Monday, 23 July 2012

Hyouka - Episode 14

It's time for another day at the school festival in this week's Hyouka - has coverage of a school festival ever gone on for this long in an anime series?  Inquiring minds want to know.

Despite not having found the manga that Mayaka was convinced would blow her manga club president's mind, it seems that the previous day's outburst has been forgiven as another day of the festival begins in earnest - while Mayaka finds herself busy with the manga club preparing posters, Chitanda is once again on the prowl for anyone willing to sell copies of the Classics Club's anthology on their stalls.  Luckily for her, Irisu is more than willing to help, and even goes so far as to give Eru a lesson in the powers of persuasion which our curious friend simply laps up.  Meanwhile, Houtarou's habit of making bizarre trades with stall-goers in the club room itself continues - but hey, who knows when some wheat flour could come in handy?

This question inevitably takes on importance when the second half of this episode sees the Classics Club take on all-comers at the festival's cooking competition - after Satoshi makes a decent fist of his part in proceedings, Chitanda blows away the opposition with her culinary abilities.  The trouble is, she's a little too efficient in the kitchen, and by the time Mayaka belatedly arrives for her turn at the table there are virtually no ingredients left.  Enter Houtarou and his flour to save the day, and nab the Classics Club an all-important (or unimportant, perhaps) victory.  But why did the Classics Club have a ladle missing from the equipment laid out for them?  It seems that the culture festival's phantom thief has been at it again, as their bizarre fetish for pinching or borrowing things in a mysterious manner continues.

I really don't know quite how Hyouka is managing to do it, but despite its culture festival story arc seemingly well and truly outstaying its welcome having been spread over so many episodes, it's still managing to be a whole lot of fun to watch - and surprisingly tense too as its cooking segment moved into its final stages!  Once again, the show's impeccable animation values help, but there's a certain something about watching this show and its characters go about their business that I can't quite put a finger on that just seems to work perfectly, to the point where recent episodes have almost been more enjoyable than the show's mystery quotiant.  Of course, it's the mysterious side of things to which we return next week by the look of it now that so much time has been spent building up something new for Houtarou to get his teeth into - hopefully it won't disappoint after this much preparation, I'd hate to see it run out of steam like some over-prepared cooking content dish.

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