Author’s Notes:

  • I sincerely apologize for the extreme lateness of this post. A lot of things have happened to result in this delay and I just can’t apologize enough for this finale coming out as late as it is.
  • Thanks to Stereoman for providing the screenshots for this post!
  • Episode 20:

    「あきましておめでとう」 (Aki Mashi te Omedeto)
    “Happy New Opening”

    It’s been said that the New Year brings with it the coming of a new beginning and the opportunity to start anew. For some, it’s a time to make resolutions and affirm to themselves that they’re going to work harder and build on developments from the past year. For a select group of people though, it’s the complete opposite. Yup, because when you’re Houtarou, it’s the time of the year where one instead affirms that they’re going to expend as little energy as they possibly can. But as he found out the hard way though, things don’t always end up the way you want them to. Sometimes, a new beginning just forces itself upon you.

    Indeed, things turn sour quite fast as Houtarou draws a bad fortune and a series of coincidences ultimately leave him and Chitanda trapped in the shrine’s storage shed. Some quick thinking ends up saving them from their dire predicament, but the message is clear: this won’t just be another year. Because if there’s one thing that this episode hammers in, it’s that due to various circumstances, Houtarou is no longer the person he was at the start of this series. Led by Chitanda and the everyday mysteries he’s consistently been solving as a result of her presence, he’s at a point where there’s no longer any way to completely revert to his old self. Despite how much he outwardly prays and wants to lead a “low-energy life,” his gradual extra use of energy makes it all but impossible to revert back to how he was before.

    In many ways it really is “new opening” to say the least—both literally because of the New Year and Satoshi’s rescue with the opening of the shed door, and figuratively in the feeling that this New Year seems to hint at the beginnings of something potentially more between our main characters. And as such, it results in yet another superb week of Hyouka, as the characters just continue powering this series to some great heights, and the series continues proving the viability of creating something great without being super complex, flashy, or unrealistic.

    Full-length images: 03.


    Episode 21:

    「手作りチョコレート事件」 (Tezukuri Chokoreto Jiken)
    “The Chocolate Files”

    Going through life in general, people tend to have a tendency to assume things based on what they know. On one hand, it’s a natural mechanism—one formed from the fear of the unknown and a need to fill in intangible voids with something more concrete. On the flip side though, what ultimately results from taking things too much at face value is that the person you think you know quite well, you don’t really know at all. In arguably the most emotional episode of Hyouka (and what many would consider the final climax of the series), we get to see first hand just how true this is.

    As it turns out, Satoshi’s outer demeanor holds within some personal demons—ones shielded by an assumption that a person with his personality wouldn’t have any doubts or weaknesses, and is immune to moments and reactions that one would categorize as stupid. As a result, Houtarou realizes that he doesn’t really know him well at all—and it just emphasizes not only that it something probably pushed along further by Houtarou’s apathy through the years, but the inaction on Satoshi’s part to properly prevent these misconceptions and settle on a proper decision regarding Mayaka.

    To say the least, the results just weren’t pretty. Seeing Chitanda like that and Satoshi suddenly acting the way he did… phew* Really made me want to throw some things out the window. In the end though, spurred on once again by Chitanda, Houtarou takes some active steps to assist in rectifying the situation, and seems to successfully resolve it. Needless to say, the gradual maturation of Houtarou continues, as he realizes that there’s a limit to the things you can turn a blind eye towards—especially when it involves someone you particularly care about.

    Ultimately, there’s just so much more going on in Hyouka’s background aside from the mysteries. In many ways, it’s a tale of maturation—of realizing the faults and misconceptions one holds, the acceptance of them and the responsibilities that come with the circumstances one is put into. In the case of Houtarou, it’s about the gradual realization that living an apathetic life—despite it being something that he would be content with—doesn’t mean that there isn’t anything else that could provide more for him. That and the fact that Chitanda chose him out of everyone else to interact with, as well as his obvious intelligence, mean that he has a responsibility to both respond to Chitanda and at times, utilize his intelligence when a situation arises. Houtarou aside, it’s something that ultimately applies to Satoshi in particular as well, as the fact that Mayaka loves him (and he knows that she does), means that he’s responsible for at least providing a proper answer.

    There’s just an abundance of subtle commentary and development in general, and it’s something that’s emphasized even further by Houtarou’s consumption of the chocolate his sister gives him at the end. Despite the obvious fact that it clearly can’t be that great compared to a handmade one and that he didn’t care for it much at the beginning of this episode, he ends up eating it anyway, and noticeably smiles at the end. It’s just a symbolic gesture that seems to allude to how sometimes, things that seem bad—such as exerting more energy in Houtarou’s case—doesn’t always mean they will be.

    Full-length images: 17.


    Episode 22:

    「遠まわりする雛」 (To Mawari Suru Hina)
    “Dolls in the Distance”

    The grand finale is finally here and for the most part, the episode delivers in way both befitting the series and one that only Hyouka could pull off.

    See, for most series, a trend that’s particularly noticeable is last episode ends up being the the one used by quite a few series to resolve many overarching plot lines, or to give the series that extra kick so it’d have some climactic send off. Hyouka on the other hand, merely continues marching along with the attitude and atmosphere it’s had since the beginning. Unlike many other series, there aren’t a multitude of plot lines that need resolution. Rather, there are only a few, and Hyouka wraps them up nicely with a bow tie—and a mystery that keeps the series true to its roots.

