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)

Hyouka – 09

The three “amateur detectives” of the film club offer their theories to the classics club, one by one. Vice director Nakajou believes it to be a simple matter of the murderer escaping through the window, but the grass outside wasn’t disturbed. Prop master Haba believes the culprit is Kounosu, also of the mountaineering club, because Hongou asked for a rope. Haba hasn’t watched the film yet, so doesn’t know how hard and loud opening the window from the outside would be. The third gumshoe, Sawakguchi, suggests it was going to be a horror flick with a slasher killing everyone save one couple, but there wasn’t enough blood ordered. With all three film club theories refuted, it’s up to the classics club to crack the mystery. On his way home, Oreki bumps into Irisu, who asks him out for tea.

This turned out to be only Part Deux of the film club murder mystery, comprised solely of listening to the three film club detectives rattle off their personal theories about whom the culprit may be. None of their theories survive the scrutiny of Oreki, Chitanda, Mayaka, and/or Fukube. Of course, it would have been awfully anticlimatic for one of them to come up with the answer instead of a member of the Classics Club. Instead, the presentation of their theories served to eliminate certain possibilities, if only somewhat.

While a wholly different mystery than that involving Chitanda’s uncle, due to it involving a much smaller scope of history (months, not decades), the series still manages to brew quite a stirring mystery here. We have no idea how it will be solved, and even if we had a clue, it’s likely it would be refuted by Oreki & Co. Quite amusingly, Chitanda snacks on whiskey chocolates throughout the episode, developing hiccups and eventually passing out after an apparent epiphany that “it’s like a kaleidoscope,” whatever that means. We’re also curious why Irisu wants to meet Oreki one-on-one.

Rating: 8 (Great)