Hyouka is that one Kyoto Animation show I’d always been interested in but a lack of home release or UK streaming option meant that I never got around to it. Thankfully, Anime Limited answered my prayers as I’ve finally sat down to watch the mystery show, but was it worth the wait?
Hyouka is a popular Kyoto Animation show and for good reason – it’s very clever, and very personable. Hotaro Oreki joins his school’s Classic Literature Club at the bequest of his older sister, as it’s at danger of being closed. He expected to be alone but when he arrives at the club room, a pretty girl named Eru Chitanda is staring out of the window. Hotaro is the only person who has the key to the room, so how did Eru get in? There may not be an answer for everything but, in Hyouka, the mysteries are easily solved by Hotaro who has a knack for solving puzzles.
Hyouka takes the ordinary and makes it extraordinary, and Hotaro opens up from his lethargic, lonely self as he spends more time with the small handful of new club members. Some viewers may see it as a whole lot of nothing, but it’s a comfortable, peaceful watch of a group of schoolkids having fun after school and making memories that’ll last forever. There’s some character development among all of the mysteries, but it coasts along at its own pace and doesn’t rush things along.
As is standard of Kyoto Animation, Hyouka is drop dead gorgeous. This is one of the most beautiful anime I’ve laid my eyes on, and every frame is a treat. Kyoto Animation have a knack for creating fantastical worlds and characters but with Hyouka they, just like they do with the narrative, bring out the beauty in the ordinary. An immense amount of detail and love has gone into Hyouka and it’s impossible to not notice and admire the passion of Kyoto Animation.
I chose to watch this in English and Adam Gibbs does a terrific job at capturing the lazy nature of Oreki, as well as his subtle development. The other main cast members – Madeleine Morris, Dallas Reid and Jill Harris – support Adam Gibbs with performances just as good his own, but you can watch it in Japanese if you’d prefer. The soundtrack amplifies the atmosphere of the show, and the opening and ending themes are catchy.
I’ve never read the original novel which Hyouka is based on, but Kyoto Animation has introduced me to another work which I’ll be sure to check out if it ever gets localised into English. Hyouka is a peaceful, slice of life show which acts as a great introduction to Kyoto Animation, and it’s wonderful to sit down and chill out with. Thank you to Anime Limited for bringing this one over as I’d been wanting to check it out for a long time!
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