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Hyouka

May 6, 2012

気になります! “Hyouka” is a new spring season anime series that only recently started to air, later than many other shows, decided to watch it as I was interested in sampling this series.

Based on the first volume of the light novel series “古典部“ byYonezawa Honobu, “Hyouka” is primarily advertised as a mystery show centered around the four members of a high school classic literature club.

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“Hyouka” impresses from the first scene on with stunning visuals by Kyoto Animation, which proves again this studio can excel in creating an enchanting visual canvas with lush backgrounds, great lighting and even bokeh effects. Seems they set out again to redefine the standard of moe by making Chitanda irresistibly cute.

Loved the first two episodes although am unsure yet what direction the series will take. Even when considering the basic plot and advertised mystery genre, these episodes still leave the core genre and plot rather wide open.

Overly simplified, “Hyouka” seems like a mash up of “The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi” thanks to Chitanda’s rather forceful and energetic personality in dragging Oreki around, mixed with “Kami-sama no Memo-chou” due to the various mysteries and overall visual styling. Though the first two episodes also had a slice-of-life and romantic vibe at times.

Especially the first episode has a few scenes with poetic visuals to suggest that Oreki is blown away by Chitanda and getting pulled into her world, her pace. Perhaps even falling for her?
Those scenes definitely suggest this series could have a significant subplot in a romance between Chitanda and Oreki or in developing their characters, showing how they grown after meeting each other.

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Satou Satomi voices the energetic and cute Chitanda, she also voiced characters like Ritsu in “K-ON!”, Aria in “Seitokai Yakuindomo” and Manami in “Ore no Imouto ga Konna ni Kawaii wake ga nai”.

Fiesty Ibara is voiced by Kayano Ai, she previously voiced Inori in “Guilty Crown”, Isana in “Yumekui Merry”, Ume in “Ben-To” and Millia in “Last Exile ~Ginyoku no Fam~”.

Quite a bit of other interesting seiyuu are mentioned in the voice cast list, like Chihara Minori who is set to voice Yuri or Toyasaki Aki who’s voicing Rie. However, as I am not familiar with the original novels and considering their characters have yet to appear, cannot say if their roles will be significant or not.

Am very interested to see which direction this series will take and which genre it will mainly be.
Will it be a slice-of-life series in a school setting of these four friends spiced up with a weekly mystery?
Or will it be a more romantic show where the romance is character driven by exploring Chitanda & Oreki’s personalities and their developing bond?

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