Hyouka – 03

Chitanda begs Oreki to help her remember a buried mystery regarding her uncle, who was in the Classics Club 45 years ago. He went to India and has been missing for nearly seven years, and she wants to solve the mystery before he’s declared legally dead. Oreki also gets a letter from his sister telling him where the anthologies are, but the clubroom has changed since she went to school there. The old clubroom is being guarded by Tougaito, who initially doesn’t let them in, but careful prodding and a mutually-beneficial proposition from Oreki gets them what they wanted: the anthologies…only the first and most important issue remains missing.

Last week’s cliffhanger would have had us believe Chitanda was preparing to confess her love to Oreki, but we knew that wasn’t how things were going to go down. Still, the fact that she’d open up to Oreki about her past is proof that she deeply admires, respects, and trusts in his deductive abilities. Essentially, he’s her only hope. So now the first major mystery arrives, wrapped in another little mystery that no one but Oreki figures out: the mystery of why Tougaito acts so strange and standoffish. We remember high school well, and the moment “air freshener” was mentioned, we too knew: he was smokin’ in there.

Oreki’s calm, cool, yet unyielding manner towards the upperclassman, and his pointed questions and veiled threat of faculty involvement was all that was necessary to get what he wanted from the stoner. “No skin off his back,” as he put it. This episode also continues the practice of going with wildly different animation styles when presenting Chitanda’s reminiscence (whimsical pop-up-book style) and when Oreki explains to Ibara how he got the anthologies delivered (colorful, stylized stills of the scenario, with the two of them inserted into it). This is really an impeccably-made series, with almost obessive attention to details, so it’s fitting that such a subtle, observant, and sharp character as Oreki populates it. We look forward to how the next mystery is solved – the missing first issue.

Rating: 9 (Superior)

Car Cameo:
  In the establishing shot of the cafe, a Mitsubishi eK buzzes past. Nice low beltline!