Hiyo, everyone! Today I will review the anime adaptation of Hyouka, which is based on the first four volumes of a light novel series called Kotenbu written by Honobu Yonezawa. The story follows a Kamiyama High School student named Houtarou Oreki who, at the beginning of the anime, steadfastly follows a personal philosophy of getting by while doing as little as possible. His outlook is given a nudge when his older sister, an alumni of Kamiyama High, tells him to join the Classic Literature Club so the club won’t be removed from the school’s roster. Reluctantly, Houtarou agrees. There, he meets Eru Chitanda, an inherently curious girl who joined the club for her own personal reasons.
The two are quickly confronted with a small mystery regarding how Eru found herself locked in the club room without a key prior to Houtarou’s arrive. The latter solves it, displaying his strength in deductive reasoning for the first of many times throughout the anime.
As things progress, the Classic Lit Club (which grows to include Houtarou’s friend Satoshi Fukube and his middle-school classmate Mayaka Ibara) is confronted with one mystery after another, with topics ranging from a dark moment in Kamiyama school history, to figuring out how an incomplete mystery movie was supposed to end, to unmasking the thief plaguing the school festival.
Hyouka is an episodic slice-of-life anime revolving around such mysteries. As it progresses, the characters learn more about themselves – especially Houtarou, who finds his energy-conservationalist motto challenged. Since the four main characters are all quite likable, the characters are pleasant to watch, and I find their personalities quite complementary.
If you come into Hyouka looking to try to beat the characters to the conclusions of the mysteries, you may find yourself in for a challenge, since they’re not always presented entirely fairly to someone unfamiliar with that area of Japan. Several times, the characters mentioned facts I hadn’t at all been aware of in the middle of their investigations, and that information proved crucial to solving the mysteries. Nonetheless, the way the mysteries are solved is enjoyable to watch in its own right and facilitates strong character development, which I always love witnessing.
Overall, I found Hyouka a delightful anime to watch, perfect if you’re looking for something light-hearted yet with a bit of depth. I rate is 4.5/5 and recommend it to all fans of slice-of-life.
Have you seen Hyouka or read the associated light novels or manga? If so, what did you think? If not, do you like the slice-of-life genre in general? Please let me know in the comments below! Ciao for now!