Anime of Tomorrow
Hyouka Ep. 1
Initial impression – cleverly imaginative and well composed
Spring 2012 to summer 2012 (21 episodes) (title literal translation – Frozen Treat) (more info)
Oreki Houtarou, the main character of Hyouka, reminds me of myself when I was his age—smart at always seeking the path of least resistance, but also obliviously harsh towards the feelings of girls. But despite his more callous side he always maintains a level of…well…apathetic respect that I feel is a good compromise to keep his personality from feeling like too much of a jerk.
The two foils for his hopes to lead a quiet high school life unaccosted are his creatively accommodating friend, Satoshi Fukabe, who it’s clear he’s known for many years and the wide-eyed, mystery-loving Eru Chitanda who has joined the literature club for as of yet unknown reasons. The character design has a really cool charm to it in that the characters somehow look exactly like their personalities would suggest—from Oreki’s bored expression and unkempt hair to the Eru’s bright, determined face and beaming energy that is even more captivating in the light of her moe, sparkling eyes.
It’s such a complete package I’m finding myself taken aback by this attention to detail and the subtle feelings conveyed through the mood. It’s also an interesting spin on the concept of a mystery story as rather than some kind of long, dangerous adventure the mysteries so far have been birthed entirely in the imaginative mind of Eru—leaving it Oreki’s responsibility to placate her enthusiasm with his concise logic.
When I think about it, it’s all really quite plain, but while watching it unfold it doesn’t feel simple at all because of how well it flows. That’s a kind of difficult-to-explain charm that has me eager to see more of the intellectual twists and turns still to come. How do you feel about the grandiose use of visual metaphors in Hyouka? I’m particularly thinking about the well-imagined scene where Eru ensnares Oreki with her hair? Is it too much or did it give you a big smile like me?