My Favorite KyoAni Production – Hyouka

In light of recent events I wanted to write a piece about my favorite show KyoAni show, Hyouka. While still  shocked by the events, as Japan is a peaceful place and Kyoto is a wonderful city (I highly recommend the visit from one who has visited the city), I felt it was necessary to express appreciation for the works of the studio. I have seen  a lot of expression of support, and friends that I normally hardly speak with even brought up the attack. I have read wonderful appreciation pieces already.

While certainly I have not seen all the works of KyoAni, I was wondering if I had seen any of there work in the wake of recent events. Although the name of the animation studio wasn’t readily familiar, I was surprised to learn that I had either watched a few of their works already and that if I hadn’t I was actually knowledgeable about some of the shows I hadn’t and was interested in watching them at one point or another. But as time isn’t infinite I can’t watch everything. I had seen Clannad at the recommendation of a friend (I will not talk about that show because I cannot properly express how I feel about it although it may have been one of the best Anime of all time), and also Full Metal Panic, which was another friends favorite anime. My favorite production, although in a circle of personal friends I don’t know anyone else who has watched it,  was Hyouka.

I was really drawn in by the main protagonist Hotaro Oreki, and loved his punch line of “If I don’t have to do something, I won’t, but if I have to, I’ll do it quickly.” I don’t blame him, as doing things especially for others can be an exhausting task. I felt a connection about the feeling of not wanting to do anything and also to avoid being a part of any clubs, essentially Hotaro was acting the loner. Of course the loner protagonist gets drawn into something bigger than himself, a club and a girl. At the insistence of his older sister Hotaro reluctantly joins the classic literature club. And who is part of the club? None other than Eru Chitanda.

I loved the female lead Eru Chitanda. I felt like she was always dragging Hotaro along into what was going on. Even when there was seemingly no point to investigate Hotaro would always agree to get to the bottom of whatever was going on. There are plenty of hints to suggest that both feel some affection for each other. But we don’t have a traditional love story in Hyouka. We have a lot of interactions between members of the club and other members of the school, but never go on anything as formal as a date between the Hotaro and Eru.

As the show progresses Hotaro is brought more into Eru’s world. Visiting her home we know that Eru comes from a farming family that is tied to the land. He even helps her prepare for a traditional festival for the town she is connected to. She mentions to Hotaro this is her world and she will always be a part of it. I feel that at the end Hotaro is given a choice, but we don’t know his answer. Will he remain a part of this small traditional farming world with Eru? Will he leave and go to a large city to find himself in a bigger world? There are certainly pulls in both directions. The end of the anime leaves us at a cliff hanger. It’s the biggest mystery of Hotaro’s life in terms of what decision he will make.

I appreciated the show for its portrayal of high school life for someone distinctly trying to avoid being connected to high school life. I liked the small city and town feel that the show had. I loved the characters and their interactions with one another. And while it is not the most interesting or flashy anime, it certainly appealed to me for its sincerity. Its characters definitely felt very real and faced actual life problems either head on, or avoided life problems as much as they could. I highly recommend the watch, if you haven’t already.