May 26, 2013

Do you like a good mystery? The kind that presents you with all the facts and clues and you deduce a constructive answer or argument based on the evidence presented rather than plucking theories out of thin air? If so, then Hyouka would suit your taste just fine. Although I am no fan of the mystery genre, this series was very interesting, and I mean very as in a lot, to captivate and retain my attention. Few animes that involve or rely on talking or conversation would have been a big yawn fest for me but surprisingly Hyouka has surpassed my expectations (it was set at very low at the beginning in the first place) and with each episode, I crave for more because I really wanted to know the answer to the mystery in question.

Our main protagonist is Houtarou Oreki. His main goal in life is to conserve energy. No, and I don’t mean he is some sort of environmental activist that wants to green the world. The energy he is referring to is his own. That’s right. To put it in understandable layman terms, he prefers not to do anything if it is not required. Bum around. Lazy bum. In the even if he needs to do something, he’ll do it quickly to get over it. However despite this outlook of his, Houtarou possesses something amazing: His brilliant deduction ability. Although he might always give an excuse that he got lucky, then I suppose he must be the luckiest person in the world to have deduced every answer to the mystery he has been asked to solve. He may not look the part of a detective either but he has sharp observation skills that allow him to figure out and see what others can’t. His so called peaceful life is ‘interrupted’ when his overseas sister, Tomoe forces him to join the Classic Literature Club of Kamiyama High School. She was once a member of this club before she graduated and the lack of members means the club will be abolished. No can do for this girl. Houtarou thought he could just be a ghost member and sit in with just his name. But as soon it is joined by other fellow members, I guess Houtarou is the ‘saviour’ because it is up to him to use his brains and crack the mysteries that have the other members curious. So are you curious yet?

Episode 1
Houtarou meets Eru Chitanda in the Classic Literature Club. She’s here to join. Oh great. Now he doesn’t need to join. Goodbye. But he can’t leave yet. Why? She doesn’t have a key to lock up. So here is the first mystery. Houtarou entered the locked room with the key. But Chitanda entered when the room was unlocked. Mind boggling isn’t it? Chitanda meets Houtarou’s friend, Satoshi Fukube who is somewhat eavesdropping on their conversation. He considers himself a database (to Houtarou, that means he knows lots of useless data). I guess he is interested in the mystery too. Since the doors can only be locked from the outside, it means Chitanda couldn’t have locked herself in. She grows curious by the second and with her trademark “I am curious!”, Houtarou is somewhat forced to take on her request. How can you refuse a cute girl who is pleading to you with such huge puppy dog eyes and at such a close-up? Houtarou heard something faint and asks Chitanda when she came in. About 3 minutes before him. Then he brings them downstairs to where the sound is. They see a janitor maintaining the lights. The conclusion: He is the other person who holds the master key to all the rooms and has locked the door after doing his rounds on that floor. But why didn’t Chitanda notice? She was pretty occupied looking out the window at an old school building. In the end, the trio end up being members of the Classic Literature Club. At this rate, I don’t think Houtarou can achieve his energy conservation dream. Goodbye peaceful life.

Another mystery as told by Satoshi how a girl heard Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata and followed the music to a dark room whereby instead she saw a creepy ghost girl with bloodshot eyes on the floor! Knowing that this mystery will have Houtarou exert more energy than usual (he will have to walk a long way across to the other building), he has Satoshi tell her about some secret club mystery instead. Because unauthorized posters are removed, this secret club secretly recruits members. Last year, the executive committee president found such a flyer and brushed it off as a prank since attempts to contact them failed. On graduation day, one of the members told the president he was the president of the Silk Spider Society and to send his regards to the new president. If he can find him, that is. There will probably be a recruitment flyer somewhere so they go flyer hunting. However they won’t go to every billboard and despite although a secret club will use a place that it would least stand out, Houtarou thinks it will be at the main entrance where it is piled with messy flyers everywhere. It’s like hiding a tree in a forest. But they didn’t see that club on the list. So it must be hidden. Houtarou flips open a flyer and there it is! The small secret recruitment flyer. With Chitanda ending it for today, the guys walk home. It is revealed that they created the mystery itself. Like fighting fire with fire? Houtarou also solves the creepy ghost girl mystery. One of the club members was tired and took a nap. She set her CD to play Moonlight Sonata before a certain time so she could wake up before the school closes. So the bloodshot eyes were just someone who just woke up from sleep. The room was pretty dark, right? Satoshi notes that going to the music room for this mystery would have saved him more energy in the long run and his preoccupation today may have cost him more than he bargained for.

Episode 2
Chitanda is the club president and she thinks the club needs to hold activities. I’m sure Houtarou isn’t going to like this. She plans to publish an anthology for the cultural festival in October. Well, this school has 40 years of history. That’s a lot of research to do, right? So the first place to look for information is of course the library. Houtarou isn’t happy to see the librarian Mayaka Ibara. The feeling is mutual. Satoshi is there too and he sort of likes to tease Mayaka. Chitanda notices their odd relationship and asks Houtarou. To simply put it, Mayaka had feelings for Satoshi during middle school. Learning they want to write an anthology, Satoshi reveals information about Kanya, the shortened form of Kamiyama Cultural Festival. The anthologies are in the archives but the room is currently being used for meeting so they have to wait. How to pass the time? Houtarou wanted to leave but he was too late because Mayaka had just interest Chitanda in another mystery. Every Friday, the same book is always returned. A different person (all girls) borrows it each time during lunch and returned before school ends. It is already the fifth straight week. I guess with Chitanda bugging and all over Houtarou (annoyingly), he has no choice but to put on his thinking cap, eh? So this is what he thinks. Borrowing a book for such short durations means the book isn’t meant for reading purpose. Otherwise why borrow when you can read it in the library? Chitanda’s keen smell has her sniff some paint thinner on it. As Houtarou leads the girls (Satoshi forced to man Mayaka’s post), he tells them the books are too big for the girls to use and the only time they can use it is during class (since its size means they can’t effectively use it during break). The weekly return shows that it is easier to return it than bring something heavy back (the loan period is 2 weeks). Houtarou brings them outside the art club and the book is being used as motif. The girls are painting each other using that book. There’s your smell of thinner too. So another mystery solved. Everyone satisfied? Mayaka feels frustrated to lose to him. Youko Itoigawa has just come out of the meeting and being told about the anthologies but she apologizes that the issues aren’t in there. On Sunday, Chitanda calls Houtarou out to meet. Better say it quick or else he will leave since he can’t waste his precious day off. She wants to confess something. Gasp! Did you see this coming? What could be this heart pounding mysterious confession?

Episode 3
It’s not a love confession. Disappointed? Anyway, Chitanda had an uncle, Jun Sekitani who mysteriously vanished 7 years ago in India. The family wants to put an end to this and conduct a funeral (anybody missing for 7 years can be considered as legally dead). Her uncle had always answered her questions no matter how ridiculous they are. Since her uncle was part of the Classic Literature Club, he never answered her or dodged it till he finally relents. However his reply left her crying. The question is, she can’t remember what she said or her uncle’s reply that left her in tears. Oh boy. This is like a needle in a haystack, right? Of course Chitanda was curious but family relations broke down so she couldn’t pursue the issue any further. That’s why she joined this Classic Literature Club as her last hope. This is where Houtarou come in, right? This isn’t something she could just ask anyone. So Houtarou isn’t really going to take on her request but will do what he can to find anything that will help her remember. Basically, that’s a yes, right? Back home, Houtarou still communicates with Tomoe albeit via snail mail. Looks like she’s in Istanbul. And in some trouble. But she’s having the thrill of her life. Coincidentally, she also thinks the Classic Literature Club should publish an anthology as it has been their tradition. It is told that he won’t find past anthologies in the library but in an unused chemical safe box in the Biology Prep room (which is now the Wall Newspaper Club’s room). Houtarou, Chitanda and Mayaka make their way there and knock on the door. There was no reply for a few seconds before Masashi Tougaito came out. He denies the anthologies are in here as Houtarou observes his suspicious acting and smell of deodorant. Chitanda somewhat knows him since their families know each other. After a little persuasion, he lets them in on a condition he doesn’t mess things. The girls look for it but couldn’t find it. Houtarou thinks of making him do the work after he asks if anything from this room was removed after the classroom switch (nothing but a few cardboard boxes). Houtarou seems to be purposely working up this guy because he wants to call the supervisor for a full search. Tougaito blows his top he is busy and wants them to leave. Houtarou tells him the anthologies are in here and they will head back to the library. If he happens to stumble on the anthologies, please return it to their clubroom. He agrees.

When the trio leave, they wait somewhere for a while and 5 minutes later, the girls are surprised to see the anthologies back in their clubroom. Seems Houtarou did a little blackmailing. He explains when Tougaito greeted them, he was on his toes. Inside the room, the fan was on, the window open and the way his newspapers were placed would be easily blown away. He had the door locked and there were little sensors at the hallway. It was to alarm him someone was coming and to get fresh air into the room. Why? He was smoking. Remember the deodorant too? If Chitanda didn’t catch a cold, she would’ve sniffed the tobacco smell. Because his family is influential in middle school education, he wouldn’t want to be caught doing something illegal. The chemical safe box is under the makeshift table in the centre. A place he probably hides his cigarettes. That’s why he got jumpy when Houtarou wanted to call the supervisor and do a full search. Going through the anthologies called Hyouka, Chitanda remembers asking her uncle what it was. Looking at the writings, it seems something has happened. The cultural festival had come again. Sekitani has left in a year and turned from a hero into a legend. Though his kindness will fade in time, it is not because this is a story of a hero. All subjectivity on the matter will be lost and be viewed as a historical perspective, as a classic. It is written by Youko Kooriyama in 1968, which is 45 years ago. As this is the second volume and all they need to do is read the first one to answer Chitanda’s request, they realize the first volume is missing.

