Hyouka – 11

The film’s ending doesn’t sit well with Ibara, Satoshi, and Chitanda, and they let Oreki know one by one that they don’t believe it was what Hongou intended. He agrees with them, and he can’t stop thinking about it, so he confronts Irisu and gets her to admit she wasn’t looking for detectives, but script writers, and determined that Oreki’s was the best. Later, Oreki tells Chitanda the story he thinks Hongou wanted to tell.

Last week, the mission was completed, but the mystery remained. This week, the mystery isn’t entirely solved, but the truth about Irisu’s motivations are revealed, and Oreki returns to the role of detective and not script writer. Satoshi turns out to be pretty spot on with everyone’s tarot symbols (they cartainly carry more weight here than in Arcana Famiglia). Even though Oreki doesn’t see The Empress in Irisu, a little quick digging shows that’s indeed what role she played in this arc. Recurring keywords include material prosperity, power, desire, and satisfaction, along with the more obvious sexuality, pleasure, physical attraction and beauty. Irisu used her powers of persuasion to achieve her own goals and prosper from the success of the film, irregardless of whether Hongou’s intent was preserved. The ends justified the means.

This four-episode arc is bookended by online conversations between Irisu and a mystery senpai labelled as “atashi” or “me”. Who is this senpai? We don’t know, but he or she is the person who led Irisu to ask the Classics Club. (We’re guessing it’s Oreki’s older sister, since she’s “halfway across the world”, among other hints.) Irisu warns Hongou that things won’t turn out the way she intended, and they don’t. When it’s all over, the senpai mocks Hongou and the others for falling for the ploy, and Irisu feels kinda bad about what she did, even if she believed she had no choice. It was a tangled web she wove, and served as a wake-up call to Oreki, who knew something wasn’t right with his conclusion. His friends confirmed his doubts, he called Irisu out, and he whipped up a new and more fitting end theory. Too late to change the film, but not too late to regain his confidence.

Rating: 8 (Great)

Tari Tari – 01

This episode introduces five high school students with disperate talents all working hard at something: Wakana is still getting acclimated to the school, while Wien has just returned after twleve years in Austria. Taichi is the sole member of the badminton club, Sawa rides horses and practices archery, and Konatsu, who is passionate about singing, quits the choir when she’s not allowed to sing and starts her own choir club, hoping to recruit Sawa, Wakana, and others. The quintet all meet by chance in a park where Konatsu is singing.

There’s something familiar about the look and setting of Tari Tari, and we don’t mean that in a negative way. Namely, they remind us of Hanasaku Iroha; unsurprising, as both are from P.A. Works and are high schooler slice-of-life-centered. Indeed, this could very well be the nearest town, or even the same school Ohana & Co. attend, only focusing on a fresh batch of characters. We liked the way we were gradually eased into this world, with everyone in the middle of something, and we also liked the wide variety of activities they’re involved in.

Like Hanasaku Iroha, there’s definitely nothing to complain about, production values-wise; the town is gorgeous and the character designs are smooth and inoffensive without being too generic (though we had a little trouble sorting out Wakana and Sawa, as they look very similar at first glance). We definitely connected with Konatsu’s frustration with being unable to sing in the choir (her instructor has a major stick up her ass), and were amused by newcomer Wien’s culture shock and over-formal behavior. It looks like a good group so far, and this series definitely has potential.

Rating: 7 (Very Good)

Car Cameos: A BMW 1-Series coupe and Volvo 240 wagon are visible on the road beside the train tracks. Wien arrives at school in a very unusual way (for Japanese, anyway) – by car; a Honda Euro Accord/Acura TSX, to be precise. Wakana’s pregnant teacher drives a first-gen Daihatsu Move.

%d bloggers like this: