For this year’s project, Kyoto Animation decided to adapt Hyouka (氷菓, lit: Ice Cream), a set of teenage light novels involving a Classic Literature Club. While the show is slightly different from what they usually do, it is rather unique on how it uses Mystery to develop the characters. In turn, it creates an enjoyable experience for various reasons. (Image Source)
When I first watched the show, the way Hyouka presented the mystery is rather interesting. While the mysteries is nothing special as most of them are pretty shallow and predictable except for a select few, its more character orientated. In a traditional mystery story, something mysterious happens and a few detectives have to find clues to solve the case. While some of Hyouka’s mysteries do just that, it also develops the relationship between Houtarou, an average male high school student who wants a low energy lifestyle and the ever so curious Eru. Besides the main couple, his friend, Satoshi and Mayaka also contribute to the mysteries and even have their own mystery over Valentines Day chocolates. Still, the main focus is usually about the former as they start having romantic feelings for each other and eventually, Houtarou ends up giving up his low-energy life style. It simply shows that Eru had a big influence on changing him, especially in revealing his skill of explaining mysteries rather perfectly.
On the other hand, Hyouka is not flawless. Besides the Festival Arc, Eru’s Uncle and a few other short mysteries, some of them felt mundane. Obviously, the one involving the amateur movie is rather questionable. Fuyumi just wanted to complete it with an ending different from what the original scriptwriter wanted. Even with some of these flaws, the mysteries and Eru saying her now famous catchphrase (わたし、気になります) always manages to catch my attention. This also includes Satoshi breaking the chocolate Mayaka made, which is perhaps the most intense moments out of the whole show.
As one would expect, the production values is high notch since it’s Kyoto Animation. The scenery just looks gorgeous along with Eru’s eyes when she goes into her curiosity screen. Aside from these examples, the last episode with Eru standing at the Cherry Blossom tree with pedals blowing is definitely one of the best-animated scenes out of the whole show. The attention to detail in that is just amazing.
While Hyouka’s mysteries aren’t groundbreaking, I liked how they got used to develop the relationship between Houtarou and Eru along with their interactions. Also, I think Kyoto Animation did a very good job with the production values for this show. Even so, I’m going to miss Eru’s raging curiosity and Hontarou having to deal with it, until he can control it.
Overall Rating: 9.3/10, A, Very Good