Episode 4
Houtarou and Satoshi are cycling their way to Chitanda’s house to discuss about what happened to the Classic Literature Club 45 years ago. Along the way they talk about the colours in their life as Satoshi paints his rose coloured while Houtarou would be grey, if not colourless. The quartet take their turn to present the facts that they have found and the theories they have concluded. Chitanda goes first. Mayaka argues since Sekitani fought and become a hero, she thinks he must have fought delinquents that targeted the festival. But Satoshi shot that idea down since on-campus violence was non-existence during the 60s and most protests were against the government and the system. Mayaka goes next. She concludes it is students versus teachers and Sekitani was the leader of the Classic Literature Club. According to the Alliance & Salutes reference, the incident happened in June and the students fought back when the teachers tried to impose on the students’ rights. However her theory is also shot down because Sekitani was expelled in October after the festival. That’s 4 months gap in between. If it was violent conduct, he should’ve been expelled immediately. Satoshi goes next. His findings show no violence was conducted so this throws Mayaka’s theory out the window. The word “We” may refer to the entire student body or someone representing it. This also questions if the legendary movement is the same incident that led to Sekitani’s expulsion. I guess Satoshi couldn’t come up with his own theories and push it to Houtarou. You know he’s the one who is going to solve this, right? So I suppose that long trip to the toilet has got his brains thinking. And that expression tells us he may have found something. Hold on to your horses, eager beaver Chitanda! Don’t rush. Let him explain. As far as we know, it started in June till Sekitani’s expulsion in October. He was the president of Classic Literature Club and the entire student body was involved in standing up against the teachers. Something that would’ve infringed their rights. Since the word ‘negotiating’ was used, it could mean discussing about the cultural festival. The key point wasn’t the fact the festival was held but that it lasted for 5 days. Those 5 days are the result of hero Sekitani’s battles. It could mean the principal wanted to shorten the festival to less than 5 days and this angered the students. Sekitani as the head took action and since no violence occurred, it could mean that a boycott would’ve been in place. So the school had no choice but to negotiate and give up in shortening the festival. But why did it take them so long to expel Sekitani? If he was expelled immediately, the movement would’ve grown stronger so they waited to the festival to pass and expel him after that. Everyone is amazed at his theory and approves of it. After everyone leaves, Chitanda is still not satisfied. If that was the reason why her uncle was expelled, then why did she cry so badly?

Episode 5
Houtarou gets a call from Tomoe. Looks like she’s fine in Pristina. When she learns they are researching about Sekitani, she calls it a tragedy, depressing, a taboo. Houtarou is left hanging since she has to go. He realizes something is wrong with his theory or incomplete. I mean, now that he has thought about it, who in this world would gladly sacrifice himself for his fellow students and leave with no regrets? So he calls the gang to gather and review the theory again. As clearly stated, it wasn’t the story of a hero and they might have been misled and could it be the word ‘sacrifice’ instead? The best person to ask is the writer of this anthology and Houtarou knows where to find this Youko person. She is Itoigawa and her first name is written using a rare kanji character and Kooriyama is her maiden name. They talk to Itoigawa and tell her about Houtarou’s theory and the relation of Chitanda to Sekitani. She is impressed with the details to put together and he is right in most of them. Thinking back to those nostalgic times, the cultural festival was a place and reason students lived for then. The year she enrolled in Kamiyama, the student movement grew intense. The teachers decided to shorten the festival from 5 days to only 2 days. The students weren’t happy and took it as a sign to shut it down. The students protested and the movement evolved into an expression of the entire student body opinion. The shameful part was that despite a movement against the shortening of the festival was born, nobody dared to take up the leadership as they fully aware of the consequences. The one who drew the short end of the stick was Sekitani. The movement was organized by someone else but his name was never revealed. Though the plan to shorten the festival was quashed, the movement went too far with boycotts of classes and bonfire protests. One night, a fire broke out and destroyed a school building. Since top administration didn’t want police to get involved and the students did not rebut about the incident, it was decided that the official leader of the movement be expelled. That would be Sekitani. Everyone watched him get expelled and couldn’t do anything but Sekitani was calm till the end. I guess the answer is clear now if Sekitani sacrificed himself for himself for his fellow students or his own will. The festival was shortened to 3 days anyway a few years later.

As for the design on the Hyouka anthology, the dog signifies the administration and the rabbits are the students. As for the Kanya Festival, it doesn’t refer to Kamiyama festival but it is named in honour to Sekitani (depends on how you read the kanji characters). Since Sekitani didn’t want to become a hero, if people knew that, they wouldn’t have called it Kanya Festival. It was decided that name is to be a taboo in Classic Literature Club. As for why the anthologies are named Hyouka, Itoigawa only knew he forced that name upon them. Other than that, she doesn’t know the real reason. But Houtarou understands it clearly. It is a bad pun. Sekitani wanted to make sure his feelings would be passed down to the club’s descendants. As Hyouka would mean frozen desserts in English, another word for it would be ice cream. So? The pun is ‘I scream’. Chitanda fully remembers what was said and tears start rolling down her eyes. When she asked what Hyouka meant, he told her to be stronger because if she was too weak, she won’t even have time to scream. Chitanda then envisioned the lone rabbit (Sekitani) being mauled to death by the dog (administrators) while the other rabbits (other students) turn a blind eye and act indifferent. She cried because she was terrified at that thought of being alive but dead. Chitanda thanks Houtarou as she could put a rest to this case once and for all. The cultural festival looms and Houtarou is tasked to write the anthology which is a good tribute to Sekitani. Well, he solved the mystery, right? Later as Chitanda walks out of school with Houtarou, she mentions that it would’ve eventually become history to her if the truth wasn’t discovered. But to think the feelings she feel right now won’t matter in the future, she doesn’t want to think that because she’s alive now. Houtarou writes a ‘status report’ to Tomoe and how joining the Classic Literature Club gave him a second thought about his way of life. Though he still doesn’t think his way of life is wrong after discovering the truth behind Sekitani’s incident.

Episode 6
Mayaka is giving Satoshi an earful. She’s mad. He’s cool. Mayaka stops when Houtarou wonders if she’s tired after all that scolding. They discuss if Chitanda ever gets mad since they have never seen her so. They also talk about the 7 deadly sins and tease Chitanda of being angelic. Well, if you consider her pouting her way of being angry. But Chitanda has an interesting perspective that the 7 deadly sins are necessary because for instance, if you have no pride, you have no self confidence. No greed means not able to support the family. New technologies would never have been invented if not for envy. As for why Chitanda doesn’t get angry, she replies she wants to avoid getting tired. The rest take it she has been infected by Houtarou’s poison! Seriously, she still gets angry when people waste food. But this prompts her about a mystery she wants to ask. Oh no. Here it comes. During math class, she got angry. It all started when the math teacher, Omichi entered as usual and started writing some quadratic formula on the board and asked a student to solve it. He couldn’t and Omichi got mad and asked a top student instead. It was then Chitanda realized they have not gotten this far to this topic yet. The class got silent as Omichi continued to blow his stop. That’s when Chitanda got angry, got up and asked him if he had the right page on the textbook. Once he realized his mistake, he calmed down and class resumed like normal. If Omichi was a strict teacher and even on himself, how could he have made this simple mistake? Houtarou wasn’t really interested in solving this mystery (I think he wanted to really tell Chitanda to use her own brains for once) but when Chitanda is constantly bugging him, I guess he needs to solve this case fast.

Further details include Omichi always checks the class and keeps track of the lessons so he couldn’t have entered the wrong class or make a silly mistake of the class’ progress. Since he writes the progress in the textbook and yet continued with the class, it means he must have written a note saying he had already taught it. Every year teachers get new math textbook to keep up with the latest curriculum and that some of the classes have already learn the topic. Houtarou figures he mixed up the notes for the classes since he teaches other classes maths too. Being a maths teacher means he writes in formula in lower cases, right? What happens if he had written and misinterpreted the characters wrongly? Notice how similar lower cases of ‘a’ and ‘d’ seem? Thus he might have mixed up Class A and Class D’s lesson progress. Mystery solved. Realizing this, Chitanda feels she went too far for getting mad at Omichi. Houtarou notes Chitanda said it’s not necessarily bad to get mad but perhaps she never wanted to. Perhaps she wanted Omichi to have had his reasons and to believe she got angry because of her own mistake. Maybe that’s the kind of person she is. Even if he can predict her actions, he couldn’t understand her heart.

Episode 7
The Classic Literature Club quartet will be visiting the hotsprings run by Mayaka’s relatives. I’m sure Houtarou didn’t want to tag along but with Chitanda at her usual annoying pestering, he had to. As thanks for solving her uncle’s case. They are greeted by Rie Zenna and her younger sister Kayo who will be serving them. The sisters are thrilled about Houtarou because of his sharp senses, exactly as what Mayaka described to them. In the evening they go soak in the hotspring but Houtarou passes out after getting dizzy and Satoshi had to bring him back. While dazing and half conscious in his bed, he overhears the gang next door talking about ghost stories. The inn had an annex and though they didn’t really need one. Long time ago, a gloomy customer stayed and the staffs couldn’t refuse him since he paid in advance. Then one day they discovered his hanged body in the room. Ever since, all the guests that stayed in that room mentioned they see shadows in this room at night and all died subsequently due to illness. To stop bad rumours of this place, they made an annex and had exorcism done. Though the sisters live on the first floor, they were told to stay away from the second floor, where the cursed room is. Next morning, Mayaka seems to be looking afraid. It’s not that she’s weak towards ghost stories, it’s that she saw that hanged shadow across the window last night! Houtarou obviously thought she was seeing things but Chitanda calmly whispers that she too saw it. Oh… Here it comes… Chitanda is interested to solve the mystery behind this. So Houtarou and Chitanda examine from her room where she saw the shadow. He also noted the time she saw it because if the shutters were closed, they couldn’t have seen the shadow. The duo wanted to see the main building and talked to Kayo but it seems she is acting nervous and didn’t reveal much except the second floor is only used for storage. Houtarou also notices lots of stuffs belonging to the girls but those that belong to Rie only had her name written. Later Rie comes in to show them the yukata she’ll be wearing for the festival. Houtarou confirms from Satoshi that there was sound of drums last night, indicating there was a summer festival in town.

