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2012 list: Hyouka

4 Jul

houka pairsafter wincing through shows that plodded along on lame plots and story arcs that barely stirred my waning interest, Hyouka (Kyoto Animation) showed up in my radar like a proverbial needle in the haystack.

as crazy as it sounds, i initially latched onto Hyouka because it was a single-word title, and therefore easy to remember in case it turned out to be good. as 10 minutes went by without rousing my ire, i allowed myself to hope that here — at last — was an anime series to lift me out of my slump. halfway through the first episode, i knew i was on to something good.

with relatable lead characters (each with his/her own quirky qualities), excellent animation and storylines that occasionally throw you for a loop, Hyouka easily makes my list of favorites.

hyouka main cast

the series doesn’t deal with end-of-the-world scenarios, and the characters are not endowed with supernatural powers or qualities that would make them stand out in a crowd. there are no overt tragedies or over-the-top characters to hijack your attention. in short, it’s just a group of high school students who form a club in keeping with their interests (some more willing than others) and trying to make sense of changes/events around them.

hyouka cast


houtaro (hyouka)

main characters
houtaro oreki — a retiring sourpuss with finely honed deductive skills; wants to accomplish anything with the least amount of fuss and effort
eru chitanda — a pretty overachiever who shakes houtaro out of his comfort zone; her one overriding quality is her rampant curiosity
satoshi fukube — houtarou’s easygoing best friend who has a knack for collecting odd information; calls himself the “database”
mayaka ibara — another member of the Classic Literature Club; rather short-tempered and has a crush on satoshi

eru (hyouka)

bottom line, it’s a blessed relief not to have to suffer through copious amounts of gore (for a story to be effective, sometimes less is more; and there are times when something that’s implied can be more powerful than something that’s obvious), pointless fan service or nausea-inducing stock characters.

satoshi & mayaka

the mysteries or “cases” aren’t of the soul-shaking or blood-curdling variety (in single- or multi-episode story arcs), but they’re compelling enough to make you want to stick around and see how things pan out.

Hyouka, which is set to run in 21 episodes, is still ongoing. hopefully, when the show ends (ugh! just thinking about it my teeth ache) there’ll be plans for another season or two (uhm, please?).

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anime update — my list of favorites grows longer

1 Jul

poyopoyo portraitunlike the previous season — marked mostly by lackluster series that bored me silly or just plain irritated me — this time, there were actually several shows that exceeded my expectations.

for the first time in many months, i have been diligently scouring the Net on a daily basis for any update on the shows on my “must see” list, and would come away vaguely anxious or disappointed when i couldn’t find any. another tell-tale sign of my growing interest is how fast my portable HD is filling up with my “keeper” (anime) list.

hyouka gang

the standout gems (for me) would have to be Hyouka (still ongoing), Acchi Kocchi and the 2nd season of Kimi to Boku. i will be expounding on these shows later — as new entrants in my list of favorites, they deserve to be given entries of their own.

acchi kocchi poster

On a related note, i must also highlight a couple of shows that struck my fancy — Poyopoyo Kansatsu Nikki and the continuation of Recorder to Randoseru. they would have easily made my list of favorites, too (though nowhere near the top), if only each episode lasted more than 3 minutes (including the intro and ending credits). it bugs me, for some reason.

hopefully the next season will be just as nice and filled with delightful surprises.