Mixing mundane high school life with mystery elements, Hyouka is certainly an intriguing anime, perfectly balancing school drama with mystery and is one of the best anime produced by Kyoto animation.
The two main characters are Houtarou and Chitanda. We’ll go into more detail about these characters in a bit, but basically, Houtarou is a boy with excellent detective skills and is able to see things from multiple perspectives.
However, he sees this ability as more of a burden than a gift and tries to focus on other things and not get too much involved with other people’s lives.
Meanwhile, Chitanda is an extremely intelligent girl, and is curious about pretty much everyone and everything. She loves having a good mystery to solve, and relies on Houtarou’s brilliant abilities and his insight to help her solve various mysteries.
As the series progresses, the two form a genuine friendship and their mannerisms and personality traits start rubbing off on each other.
Hyouka has a pretty sweet message of seeing the beauty and excitement that’s all around us, and celebrating what makes us different.
What Order Should I Watch Hyouka In?
There is currently only one season of Hyouka, so there is only one way to watch them, and this is in chronological order. The TV series aired in 2012 and the OVA Hyouka: Motsubeki Mono Wa was released in the same year.
You can watch Hyouka on Crunchyroll as well as Amazon Prime.
The Plot Of Hyouka And Its Characters
Hyouka is based on a mystery novel written by Honobu Yonezawa, a widely acclaimed Japanese author. Yonezawa even won the prestigious Mystery Writers of Japan Award in 2011 for Best Novel.
In spite of his brilliant detective abilities, Houtarou strongly believes in not wasting energy on things he doesn’t find valuable. But this belief is shaken when he joins the Classics Club at the request of his sister.
The Classics Club is led by Chitanda, who draws Houtarou into a mystery that has been ongoing for 45 years. As the investigation goes on, Houtarou finds himself solving each of the smaller mysteries that pop up in each episode.
Hyouka is a wholesome anime that follows the day-to-day lives of these characters as they uncover the central mystery. The anime’s overarching theme is that there’s mystery to be found in even the most mundane settings.
Each episode is self-contained, but there is an overarching plot throughout. There are even hints of romance between Houtarou and Chitanda, but the anime leaves it up to the audience to interpret the central relationship as romantic or not.
But whether you ship Houtarou and Chitanda or not, it’s undeniable that their initial clash of personalities is fun to watch, as is watching their relationship develop and seeing them work together well as a team.
Let’s take a look at some other notable characters.
Satoshi Fukube: Satoshi is a cheerful character who perfectly bounces off Houtarou’s more sullen, and withdrawn personality. He also has an astounding memory and is who the other characters turn to when they have a question in need of answering.
Fukube is also an active student, as he is a member of the Handicraft’s Club and the Student council. Fukube doesn’t take a lot of things seriously, and this can lead to him making some pretty bad decisions over the course of the story.
Mayaka Ibara: Mayaka is a very stern character, not afraid to tell off her friends while also being very hard on herself. She loves manga and is an active member of the Manga Society.
She is also a member of the Literature Club, and this is because of her interest in Fukube. Mayaka tells it like it is, and has a penchant for bestowing nicknames on all of her friends.
Hyouka’s Animation And Soundtrack
The animation in Hyouka is breathtakingly beautiful, and can be compared to the animation of a Shinkai movie. Lots of attention is paid to small details and emotions. These emotions are often exaggerated to pack the biggest punch.
The animation is also not afraid to get inside the character’s heads and beautifully animate their thoughts and feelings, which just makes you more invested in their journey and more immersed in the story.
The soundtrack is delightful, with lovely solo flute and piano tunes. Every time we wear the opening, it puts a smile on our face!
However, the anime is not dubbed well at all, and we would not recommend watching it.
Will There Be Season Two Of Hyouka?
The first season of Hyouka was released on April 23, 2012, and the last episode aired on September 17, 2012. A total of 22 episodes were aired, and the anime covered 6 volumes of Yonezawa’s original book series.
While Hyouka is Yonezawa’s most popular work, he is known for working slowly and while he has mentioned writing a 7th installment to the series, nothing has materialized yet.
But given the popularity of Hyouka, we wouldn’t be surprised if a season 2 is made following the publication of the 7th novel.
Final Thoughts: Should You Watch Hyouka?
Hyouka is a story that aims to capture what it’s like to be a teenager in high school.
It’s both a time of opportunity to make friends, get involved in extracurricular activities and start planning for your future and the kind of person you want to be, whilst also being a time when you can feel lost, adrift, paralyzed by indecision and fear, and in turn, become apathetic because of the pressure of it all.
When you’re trying to figure out who you are, your dreams and aspirations can change pretty quickly, and a lot of teens struggle to deal with their emotions, their identity and to have a clear idea of what they want to do with their lives.
Hyouka voices this teenage angst through Houtarou, a boy with an amazing ability but who resents the pressure and expectation placed on him because of it, and wants to rebel by becoming apathetic to those around him.
Chitanda is his foil, bright-eyed and curious, and who eventually draws him out of his shell.
Despite the mystery elements that don’t exactly make it a totally grounded examination of the existential dread of being a young adult, Hyouka is one of those rare anime that is interested in the high school experience and doesn’t jump the shark with unnecessarily outlandish plotlines.
We have to applaud it for that.
There is nothing new in stories revolving around teens solving mysteries (Scooby-Doo, anyone?), but Hyouka gets props for putting character development and the interactions between characters front and center.
Besides some banter now and then, the characters’ lines have intent and help to drive the plot forward most of the time.
However, the mysteries are not always that compelling, and while we do appreciate the down-to-earth aspects of the show, we think the show would be more gripping if the mysteries were, well, more interesting.
Hyouka may not be a sprawling, epic anime with a convoluted plot and lots of exciting moments, but it’s the perfect anime to chill out to, with characters you love spending time with, and themes that definitely make you think.
If you love mystery and coming of age stories, then we would certainly recommend giving Hyouka a watch, and we hope and pray for a second season soon!