Expectations were mighty high going into this episode.
All I have to say is, “Wow”. Okay, it’s not just limited to that one word, but the way Houtarou unraveled the entire incident in one felled swoop is pretty damn sweet. I had a good hunch that he set up the Classics Club heist, and honestly felt quite giddy when he confronted the culprit of this festival hurrah by decoding every wordplay and scrambled hints spread throughout the festival’s layouts. In case you don’t want spoilers, the culprit’s name won’t be revealed until after the next screen, so you’ve been warned.
I don’t know how many of you thought Tanabe Jirou as the culprit but, Houtarou’s deductions pretty much covered 99.9% of what was needed to earn a standing ovation. No, really, he got one from Tanabe-senpai himself. While watching, heck even after watching, I was deeply surprised by how elaborate the explanations were and just how the details stretched from A Corpse By Evening doujin manga to the Juumoji trick all the way to the festival pamphlet. Believe me, there is a deeper story within the story and it’s quite tragic because it’s so bittersweet.
It doesn’t end there. Mayaka’s side of it involving Ayako is quite moving as well. It’s basically a similar story as Jirou’s and really brings up that question from the previous arc when Irisu brought up the talent scenario. It’s a real waste to have that much talent and never meet his or her full potential. Based on perspective, it’s due to merely no interest or due to no interest. Nevertheless, it’s devastating to see that no matter how much effort goes into creating a masterpiece, it would never be inherently perfected. Mayaka would know since she’s the one who casually thought it out loud a few nights earlier. Ayako and Jirou suffer the same.
Yet, it also doesn’t end there. Satoshi overhears Houtarou’s masterful deduction skills and seems to define the word “expectation” to the core. Truthfully speaking, he has a valid point, and though he has a pained face, he doesn’t have that give up attitude. I can’t agree completely about a database not being able to draw conclusions, however. I see this as a sign of weakness, or a cover-up. Still, it’s easy to sympathize with him because he’s so close yet so far. That line between him and Houtarou is pretty visible but impossible to cross over without being a hundred, even a thousand times better.
The Juumoji incident ends quite well and it’d be a stretch if I went to assess every little tidbit of what is enjoyable and what is pointed out. Eru knows who she is and I’m glad that she wouldn’t try to be who she isn’t, or isn’t like. Satoshi seems to be content enough pulling Houtarou for a more taxing ride. For Mayaka, it’s hard to say since she’s sadly the fourth most important member out of four, but she got lots of positive exposure during the festivities. And of course, there is Houtarou. Exceeding expectations and setting standards that only he can meet. While he could have easily produced his own game, he settled for closing the Juumoji case by participating in it. The catch? The Hyouka anthology is sold out and the Classics Club can enjoy an off-screen dinner that will definitely have plenty of Eru’s curiosity leaning on Houtarou’s face. Strong finish, and certainly something I’m still marveling.
GO Rating: 4/5
When side characters can be leads in another story… This went beyond my expectations.