Houtarou has it all figured out so he explains to Chitanda. The shadow they saw was actually a yukata being hung to dry. The windows were open to let it dry faster. It was dried there to hide it from the other family. Kayo was envious of Rie’s yukata and secretly wore it to the festival the night before. But then it rained and Kayo knew she was in trouble if Rie found out. She can’t use the dryer since it’ll be too noisy at night. So when everyone was asleep, she snuck into the most distant room and hung the yukata to dry. She didn’t take into account the moonlight so it looked like a hanged shadow. Kayo became nervous when they started looking around. Because Rie clearly wrote her name on her belongings, it is to make sure everyone knows what is hers and this means Kayo couldn’t really ask her to lend her yukata. Because Kayo goes for morning exercises unlike Rie (the card clearly shows Kayo’s attendance), putting the yukata back in the morning would be easy.  Chitanda laments that despite being sisters, they didn’t get along. She had always wanted a sibling since she is an only child. However she cheers up when she sees Rie giving Kayo a piggy back ride after the latter’s sandals snapped.

Episode 8
Preparations for the cultural festival are on the way but the Classic Literature Club quartet are being called by Fuyumi Irisu (though their families know each other, Irisu couldn’t remember ever meeting Chitanda) to show them a movie her class made. No, she’s not going to make them advertise it. The film rolls as we see 6 friends of the class decided to do some research at an old abandoned building for the festival’s exhibit. They enter the building, notice the floor plan and the location of the master key. Each of them picks a key to examine a room they can use. The camera at the lobby fades out when everyone enters the respective rooms. When everyone reunites, they notice one of them, Kaitou is missing. They go look for him at his designated room but the couple of doors they open don’t seem to show he is there. The room at the end of hall is locked so the master key is retrieved. Once opened, to their horror, they see his dead body and his arm amputated. They look around by opening the only window and the dead end when the movie suddenly ends. That’s it? Well, you thought the bad acting wasn’t convincing enough and now the movie just cuts off like that? Irisu explains that this movie is supposed to be screened next Sunday at the festival and every deadline of it was met. The one who wrote it was Mayu Hongou but fell ill after writing up to this part. She won’t ask them to finish it but wants to know who the culprit/murderer is. She assures them Hongou has studied the mystery genre intensely and all its laws and rules are abided. Houtarou thought he could get out of this before the inevitable by asking to do a different project but Irisu just returned from Hokkaido and was entrusted with this project 2 days ago. She thought they would be able to play detective for them. While the rest are eager to help finish the movie, Houtarou can’t shoulder the responsibility of apologizing to everyone if they can’t figure it out. Irisu will have them listen to her class’ amateur detectives and then offer their opinions. Next day, Kurako Eba takes the quartet to go see the ‘detectives’. Seems Eba wasn’t in charge of the project since it doesn’t interest her (an answer that Houtarou would love). As for if she was close to Hongou, she just says she is diligent, careful, responsible, kind and easily moved.

Episode 9
So the first of the 3 detectives to be interviewed is the assistant director, Junya Nakajou. He tells them Hongou stayed home most of the time and even wasn’t on location when the film was being shot. Also, it’s not that everyone opposed her script. Nakajou starts his theory that this film doesn’t need tricks and a good drama will do to grab the viewers’ attention. He believes the culprit fled through the window after killing Kaitou. Though the question of whether Hongou wrote her script based solely on the floor map, Nakajou states she did went on location to take a look before writing the script. But Mayaka pours cold water on his theory because if the culprit had used the window, there would have been tracks left behind in the grass. Nakajou thought she might have forgotten about it but deduces it was summer grass. The grass must have grown since it was shot in summer. He thinks this is the solution and leaves. Obviously the rest won’t accept it and even Houtarou notes the holes in his theory. Because if the culprit has used the window, the others would’ve seen the culprit outside. It’s day time too. Next, Tomohiro Haba the props master is brought in. Haba states Hongou is an amateur in the mystery genre and before this movie, she didn’t touch any material on this genre. He shows them a stack of Sherlock Holmes books she was probably trying to read up and a strange note inside it containing titles of the books. Haba begins his theory. The murder isn’t planned. Just that the culprit found everything to fall into place and committed the murder. He believes the only way to escape is the window and certainly couldn’t have used the master key and locked the door because that will be boring. And to get the master key, the culprit must go through the lobby where he is visible to everyone. He rules out the victim created the locked room situation and also murder with a fancy weapon. He shows them a rope that Hongou told him to get. A firm one that could hang off and wouldn’t break. To summarize, the culprit climbed down from the second floor, opened the window, killed Kaitou and escaped via same route. Since the character Kounosu is in that room, he lets them know despite her delicate outlook, she is part of the rock climbing club. He also shows them a little bottle of blood that Hongou wanted him to make but as precaution, he made a huge bottle instead!

After the arrogant guy leaves, the gang of course couldn’t accept his theory too. As Houtarou puts it, it won’t be consistent with the movie. As they saw, it took a lot of effort for them to open the window. It would be even tougher for a person to open such a window hanging from a rope. So if the culprit climbed down via rope, do you think it would be dumb for Kaitou to just watch the culprit struggling to open the window to and get in and then get killed? After the gang requests Eba to show them the real script, the final detective, Misaki Sawakiguchi the publicity manager enters. She explains that mystery and horror are often linked together. Assuming that the other characters couldn’t have entered the room and killed Kaitou, this means there must have been a seventh character. She notes Hongou was looking for a seventh actor at that time. Sawakiguchi goes on to explain how the mystery killer would kill the casts one by one before the fated couple turn the tables and share a kiss in the final scene. Eh? What about the locked room? She feels that’s not important since the mystery killer can normally bypass such stuff. She even thinks a vengeful ghost would suffice! By this time, Chitanda must already be drunk from all the whiskey chocolates she has eaten. She finished the entire box! She goes a little crazy for a while (seeing kaleidoscope?) before passing out. So the rest discuss why Sawakiguchi theory isn’t it either. If Hongou had planned this to be a horror movie, he would’ve used Haba’s big bottle of blood instead of the small amount. They can infer Hongou didn’t intend to have a large number of deaths and one death would’ve made a horror movie weak. After they leave, Houtarou bumps into Irisu who wants him to join her for tea.

Episode 10
Houtarou explains how he rejected all the theories and was blunt to tell him she wanted him to solve the mystery from the start, not the Classic Literature Club. She heard it from Chitanda and others how he solved other mysteries and knew he would be the right person. She views his talents as special but Houtarou dismisses them as being lucky. She tells a story as an example whereby an athlete practises hard every day to be part of the regular them. But she was not good because there were others more talented and even one who is deemed a prodigy. The prodigy won lots of races and awards and when interviewed about the secret of her success, she replied she got lucky. So how would the other members feel? The deep hurt in their heart of her statement. Irisu tells him every individual must be aware of themselves or else those who watch them think fools of themselves. Even if Houtarou didn’t show it, he must have been worked up to agree to finish this case. So much so his volunteering to go to school on his off day shocks his friends. Satoshi could guess that Irisu had said something to make him do it. Houtarou asks him if he had only things he could only do but Satoshi says he has no talent despite being a database. Houtarou still has a higher opinion of him and could be the best if he tried. But Satoshi says there are other things he is more interested than being that. With Chitanda out (for most of this episode anyway), the trio review the incomplete movie once more. Mayaka would have rant on about why this movie is so badly made but they get the point. Suddenly Yamauchi comes in to drag Satoshi away for remedial classes. That reluctant guy wants to stay and solve the secret but I guess he couldn’t with Yamauchi being so persistent in pulling him away. He hands Houtarou his notes that he observed during the movie. Time to get cracking.

Houtarou calls Irisu and reviews what he has found. The key to this puzzle is the locked room. No one could’ve entered the room Kaitou died nor could they leave. The window is clearly unusable and this means the only possibility left is the door. But to get the master key, the culprit has to go through the room and risked being seen. None of them would have being able to done so and this only leaves 1 possibility: A seventh character. So he’s going with Sawakiguchi’s idea? But to keep it fair game, there won’t be a sudden mystery killer appearing. First he points out the oddities from watching the video. At certain dark scenes, it is light up for it to be examined so it can be said none of the cast holds a flashlight and the lighting up is assumed to be just for lighting. Secondly, notice the bad acting? What if that was intentional? You must have figured out by now that the seventh character is the cameraman. There were actually 7 characters to begin with. One filming and six being filmed. If you notice, the casts sometimes threw glances back at the camera indicating the cameraman was there. The bad shooting and every scene being shot from one perspective proves this was operated by one of the characters. During the fade out scene, the cameraman stopped the camera, took the master key from the office, went to kill Kaitou, locked the door and waited back at the lobby for everyone to return. Irisu throws a couple of questions. Wouldn’t it be odd to have a character that doesn’t interact or speak? Because this person was deliberately ignored by everyone else, he couldn’t really say anything. If that’s the case, the rest wouldn’t have taken long to figure out the culprit. Houtarou quotes from Sawakiguchi that it’s not really important. It doesn’t matter if the characters know who did it but it’s enough to make viewers think about the mystery. That’s why no detective was required and no reason to have them narrate their deductions because the culprit was obvious. Irisu congratulates Houtarou for solving this puzzle and now they can finish the movie. She gives him the honour to name the movie and he replies “What No One Noticed”.

The cultural festival goes underway and the movie turns out to be a hit as the viewers are left surprised and fascinated with the twist that the cameraman was the culprit. Everyone is happy with the outcome. Maybe except for that arrogant Haba dude. But when everything is thought to be settled, Mayaka pulls Houtarou aside and wants to know about Haba’s explanation. You know. The one whereby he said about using the rope because there was no mention about it during the entire movie. Gasp! I guess there goes Houtarou’s perfect mystery solving record.

