Anime Review: Hyouka – 22 [Final]
I promise you, I was really curious too.
Is it really over? I guess all good things must come to an end eventually and it’s really sad to let it go.
The finale of Hyouka did not disappoint, although I do have a slight peeve about how it ended. The last thing I wanted to see in the closing seconds is, “Little birds can remember,” and fade into the misery of seeing this anime end. But boy, if I had to say it, I would say it proudly: I had some major case of feels.
As expected, the focus became about Houtarou and Eru. The approach was a little different since we could not see Eru until all of Houtarou’s curiosity vanished, only to be replaced by Eru’s curiosity. The mystery itself did not overwhelm, but that did not cause any setbacks of how I felt about the finale. It was nothing too major and nothing too malevolent, a one-off case that only transitioned well into Eru’s confession of — no, not love — who she is and where she belongs. I thought it was quite clever how it wrapped up beautifully. It would have been nice if the business side of things was actually proposed. Seriously, how sweet would that have been? But damn, teased to the bitter, bitter end. Curses!
I didn’t see anything that was totally out of whack, and even Satoshi and Mayaka made a final cameo to share a few words of insults and gratitude. Maybe the only thing that seemed a bit out of sorts was Houtarou’s undying curiosity of what Eru looked like when dolled up for the Hina Matsuri parade, but it wasn’t too much of a shock that he’s genuinely interested in her. All the teasing is very much like Houtarou because he’s not used to being so irately direct. Like when he was told that he’s gathered himself well by a parade coordinator, he seemed rather surprised that someone would actually say that to him. Roundabout methods are so overrated, aren’t they?
It’s a sweet, sweet end that makes me want more, but now that Summer has passed and the Fall season closes in, it’s time to scream goodbye to Hyouka. The finale itself deserves a nod for having a clean wrap-up of the series.
GO Rating: 4/5
Twenty-two episodes seem like a weird two-cour setup, but it still felt like it was sufficient enough to get my attention all the way. There weren’t many difficulties in watching Hyouka, but I made it known when I was frustrated by certain demands and expectations. Once I overcame that, it became smooth sailing and it became a good balance between character developments/interactions and solving mysteries, however big or small. I’m not going to go around the edges and say that KyoAni did a superb job. Perhaps I’m too spoiled by what KyoAni has produced over the years that I expected nothing short of something spectacular, but I personally believe that Hyouka did the deed and did the studio some major justice.
As usual, KyoAni introduced to the anime world a whole new girl of cuteness galore in Chitanda Eru. Innocent in all of her best and worst ways, Eru really helped my eyes glitter with curiosity, and I think more so than Houtarou’s energy-conserving ways, her eternal curiosity about life, the social settings and the people around her is the greatest mystery of them all. She really comes off as a genuine person and I personally feel like she is one of the more likable characters around once you get past her demands to meet her mind’s satisfaction. She can really be hard to please, except when you have a powerful computer for a brain like Houtarou’s.
I’m not even going to get started on Houtarou himself because it’ll just be another shout-out to a guy who doesn’t even want the attention. But he’s in that exclusive list of awesome male leads who don’t really need to stand out. That bored/boring look, the reluctance to do anything and the life philosophy that he so cherished but relinquished somewhat for the sake of reaching for something more sound like pretty well-established character traits. I don’t know, I just like the way his character is set and developed, bottom line.
Hyouka is really divided well between character interactions and mysteries. I give a lot of credit to how in-depth the writing is because nothing seems out of place given how everything is relevant to the given plot. I didn’t see many wasted scenes or wasted breaths, meaning nothing really ever felt like fillers, which is quite rare considering that a lot of anime need a break here or there to transition or realign. I mean, sure, some of the one-shots are filler-esque, but I am going to give them the benefit of the doubt because they either brought two or more characters closer together or had a lot of emotional impact. If the anime was true to the novels, then I am very pleased with the results I’ve seen on screen. Even if it wasn’t totally faithful, I’d still regard Hyouka as magnificent for its creativity and construction.
To be fair, not everyone is going to particularly enjoy Hyouka. I know when I first started, I saw that Kyoto Animation would be in charge of the project and that two of my highly regarded voice talents would be the leads. Those were the deciding factors in getting my initial interest. I knew Nakamura Yuuichi’s deep voice would deliver, but I had no clue that Satou Satomi would sound so damn cute. (Seriously, from Ritsu to Eru? Not fair!) Even the series’ eternal slogan of kininarimasu would never vanish ringing in my head, and purple eyes will always glitter in deep curiosity from henceforth. Believe me, I will never think of anything else whenever I hear anyone say kininarimasu/kininaru or see anyone with purples eyes. That’s the impact of Eru’s legacy.
For me, Hyouka was a joyride. It’s a well-paced and engaging anime that has been a priority even in the midst of busy schedules. I couldn’t have been more pleased having the privilege covering it. I might have missed a few things along the road, but I am always open for discussion.
I would recommend Hyouka if you’re looking to get away from all the action and invest a lot of thinking or careful watching. Unless if you’re really adamant about conserving energy and not having to do what you don’t need to do, Hyouka is worth your time and energy. Just don’t forget your thinking caps.
Overall GO Rating: 4/5