    Indeed, the mystery itself ends up forming the foundations of all the resolutions we wanted this episode—particularly what would happen between Mayaka and Satoshi (who seem to have gotten together or at least gotten over the events of last episode) and what would happen regarding Houtarou and low-energy lifestyle. As soon as the episode starts though, we’re already seeing that the answer to the latter is that—as Houtarou says himself—his old way of living is in mortal danger. And despite the fact he keeps telling himself how it’s a bad development, it’s starting to become quite obvious that he’s changed, and for the better. His instant acceptance of Chitanda’s request and his waiting for her at the end just highlighted the fact that he’s no longer the same whether he wants to admit it or not, and his experience during the festival a demonstration of the potential things he’s been missing out up until this point.

    But as the saying goes, one does not simply change overnight. This quote leads us to the closing scenes of Hyouka, where undoubtedly many of us were hoping Houtarou would’ve actually said out the words he was thinking at the time. Sadly though, he doesn’t end up saying the words that would most likely cement a future relationship with Chitanda, and despite my expectations being dashed, I can’t help but think back up to the above quote and accept the ending we were given. Because while Houtarou has changed drastically over the course of the series, the fact remains that he’s still not at a point where he can fully accept that change. There’s still that doubt lingering over whether or not he should “take the plunge” and in that context, he did the best thing for the both of them by not saying those words and allowing that doubt to potentially shatter whatever relationship they may have started.

    In the end, that’s pretty much what the dialogue was all about. It was a commentary on how timing is everything. With Houtarou unsure and the two starting to embark on different paths (science vs. art respectively), this wasn’t the right time for them to get together, despite their obvious feelings for each other.

    And last but not least, it’s both a farewell and a promise to meet again someday. Chitanda’s whole dialogue about the town and its possibilities was pretty much pointing at how the town as it is doesn’t have the means to provide her with the things she desires or knowledge to make the difference she feels obligated to initiate. As such, it’s rather subtle farewell, a kind of “I have to go.” At the same time though, the fact that she says this now and the fact that she wanted to show Houtarou this before leaving, is pretty much her saying that “I want you to remember. This is the town I… no, we grew up in. Remember it and remember me.” Combining this with her assertion that she will one day return regardless of the fact the town wasn’t anything particularly special, and it’s as if she’s saying she’ll be back one day and that Houtarou would know where to find her if he wanted to down the road.

    Of course, the open-ended nature of the episode makes one wonder how much of my suppositions were right, but the way I see it, the two will end up together at some point in the future. It’s just that for them, now’s not the right time—and I’m alright with that kind of ending. Ultimately, Hyouka’s a realistic series no matter how you look at it and this ending just keeps that fact intact.

    Full-length images: 15.

    Final Impressions:

    Looking back, it could be said that Hyouka was one of those more polarizing series. To many, the concept of having mysteries revolving around every day occurrences was a breath of fresh air in a time where mystery oriented anime aren’t numerous in general, and tend to rely on supernatural elements to add an extra punch to everything. To others though, the mysteries were too boring as a result—the characters nothing particularly special. Still, while I can understand why those that held the latter view would feel the way they did, I have to say that I definitely a member of the former camp and loved this series through and through.

    To me, Hyouka was one of those series that only come along once in a while. It was just different in how it portrayed things in as realistically as possible and in the way its characters blended with one another—their dynamic interactions bouncing off one another like the the friends they are and resonating with the viewers, who undoubtedly felt themselves drawn to them and feeling as if they were friends with them too. It was different in how the series just steadfastly stuck to its guns, never really changing in its overall atmosphere or attitude, never trying to hard to be something it wasn’t, and always finding someway to mix in a mystery that didn’t require any supernatural influence. And lastly, it was different in how it was able to weave everything so well—combining subtle commentary and character development with weekly mysteries in amazing ways few series could do.

    Supported by the consistently superb animation of Kyoani, a great selection of classical pieces, and a unique style… there are just no words in the end to express how much I loved watching this series on a weekly basis. The dynamics between Chitanda and Houtarou was especially great as well (though Satoshi and Mayaka were up there too)—giving everyone the true definition of that “one true pairing” and characters whom we’ll be unable to forget for years to come. Because after all, how will one ever forget Chitanda and her constant cries of “kininarimasu”!?

    Indeed, one might argue that the only way to truly appreciate the series would be to watch it. Some shows just defy the use of words to express the its subtle elements and Hyoukais one of them. To top it all off, Hyouka manages to do all of this and succeed without a grandiose plot, flashy action scenes, or super serious drama. Rather, it’s a perfect example how you don’t need any of those to make a great series and how much potential for greatness there is out there when people realize that this is possible.

    Looking forward though, this will be one of those series I will undoubtedly make time to re-watch at some point in the future. Perhaps by then, Chitanda and Houtarou would’ve gotten together eh? Still, it’s just a pity that it doesn’t look like we’ll be getting anything more regarding this series, though one can always hold out hope for such a case. Regardless though, I hope many of you enjoyed the series as much as I did, as well as it’s coverage—albeit extremely late in terms of this post—here on Random Curiosity.

    And don’t forget… “Little birds can remember.”