Episode 11
Although Mayaka liked his idea, she still feel something isn’t right. Enough to send Houtarou into gloomy mode. Then Satoshi personally talks to him because he too felt something isn’t right. Asking if the trick was his idea or Hongou’s, once Houtarou says it is Hongou, Satoshi tells him that is definitely not what Hongou wanted. Because Hongou read only Sherlock Holmes’ works, the use of narrative tricks in the film isn’t possible since that only came about during Agatha Christie’s time. This throws Houtarou off even more. Then Chitanda too had something to say. Oh boy. Everybody sure had something to say to disagree but can’t really pinpoint it, eh? It’s like they’re shoving the big puzzle for him to solve. Chitanda wasn’t interested in how the film ended but rather the kind of person Hongou was. She felt strange that Irisu didn’t ask someone close to Hongou, say Eba for which trick was used. She thinks Hongou knew the ending she wanted from the start. Even if she fell ill, someone could’ve asked her. If no one did, Eba would’ve been so mad that she would’ve distanced herself from her classmates instead of introducing the Classic Literature Club members to them. Noting her classmates didn’t say bad about her script, if that was what Hongou wanted, she wouldn’t have problems telling them about the ending. But she didn’t so something is wrong. Houtarou felt ashamed he was thinking about the problem in the writing whereas Chitanda was thinking about Hongou. He never thought Hongou’s feelings were buried inside the script. Back home despite knowing it is useless to change the film now and it would waste energy, he can’t help feel frustrated over it. Suddenly he realizes he needs to view it from a different perspective. Next day he meets up with Irisu to talk. About the talent she was talking about, it wasn’t his talent as a detective she was looking for but a mystery scriptwriter. He shows her a paper containing Hongou’s markings on the Sherlock Holmes books Hongou read. With Satoshi’s help, he deduces the markings of the titles are those that involve characters that died or lived. Clearly this shows Hongou is adverse to death or bad endings and wasn’t interested in tricks. He also managed to get his hands on a class poll that did a survey on how many deaths the class wanted. Though the majority voted for 2 deaths, there is one that voted for 100! Although their class had only 30 people. There was one vote that had no votes at all and that was Hongou’s vote. In Hongou’s script there was no mention that Hongou actually dies but the video made it that way.

Houtarou is clearly upset from this point on as he tells her straight his speculation. Hongou saw the movie and didn’t turn out the way she wanted and since she isn’t the confrontational type, she couldn’t tell her classmates to reshoot the film. She also felt guilty she ignored the poll results. That’s where Irisu came in. Knowing Hongou would be going against the class’ wishes with her script, she feign Hongou had an illness and left the script unfinished so she could get other classmates come up with better theories. Unfortunately theirs weren’t satisfactory either and thus got the Classic Literature Club involved. Nobody realized they were completing the script for her and Irisu used his idea so it would work out without hurting Hongou. Reminding her about that talent story she told him, he accuses she doesn’t care about those without talent. All she cares about are results. Did she tell him that story for Hongou’s sake? Was she lying when she said everyone should be aware of their talents? Though she admits he is not wrong, whether it is a lie or not, it is not up to him to decide. Though Houtarou feels better, he still can’t help feel being used. Later Irisu is seen chatting online to Hongou before a mysterious person drops in to insult Hongou’s works. There’s a lot of speculation that this mysterious person may be Tomoe because she is talking from the other side of the world. Otherwise, how would the other person know what’s going on so well with this case? Houtarou isn’t himself. Chitanda doesn’t seem like she’s herself but she still asks what kind of script Hongou wrote (since he asked!). He believes the culprit is Kounosu and she done it through the window. It wasn’t the window in the locked room but climb down from a rope via the other window of the adjoining unlocked room. She attacked Kaitou but it wasn’t fatal. After that she returned to the rest and they pretended nothing happened. The seventh actor Hongou was looking for isn’t restricted to being an actor but part of the cast as a narrator. As for Kaitou’s locked room, after Kounosu attacked him, he talked to her and asked why. To cover for her, he hid in the locked room and collapsed. Since there were broken glasses on the ground, he can use it as an excuse for his injury. Though they’ll never know why Kounosu attacked Kaitou or why he forgave her. Chitanda feels she is very similar to Hongou because they don’t like stories where characters die.

Episode 11.5
This episode came out as a webcast and what does this mean? Horrible pixelated graphics and annoying announcement fixed over the lower half of the screen. So if you want better quality, might as well by the DVD that termed this episode as an OVA. So we start off with Tomoe just coming back from South America. Yes. That big sister in the flesh. But notice how the way the angles are shown, you never see her face? Because Houtarou is bumming around, she suggests he can get paid while sitting around. What kind of a job pays you to do that? A lifeguard at a public pool. Yeah. Unless no life threatening emergencies happen, you can sit your ass all day long. Houtarou gets a call from Satoshi and the latter is very surprised he took on a job! Is this the Houtarou he knew? At the pool, Houtarou finds not only Satoshi but Mayaka and Chitanda too. Satoshi called the girls to come because they had to see something they’d never get a chance to see again: Houtarou working. Yes. He works. I guess finding a gold pot at the end of the rainbow is more plausible, eh? I suppose this is a reason why you should buy the DVD: You get to see Chitanda and Mayaka clearer in their swimsuit. Damn those marketing ploy… They splash around. During his break, they go have lunch and Chitanda considers Houtarou a special person (despite he himself thinks he is just normal).  Even though it’s her opinion, she considers everyone she meets special and that he doesn’t need to compare with everyone else about being special. Those words leave Houtarou deep in thought. What is Hyouka without a good mystery solving even if it’s a ‘cheap’ one? Chitanda noticed a woman in red swimsuit had something white on her ear previously but now it’s gone. She noticed even that? So? What if it was an earring and it could be lying around endangering others, right? They want Houtarou to help them find it. This is a big place… Why not ask the woman herself? She has this over-protective husband who was earlier seen getting ready to fight with any guys whom he thinks is stealing glances at his woman. Scary dude. And with Chitanda bombing Houtarou with her cutie curiosity looks, I guess he can’t say no. He talks to the boss of the place and he agrees to let his other staff help out since he doesn’t want to make a scene and has Houtarou search the pool area.

The friends split up to search in the different areas of the pool. Houtarou doesn’t seem to have the oomph to look for it so Mayaka tells him he is just annoying looking at him (so don’t look). He was annoying before, now he is also annoying. What she’s trying to say is if he is going to be annoying, at least be like his old self where he shows more fighting spirit. So he goes back and notices the woman trying to hit water out of her ears. Then he summons the gang because he knows they won’t find what they’re looking for. Because Chitanda saw something white, it doesn’t mean she saw an earring or stub. If she was wearing them, she wouldn’t have hit them like that. That means that white stuff must have accidentally got on her ear. He wants Satoshi to hold Mayaka. She is embarrassed at first so Chitanda offers to do it. Man, she can carry her! Houtarou notices how Mayaka put her hands on Chitanda’s shoulder as support. Now the revelation. Earlier on that woman was holding her child, who is now eating ice cream. If the child was holding an ice cream earlier on and the mother carried him, the cream must have touched her ear. It came off later while she’s swimming or somebody told her. Chitanda heaps praises for that awesome deduction and thanks him. Satoshi feels hungry and thinks of getting ice cream but this reminded Mayaka he forgot to do his anthology. Remember? Ice cream = Hyouka. She drags the reluctant boy away so that he will complete it under her watchful eye. The fun’s over. Chitanda wants to know how Houtarou knew it was ice cream. There weren’t lots of things that were white besides ice cream. The other white stuff is Chitanda’s swimsuit. Ooohh… Don’t let the eyes wander about…

Episode 12
Chitanda prays at the shrine because tomorrow is the big day of Kanya Festival. Satoshi is so looking forward to it. Houtarou has his usual I-wish-I-wasn’t-here mug and Mayaka… She is acting like as though she has done something wrong. Apparently she is supposed to order 30 copies of the anthology but ended up with 200 instead! How are they going to sell all that? The gang plan what to do before the opening ceremony. Though they’re selling it dirt cheap at 200 Yen per book, the problem is that their unfavourable faraway location would make it hard to sell. It is suggested that Chitanda is to go negotiate with the Executive Committee of the festival for a better location before it starts. Satoshi can help support her negotiation and then do some advertising by joining various competitions to make their club popular. Maybe he just wants to have fun. As for Houtarou, he probably gave himself the best job: To man the booth. So the festival begins after the students gather at the hall. However the opening B-Boy act catches Chitanda attention. She is impressed with it till she realizes she needs to go. But along the long journey, she can’t help get distracted getting involved in activities like calligraphy and karuta (she even won the game!). Finally when she makes her way to the Executive Committee and tells its president Jirou Tanabe about her request, he can’t do so at such a short notice. Well, Satoshi is laughing his ass off with the stand up comedy on stage and forgot all about assisting Chitanda. You’re on your own. Well, Chitanda seemingly ‘gives up’ easily and accepts Tanabe’s decision but he too doesn’t want to disappoint her so he suggests if there are other clubs willing to help display the anthologies, then he sees no problem. While Mayaka heads over to her shift at the Manga Society, Houtarou is sitting around in the club room. Bored. He likes it. This is the life. He gets surprised when some punk guy walks in as the first customer! Punk dude is infatuated with Houtarou’s broken fountain pen (Tomoe gave it to him earlier before he left). Because he is from the Fashion Club, he wants it to complement his fashion. Houtarou gives it to him anyway and in return is given a free backstage pass. Meanwhile Chitanda is having a tough time completing her ‘mission’. Even the way back seems long because she is distracted getting involved with all the fun activities like dressing up and getting her pictures taken in them. She tries hard to stay focus but can she resist the temptation? I think she might be lost too. Hey! Where’s today’s mystery?!

