees his fascination with this girl as a very threat to this iron-willed lifestyle. While citrus had a very good beginning episode and disappointed me, I have a feeling that Hyouka will not do the same.
Thanks for reading! I will see you again for the full review!