    1. Okay wait, about your post regarding episode 22… Are you talking in metaphors at the end?
      Why do you think she says farewell when they still have two more years of High School together? I believe she wanted to show her set-in-stone future to Oreki as an unconscious offer. She knows what her life will be like, but she decides to go out of her way to tell Oreki “This is the place where I will be, please consider this in your decision.” Kind of like that. And Oreki wants to accept, but it’s really their social standards that keeps him from refraining. You could clearly notice how Oreki barely recognized Chitanda when she was getting dressed and speaking really formal, and I’m sure the difference between a farmer’s lady daugher and an apathetic energy conserver like him got to him, like you said.

      1. The way the cherry blossoms were, the whole changing of the seasons, as well as the finale made me think that it would’ve been the inevitable conclusion. So yes, it is metaphors.

        EDIT: To add on, the basic thing is that the whole talk felt like either one of (or both) Chitanda or Houtarou would eventually leave the town of few possibilities for one reason or another—the former as part of her schooling that will give her the knowledge she needs to come back and make a real difference and the latter for whatever he ends up doing, because the town just doesn’t have that much to give. He can’t stay here if he wants to make something of himself and he can’t stay here doing nothing if he wants to be with Chitanda either, because there’s a slight onus on him to lower the social difference between them for both outer looks (looking professional/like he’s getting places will help in his view from her family) and for himself (cutting the gap will also lower the doubt that he has).

    2. OMG, there is so much I want to talk about, but I’m going to concentrate on two: Houtarou’s personality and the ending. The second OP identifies Houtarou’s state of mind. He is an observer, an outsider. At the end, we see Chitanda in his dream pull him from his isolation bringing him back into the world. Since it’s his dream, he is at least subconsciously aware that this is happening to him in real life. Someone had translated the titles of the books we see him reading:The first book is “Summer’s Nuisance” by Setsuko Shinoda, a female novelist. The second is “Night Flight” by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. The third and fourth ones are “Discourse of depravity” by Ango Sakaguchi, a male novelist. Not light reading even for an adult, let alone a high school boy. He finds everyday life to be boring because it lacks intellectual stimulation for him so he has disconnected from it. Chitanda’s little mysteries and her emotions provide the stimulation Houtarou needs to rethink the world around him and to see that even in small things there can be purpose in life. That leads me to the ending. For me, Chitanda’s soliloquy was one of the most beautiful confessions I’ve ever seen. I’m still moved thinking about it. Her whole intent of involving Houtarou in the Doll Parade was to show him her life outside of school. Being who she is, she would not overtly confess to him, but she basically laid her life before him. “This is who I am and what I must do because of my responsibilities. Can you accept that and love me?” Why doesn’t he respond? He is very aware of what she is saying, but I think it’s the events earlier in the day cause him to hesitate. He doesn’t feel worthy of her. He is just an average boy and she is from a rich and important family in the area. We can see that in how uncomfortable he is while waiting in the shrine. When he goes to talk to her while she is being dressed you can hear how her tone changes. She’s not just his fellow student but an ojou-sama who’s is capable of negotiating with village elders on her own. Finally, he sees her dressed as the Empress and is so affected that everything is foggy for him. He feels totally out of his element and while he can’t say what he wants to, he imagines it and his hoped for reaction from Chitanda. You’re right. He can’t go back to the way he was. Hopefully, he can gain the confidence to confess to Chitanda and I would dearly love an OVA to show how that comes about.

      1. I get the impression that the reason Houtarou did not respond as he did in his dream, was because he has not earned it yet. Chitanda’s confession was honest, direct, and very moving. For him to respond in such an easy flippant way would only show that he did not appreciate the weight of her words. We begin the series with a throughly apathetic and demotivated Houtarou, bored and weary. We leave with a Houtarou that is blossoming with feeling and motivated by a future that he wants.

        1. I didn’t see that that response was flippant. His feelings of unworthiness left him searching for words to say something that he can’t yet admit even to himself. Since their discussion was about her being better at science than business it was an answer that would have allowed him to say he wanted to be with her without declaring his feelings since he doesn’t feel worthy of her. But he couldn’t even manage to do that.

        2. I think you’re over analyzing the situation bear. Forget about the unworthiness stuff, it’s not even close to that point yet. Remember what he said about “Is this how Satoshi felt back then?” He doesn’t even know what his feeling are, let alone whether its love or an obsession of some type. The boys are just confused. Let the unworthiness stuff come about when he figures out his feelings. Imaginations are for running wild.

        3. @Megas

          Agreed. Unworthiness is only a small part of what he is feeling but it’s part of it. Confused and possibly overwhelmed by dealing with the adult world and finding that the somewhat ditzy girl in his club is much more than he thought. Attracted both romantically and sexually for the first time. Indirectly confessed to by a girl who knows what her path is going to be while he has no direction or passion to go toward. Sometimes I lose sight of the fact that these are teenage kids going through a time in their lives that is very transitional for them.

      2. So I make a visit to Random C, and am pleasantly surprised to see this series gets its send off.

        @Megas – I absolutely agree with you that some folks are perhaps overanalyzing the absence of an explicit confession on his end, and not recognizing we’re talking about a teenage boy here, trying to figure things out in his own head.