Episode 13
Satoshi enters the quiz contest and breezes through the preliminaries. Because of his funny looking outfit (he’s wearing the planet Saturn), the host interviews him on stage. That’s the chance he is waiting for to advertise the anthology. He interests the students with the mystery behind Kanya Festival and the only way to find out is to buy the anthology at their club room. Neat. Chitanda finally makes it back to Houtarou but rushes off to the Newspaper Club to see if she can put their club’s advertising in it. Tougaito can’t do much with the last minute request since there are 50 over clubs participating and they have to prioritize interesting ones. If she has an interesting ad, then she can come back and he may be able to help her. Along the way, Chitanda meets her friend Kaho Juumonji who is manning a fortune telling booth (tent rather). But she shows her a note saying the Wheel of Fortune has been lost. It is signed by Juumonji. Another note reveals it will be returned once the festival is over. It was left along with the flier at the last page of the club listings. Though Satoshi narrowly didn’t win the final quiz round, fellow participant-cum-friend Koreyuki Tani tells him about his club’s stolen Go stones. They wouldn’t notice it if it wasn’t for the note that stated it since only around 10 of the stones were missing. Satoshi thinks it’s just a prank. Since their challenge in the quiz ended with a draw (they had the same points), Tani suggests to compete in tomorrow’s cooking competition. Houtarou is going through the dress up photos Chitanda had taken when another customer comes in to buy the anthology. Houtarou points out his zip is broken and gives him the pin behind the backstage pass to hook it up. As thanks, he gives him his water gun. Looks like a real gun. The Manga Society has no customers so Mayaka’s club senior, Ayako Kouchi starts criticizing about the boringness of this manga review booth. Probably it’s just a setup to get Mayaka to argue with her. Kouchi believes it is up to the readers that’s why writing reviews are pointless and they end up arguing what constitutes a masterpiece. To prove it, Mayaka will bring last year’s manga sold at the festival for her to read, A Corpse By Evening. If it doesn’t change her mind, she has nothing more to say. By that time, Mayaka realizes customers have streamed into the room and heard her outburst. She is sure she can’t ask to sell the anthology here now. At the end of the day, 14 anthologies were sold. Not bad, huh? Only 186 more to go… Satoshi realizes the cooking competition is a team event and hopes Mayaka can join him. Chitanda allows it since it will help advertise their club. Chitanda gets embarrassed once she realizes Houtarou has seen those photos. I guess curiosity killed the cat, eh? Mayaka tries to look for that manga in her room but to no avail. Hey! No mystery in this episode too!

Episode 14
Mayaka apologizes she couldn’t find that manga but Kouchi has her help out with the posters. Because of that, Mayaka’s schedule may be tight and might not make it for the cooking competition. Satoshi thinks she still can if she goes last. Satoshi visits Tanabe and tells him about the missing items of certain clubs and a note that goes with it. He too tells him a similar case of the A Capella Club that a drink in their cooler box had gone missing. Chitanda seeks Irisu’s help in selling her anthology. She is so grateful to a point it seems creepy. She even has Irisu teach her how to ask people to do things. Learn from the master… As for Houtarou, a couple of Halloween dressed customers come in for trick or treat. They are enthralled by the water gun so he offers to trade it with an anthology for their cookies. As extra service, they give him a bag of flour. Satoshi and Chitanda are in the cooking contest and as part of the rules, only 1 member can cook at a time. Once their 20 minutes limit is up, they have to switch to the next member. Also, no talking between team members is allowed. Satoshi is making a slow start. How can he fare against Tani’s team when he has a member that is a son of a chef? Oh, I don’t know what the Astronomy Club is doing because it doesn’t seem like they’re cooking. It’s on fire and what the heck are they pouring excessively into it?! Boiling bananas?! Are they making poison?! Satoshi manages to finish a dish and switches with Chitanda. You can see how efficient she works and cooks up lots of great dishes. It’s no surprise since she comes from a farming family. Though, she may have a little of her own quirks. At the end of her turn, Mayaka is still not in sight but that’s the least of their problems. There are only a few ingredients left! I guess Chitanda got too carried away. If a team member fails to make a dish, the team will be disqualified. Mayaka manages to finish her poster and makes a dash towards the cooking competition. She tries hard to think what she can make with such little ingredients and 10 minutes left. Chitanda hears somebody calling Satoshi. It is Houtarou and he wants him to get over to where he is. Houtarou drops the flour into his hands and Satoshi gives it to Mayaka (a rule states that if ingredients finished, they can get it from elsewhere in the school). With that, she gets going in making kakiage. However she is distressed when she finds the ladle missing so the organizers had to search for one for her. She finishes her dish in time. The results are out and Classics Literature Club won! Amazing. But Mayaka is still upset about the missing ladle because it wasted a minute of her time. Though the organizers assure they have made sure all the utensils were in placed before the start, it suddenly hit Chitanda. She opens the drawer and a note from Juumonji that states the ladle has been taken.

Episode 15
Houtarou can’t eat his lunch peacefully with Chitanda bugging him about her curiosity about the stolen ladle. He can’t brush it off that someone’s really bored playing this prank when she’s breathing down his neck. Besides, they have to sell all the anthologies. Houtarou dismisses Satoshi’s to become a famous detective to solve this case since it will be tough to pick out the culprit in the sea of crowd that consists of students and outsiders. After learning the targeted clubs, Houtarou realizes a pattern. It’s like going via ABC (in Japanese hiragana wise). After listing down the stolen items from each club, Houtarou points out that they’ve been reading Juumonji wrongly as a name. They should just read it normally as juumoji and it means 10 letters. Reading the 10 letters from the hiragana and if they go in that order, which means the Classic Literature Club will be the last one. Chitanda heads down to the Newspaper Club but sees everyone busy. Tougaito can’t entertain her since everyone is rushing. But when she mentions about the Juumoji, he begins taking an interest because they too had their utility knife stolen. Satoshi waits at the Magic Club since according to the pattern they are next in line to get strike. He plans to catch the culprit there in the act. He also meets Tani who also knows about the Juumoji incident and challenges Satoshi to settle their score to see whoever catches the culprit first. Meanwhile though Mayaka thanks Houtarou for the flour, he wants something traded in exchange. She throws her hand mirror at his face when he said that cosplay word. Satoshi observes the several people coming to watch the magic show that includes Irisu, Tanabe, Kouchi, the Manga Society president Shouko Yuasa and Muneyoshi Kugayama who is the student council president. As the show starts, the magician’s assistant panics when one of the candles she was supposed to light up is missing. Satoshi is appalled that the crime had already been committed. How did the culprit do it when no one came close to the stage other than the performers? He realizes that the culprit had no reason to strike during the show.

Mayaka returns to her club and hears other members badmouthing her especially about her excuse that she couldn’t find that manga. She is about to give them her piece of mind when Kouchi and Yuasa return. Kouchi tells them to shut up if they haven’t even read it. As Mayaka takes a breather outside, Yuasa approaches her and feels the need to help her. She says Kouchi isn’t being serious and knows it because they’re close friends. Just like how Kouchi is to Haruna Anjou. Who? One of the co-authors for A Corpse By Evening. It was a collaboration though the art was by somebody else. However Haruna is no longer around since she transferred to another school. Chitanda sees the Newspaper Club putting up the afternoon article about the Juumoji incident. She is glad that Tougaito took her advice and the Classic Literature Club’s name is in it. It states that the culprit will strike on the last day between noon and 2pm either Classic Literature Club or Crafts Club. Satoshi seems depressed that he couldn’t catch the culprit in the act. Houtarou knew that the culprit won’t do that because the notes never did say when it would be done. Besides, he didn’t know Satoshi was trying to catch the culprit. Chitanda returns to tell them about the Newspaper Club ‘advertising’ them. She thinks of going to the Broadcasting Club tomorrow to ask if they could advertise. Later Satoshi is bent on solving this case himself because this is out of Houtarou’s path. Since deducing the culprit in the crowd is impossible, the only way is to catch the culprit in the act.

Episode 16
Satoshi is eager to catch Juumoji as he waits in the Global Art Club. And there’s Tani and lots of detective wannabes trying to nab Juumoji too. They wait and wait but nothing happens. Tani gets message that the Light Music Club was struck instead. This sends Satoshi into shock. Meanwhile Houtarou gets a surprise visit from Tomoe. She notices a hand mirror from which he traded with a pen. She takes it and in exchange leaves him with a manga: A Corpse By Evening. He reads the author’s comment and finds it written by Takuha Anshinin. One of the comments include that they have started working on a manga for the next Kanya Festival and the writer intends to make a mystery which is a variation of Christie. They also have the title of the next work picked out: Kudryavka’s Order. Chitanda sees Yasukuni Yoshino of the Broadcasting Club. He is eager to see her and invites her to go on a live interview during lunch show. She returns to her club room and hears Satoshi complaining how Juumoji skipped a letter and went to target another club. Houtarou just finished reading the manga and finds it very good. Chitanda’s curiosity starts to pique as she feels she has seen this manga’s familiar art before. Realizing it’s like the festival’s poster next to the meeting room, she gets permission to borrow it to do some confirming. Mayaka is drawing at her Manga Society when one of her club members decides to play a prank by sprinkling a little dirty water on her paper. However she bumped into someone and splashed it all over Mayaka. Oh dear. After Mayaka changes, she meets Chitanda. She is shocked to see her having that manga. Chitanda is excited over the prospect that the person who drew this manga might be the same person who drew the cultural festival poster. Mayaka confirms the artwork to be 99% by the same person. Asking Tanabe who drew it, he points out Muneyoshi did it. The girls return to relay the good news but Houtarou doesn’t know who that guy is! Seriously! Everyone seems disappointed. He finally realizes who that guy is as he has always been mispronouncing his name as Rikuyama. Furthermore, he mispronounced Anshinin and Satoshi had to point out it is read as Ajimu. I guess he can’t read the Roman alphabets next to it.

I suppose Houtarou has figured out something and tries not to let Chitanda know. He wants to speak to Satoshi privately but he gave it away. Chitanda is like having up and down mood swing. Eager and happy when she thinks Houtarou has it but depressed and gloomy when he’s not. He is about to tell her but warns it contains adult talk. So is she game? Apparently not. So outside with Satoshi, he is going to just put his thoughts together and this somewhat upsets Satoshi because it sounded like he is going to pick out the culprit from among the crowd without any connections or mistakes. Houtarou highlights several points that include the 10 objects that Juumoji stole (which is loosely based on their weak assumption on the characters in the name), the word ‘lost’ is used instead of ‘taken’, a brochure of the festival is left behind (it’s not the only source to get the names of all the clubs), why target a certain club when there are many others that begin with the same letter, which leads to why skip a letter and go to another one and finally this manga may have something to do with it. As Satoshi lists down the famous detective novels by Christie, Houtarou feels if Kudryavka’s Order is to be turned into a manga, The ABC Murders would fit that bill. Kudryavka was a dog sent to space and died but the unnatural death image fits the And Then There Were None story. Kudryavka’s Order isn’t being sold anywhere in this year’s festival either. Houtarou thinks the Juumoji incident was announced in A Corpse By Evening as Juumoji is trying to carry all this out without interfering with the clubs and causing few problems as possible. Before Satoshi leaves, Houtarou wants him to prepare a bait for Chitanda. Chitanda is about to begin her interview. She got so nervous that she hit the head on the microphone!

