Sunday, June 24, 2012

Thoughts after Hyouka 10

Or not...

Ten episodes in, I think Hyouka is starting to annoy me just a little - it's not that I dislike mystery, but it's not my favorite genre and this isn't like the mystery in Detective Conan where people actually die, for lack of a better term, it's "inconsequential mystery".  The current arc, for example, is interesting, but at the end of the day the only stakes are a sorry-ass student film getting the 'correct' ending the author (who is apparently too ill for anyone to just ask) intended it to or not.

This isn't to say I dislike Hyouka - I like the cast, the animation is gorgeous, there's the chance for some interesting character development, even romance - but the lack of anything...well, serious happening makes it hard to really get into the story.  If the murder in this arc had actually happened and Hotarou was trying to find out who the killer was, with the risk of the killer finding out he's on his or her trail and coming after him and/or Chitanda - it'd be a completely different ballgame.  Instead, Hyouka is more like playing detective than being a real one - right now he has a "case" to solve but it's purely fictional, or in the case of Chitanda's uncle, it really happened, but it was 50 years ago and finding out what happened changes nothing in the real world except setting Chitanda's limitless curiosity at ease for a few microseconds.

Hyouka has a lot going for it, and I geniunely look forward to watching it each week - I just can't help wondering about the wasted potential, with Hotarou never finding himself in a "real" mystery with his life on the line like Kudo Shinichi from Detective Conan.  Maybe later on there will be a mystery Hotarou faces with serious consequences for failure, but when it hasn't happened yet ten episodes in, I'm not optimistic.  I'm not saying this needs to turn into CSI: Kyoto, but they could get a notch more serious without making this like Detective Conan, where in a year Shinichi solves more murders than actually happen in the whole Japanese archipelago in the same timeframe.

On the plus side, I thought the analogy of the sports prodigy saying she was just lucky was a good one - Hotarou *does* have a gift and while he downplays it out of insecurity, he clearly didn't realize that by downplaying it he can also be hurting people like Satoshi who simply don't have his gift.  It'll be interesting to see how the relationships develop between the main four characters, and with another dozen episodes to go there's plenty of time.