        Even the social distance thing I don’t think is as big a problem as people make it out to be. The old dude in charge of the ceremony actually *compliments* Oreki on his flawless manners, and while he’s clearly uncomfortable, that episode shows that it isn’t like Oreki’s from a different planet. Chitanda is from an old and distinguished family, but in a rural Japan in noticeable decline, and her family did not cast out her uncle for being expelled from High School. We’re not talking about feudal Japan, here. Furthermore, Oreki is portrayed as the consummate “fixer”–we see him at multiple times deceive and blackmail individuals for not his own ends, but usually for Chitanda’s sake–whether it be getting a hold of the old analogies, selling the new ones, or resolving the Valentine’s day fiasco. As Satsohi mournfully puts it, Oreki’s plans always work out, unlike his. Only the film arc sees Oreki wrong-footed, and he learns a lot from the experience. Oreki’s “grayness” is part of his special talent; unless it involves something like Chitanda being dressed up, his judgment rarely becomes compromised by emotional considerations, since he really is such a cold fish. I can’t see him being really all that intimidated by social conventions. We’ve seen him brazenly blackmail the student leadership at his school, after all. I *can* see him being intimidated by unexpected changes to his own personality, and his romantic feelings for Chitanda, but once he resolves that question, I’m sure Oreki will do whatever it takes to be with Chitanda.

        And @Zephyr, while I see where you’re coming from, I really *don’t* at all see the final scene as a Farewell of any sorts (even in a metaphorical sense), but really as a new beginning. After Oreki fails to say his thoughts, he tells Chitanda some nonsense about it turning cold. He’s blushing, and Chitanda chides him with a smile for not realizing spring is coming; I’ve always felt she had some inclination of what he meant to say. There are other moments in the series where Oreki says something downright callous or overly deprecating, and she smiles in response, because she knows his tsundere-ish and overly modest tendencies. And then we get the wind blowing up the blossoms and a big smile from her, returned by a smile from him, followed by them looking forward, and closing with a shot of budding plants. I think the metaphor is pretty clear about where this is going, and even if you’re right that someone has to leave town to go to college or something, I think the ending is open in the sense that we don’t know *how* they will end up together exactly, but that is a destination they will in fact reach. After all, they still have another two years of High School to sort their emotions out, and to plan for how to make things work in practical terms.

    3. the emotional toll the show had incited was a genuine surprise for me. at times i really felt what they felt…and all under the guise of a lighthearted highschool drama…kyo-ani is far more capable than just concocting moe-blobs…

    4. I thought the day would never come when this show would get the send off it deserved here on RC. What a great surprise! 😀

      These last few episodes were probably a few of my favorites of this past year. I cannot tell you how much I loved Hyouka. Easily my favorite of 2012.

    5. The entire last episode kept reminding me of the conversation Houtarou had with Satoshi in episode 5, when he asked if Houtarou wanted a rose-colored life.In the end I think the reason he didn’t give Chitanda – who explained how her future is pretty much set-in-stone – a answer was because he still wasn’t sure what kind of life he wanted to have in the future.

      All in all this was one of my favorite shows, I really loved how they handled almost everything subtly and smoothly without being too flashy or dramatic.And how they managed to weave a web of logical reasoning from the most commonplace things in life – it was just beautiful to watch.
      I don’t know how likely it is, but if there’s going to be second season I would gladly welcome it.

      1. *add to the end of first paragraph
        Given how he mentioned what Satoshi said in the previous episode it’s also possible that Houtarou was concerned about how his current lifestyle will be affected by getting into a relationship now.

      Like stated above, I read this fully with a smile across my face. Thank you.

      With ‘Verdants Farewell’ being one of the earlier posts in the front page of the IRC I hope he’d manage to see this final post of Hyouka; and be proud of the hard work Zephyr put into it. Thank you gentleman for all the hard work put into such an amazing series, and one of the best in 2012.

    7. Ah so many comments to make, so little time!
      Episode 20:
      -With laziness and napping, Oreki is my spirit animal
      -Being stuck in a shed (aka. a confined space) with the opposite gender… I’ve seen enough anime to know where this would have gone instead…(pft.)
      -HNNNNGs at all the festival ware
      -OTP moments are the best moments
      -Silly/Goofy Oreki is hilarious. nough’ said (including those ridiculous imagined escape sequences)

      Episode 21:
      -Wow, only Hyouka can pull off that type of angst in a Valentine’s day episode, well done
      -Forcefully fed chocolate made by Mayaka, how could Satoshi NOT want that?! (jkjk)
      -The Chitanda x Oreki Moments make my shipper heart flutter every time (Dat subtle moment about the reason of her not giving chocolate/ him teasing her for eating them all/ YOU GO GRAB THAT HAND/ OH GOD HE’S STARTING TO CARE MORE ABOUT HER AND I JUST CAN’T ANYMORE)
      -Quote of the Day: “Hands off the chocolate!”- Chitanda Eru
      -Oh satoshi, you break my heart

      Episode 22:
      -Love/Awestruck Oreki was just the most adorable thing
      -More HNNNNGs at senpai and chitanda’s doll costumes
      -Oreki’s “I’m curious. I’m curious!” just killed me. (that’s what I call good character development, sir)
      -“How about I take care of that business side for you?” /JESUS THAT WAS BASICALLY A MARRIAGE PROPOSAL. WHY KYOANI WHYYYY

      Final Thoughts:
      whew, this was a great series, and I thank RC for being able to blog it. This was a show that was able to hit all the right buttons for me. It was Entertaining to the core, contained witty dialogue, and was animated beautifully, Kyoto animation has done it again. -crosses fingers for a second season-

    8. This show is what anime should have been like from the start. Not just a bunch of moe fanservice BS, but stuff that actually makes you think. Sure the moe crap has its place too, but this show actually had REAL people with REAL problems. The drama was actually believable as well, not that over-the-top rushed jelly-filled nonsense that is usually accustomed to drama in anime. I knew they had a show this this in them.

