Houtarou is waxing lyrical again, which can mean only one thing - it's time to watch Hyouka!
This week's episode confines itself to a single room, as Oreki and Chitanda share Classics Club duties after school with seemingly little to do. Their small talk quickly morphs into Eru providing gushing praise to Oreki about his mystery-solving abilities, while for his part he insists that it's simply luck rather than talent that has allowed him to solve the issues which have confronted him thus far. To prove this, a challenge is laid down - for Chitanda to find a mystery for Houtarou to put his mind to, with the latter planning to come up with a suitably ludicrous solution to prove that he isn't all that when it comes to solving a mystery.
Fortuitously, it's at this moment than an announcement comes over the school tannoy system from the head teacher himself, asking anyone who shopped at a particular stationary store the previous day to come to the staff room immediately. This is, of course, perfect problem-solving fodder, and so Oreki is tasked with putting together a theory to match this vague announcement. From pondering the possibility of students being called to the staff room for a positive reason through to shoplifting and onwards to money counterfeiting, Oreki is confident that his final solution is suitably outlandish to prove that he doesn't always get it right. Of course, it doesn't take a master of deduction to figure out how incorrect that belief ultimately proves to be...
Despite not even leaving that single club room and featuring yet another relatively mundane and every-day mystery, this week's instalment of Hyouka carried itself largely off the back of the dynamic between Houtarou and Chitanda, which is in turns amusing, touching and vibrant. It certainly isn't a tour de force of classic story-telling or anything like that, but much like Oreki himself it's hard not to be charmed by Hyouka's easy-going nature and willingness to stick doggedly to making mysteries out of the simplest aspects of school life, even when a pretty hefty suspension of disbelief is required. In short, it really shouldn't work, but for the most part it somehow still manages to do so in a way that I imagine even Houtarou couldn't fully explain.