There comes a point in every aniblogger’s career when they genuinely think that, given all the shows they have seen and written about, they know everything about every show, which means they know exactly how a show’s going to play out right from episode one, because, well, aren’t the vast majority of shows simply rehashes of other shows? They also realise that sometimes it’s more fun to brutally bash a show than it is to sing its praises- the former encourages far more emotive responses, and for us to band together against the show in question. It was this deadly cocktail of pride and arrogance that lead me to mercilessly take down Hyouka, after just the first episode!
This is what I wrote about Hyouka’s first episode as an APR comment: “Whilst Hyouka had some great visual gimmickry, including Eru’s vine-like hair coiling itself around Hotaro, symbolising her all-consuming curiosity or, I dunno, how completely and utterly at her mercy Hotaro feels, I’ve never been one to favour a show simply ’cause it looked pretty! Its opening episode failed to grab me, it’s ‘mysteries’ barely reaching Scooby Doo standard, and that’s that.”
Granted, the first episode wasn’t the strongest of first episodes, but, all the same, I’d broken my own golden rule of “DON’T JUDGE A SHOW UNTIL YOU’RE A GOOD CHUNK OF THE WAY THROUGH!”, the reason for this being, it could suddenly become quite good, leaving you feeling a bit foolish, which was exactly the case in this instance.
One reason I initially criticised Hyouka (as you can see above), was because its mysteries were too tame. Anyone who’s seen the show knows that the mysteries are based on small peculiarities observed by the Classic Literature club as they go about their daily lives, rather than being dramatic whodunits (though there was a bit of that at one point), which doesn’t seem terribly exciting, but I actually came to love Hyouka for this. Because the mysteries had no basis in the scientific, or supernatural, they merely revolved around regular people with regular people flaws, the mysteries were actually possible for most to solve. I had next to no hope solving most of the mysteries in, say, Gosick, or Un-Go, but I actually could, and did in Hyouka, and that was so incredibly satisfying!
Some of Hyouka’s characters were also pretty interesting. I thoroughly enjoyed watching Hotaro develop, becoming less and less aggrieved by having to cater to Chitanda’s whims. He seemed almost unsure of why this was the case, when in actuality, it couldn’t be more obvious that it was because he liked her. This was incredibly endearing. I also found myself quite smitten with Satoshi during one of the final episodes. After watching the episode in question, and having some interesting conversations on Twitter, I came to the conclusion that the reason he pushed Mayaka away, stemmed from him being a perfectionist who was never able to achieve perfection. So when Mayaka, a girl who seems him as being perfect, comes along, he pushes her away, not wanting to disappoint her. Ironically, this ends up disappointing her anyway. A wonderfully flawed and interesting character, the likes of which are rarely seen in an anime of this sort.
And Hyouka’s art and animation were always to an impeccably high standard. It was wonderful to see so many visual quirks used to convey Hotaro’s thoughts- Chitanda’s crazy hair, and the mini Chitandas being just a few of my favourites! It was certainly a more interesting way of communicating his dry-humoured, long-suffering self outside of his speech and actions!!
So yes, I definitely felt a bit of an idiot by the time it got to the end of Hyouka’s run and I thought: ‘Man, I’m going to miss this show!” I was definitely too hasty in judging it, and won’t hasten to make the same mistake again in future!