      When I think of this show the first thing that comes to my mind is a quote from my name sake:

      “There is nothing impossible to him who will try.”

    9. Nice to have the this last review up, it was sorely missed.

      During episode 21 was I the only one who wanted to give Satoshi a falcon punch? I felt like crying for Mayaka, she’s such a great girl and he realizes that and yet he does that to her. I don’t think his reason was good enough to smash her heart like that.

      Loved this show. Both it and Zephyr will be missed.

      1. It’s hard to say whose right whose wrong when it comes to romantic relationship.Satoshi could have handled the situation better, but one could also argue it was Mayaka’s fault for putting him in that position to begin with, rather than give him the time and space he needed to figure things out and give her a clear answer(since he’s already aware of her feelings).

    10. I think that chitanda has a fiance and is the guy that help oreki with the clothes.. just look at the reaction of that guy’s dad when he met oreki.

      I Really hope I’m wrong… LN readers help..

      1. 1. You’ve completely guessed wrong. He was simply surprised because he totally forgot that Houtarou would be coming to replace the other guy.

        2. Not all novels that are adapted into anime are Light Novels. LNs have their own section together with the manga section in bookstores in Japan. The biggest difference LNs have with “serious” literature novels is that LNs have illustrations and are written in more easy Japanese. I have read the Hyouka novels and not only do they not have any illustrations, their grammar is also much harder to comprehend without a certain level of Japanese, hence my slowness in translating the series.

        Other recent “serious” novels to receive the anime treatment include: Shin Sekai Yori, Another, Bakemonogatari series.

        Kinny Riddle
    11. Thanks, Zephyr for posting the concluding episodes of this great series here. Much appreciated.

      @Zephyr: I don’t believe that Mayaka and Satoshi get together after Episode 22, but they definitely talked and understood each other a bit more. One of the things I loved about this series was that the couples don’t dive into a relationship just because they’re in love. They understand that they have a ways to go ahead of them, and out of respect for their partner and themselves, they know they’re still young and not at the stage to enter a relationship. Someday, but not now, and although it’s left open-ended, Hyouka brims with hopefulness that these characters will surely become a couple.

      I wish I could devote a more thoughtful response to each of these episodes, but that’d take up too much of my time to write it all out. So, I’ll only give my general thoughts on the characters and the series.

      Warning!!! The following is long, very, very long! Read at your own risk! o.o

      Show Spoiler ▼

      1. I think Satoshi changed somewhere in middle school or at the end of it. Without rewatching, I seem to remember that he and Houtarou were talking about video games and how he didn’t react the same way that he used to. He was obsessive about winning and vowed to not take things seriously in the future since he tended to get carried away. Of course his old habits surfaced during the festival when he tried to outdo Houtarou.

        I agree with you about Chitanda and I feel that her attitude and sometimes ditzy antics are because she feels that she can be frivolous where she can’t outside of school and the Classics Club. Notice how worried she was when they got locked in the shed. It would reflect on her family and cause gossip, even though it was a trivial mistake. I also think that is why she wound up running around the festival trying everything. This is the one time and place in her life where she can act that way without consequences. At the end you see her dealing with village elders in a mature manner, quite unlike the girl we see in the club.

        1. Yes, I think they mentioned middle school time frame. For some reason, I suppose that I misinterpreted the Kanya Fest as a continuation of his habit, rather than a “lapse”, and thought that Houtaro only making the distinction between middle-school Satoshi and the present-day Satoshi now was because he’s recently become a little more aware of others due to his character growth. Houtaro does mention how he hasn’t visited an arcade (and played against Satoshi) in a long while though, so you’re probably right about that. That’d mean Satoshi has been dealing with this non-obsessive lifestyle alone longer than I had thought. Poor Satoshi. At least, now, Houtaro is aware and can hopefully support and nudge Satoshi in the right direction.

    12. Beautifullll <3

      Man, I love it when animes use Sakura!!Somehow I HATE pink but those sakura light pink…I ABSOLUTELY LOVE
      Makes it soooooo pretty <3

      Thank you for the conclusions and definately will miss Hyouka!

    13. the music, the animation, the characters, the development …everything was so enjoyable and pleasant! Even if it’s late, thank you for the post! …it remind me how much I love Hyouka!!

    14. There is just something about Hyouka that makes me feel…old. And finally reading the final posts on the series on RC now makes me feel…well, even older. I had actually given up hope for Hyouka being covered to the end, so this was a very pleasant surprise.

      To add my tuppence to the discussion, I would say that a large part of Hyouka is about youth. Perhaps one day Houtarou will look back on his high school years and think “those were the days”, just as his sister–and perhaps the viewer–may watch over Houtarou over the series and start to get reminiscent.