Episode 17
Chitanda starts advertising the anthology and also to help catch Juumoji. Now Classic Literature’s club room is filled with people. Mainly detective wannabes who want to catch Juumoji’s final strike. Also, lots of people are streaming in to buy the anthology. When Satoshi’s handphone rings at a corner, this is followed by a burst of flames to a manuscript in the middle of the room. Satoshi puts the fire out. After Satoshi declares Juumoji has got them, out from one of the anthologies is the card from Juumoji. Everyone is left downtrodden and the incident ends with the Newspaper Club publishing the final article that Classic Literature has been defeated. Later when Chitanda goes to see Irisu, the latter hands over the money from the anthologies she sold (it was a sell-out). After hearing her on the airwaves, Irisu feels she had been wrong to give her persuasion advice to her because it just doesn’t suit her. She wants her to stop using that advice for her plans. Chitanda had the same idea too because she was getting tired of it. Elsewhere, gloomy Satoshi and Mayaka are discussing about the word expectation. Seems this was what happened. Satoshi saw Houtarou talking to Tanabe at the bicycle shed and began eavesdropping. Houtarou identifies Tanabe as Juumoji. Firstly, the word ‘lost’ was used and not ‘taken’ and what if this incident was a message for someone. And a complicated message means someone must know how to decode it. Kudryavka’s Order is a variation of The ABC Murders and the Juumoji incident is a variation of Kudryavka’s Order. The recipient of this message is Kugayama. The reason Juumoji skipped a letter was because it never stated it was targeting clubs and could also target a person. Besides, the festival brochure’s last page indicates the list of ‘victims’. Other than the clubs, Kugayama’s name was in it. The only person who could have power in such arrangement is the Executive Committee. But there are 20 people on it. This is where A Corpse By Evening came in. Kugayama worked with the writer Haruna on this manga, which means he could decode this message. Houtarou is not sure but guesses that Kugayama has lost the manuscript for Kudryavka’s Order and Juumoji incident is a guilt trip for him and the message for him is “Kugayama’s Kudryavka’s Order has been lost”. Based on the weird pen name of the manga, Ajimu Takuha is made up of the first letters of their name. Leaving out Kugayama and Haruna would mean Tanabe’s initials are the only ones left since he too participated in last year’s Executive Committee and is a friend of Kugayama.

Tanabe claps his hands and is surprised people other than Kugayama and Haruna could decode the message. Wanting to know why he sent such an indirect message, one reason is to keep the spirit of the festival alive but the biggest reason is that he just couldn’t tell him directly. Houtarou hands him 30 copies of the anthology and wants Tanabe to buy them all. Consider it blackmail to keep his mouth shut. However Tanabe needs to submit a valid reason if he is going to sell it over the school’s website. Houtarou assures it will be popular thanks to the Juumoji incident. He will have Tanabe target Classic Literature club as his final target. He and Satoshi will be his partners in crime. A crowd will form at the club room, people will buy the anthology giving enough reason to be sold online as well and this incident can end without a hitch. To pull this off, Houtarou wants him to get sodium (the explosive) and a water gun. The sodium will be put between the pages of the manuscript and when Houtarou gives a signal, he will shoot it with the water gun. But too many people in the room will be watching. Satoshi’s handphone will be near the door and the ringing will distract people. Before he shoots, call his number. A note will be inserted into one of the anthologies. And so that was how the ‘crime’ was done and came to a big bang end. Mayaka could sympathize with how Satoshi feels. She thought that he wanted to beat Houtarou but he remembers that as a database, he can’t draw any conclusions.

After the festival is officially drawn to a close, Mayaka confronts Kouchi to lend her A Corpse By Evening. However she refuses to read it. From what I understand, when someone like Haruna who never had any experience in detective novels suddenly come up with a brilliant story, how would someone like Kouchi who has been trying for donkey years feel? Ditto. Besides, she also has that manga but it’s sitting at the deepest end of her closet so she won’t ever read it. That’s why she is sticking to her theory that there are no masterpieces. If she does, she might have to call Haruna and tell her she will be looking forward to her next work. It will haunt her. Kouchi leaves a drawing on the railing and Mayaka realizes it belongs to another masterpiece manga she read. She couldn’t help relate her own case (she tried drawing manga but felt she is a hundred times lower) and starts crying. Houtarou remembers Tanabe lastly told him about the actual message to Kugayama. He has a talent in drawing and has never drawn ever since A Corpse By Evening. Tanabe looked up to him and had high expectations. Kudryavka’s Order’s manuscript wasn’t actually lost. If Kugayama had wanted it, he could’ve made it even better than A Corpse By Evening but to Kugayama, he only did it for fun for that year. He felt his talent was a waste. He wanted to do all he could do draw again. Houtarou could guess the message he wanted to say: “Kugayama, have you read Kudryavka’s Order?”. Tanabe laments Kugayama never read Haruna’s work that she poured her soul into and never got the message. But I have a feeling he got it because at the end of the closing ceremony, Kugayama did give the thumbs up to Tanabe and congratulate him on a job well done. Now with only 4 anthologies left, each member of Classic Literature buys one and completes the impossible of selling it all out. All that is left now is for Chitanda to bug Houtarou to solve the Juumoji case. I guess he prefers not too because he knows it won’t go down well if she ever finds out about the blackmail. I guess Satoshi wants some payback for getting him involved so he hints Houtarou has figured out a thing or two and will explain it at the celebratory dinner.

Episode 18
While doing homework in the club room, a helicopter passes by and this reminds Houtarou of their middle school English teacher, Masakiyo Ogi loved helicopters. He loved them so much that when one flew by, he stopped his lesson just to take a good look at them till it’s gone. However Satoshi and Mayaka don’t remember that fact. They also remember that there were other times that helicopters flew by but he didn’t show such reaction. But Satoshi mentions a story about Ogi. That he was struck 3 times by lightning. Not directly, though. How do you think he would have been able to survive and his body showed no signs of scars. Houtarou suddenly had a thought. Satoshi can’t be making this up so was Ogi lying? He gets an interest to do a little research at the library. This decision shocks his friends because this isn’t the energy saving Houtarou they know! Is he sick?! And of course, Chitanda and her annoying curiosity phrase. What is there to be curious about? She’s curious on what in the world could have piqued his curiosity. This reason? Chitanda volunteers to help Houtarou and at the library, she discovers a newspaper article that Ogi was part of the mountain climbing club which was sponsoring the Kamikakiuchi Trail restoration in the mountains. Asking the librarian for assistance for newspaper archives about 3 years ago, Houtarou mentions the word ‘stranded’ to help in the search. Though a dozen articles surfaced, there is one on the trail. Flipping through the article on the day of that article (that same day Houtarou believes Ogi mentioned his love for helicopters), what Houtarou understands from it is that Ogi didn’t like helicopters.

It’s deduction time. Ogi didn’t lie about the part being struck by lightning 3 times. Your chance of getting this is if you’re in the mountains, right? Why was it on that day he said he loved helicopters? Because something special about a helicopter happened that day. He was anxiously waiting for one to fly that day. More precisely, he wanted one to fly that day. That’s why he had to see it for himself when he heard it. As an English teacher, a helicopter means nothing. But as a mountain climber it means a lot. One of them being a rescue team. But the day before that, it was stormy and the helicopters couldn’t fly. Ogi was interested in the police helicopter which means he was actually interested in the weather conditions at the mountains. Because if it’s sunny, the survival rate on the mountain changes. Houtarou may not know how he felt but he was smiling on that day he saw it. Looking through the rest of the articles on this topic, the police helicopter found 2 bodies of the stranded victims. On the way back, Chitanda asks the mother of all questions: Why was Houtarou interested in this case. Yeah, I guess it’s weird if he looks into something on his own. Very curious, isn’t she? When Satoshi mentioned about the lightning, he had a bad feeling and thus wanted to confirm if what he thought was true. If it was, he needs to be careful. Because under such circumstances, jumping to conclusions that Ogi likes helicopters would be insensitive and should be more considerate of others around him. Chitanda is touched by his words but is lost for words herself. She notes she sees him in a different light today. Houtarou feels he owes her one for helping out today.

Episode 19
This is Houtarou and Chitanda’s episode. You’ll see only both of them chatting in the club room. And some very close moments of course. Houtarou refuses to be called a genius for his case solving abilities and coming up with theories. He dismisses it as luck. In that case, wouldn’t reasoning out theories based on clues be his talent too? So he’s a master of making theories? No. He doesn’t know how he comes up with them. She replies it’s because he hasn’t take a good look at himself. Houtarou wants to proof that she too can makeup a theory for anything. Then an announcement over the PA says, “Anyone who on October 31st shopped at Koubundou, report to Shibazaki in the staff room immediately”. Chitanda wants to come up with a theory regarding that announcement and Houtarou accepts it. Koubundou is a stationery shop near a station that carries stationery that elementary students usually need. Shibazaki is the head teacher and he is trying to call a student or a group of them. They label this person as Student X. Houtarou thinks Shibazaki is calling X for educational purpose or scolding. Based on his experience. Is he serious? If he wanted to commend someone, he wouldn’t have used the vague word of ‘anyone’. Plus, the announcement was done in a rush and not in standard procedure. Because announcements are usually in polite form and repeated twice but this was only once. Since this announcement is made after school, many students have left. What is it that is so important that he can’t wait till tomorrow morning where everyone is in class? Even so, shouldn’t the counsellor be doing the counselling instead of the head teacher? Both their offices are different floors. This means something major has happened and needs to be kept classified at administrative level. This is of course assuming X is involved in a crime. Since there is no police, maybe there’s a related official here. It means the investigators recently made the request and want to apprehend X. Based on the type of crimes Chitanda suggested, only one seems possible: Theft. If it was others like assault, a full description of the person would have been given. The announcement can’t possibly be one that has the culprit to turn himself in. In fact, it shows that they don’t know the real culprit and he will run away.

Putting aside the crime X did, Houtarou wants to assume X regretted what he did and then apologized in a letter. Today is November 1st and don’t you think it is odd that Shibazaki mentioned the date instead of saying yesterday? It shows he is reading from a note. But why did the investigator know X is involved and yet know nothing about him? Because X wrote an apology letter to Koubundou for what he did. He shopped there on 31st October, committed a crime, regretted and wrote a letter before the shop owners took the letter to the police. But if X had wanted to apologize, the police wouldn’t have got involved and how did they know he is from Kamiyama? The letter wouldn’t have actually stated that. Maybe the police asked the owners on who did it and their likely answer was probably a student from Kamiyama. X may have done something which the owners didn’t realize it was a crime later on. But it must be a crime that got the investigator’s attention quickly. A stationery shop doesn’t carry anything valuable so it could only mean one thing. X used a counterfeit 10,000 Yen bill to pay. Chitanda gets really emotional in denying that because recently there was news that such a counterfeit bill was used. How did X get his hands on it? Since from ATMs and banks aren’t possible, it could’ve been from an exchange. A personal exchange. If one picks up such a bill and quickly spends it, that person isn’t the type to apologize fast too. Asking if Chitanda likes money, she doesn’t hate it. So would she have trouble throwing it away? Yes, if it is legitimate money. Anyone would as long as it’s their own money. X must have rightfully got it from what is due to him. Since it isn’t a part time job, it could be from lending money. Assuming this Y person is someone who ranks higher, X can’t possibly give that money back even though he realizes it’s fake. Y might have got it from Z from the same circumstances. Safe to say, X is a single person as it would be weird for 2 or more high schoolers to buy cheap stationery with a 10,000 Yen. Houtarou thinks it’s likely the police got hold of X in order to trace where the bill came from. After all that talking, Houtarou is disappointed Chitanda just stood there saying nothing. Taking a look at how this thing started, Chitanda ponders he started this game to prove something. They can’t remember what it is either. Should they try to deduce what that was? No way! Next morning, Houtarou sees a newspaper report that a 22 year old gangster has been arrested in a counterfeit currency operation. I guess his theory got it right again. He realizes yesterday’s game was perhaps to reach a wild conclusion.

Episode 20
Chitanda calls Houtarou if he had any plans for New Year’s Day. Does that guy have any in the first place? She wants to pay the shrine a visit since Mayaka is working there too. Also, she wants to show off her kimono. So… he waited in the freezing cold of the night just for that? Was it worth it? Yes it was! After praying, they went to see the temple caretakers and because Chitanda’s family is well known, they guide them inside. Chitanda and the priestess exchange pleasantries but Houtarou panics because he doesn’t understand a thing while dealing with a real miko priestess. The priestess then recognizes Houtarou. Is she psychic? Do you not recognize who she is? Neither do I. She’s Kaho! She takes them to see Mayaka who is somewhat manning the fortune, lost and found section. Taking their fortunes, while Chitanda’s reads good, Houtarou’s spells misfortune. A premonition of things to come? Then Kaho mentions about the need to remake dumpling soup and sweet sake due to some part timers screwing up. Chitanda wants to help out so Kaho tells her to get some of the ingredients in the warehouse. They enter the dark shed and before they know it, somebody locks them in. Cliché… Then they realize this isn’t the warehouse but a shed. Better do something fast or freeze to death. Houtarou thinks of yelling for help but Chitanda stops him. She is worried of the impression the people will have if they find them in this state. It would have been fine on other occasions but she’s representing her father today so it’s no-go. Yeah. Whatever that means. Chitanda has a good idea to use their handphones to call their friends. Good. Only 1 problem: Neither has a handphone. There goes Plan A. What about Plan B? Houtarou has 4 choices. Wow! That much? A) Break the wall; B) Break the door; C) Dig a tunnel; D) Break the roof. Uh… Can we do something without breaking this old building?

Chitanda hears somebody coming and he’s just the temple’s caretaker. He picks up a lost item and leaves. This gives Houtarou an idea. They need to drop something Mayaka or Kaho knows and let the caretaker pick it up and bring it back to her. Getting permission to break the wall a little bit bigger, Houtarou drops Chitanda’s handkerchief outside. By that time, Satoshi has arrived and sees Mayaka. She shows him Chitanda’s handkerchief but thinks it is somebody else who dropped this similar handkerchief. Now since that plan didn’t work (it’s taking too long), Houtarou drops his emptied wallet and tied his misfortune slip on it.  The friends recognize but didn’t get the clue. Yeah, Satoshi wants to draw from the fortune too. Time for next plan. When Houtarou realizes Satoshi should have been here now, he needs to find a string that is 50cm long. The only string that fits that description is the one that is holding Chitanda’s obi. Let’s say if it’s gone, it won’t prop her obi up. Houtarou remembers another string. It’s from the banner hanging outside. He breaks a little hole near the door and grabs the banner’s string. Too bad people. We don’t get to see Chitanda strip. Do we feel cheated? He ties it around Chitanda’s purse and drops it. Once it reaches Mayaka, Satoshi finally gets the clue and runs to their rescue. Houtarou explains that the purse has the opening and base tied which indicates the insides are trapped, thus trapped like a rat. He didn’t come up with this idea from thin air. He and Satoshi saw a period drama this morning that had the same concept. The one whereby Nobunaga was going to attack some place but his brother in law betrayed him. Nobunaga’s sister heard of the betrayal and sent a bag tied at both ends to convey the trap message. And here comes Satoshi the saviour. Any second longer, Houtarou would have turned into a frozen zombie. Not that he was any different in his normal energy conserving life anyway.

Episode 21
Last year Satoshi rejected Mayaka’s Valentine’s chocolate (because it wasn’t handmade?). She got so pissed that she ate the chocolate herself and vows to make a masterpiece that he will accept and cram into his face. A year later, Mayaka ropes in Chitanda to help make the chocolate and hopes to keep it a secret from Satoshi. That means Houtarou has to keep quiet too. Later Houtarou plays a game with Satoshi at the arcade and notices how much he has changed. It was like he wasn’t obsessed with winning anymore because he used to be a sore loser. Back home, Tomoe left a box of chocolates on the floor. With love. Houtarou kicks it away like a football penalty kick! On Valentine’s Day, Chitanda tries to hint to Houtarou something about her family doesn’t practice giving gifts to close ones. Too shy to say it, she changes the topic. Chitanda sees the chocolate sitting nicely on the table in the club room. As Houtarou waits in the library, Chitanda wonders if Satoshi has showed up and apparently he didn’t in the club room. Shortly, she rushes back to Houtarou and is panicking. Houtarou asks Satoshi what’s going on but he gave that guilty reaction. Chitanda is upset that the chocolate is stolen and feels guilty she has done something horrible to Mayaka since she forgot to lock the club room. Houtarou agrees to help out since he doesn’t want to see Mayaka’s wrath. He’s not into horror after all. Making their way back to the club room, Chitanda hasn’t told Mayaka about this yet and the chocolate is not to be found anywhere in the room. Satoshi says he met Chitanda by the stairs and they entered the room together. That was when the chocolate went missing. The only guy who could’ve seen them pass through this level was the guy from Crafts Club who was putting up the poster. Houtarou dismisses him as the culprit because he wouldn’t still be putting up posters had he stole the chocolate. He confirms 3 people passed by: Them.

Houtarou deduces the culprit may still be on that floor and from the list of club rooms on that floor, only the Astronomy Club still have members haven’t gone home yet. When met with Sawakiguchi, desperate Chitanda quickly tells her to return the chocolate! So the guys take it over and do the talking instead. They’re looking for any witnesses who took the chocolate. Sawakiguchi seems pretty annoyed and asks her other 4 members but they all laugh it off as a joke. Nobody is interested in taking their chocolate. End of story. Slams door. Back to square one. Back in the club room, Chitanda feels the need to tell Mayaka when the devil pops up. She quickly apologizes for what happened so Mayaka puts up a brave front to pretend like it’s no big deal and leaves. Chitanda gets desperate and wants to take drastic measures to find it but was stopped by Houtarou. He grabbed her hand to make her listen. He knows who the culprit is: Nakayama, the only other girl member of the Astronomy Club. Had the guys stolen it, he chocolate would be too big to fit in their uniform. However for Nakayama, she could easily tie it to her leg hidden underneath her skirt. He wants her to go home and rest while he vows to find it and give it to Satoshi before the day ends. Shortly after Chitanda leaves, Houtarou leaves with Satoshi. Along the way, he wants Satoshi to hand over his bag. After shaking it, he passes it back to him and wants him to give it Mayaka. He knew it was him who stole the chocolate. Based on what the Craft Club guy said, he knew it was him because of how Satoshi commented on the poster he was putting. He guessed Satoshi was waiting inside the toilet to wait for Chitanda to pass, then took the chocolate from the club room. But it was bigger than expected and couldn’t fit in the bag. There weren’t any other bags in the room and couldn’t risk running out holding it and being seen. Thus the only way was to break it and hid it in his small bag. Houtarou notes that they are even now. This is for the time he helped out distracting Chitanda with the made up Silk Spider Society story.

He feels like punching Satoshi if this is idea of a joke because he hurt Mayaka and Chitanda. Satoshi disagrees with Houtarou calling him a hobbyist. Whatever he does, he won’t be best at anything. More accurately he stopped trying to be. He must have noticed him at the arcade. He used to be obsessed with winning and if he did, it became boring or too much to handle. Then he got tired of it and ever since his life has been fun. As for Mayaka, she is really a great girl and a dream come true to be loved by her. But he can’t be obsessed with her. Because if he leaves his comfort zone and accepts her, he might as well go back to the way he used to be. That scares him. Though he still hasn’t found his answer yet, Houtarou didn’t like it that he hurt Chitanda. Satoshi notes that he and Mayaka never considered Chitanda. Meanwhile Chitanda catches up with Mayaka and the latter quickly apologizes. Mayaka knew who stole the chocolate all along because after last year’s Valentine’s Day, she told Satoshi she would wait until he gave her an answer. That day is today. She feels guilty for hiding it from her and making such a big fuss. Houtarou probably cooked up that story to cover for Satoshi. But what upsets Mayaka most is that despite all this, she still loves Satoshi. Satoshi is ready to be punched by Houtarou but it’s not like he can tell Chitanda any of this either. He tells Satoshi he is good at what he does but needs to work on how he does it. As for his answer, he might be close to it soon. Houtarou calls Chitanda to tell her he managed to give the chocolate to Satoshi. She thanks him for everything. Satoshi also calls Mayaka. Houtarou takes a bite of Tomoe’s chocolate and finds it bitter.

