Anime: Hyouka - The Complete Series (Part 2)
Released By: Funimation
Release Date: September 26, 2017
Retail Price: $54.99
The slice of life anime series Hyouka (with a massive fan following for the carefree mystery) originally aired in Japan in 2012 - only to finally be licensed almost five years later in a special two-part exclusive set courtesy of Funimation. Hyouka was originally created as a 22 episode series based upon the first four novels that the anime received its source material from. With the first collection containing episodes 1-11, part two concludes the series and brings the tale to a close (at least in the anime aspect for now.) So just how does the second half measure up to the episodes that hooked audiences? Well let’s first take a moment to give ourselves a slight refresher on the series premise.
In Hyouka, we began by following Hotaro Oreki, a fairly young student who has proven to have a general disinterest in his everyday life and eventually joins the school’s once known Classic Literature Club after his sister begs him to join the group she came to love. His sister (who is traveling in India at the time) elaborates that without members, the club’s lengthy presence at this school will cease operations and he feels somewhat responsible just to avoid any extra conflicts it could have sparked with his sister. The nearly empty club contains the other primary character of the series, Eru Chitanda, who I initially described as a young girl who instantly seems kind hearted by more inquisitive than most people could generally handle without getting a reaction (but honestly, I can still relate.) Oreki’s situation appears to become increasingly complex with his new “friend” and club member, kicking off Hyouka - but the progression was far from over after the halfway point.
By the time the second half of the series kicks off, the Classic Lit Club prepares for a massive festival that has plenty of promotional potential for their group - hoping to expand and keep it alive after they inevitably graduate and make their departure. What is particularly adorable, is the dedication the group has for their newfound bonds, and a large part of it seems to become just keeping afloat even when getting involved in odd games/scenarios that could put them on the map for their school (my high school clubs were way simpler - and even more so boring.) The tasks range from articles, reviews quizzes to sales for their anthology and even word of mouth, but everyone has a part to play which makes them all feel like a solid unit as the episodes dive into the second half.
Despite the happy and hardworking energy that the series embraces for episodes 12-22, the peculiar mysteries are very much alive in the series to remind us that the core group of Hyouka is just as goal-motivated as they have ever been. Part of the success the series has is the strange way it makes mysteries fun, a way for the more analytical types to dissect actions but without ever having any concern of going down a dark path. The character development was crucial to finding myself genuinely enjoying the series, which was originally focused more centrally on Eru & Hotaro. Though I was invested in the vast differences that draw them together (Eru & Hotaro) the fact that I was able to enjoy each character’s individual plot points in addition to the group dynamic successfully rounded out a series with sharp characters.
To be expected, Hyouka follows up the first half with another solid 11 episodes of animation. The atmosphere of the series has an anime film tinge to it, bringing out the best possible visual appeal it could contain. The transitional sequences that embrace different genre nods make it something that contains creativity with both the English and Japanese voice cast forming another solid series and noteworthy slice of life anime to enjoy a carefree binge. With the entire series being available with both sub and dub options, there's no excuse not to add Hyouka to your viewing/streaming list. Hyouka parts 1 and 2 are available on DVD and Blu Ray courtesy of Funimation.
Overall Score: 7/10
Aedan’s Final Thoughts:
- Part 2 gave the characters more life than the first half provided them with.
- The unexpected unity was a nice touch to the slice of life / mystery based anime.
-The ending left me feeling more invested in their lives and hopeful for the romantic bond between Hotaro and Eru.
-The hatred one character showed for manga reviewing gave me a meta-moment as I type a review of an anime based on a novel…