      Keeping this in mind, the ending exchange between Chitanda and Houtarou is quite apt. I agree very much with Zephyr in saying that it was ultimately, in the long term, a farewell. A lot of episode 22 was about Houtarou realising how far ahead of him Chitanda was, in more ways than one. The maturity displayed by Chitanda is a nice contrast to the “dream confession” of Houtarou. After all, Houtarou is, apparent genius intellect aside, just an average high school kid, and a rather listless one at that. To take the great plunge so quickly would be too much to expect of him; to have it worked out in his head but not in any actionable form is quite in-character.

      That is not to say that Houtarou did not develop substantially throughout the series. After 20 or so episodes or nostalgic youth we end on a rather forward looking note which wraps the entire series up quite nicely. I, too, enjoyed Hyouka quite a bit. A sequal is certainly possible, but at the same time not very necessary. Maybe I’m showing my age, but I’m quite satisfied with the entire package. Now I’ll go sip some tea and putter with my bonsai.

    15. A solid conclusion to a solid series. I loved this series a lot, maybe by rewatching it, but I found this series to be very compelling, and in a different manner than those with a riveting storyline. Its subtlety is special, and it is the aspect that draws me in the most.

      But since its a long time since I watched it, I can’t remember much of the tiny details in the episodes, so I’ll go with the character developments throughout the whole series.

      Simply put, all of the characters are great. Their personalities are distinct and very likable, and their activities in the Classics Club are just so fun to watch.

      The ending was not conclusive, certainly, and also would leave us wishing for more. With this excellent cast of characters, wonderful writing, god-tier animation quality and pretty girls (I would definitely take either of them), as well as great voice acting, this show pretty much is able to make any list of greats.


      Anime movie quality. (5 Centimeters Per Second?)

      But this show was definitely one of my top shows this season!
      Its one of those feel good shows that just puts a smile on your face every time you finish watching an episode. Everything about it was so damn entertaining, the music, the animation, the characters, the mysteries, I SCREAM!

      I love how they approached romance in this anime, its so subtle and very innocent, so refreshing compared to the once showed around today. ^_^

      MAN who else went !!!!!! O.O when Houtaro imagined saying “How bout I take care of the business side of things” !!!!!!! ^_^

    17. Alright who changed my calendar to 2013? Nice try you’re not fooling me…..

      Looking back, I remember this show being criticized for being something like Haruhi without the fun parts. With that notion, this show IMO toppled every ounce of character development in all of the animated materials from Haruhi. If I were to judge who is the better male lead, Kyon or Houtarou. Kyon would be a little above. Probably just by a hair mainly because the premise of the show and how fun his personality compliments his world.

      However if I were to disregard that, Houtarou IMO really is the better male lead. The way he was developed here and his growth when you compare it to his personality in ep 1, you get to a realization that he really did change.

      One of the things that is really commendable is that it’s not alienating. With the two cour length this show had, they really used each episode wisely. Of course, we won’t disregard his friends and how they were developed. They had a rightful amount of development as well.

      In the last episode, how Chitanda was portrayed was really on a different world. It really is a huge contrast to her normal personality. Here, we see her carry such a heavy responsibility. Right even before she even graduates, she already has her role set in stone. Was it because of her family’s reputation and duty to their community? Or partly because she loves her hometown very much? That part never was clear to me. However what we do know is that she is firmly following that path. This lead to what I consider one of the most jawdropping moments in an anime. If there’s such a thing as internal screaming, this might’ve occurred here. Then again the slap from reality was really a knock out.

      In the end I realized, yes it’s not time yet. As rewarding as it may be, it would be out of place. It really hasn’t matured yet. But at least we do know there is a set-up for it and that Houtarou has realized it himself at the end. In the case of Chitanda, I don’t see her being that far in terms of realization as Houtarou, but she already has considered that might be the case.

      Anyway great show. I really would like to see more, however the author hasn’t written anything since 2010. I really wish he’d pick-up the pen and start making more material to have a chance in seeing it handled by Yasuhiro Takemoto’s masterful directing. Now I really have no doubts about that rumor(?) that Kyon’s timeless monologue in disappearance was his idea. He really has shaped himself into the best director KyoAni has. I really fancy him more than Naoko Yamada or Tatsuya Ishihara. I really wish he would handle more shows with the same ounce of development. I hope his bro Gatoh tags along too. The details he added like ep 1 vs what was written in the book, it manage to support the story without turning into another direction.

      Technicality side, this was hands down just pure quality. Great use of 3D, DoF, imagery, lighting, textures, and a lot more. It really is one of the few shows that has successfully depicted such a lively school festival. It’s also noteworthy that it manage to keep up a movie quality for a tv show. So far one of their best works. Here’s to hoping there would be more.

    18. Oh well:
      ep 20:
      -closed together in the shed… I was almost waiting for them to share body heat, leading to some steamy shots driven, paradoxically, to avoid social embarassment…
      -Satoshi to the rescue! this was his moment to shine definitely!
      ep 21:
      -Satoshi is not as simple and straightforward as you would think
      -but ultimately, there is some step forward on Mayaka X Satoshi front!
      ep 22:
      -Small Town Politics at the level 9000!
      -Can we hire Oreki to navigate the stormy waters of the islands China and Japan are almost at war over now? Diplomacy is his forte!
      -“Let me take care of the business side” – Indirect proposal, anyone???

