Hyouka is an anime based on a series of novels by Yonezawa Honobu. The anime adaptation was handled by Kyoto animation. You may know them as the studio behind, Lucky Star, Nichijou, the Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, and K-on. So, they gravitate towards slice of life series, or series with strong slice of life elements, with widely varying degrees of quality. Let’s look at Hyouka and see where it lands on the spectrum.
Hyouka doesn’t have one underlying plot. Rather, the series starts with a high-school student named Houtarou joining the Classics club, because his sister told him to join it in order to prevent its dissolution and he’s afraid of what she’ll do to him if he doesn’t comply. As a member of the Classics club, he encounters a lot of minor mysteries, which he doesn’t want to bother with because it takes energy and he’s very lazy. Most of them get solved in a single episode with minimal work or thought. The big problem with Hyouka as a mystery series is just that most of the minor mysteries are exceedingly obvious and the viewer can easily solve them before Houtarou does. So you spend a lot of time waiting for him to catch up. The only reason he looks like a competent detective is that he’s surrounded by morons who have no idea what to do with the clues or what this mysterious thing called deduction is or how it works. The multi-episode mysteries are kind of interesting since the information is paced much better, which does create some suspense.
The only character who’s kind of interesting is Houtarou, even if his abilities are greatly exaggerated by everyone around him. The rest range from kind of bland to outright obnoxious.
The art in this is pretty good. The character designs are well done and the backgrounds are pretty vibrant. It’s most apparent in the final episode since most of the series involves them hanging around the school with walls in the background.
The cast in this does a decent job. The biggest issue is just that most of them don’t have a lot to work with since a lot of the characters are pretty one note. The music is pretty strong.
The yuri factor is a 1.5/10. Chitanda and Mayaka get kind of touchy at times, but there’s nothing beyond that.
Hyouka isn’t a bad anime but it’s nothing special either. The mystery elements fall flat and the characters are just kind of dull. My final rating is a 5/10. It’s an average series. If you want to see a lazy guy solve minor mysteries for a bunch of twits or if you need something to illustrate the very basics of reasoning skills to someone, check it out. If the premise sounds interesting give an episode or two a try. Me, I’ll stick to my Holmes and Dresden books.