Semai Sekaide

Anime episode reviews.

Hyouka – Episode 5

Subs by Mazui

Previously

The literature club had a meeting where they tried to figure out the “mystery” behind Chitanda’s uncle. Houtarou had a brilliant analysis that everybody believed to be true. Chitanda still has doubts behind their backs though.

About this episode

Starting in this episode, some things have begun to change with Houtarou. He has started to become genuinely interested in the mystery that he worked to solve. He admits this himself: he believes that he will feel accomplishment when he solves a mystery. He even says that he’s tired of being grey, which was his code up till now. But does he want to have a rose-colored life? It’s a question that occupies him for an entire evening. Seems silly, but Houtarou is on the verge of adjusting his entire way of life. I don’t think that this is something worth worrying about though. In the end, you should do what you enjoy. If that is actively participating in certain things or doing nothing at all should be up to you. As for me, I can spend a few days playing video games or watching anime on my own and waste the days, but it is way more fulfilling to do something worth remembering. To me, it’s almost more fun to talk about anime, to criticize them, than watching them. The awesome scenes in anime are even better if you share them with somebody and both have a laugh about it. That’s me. And Houtarou should find his own way to “optimize” his time.

Up till now, Houtarou’s sister has been somewhat of a deus ex machina. She pushes the events. First she tells Houtarou where to find the anthologies, and now she hints that there is more to the Sekitani Jun’s story. Usually this is a weak point in plots for me, and that’s what this also felt like. Until you’ve seen the end of the episode, that is. There are hints that Houtarou’s sister is manipulating Houtarou and used the literature club for that. It makes you wonder what she all knew and what she didn’t. Did she know that Chitanda would be in the same school and would want to investigate her uncle? I think we’ll find out more about his sister in due time. Her constant traveling is also interesting. Maybe it’s just a comedy thing, but I have a feeling that there’s more to it.

So now Houtarou has started to wonder: is his theory correct or not? There must be more to it than what he first thought. And now he does something very unlike him: Houtarou takes initiative to find out the truth. That’s a sudden transformation all right. Up till now Houtarou was more of a passive person who figured out stuff because he happened to see it. Now he is the one who sets everything up and this is pretty cool.

Mayaka is the one who wants to conserve energy now.

Houtarou is looking at what is going on. It’s interesting how the “sacrifice” can be understood in two ways and that’s what makes him a tragic hero.

Houtarou chooses the most direct way. I wondered if that would be an option in previous episodes, asking the people who were around at that time. And it turns out that it is indeed an option. Instead of guessing, we’re getting certainty in this episode. This is good, because a string of guessing episodes would either be very slow or start to feel unrealistic if they keep guessing everything.

Dang, I called it in my episode 2 review. “I might be looking into this a bit too much, but I felt like the library teacher was hiding something from us at the end of the episode. Maybe related to Chitanda’s mystery?” The library teacher did know more and it was related to Chitanda’s mystery. So she’s going to tell us more about everything.

There is one thing that I wasn’t able to figure out during the episode: did Itoiga-sensei feel reluctant to talk about the past or not? She gave hints in both directions. For example, she was interested in wat Sekitani Jun was up to these days when she heard that Chitanda is his niece. On the other hand, she always had this expression of not being entirely comfortable with talking about it. You know, she was staring into space every now and then and silent for a few moments sometimes. She also gave off the impression that she was only willing to answer the questions presented to her, as she didn’t tell them everything in one go.

As a side note, there are always these subtle things between Satoshi and Mayaka going on. I’m not sure if I’ve got this right or not (I tried looking the part up but couldn’t find it), but didn’t Mayaka like Satoshi and get rejected in the past? There is something going on between the two of them because of this.

Houtarou only needs one question answered: did Jun sacrifice himself or was he sacrificed? We find out the “horrible” truth: it’s the latter.

Although it was done originally and all, the small shaking was annoying for my eyes. I love the animation style in Hyouka but this was a failure.

So basically, Jun was pushed into being the “official” leader of the protest. It seems pretty extreme what they did to protest: they made bonfires (funnily enough called camp fires in Japanese – I didn’t know this) on the school grounds and boycotted lessons. I think that if people were to do this nowadays there would be severe punishments. Then again, it’s the way that the entire student body is organised that makes them “unstoppable”. I don’t think it would be possible today, like the characters also said in the show. There isn’t anybody who would step up and organise this and I think it’s amazing that this happened in the sixties and seventies. I know of Dutch examples of students occupying universities and I bet that most western countries have similar stories. Of course, burning the martial arts center is going to far and I agree that somebody has to be held responsible. And of course the leader is a good idea in general, if you don’t know who really did it. After having the balls to boycott class, the perpetrator doesn’t dare to save Jun from the punishment that he doesn’t deserve? That’s pretty darn low, seriously.

I was kind of disappointed that the part about the martial arts center being older than the rest was a “dead end”. It might not be, since Hyouka is doing a great job tying up its loose ends, but for now it is.

The truth is startling, also for me as a viewer. Somehow it just is: I felt the same urge to be silent for a few seconds as the characters and let this sink in. And then the Kanya thing came up. So even this wasn’t a random fun fact in episode 2 but mattered: the characters were the ones used for Sekitani as an honor for him. The image on Hyouka could of also been explained with Houtarou’s old theory though. But now it comes… the biggest thing of the episode.

Hyouka seems to mean ice cream in Japanese. I thought that ice cream was just aisu kurimu but apparently not. It’s incredibly impressive how the name is explained because of the way Houtarou trembled since he figured it out and just the atmosphere in general, the music and the animations that are a bit dark-tinted. Hyouka = ice cream = I scream. It must be more obvious for English speakers, I bet you heard something like “I scream for ice cream” before.

That moment of realisation, 100% perfect.

I don’t often say this, but these five minutes were absolutely perfect. I was on the tip of my chair, felt the suspense and fear and sadness that was in the scene. It got even better when Chitanda remembered everything from her past. It wasn’t dramatic in a way to make you cry, but her tears had this impact on you in a different way. I can’t describe it.

The rest of the anthology didn’t matter at all is the feeling that the characters give off. The other things they’ll write in it are conveniently omitted so I can assume that the Hyouka won’t have a big part in the story anymore.

So wow. The story ended like this. I’m really amazed by the way it was handled, even though the previous episode was somewhat weaker. But what now? I’m genuinely scared that the rest of the show might disappoint after this episode.

Rating: ++

Yeah, two plus. I really think that this episode was an experience that I will never forget. Enough said, go watch this if you haven’t already.

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