hyouka 17

“All that’s left is to unravel the Juumoji incident! Now I can put all my curiosity into this!”

Wow. Just wow. The Juumoji arc has been, by far, the best arc thus far, and it finally shows off the full expectations of Hyouka. The uncle arc was lame since all they needed to do was ask someone what happened… the inn arc was okay but nothing spectacular… and the film club arc was painful to the point I thought about dropping the show. Juumoji just had everything come together: Chitanda’s adorableness, Kyoto’s adaptation prowess, and an actual plot.

The whole theme of expectations amongst the four characters interweaving into one thread is excellent. I didn’t know Honobu Yonezawa had it in him (or her). I liked how each of the four club members battled some form of expectations, and it was their teamwork– in one way or another– that led to solving the Juumoji incident. Or maybe this whole expectations theme is a message from Kyoto Animation telling us not to expect too much. Ha.

I totally understand putting your best effort into something and then being instantly crushed by someone else who seems to do it faster, better, and stronger than you with less effort. The different threads all deal with different on how this was handled. Mayaka’s clubmate just gave up and stuck her head in the sand. The clubmate could have worked harder and better, but she decided to quit because she would never become good. I’m not sure of this message. While there are a lot of people who won’t become concert pianists, it doesn’t mean they should stop playing the piano. It just means everyone has a ceiling… the clubmate is terrified to find hers.

Satoshi gave up in a different way. He talked a big game about beating Houtarou this time, but he finds out at the end he’s not cut out for this type of work. That’s a slightly different message. He found his ceiling. He realized no matter how much more RAM usage he cut from his 386, he’s not going to be able to install Doom 2 on it. It’s almost a relief to him as he realizes, “Hey, that shit Houtarou does– it ain’t easy.”

As for Houtarou and Tanabe, the way Houtarou broke things down was classic Houtarou. He’s earned the “Houtarou being Houtarou” tag, and it’s not a negative. I want to see a Law and Order-type series with Detective Houtarou and Haruhi as the prosecutor. For Tanabe, it’s both expectations and frustration that led him to do this. Sure, he could just write taunting messages on Kugayama’s Facebook wall, but that’s the coward’s way out. Instead, he devises a huge and complicated incident that only Kugayama could understand to call him out on not drawing a manga. Talk about passive aggressiveness. Part of me wonders how badly this friendship broke down to the point there Tanabe couldn’t go to Kugayama and say, “Bro, if you draw this one last manga, it’ll be our crowning achievement of senior year. We’ll be remembered heroes, and I’m sure that bitchy chick in the manga club will go down on you.” Except, well, there’s nothing to indicate Tanabe and Kugayama had any exchange except Tanabe inching the script little-by-little to Kugayama while Kugayama just ignores it and goes back to playing Tiny Wings on his iPhone.

(To further complicate things, Houtarou blackmails the guy. Let’s cover up one crime with another… though I think this shows Houtarou is more Littlefinger than Ned Stark.)

Mayaka looks like Yui tripping in this scene. Anyway, as soon as I saw this scene, I knew someone stuck sodium in the paper. Oldest chem 101 trick to get bored sophomores to pay attention. And Satoshi was pretty boss that he put it out by bashing the fire with his arms. Putting water doesn’t put out a sodium (or potassium) fire.

(As for my expectations for Hyouka, the weakest part thus far has been the drama. The show desperately needed any sort of plot or mystery or drama, and it finally got it. Too bad the show couldn’t start off better, but then I remembered Kyoto spent like ten episodes on the Makoto arc [and basically zero for Nayuki] and then spent too many episodes on Fuko-chan. So, basically, my expectations were too optimistic met.)

Chitanda isn’t cut out for Ibara’s buttering up and seduce methods. That we knew even before she started trying to use them. Chitanda just sounds too much like a Marina Ismail or Yuka Uchida when she’s trying to play up her “expectations of you” act. She isn’t a damsel in distress, and I’m not quite sure what her way is yet in this show, but I know it’s not that. I’m also inclined to say she’s Houtarou’s moral compass… like the Crusher to his Picard, the Irisviel to his Kiritsugu, or the Samwise to his Frodo. (Tried to think of a Game of Thrones analogy, but there’s no moral compasses in Game of Thrones. Just boobs and betrayal.)

Didn’t we see this image of a fox or dog biting a bunny somewhere during Penguindrum?

Alternating rows of men and women. Is this what happens in a typical Japanese high school? I feel like I’m not getting an accurate portrayal of Japanese high school from anime and GTO. I just don’t know to what extent these stereotypes are true. On the flipside, I’m sure the Japanese assume all our highschools are like 90210 and Dawson’s Creek, which is completely false. Saved By the Bell, on the other hand, is completely realistic.

Damn, if only I could have read this pamphlet in Japanese and realized Kugayama’s name was on the club page. It’s a pretty big clue… kinda like how Ayu’s name was on the hospital door in the original (non-Kyoto) Kanon. Though I am guessing no one would have paid attention to that detail if the fansubbers at the time didn’t put a “Note: We’re not translating the door sign” note instead of just not translating it. Kyoto did the smarter thing in the remake and just not have the sign there.

“Kininarimasu!” Things I’m Curious About

1. Will the final few episodes live up to the Juumoji arc standards?

2. Are we going to get more meido Chitanda?

3. Is the next episode the victory dinner?

10 Responses to “hyouka 17”

  1. I have to agree, this arc definitely wrapped up great, brought up some pent up feelings in the characters…. except Chitanda, but I still have to say the film arc was still my second favorite, the way the story was able to make something so trivial and unimportant feel intense like a circus was really clever and more so than anything it showed Houtarou’s shortcomings. The Uncle arc was great during the ride and then just had a shitty ending.