    19. Thank you for giving this series the final coverage it so deserves on this prestigious blog.

      These last few episodes finally give sufficient flesh to Chitanda’s character, and revealed how school was the only place where she could really be herself, as due to her family’s status in society and the duties that comes with it, though she has gracefully accepted it without complaints.

      While it was not only Houtarou that has seen her true self, Houtarou was the first one to be bewitched Geass’ed moved by her charm to help her time to time (particularly the closure with her uncle).

      Kyo-Ani had two successful titles in 2012. Chuunibyou had more hype and also has a story that is worthy of praise, though while Hyouka started and ended with little fanfare, but somehow the audience is left feeling quite profound without knowing what words to describe how they just felt. Now that’s subtlety.

      Kinny Riddle
      1. Pardon for the screw up in the HTML tags.

        Here are the last two paragraphs again with the tags fixed:

        While it was not only Houtarou that has seen her true self, Houtarou was the first one to be bewitched Geass’ed moved by her charm to help her time to time (particularly the closure with her uncle).

        Kyo-Ani had two successful titles in 2012. Chuunibyou had more hype and also has a story that is worthy of praise, though while Hyouka started and ended with little fanfare, but somehow the audience is left feeling quite profound without knowing what words to describe how they just felt. Now that’s subtlety.

        Kinny Riddle
    20. Thanks for the proper write up to the conclusion of a great series. Looking back, I think this was the only series that I just kept waiting weekly for subs to be released, and more often than not, it didn’t disappoint. I loved the series as a whole, but what really gave it’s memorable impact had to be the Kanya fest arc, that alone warrants a must-see for this show. Add to that true character growth and it feels “real” instead of being platonic or excessively extreme, the series had superb direction and tone, with a ‘slow’ (for some) pacing, but it’s perfect. KyoAni did a splendid job with animating Hyouka and the seiyuus did an excellent job with their portrayals. Also, I love Chitanda, and Irisu-empress-senpai. Thanks again Zeph! Better late than never. =)

    21. Funny how this post came now to remind me I still had 4 episodes to go through and I did, my like memory is rusty but one of the sole reasons I watched this show is that I am exactly like Houtaru -_-‘ sometimes it amazes me when some anime can depict a charecter so closely related to yours, I mean, even now, it is my birthday and I’m hiding under my sheets too lazy to go to movies, dinners or anything, well it is still 3am in the morning -.-‘ unless someone asks and it is hard to refuse!

      Satoshi confuses me, really. In one of the previous episodes, if I remember, he seemed to support Oreki’s change, but then on a later episode he shows some symptoms of jealousy over Houtaru, and that is what led to him deciding to fall back, because obviously Oreki was better in something he liked so much, and it was a charecter he helped make it surface. I don’t know if that was answered.

      I feel bad for Chitanda, because, I might get slapped for relating myself, but commitment to ‘family business’ and ‘family image’, including its effects on your ‘future’ is.. yeah ok, it just sucks.

      I loved this anime! I am really putting Houtaru in the list of anime charecters I like, and I loved all the main casts. I feel bad for Mayaka and I wanted to punch Satoshi as well, but I guess, sometimes we are all afraid to put efforts, because we are afraid of our own obsession and worry of losing, I guess.

      Thanks for your review! I wished you’d put more screenshots of messy morning hair Oreki, I love the mess 😀


    22. Thank you very much for the cover!

      At first I thought Hyouka was very boring and kind of over-dramatized normal stuff around the school. However, those mysteries are what brought the four together and we see them grow episode by episode. By the second-cour, Hyouka became the one that I anticipated the most every week.

      One thing I’d like to point for the last episode (it was so beautiful I had to re-watch it three times) is the colors used. Remember the first episode, most colors used were gray-ish except when Oreki met Chitanda. In the last episode, every thing was pink. When I watched it I was so overwhelmed by the pink color and I thought this was what Oreki felt like: overwhelmed by Chitanda and her world. We know Oreki’s world will not be gray anymore. He may still be far from what he referred to as “rose-colored life,” but he is getting there. Before the last scene, we see Oreki and Chitanda walking towards the pink-ish setting sun.

      2012 was a year with a lot of surprises and Hyouka was the one that I enjoyed the most! If I am not mistaken, there will be an OVA soon? Very looking forward to that one!

    23. “Sappy New Year”

      Only a series that excels at turning the mundane into the mysterious could rewrite the ubiquitous “potential lovers trapped in a room” situation into a bona fide intellectual exercise. Like the best criminal masterminds, Hyouka pulled off a wonderful bluff. It tricked us into thinking that Houtarou and Chitanda’s misfortune would merely be another example of the common romance staple of locking two lovebirds into one room to let the tension of forced proximity light a fire in their hearts. Instead, their time in the shed became one of those “locked in a room” puzzles that, while not very complex, is still able to provide plenty of mental entertainment. It’s also yet another example of what makes this series so special.

