Monday, 14 May 2012

Hyouka - Episode 4

After all of that effort to find the Classics Club's previous anthologies, it appears that volume one is missing, and with it the vital information that will solve Chitanda's mystery surrounding her uncle.  Although all hope appears lost, Houtarou suggests that the best way forward for his club-mate is for Eru to tell Mayaka and Satoshi her story and enlist their help.

With that extra brainpower on board, Chitanda takes control and gets her three friends to go away, do some research and return for a session at her house to review their findings and any theories that have come from it.  This they duly do, with Chitanda herself coming up with a bare bones theory which is both somewhat shot down and then fleshed out by Ibara, and then furthermore by Fukube.

Ultimately, all eyes turn to Houtarou himself - rather unfortunately for him, as his research is sparse and he doesn't have any kind of theory to unveil to his waiting audience.  Decidedly more luckily, a combination of rain and an excuse for a toilet break gives Houtarou some time to think - time he puts to good use in outlining what ultimately seems like the most likely theory, built from the research all of the others before him have presented.  Thus, it's another victory for the brilliant mind of Houtarou... or is it?  The cause of Eru's childhood distress remains on her mind, so perhaps this mystery isn't quite wrapped up just yet.

I think it would be something of an understatement to call this week's Hyouka verbose - it had a lot to say, describe and lay out with no real changes of scenery to help it along, something which no amount of gorgeous visuals or smart gimmicks can resolve.  As a result, this was certainly a very "dry" instalment, which is something I can deal with for the most part given the interesting history and the like unveiled by the episode, but it certainly feels like a segment of the show's story which is far better suited to its original novel format than animation - it doesn't even have the quirkiness and sharp writing of other verbose efforts like Bakemonogatari to fall back on, making it a tough one to sell from a visual perspective.  This has, I have to admit, taken a little of the sheen away from Hyouka after a pretty decent couple of episodes - it isn't time to man the lifeboats or anything, but there's a definite need for an upturn in the show's story (and story-telling) to push it along in the next week or two.

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