  2. Satoshi actually broke it down really well in the beginning, in that the word expectation in Japanese doesn’t actually convey the true “weight” of the word. It’s not just confident probability, but for a lot of the people in the arc, it’s a reflection of your own expectations, your own hopes and dreams in many of these cases.

    For Chitanda, the catalyst for many of the previous arcs, she weighed herself down with the expectation that she had to fulfill a role for the Classics Club to help solve the mystery. Additionally, she (momentarily) believed that the only way to meet the expectation, was to use expectations to motivate others to help. It is only when she’s able to accept that this wasn’t the best way for her that she experienced any relief. (Oddly or ironically, the way that she “asks” Houtarou to solve mysteries in her straightforward way, is a form of placing expectations)

    For Satoshi, his expectations were never about “winning” against Houtarou. The most self-aware character of the group, he already labeled himself a database early on in the series. He also was the one first aware of Houtarou’s formerly unused talents. His expectations were to measure himself against Houtarou, and see how close he could come. The sobering reality for him, was the gap was much larger than he was expecting. I don’t believe that Satoshi’s ceiling is low, but compared to Houtarou’s floor, it was enough for him to re-declare his database self-assessment.

    For Mayaka, and her sempai (with some shades of Satoshi here), we have expectations fueled by passion. Masterpieces in this regard, you might expect are always created by those passionate by the work, right? Her sempai never finished the manga, because she doesn’t ever want to acknowledge that passion isn’t a prerequisite for writing a masterpiece. (Much like sports fans might be surprised that some of the best players in a given sport, say Rajon Rondo, aren’t really passionate fans of the sport they play well.) At least there was some hope in Mayaka’s realization that her gap to Body Gear, was very similar to her sempai’s gap to A Corpse by Evening.

    Finally, Tanabe’s passive aggression aside (which may have to do with Japanese cultural indirectness more than anything), this expectation was the simpler expectation that happens after any great work: “When are you completing the next great one?” It’s perhaps simpler to expect someone to do the next one, when they were clearly passionate about working and completing the first one. Perhaps a bit harder if it was just a form hobby tourism…”I should write a manga sometime. Cool. Done. What’s the next new thing to try?”.

    Overall, I had great expectations for this arc, and they were quite surpassed in how they were thematically resolved. That probably means I’ll be quite disappointed in the next episode unless they throw in some strategic Chitanda Meido appearances.

  3. I haven’t read the original work this anime is based on, so I’m just guessing here:
    What if Houtarou’s sister doesn’t exist? That he just imagines talking to her to help him solve problems? This anime would have awesome sauce poured all over it if he’s writing letters to someone imaginary and walks around dressed in women’s clothes during the school fair…

  4. what’s great about this episode, i think.. is that you can watch it in cercles :p
    i mean.. just after the trick, hotaru explaining it with that face urges you watch again the beginning. in Fact, you can even see the culprit, using his phone to call satoshi’s, then quickly putting it away.. then while they are talking, he make that gesture to take out something from his inner pocket (the water pistol). you can even see his gloomy face since the start of the scene. I was quite impressed how they did it :D making you rewatch the episode and all
    and that foxy look on hotaru while saying we should finish it with a bang is too great :D

    if you watch the previous episode again.. it seems that hotaru found a way to discover the culprit but he said that like that the hyouka couldn’t achieve a sold out!! he said he had to rethink it again to find a way to catch the culprit and achieve a sold out in the same time.. looks like he find it :D

    after all .. all he is interested in (it seems) is Chitanda.. he couldn’t stand watch her get tired those hole three days without achieving her goal, that is selling all the anthologies .. i can’t blame him

  5. Fair play KyoAni, this time round we had all the clues to the mystery. I got the targeted clubs all appearing on the last page, and the identify of the 3rd manga contributor, but not the most important part of the “ku”, the president’s name, and thus the motive. Houtarou is one magnificent bastard this episode.

    Next episode will be some messing around like at the hot springs, then the final 3 episodes will be spent noticing and perusing the lose ends to all of these arc’s mysteries, namely how and why Oreki-aneki has been steering the Classics Club this whole time. Call it the True Ending if you like. Finally at some point over the next few episodes, Chitanda will no longer be able to contain herself and she’s going to jump Houtarou.

    @dms144: That would be pretty good too!

  6. Don’t know if Chitanda is Houtarou’s moral compass. The way he was able to plot the final Juumoji theft behind her back shows how wily he can be, like how he planted that fake club on the bulletin board in the first episode to fool Chitanda. If anything, she is the prod that has poked Houtarou down the hill toward using his potential. His sister is the evil puppet master setting up a few scenarios for him to use his skills. Last arc has to be Houtarou vs. his aniki. Epic test of the minds…

  7. That last screencap is so exploitable…
    The Oreki as Littlefinger comparison would only work if Houtarou will get NTRed when Eru finally hooks up with Irisu. …Wait.

  8. What’s most interesting to me is that, in this episode, the usually alienated Oreki comes face-to-face with the waste of squandered talent – and recognizes it for what it is. Even he really likes “A Corpse by Evening”, and when he learns from Tanabe that Kugayama drew it on a lark, and has never done any drawing afterward, it’s clear from the Oreki’s tone of voice that he feels some of the same loss that Tanabe does.

    Wonder whether Oreki changes in any way from that recognition?

  9. If you want to know what the Japanese think about American high school, this music video is instructive:

  10. Davos to Stannis, man.

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