      The possibility of a romance between Houtarou and Chitanda has been evident since the first episode, but it’s only in the previous two episodes that their relationship has taken center stage. The steady buildup led me to believe that it would culminate in a date of sorts, a theory that gained significant traction when she asked him to accompany her to the temple on New Year’s Day. And for a while, it looked as if my prediction was the correct one. It’s easy to see that he and Chitanda complement each other almost perfectly: she is perpetually curious, while he is the only boy who can satisfy her curiosity; he is an energy-miser of the first degree, while she possesses boundless amounts of energy that even surpasses the already prodigious amounts displayed by girls her age. Plus, they make quite an attractive couple too. I can’t blame Houtarou at all for having his breath taken away by the sight of Chitanda, she of the crimson and violet kimono; nor was I surprised by the color in his cheeks after he caught a glimpse of her unaji (nape) for the first time. Not that Houtarou was a slouch in the fashion department either with his Sherlockian white trench coat and camel colored scarf. I wasn’t a huge proponent of this pairing before but after witnessing all the romantic tension during this episode (especially palpable during the scene where Chitanda offers Houtarou the use of her obi string), I’m a firm believer now – opposites really do attract.

      I usually eagerly look forward to the romance aspect in nearly everything I watch, but surprisingly it was the mystery at the center of this episode that really spoke to me instead. On the surface, the tried and true “locked in a room” puzzle is as simple as they come, but this simplicity actually belies a brainteaser that can be appealing in many ways. For one, it’s a familiar situation that I’m sure many people have either experienced before or can easily imagine themselves being in. This type of puzzle is also unique in that it provides everything that is needed for a solution close at hand. Armchair detectives are given a quick view the shed’s exterior, told a general knowledge of its location, and shown the entirety of its contents. There’s no interviewing needed or any evidence gathering, or practically any other typical skill found in a detective’s repertoire for that matter. The only talent needed here is creativity – to make do with what is given – and this makes it easier for viewers at home to play along with the unlucky pair. And play along I did. Like Houtarou, I quickly went through a short checklist of possible escape routes using the clues that were given, and like him, I also had to quickly shift my mindset as the rules of the game changed from finding an escape route to communicating a specific message without any way of writing it.

      It turned out the answer was one that few viewers, if any, could have arrived at. At first, this can seem a bit unfair and may even be an example of cheap writing, if not necessarily poor, in that it gave viewers a mystery that was seemingly in their abilities to solve, but then pulled the rug out from beneath them. Yet in hindsight, Houtarou’s solution was not only ingenious, but it was probably the one with the best chance of success as well.

      Many of us probably noted the significance of the Sengoku-era television drama that both Houtarou and Satoshi had watched, but without knowing the material, it was basically impossible to determine its exact role in the solving the mystery. Even if viewers did know what was in the drama or, if the events were real, possessed an extremely detailed knowledge of Sengoku-era history, I wager that only a small number of them could make the crucial connection, the mental leap like the one Houtarou’s great detective mind made. I’d also guess that it’s very likely most solutions viewers could think of would not work either, seeing as Mayaka already failed to see the significance in something seemingly obvious like the handkerchief and empty wallet.

      It takes quite a well-written series to first tease us with the promise of a romantic “trapped in a shed” situation, then trick us with a puzzle we feel is within our grasp to solve, and then finally reminding us that only an intellect of Houtarou’s caliber has what it takes. In the end, it’s Hyouka that has the last laugh – yet I don’t mind one bit.

      1. I’ll leave this on this time around, but I expect you to actually put your own name instead of posing as someone you’re not.

        You have a problem with me writing posts instead of Verdant, fine. But here’s a news flash. You’re also mis-representing him by pretending he would be someone who would do such a thing, and insulting him in the process by drawing attention like this.

    24. Can’t describe how I feel but this’s certainly one of the few memorable shows that I’ve watch thus far. The ending truly leaves with plenty of interpretations on how each character moves on

    25. I am so glad RC was at last able to cover these final 3 episodes. Once I found out they couldn’t be blogged until later I put off watching the remaining trio of Hyouka since I’ve enjoyed paralleling the show and you guys’ breakdown and impressions of the episodes too much to separate them.

      The Valentine’s Day episode was such an emotionally raw dose for me to take. It was understandable from Satoshi’s POV even as I thought, “you’re being an idiot,” and I’m glad they showcased both sides of that.

      Houtaro has become one of my favorite male leads in recent years, and will likely stay as one of all time. His unusual attitude, mostly hidden/snarky humor, and surprising vulnerability just won me over again and again. The way he and Chitanda played off one another made me love them as an OTP for all of time.

      I’d have to say overall my favorite episodes include episodes 5, 8-11, aaand the entirety of the cultural festival (12-17). The finale was certainly true to the series’ roots, and while the romantic in me would’ve loved Houtaro’s bold-yet-subtle declaration be reality, I can absolutely agree with you, Zephyr, on how the way the ending DID play out was true to HouEru’s dynamic and relationship as it stood.
      I immediately accepted that this was a ‘verse wherein Eru was saying she’d be back to that town, that complex, and that life, no matter what, so that when the boy she’d come to care for deeply was ready himself, he could find her.
      Even if there’s nothing more to this anime or its source material I believe our Hyouka club members will live on, grow up, and maybe even grow closer rather than apart.

      Thank you for blogging this incredible series. I hope someday it’s available on DVD so I can revel in its excellence as a fan forever. <3

      We little birds can remember.

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