Anime Gems Season 2: Hyouka

I hope you like Sherlock Holmes style mystery. Because if you do – then Hyouka is for you. But don’t be disappointed if there is neither murder nor crime…

A mystery can be found everywhere, if you just look close enough. This is what Eru Chitanda does. And some mysteries need a mind as sharp as a blade to solve them. This is what Hotaro Oreki does. Because Eru won’t stop pestering him otherwise…

Hyouka is a modern interpretation of classic crime mystery, having the protagonists use combinative and deductive skills to solve them. And Hyouka does not cheat – there is rarely, if ever, a deus ex machina moment. Notoriously phlegmatic and unwilling (but talented) puzzle solver Hotaro is forced to do things the hard way.

And sometimes this means that a single puzzle can drag along over three episodes, with little details being revealed bit by bit, each one requiring to reconsider the previous theory. Unlike in the classics, it’s often much ado about nothing, simply prompted by the insatiable curiousity of Eru Chitanda. But when a solution is finally found, it’s beautifully constructed. In a way, it’s mystery solving reduced to a minimalistic core.

This series might not be for everyone. But on the plus side, there’s beautiful artwork, excellent storyline construction and quirky and charming characters. It’s 22 episodes of smart and entertaining storytelling. Have a cup of tea or two, go watch Hyouka and find out about the mystery behind the series’ title!