Hyouka – 04

Oreki convinces Chitanda to bring Fukube and Ibara into the investigation. She organizes a club meeting at her home, a sprawling mansion in the midst of her family’s rice fields. One by one, they discuss their research thus far and present their tentative theories, starting with Chitanda, then Ibara, then Fukube. Oreki came unprepared, so when it’s his turn, he excuses himself to go to the bathroom, where he takes everything he learned from the others and formulates a theory that resolves their inconsistencies. Everyone concurs that his theory makes the most sense, leaving Chitanda with only the question of why she cried when her uncle spoke to her.

This week Chitanda expands her investiagtion to include everyone in the Classics Club, which henceforth essentially becomes the “School History Investigations Club,” since the “classics” they end up studying are school archives and accounts of what went on 45 years ago. In short, Chitanda’s Uncle Jun led a nonviolent student boycott to protest a proposed shortening of the length of their culture festival. He was victorious, but a few months later he was expelled from the school. Doesn’t sound that exciting at first hearing, but the episode starts with supposition and conjecture amongst the individual club members, then uses Oreki’s innate power to arrive at a logical conclusion to put all the disparate pieces together.

This is a very talky series, but it’s also very sharp and clever, and its characters are thoughtful and inquisitive. Their lengthy reports on their findings were fun to watch, as was Oreki’s ad hoc conclusion, which wouldn’t have been possible without everyone else’s work. They sift through epics and legends and talks of heroes, which are essentially simple stories that have either been embellished by their original authors, or garnished, enriched, or twisted by time, like a game of Telephone. Legends are by definition stories that have stood the test of time; but the stories of such legends never survive that journey through time totally unscathed. Also, that onigiri looked frikkin’ delicious.

Rating: 8 (Great)

Car Cameo:
An eighth-generation Honda Civic passes the frame of the first shot after the opening.

Nazo no Kanojo X – 06

Oka bumps into Tsubaki downtown, and they discuss first names over ice cream. Oka mentions it to Urabe, who blushingly tells her it’s not her business. While taking a break in a park, Tsubaki tries it out, calling Urabe “Mikoto” in her ear while she’s dozing; she wakes up blushing again and smiling. Tsubaki hesitates when trying to call her Mikoto while she’s awake. Tsubaki dreams of snapping picture of her smiling, but the next day, though she agrees to having her picture taken, she won’t give him a fake smile.

While Tsubaki is waiting for a late Urabe, his junior high crush Hayakawa passes by, and invites him to have coffee with her. He politely declines, and after she leaves, discovers Urabe was hiding behind a column. When he asks her if she’d be angry if he’d ditched her to have coffee, she gives him saliva that makes him shed tears, indicating she’d be sad, not angry. Tsubaki promises that while Hayakawa’s offer was tempting, Urabe is who he likes now. That makes her smile again, but when Tsubaki whips out the camera, she sticks out her tongue instead. He says he’ll treasure the photo anyway, making her even happier.

There are many mysterious things about Urabe Mikoto, but one thing that’s no mystery is that she’s about as shy and innocent as they come. Oh sure, she’ll flash you with her panties, but that’s only a physical symptom of her elaborate scissors-wielding routine. She’ll also say with certainty that Tsubaki Akira is the first guy she’s going to have sex with…but provide no further information about how and when that’s going to happen. Her role has been the passive one, while Tsubaki has been responsible for every step forward, starting with tasting her drool in the beginning. That she’s passive doesn’t mean she’s not interested pursuing a relationship and progressing in it; it’s just that for the most part she’s left Tsubaki in charge of how and when things happen.

In doing so, each step has been a lesson and a test for Tsubaki, most recently his being faced with the girl whose picture he tore up. Rather than show up and create a confrontation, Urabe hides and observes. And like the time she disrobed in front of him while his eyes stayed closed, he performs admirably, like a loyal boyfriend should. Tsubaki knows an old crush could never compare to what he has here and now: a cute, sweet, innocent, and eccentric girl who likes him as much as he likes her, if not more. The adorable Oka’s interventions in their relationship deserves mention too; she’s proving an interesting supporting character.

Rating: 9 (Superior)