Hyouka – 17

Chitanda very directly advertises the Classics Club and their anthology by declaring it Juumoji’s last target, specifically their manuscript. The clubroom fills with intrigued students, and the anthology is nearly sold out, when the manuscript explodes in a puff of smoke, and Juumoji leaves a note behind. Flash back to when Oreki confronts Tanabe Jirou and declares him to be Juumoji, laying out in great detail how he figured it out. Rather than expose him, he asks Tanabe to buy 30 anthologies, and in exchange, the Classics Club will help him stage the final theft, using sodium for the explosion. Once the four members each purchase a copy, the Hyoukas sell out.

All’s well that ends well! In fact, all’s well that ends fantastically. This concluding episode of the Kanya Festival arc brought everything together so nicely, and did so with panache and dramatic fluorish. Rather unfold in a linear fashion, we’re shown the ending first, and rather than watch Oreki’s process, we merely watch him confront, shut down, then enter into a pact with Juumoji himself that will mutually benefit both parties, including achieiving the primary objective – to sell all the anthologies. It’s an epic feat of both detective work and negotiation – and Fukube can hardly believe how soundly he is beaten.

At the heart of this episode is a subject that has been building up for the entire series, and while rarely on the surface until now, informs the relationships of the whole club, and how they see themselves. To put it perhaps too simply, there are passionate failures and casual geniuses in Hyouka. Oreki is a genius, yet doesn’t seem to care (though we know he cares more than he outwardly lets on) This is accentuated by how abruptly he’s shown wrapping everything up in a neat little package. Fukube is frustrated by always looking up to Oreki, and the reality that he’ll probably never be able to approach his deductive skill can be a crushing, hopeless sensation.

Similarly, Ibara learns that Kouchi was friends with Anjou, the writer of A Corpse By Evening – a work both written and illustrated by casual geniuses. She thought she was 100 levels below Kouchi – the author of Body Talk – but Kouchi thought she was 100 below Anjou. It’s all relative! Even Chitanda learns that the school of manipulation Irisu tried to teach her simply isn’t for her – she’s too straightforward, but like Oreki, she succeeds in getting things done without seeming to try. We could frankly go on and on about all the lovely details crammed into this episode (the OP and ED are even omitted to provide maximum airtime), but we’ll simply close by saying the mystery was solved to our great satisfaction, and gave us a deeper look into the lives and personalities of all four club members.


Rating: 9 (Superior)

Hyouka – 16

Satoshi’s stakeout is a bust, as Juumoji skips “ku” and steals from the Light Music Club (“ke”) instead. Oreki’s sister pays him a visit and trades him his mirror for a copy of “A Corpse By Evening.” The foreward announces the group of artists’ work for the next Kanya Festival will be called “Kudryavka’s Order” and based upon a Christie classic. Chitanda borrows the manga and shows Mayaka, who confirms the festival poster was drawn by the same artist: Council President Kugayama. Oreki comes to believe the manga’s foreward was an announcement of the Juumoji incident now occuring…

So now we’re done guessing when this arc will come to an end – having been proven wrong once again this week – but we’re definitely still enjoying the mystery as it deepens and begins to encompass all of the little details and events that inititally seemed unimportant. Oreki’s “Straw Millionaire” system has proven to be a crucial plot propellant, with the latest item being none other than the very manga Mayaka tore her room apart to find. Oreki is as impressed with its quality as she is. Leave it to Oreki’s sister to throw a vital bone into Oreki’s bowl for him to gnaw on. We’re not sure why her face is never shown, but it definitely adds to her mystique – along with her offbeat wardrobe.

Satoshi, who was on an indie streak last week, stumbled on the direct approach. You can see his frustration at failing, along with his exasperation with the fact that Oreki seeks to solve this thing without depending on connections to the clubs or mistakes by the culprit. He beleives the Juumoji plot is important to its makers, having been carefully planned since at least last year. Satoshi and the others can only sit back and hope Oreki can solve it. Also in this episode: Chitanda gets ready to go on the air, and Mayaka gets soaked in inky water, ruining her cosplay outfit and leading to a quiet retreat from the manga society.


Rating: 7 (Very Good)

Hyouka – 15

After briefly celebrating their Wildfire win, Fukobe, Chitanda and Ibara bring the Juumoji mystery to Oreki’s attention. Chitanda uses her catch phrase, and Oreki grudgingly agrees to participate. They determine that the pattern of crimes indicates the use of the ten first characters in the hiragana alphabet, and that the final theft could occur in the Classics Club. Chitanda reports this to the Newspaper Club, who are already on top of it, while Fukobe tries to catch the thief in the act, wanting to solve the crime without further help from Oreki.

So we were a little off: this episode didn’t comprise the third day of the festival in which the mystery is solved. Instead, the second day continues with the start of the investigations. It’s a day that concludes with a pretty solid theory in place for what’s going on, and whoever the thief is, he’s pretty clever. Chitanda takes Irisu’s advice amusingly literally, but beause the Classics Club could be the last target, the mystery nets them more free publicity anyway, which is good, because there’s a lot of anthologies still on that table.

In the meantime, Fukube starts to show signs he may be sick of playing second fiddle to Oreki. He stops himself when about to suggest something involving the case, then goes off on his own to catch the thief in the act, which he believes is the only way he or she will be caught. Mayaka’s Manga Society troubles continue, being teased by her clubmates and retreating to mope beside Oreki and at an isolated bridge where her prez tries to console her. But the overarching question is, who will catch the thief? If it isn’t Oreki, will he care? We think he will.


Rating: 7 (Very Good)

Hyouka – 14

On the second day of the Kanya Festival, Irisu agrees to sell anthologies bundled with her pamphlet. Oreki trades an anthology and the water Glock for cookies and a bag of wheat flour from the Confectionary Research Club. Satoshi enters himself with Chitanda and Mayaka into a cooking contest called “Wildfire”, but Mayaka will be late due to a poster-drawing contest at the Manga Society. During his time, Satoshi makes only Tonjiru, but Chitanda manages to make four more dishes including Katsura-muki and Giseyaki.

In her haste to cook as much as possible, she leaves hardly any ingredients left for Mayaka, who arrives with only ten minutes to spare. Overhearing the competition, Oreki tosses the bag of flour to Satoshi, who gets it to Mayaka, and she makes Kakiage on rice in the remaining minutes. The Classics Club wins the competition, but a missing ladle turns out to have been stolen by someone named “Juumoji”.

We love cooking, and we also love cooking shows like Iron Chef and Chopped. So when the majority of this episode became a cooking contest, we were thrilled. Another team has a ringer, but so did Satoshi: namely Chitanda, who cooks up a storm. The key clue that we didn’t miss when the rules were being explained: if there are no more ingredients available, they can be procured from around campus. That’s when a seemingly random bag of flour becomes the key to the Classics Club’s victory.

The show does a masterful job building up this connection, and creating great suspense as the time ticks down on a desperate Mayaka, who is only one ingredient away from being able to make something…anything. Finally, Oreki comes through with the major assist. Can oil heat up to frying temperature in two minutes on a hot plate? No friggin’ way. But that’s okay; Mayaka’s quick thinking and ingenuity meant all four club members contributed to the win. We suspect the next and final day of the festival will center on the mystery of the petty theif called “Juumoji”…and selling the rest of the anthologies.


Rating: 9 (Superior)

P.S. Smoking at school is an expulsionary offense, but apparently waving lifelike Glocks around with pumpkin masks is TOTALLY OKAY.