Episode 22
One cold morning, Chitanda calls Houtarou if he is free. She needs him to hold an umbrella for a shrine’s Hina Festival procession. Making his way to the shrine, he sees the committee at work behind the scenes that includes all the preparations and checks. As they are making a final rundown, Houtarou realizes that the procession is going to pass through Choukyuu Bridge. He tells them it is now under construction because he just passed there before the lone worker closed it for so. The committee starts panicking and upon double checking, the bridge is indeed closed. More panic as they try to come up with another route for the procession. All suggestions are shot down till a young committee chap, Konari suggests a longer route to take: The Tooji Bridge. However, they seem sceptical. Houtarou is being called by Chitanda. He has to speak before a wall since she is in the midst of changing. He summarizes what is happening so she wants him to bring a message back to the folks that she will contact the priest from the other side and her father will contact the representatives personally. Once Houtarou does, everyone calms down and scrambles to make last minute adjustments. As the procession starts, the main players come out. I couldn’t recognize that was Irisu dressed up as the emperor. Beside her is of course Chitanda in heavy make up and stunning garb. So much so Houtarou can’t focus and can’t keep his eyes peeled away from her. He feels he shouldn’t have come as this is shattering his energy conservation policy. Did I hear him right that he is curious wanting to see Chitanda’s face from the front? (Houtarou is holding the umbrella from behind). I bet it will be worth it. He is snapped out when Satoshi calls out to him. After Houtarou’s role finishes, Mayaka thanks him for what he did for Valentine’s Day. He bumps into Irisu on her way out and she thought he had solved the today’s mystery. He isn’t pleased to be tricked again but she assures him that she wouldn’t lie to him on such a sacred day.

Much later, it is Chitanda’s turn. It’s her curiosity cue. She had to control herself today playing the doll that she couldn’t ask about the Choukyuu Bridge. As they discuss, seems they both suspect Konari. Previously the committee was told that the construction would be delayed but apparently someone made a call to restart it today. Because Konari helped dressed Houtarou, his words were felt a bit odd. He said he came back home to see a rare procession. However someone from this village would not consider this annual procession as rare. This means something that doesn’t often happen occurred. The change in route had them crossed Tooji Bridge. What was along that path? Blooming sakura trees. That is what you don’t see every day. Chitanda remembers he is attending a technical school in Osaka to become a photographer and must have wanted to take unusual pictures. As they walk home, Chitanda explains further. The committee stopped panicking when she contacted the other side’s priest. Long ago, this village was divided into two different villages. Both sides frequently fought over land and water. Though that is history, entering either side for religious celebrations without prior warning will cause conflict. They needed someone to inform the other side but had no one. That’s where Chitanda comes in. Remember, her family is old and powerful. She continues that even if she goes away to university, she’ll still have to come back to this place as she has a job to fulfil as daughter of the Chitanda family. She thinks it will be her job to find ways to produce better crops enough for everyone to eat or to work on the business side to increase yield. She chose the former seeing she is not good in business and feels guilty for causing everyone trouble during Kanya Festival. Although this place is old and the people getting tired, this isn’t the most beautiful place or has potential, she still wants to show it to him. Houtarou offers to take care of the business part for her. She didn’t hear that so he retracts. He realizes this was what Satoshi might have felt then. Houtarou is feeling cold but Chitanda notes that spring is already here.

Curiosity Killed The Boredom
Despite the ending being nothing much happens, this series is overall quite satisfying and enjoyable. Perhaps I got my hopes up in hoping that there will be a big bang mystery case but I guess after 3 big mystery arcs (the truth behind Hyouka, the unfinished film and the Kanya Festival missing club tools), finishing off with little single stand alone episodes isn’t necessary such a bad thing. Even though I did not convert into a big fan of the mystery genre, no matter how trivial or ‘boring’ some of the mysteries were, they were still enough to retain my interest since I was trying to guess the case and answer as I watch along. Like that is possible of somebody of my IQ calibre. It was fun trying to do that, replaying scenes over and over several times trying to understand what was being said although in the end none of my theories came out right. There weren’t many by the way. Sometimes I can’t even come up with one.

To be fair to viewers, the series have dropped hints along the way throughout the episode(s) especially those that are related in the arc. So before the finally revelation from Houtarou, you might want to pause for a while and conclude what you have deduced so far. Thus if you have a sharp eye, good sense of hearing and more importantly a good memory and analytical mind, you probably could have try and guessed the answer to the mystery. However, I feel that there are some ‘hints’ that might lead you astray, which is pretty normal in this genre seeing that you might be so engrossed in trying to unravel the mystery that you might take everything they say to be some sort of hint. Some of the conversation may not even be related to the mystery and are just talk. Well, at least that is what I felt. For example, when Satoshi assigned tarot card decks to match the personalities of his friends, this doesn’t bear any significance to the mystery and just probably to hint to Houtarou that his tarot card of strength was that he is prone to be manipulated by women. Or the part when it is known that Irisu comes from a family that runs a general hospital in this town. So? Therefore in terms of the mystery solving part, such conversations do not mean anything.

I want to point out that while many of the conclusions deduced by Houtarou seem pretty awesome and mind blowing, the real and actual supposed answer turns out to be something less exciting. Take for instance the incomplete movie arc. Houtarou’s deduction to Irisu about the seventh character as a twister to me was super. Of course after he reanalyzes the case again and comes out with the real answer, the one that Hongou supposedly wanted, it really seemed to be a downer. Personally, I feel Houtarou’s first deduction was great. Then when it came down to how Hongou actually was supposed to film it, it wasn’t satisfying and raised more questions instead. How did this happen? Why did this happen? Doesn’t this feel a little lame? I mean, I feel Houtarou’s deduction was more feasible and probable compared to the real one. For the Kanya Festival arc, despite Tanabe being revealed as the main culprit, many questions came to my mind like how did he pulled off those missing tools in the first place? This and some other minor questions didn’t get answered. Unless I wasn’t paying attention but I doubt so because I was really glued to the screen and even replayed the scenes as mentioned. So as it turned out, just one big complicated and messy riddle for a certain guy to unscramble. Some deductions felt like a little letdown like the one about Ogi’s passion for helicopters. So Houtarou got it wrong in the first place that he likes helicopters. So what? As I said at the end.

Apart from the mysteries and cases, another factor that goes hand in hand with that is the characters. As we see Houtarou brilliantly deduces and unravel the secrets of the mystery based on what he has gathered, we also see him gradually changing. From somebody who is only concerned with saving energy and trying his best not to not getting involved in other things, it becomes a surprise that he takes the initiative to eventually get involve and get to the bottom of a case. If Chitanda had never consistently bugged him with her trademark “I’m curious!” line or that cute close up pestering, he might never found that little push to exert that extra energy. But do you see that the energy that he exerts is good? It’s not that he is wasting them, right? Besides, if he just sat there doing nothing, I think it will be more detrimental because he is wasting away energy that could have been put to good use. He isn’t perfect despite being relied on the most for answers. Sometimes when it seems things are going great, somebody else points out a minor detail he left out and it’s back to the drawing board. Chitanda on her part may come from an old powerful family but she is not without her good and bad points. Like her inquisitive side, it is good that she wants answers to the things that made her curious. But sometimes it feels that she can be a little pushy and impatient when it doesn’t get solved. Sometimes she may look ditzy but I feel that makes her cute ;p. Satoshi has great memory but as he realizes, he only has the facts and information and lacks the deduction power to draw conclusions like Houtarou. He and Mayaka provide good support to the duo. The biggest mystery is Tomoe since her travels around the globe makes you wonder what kind of job she does. Her face is never shown and being a former Classic Literature Club member, there is more than meets the eye to this lady.

As the quartet of Classic Literature Club solve mysteries behind each case, we also see a different side to them. During the Kanya Festival, we see how Satoshi wanted to be like Houtarou and tried to solve the case by himself. He failed. Similarly, Mayaka wanted to be a good mangaka artist but she couldn’t. Tanabe also wanted exceptional drawing skills that Kugayama possesses and had high hopes for him. In all 3 of them, they admired somebody who was better than them that they yearned to become. They tried so hard to get there but never came close. The talented ones exerted such skills without much effort. They felt jealous. It’s like a beautiful flower high above a rocky cliff that they never can attain. Whether they like it or not, they have to accept reality and move on. Even in Satoshi’s friendly chat with Houtarou throughout the series, you can sense that Satoshi harbours certain envy for Houtarou. Houtarou is no different. Despite we see him putting up a boring facial expression and from time to time sarcasm when he is not putting on his thinking cap, he isn’t that all perfect too. When he realized Irisu was using him as a scriptwriter instead of a detective, he became angry. You can actually see the anger deep within his eyes when he confronted her. At least this shows he has got some energy to burn and release when he is mad. You thought he was an emotionless guy all along, eh? Chitanda too. She is best when she is herself and not trying to change into a personality that is a total opposite. You thought Chitanda’s proper etiquette would not fail her but during the Valentine’s arc, she showed her desperation and impatience. In a way, I would say that she isn’t someone who can handle great pressure once she is under the impression that she feels guilty and responsible over something.

I’m sure by the end of the series, many would have noticed the romance factor that has subtly seeped into the show especially between Houtarou and Chitanda. Well, there are many private moments between them and ones that have their face close enough that warrants and teases viewers to chant for them to hurry up and kiss. Alas, I think it will spoil everything if that actually happened. So we are left wondering if there is going to be any real romance between them at all right up till the end. It is greatly hinted and though not officially said, we viewers definitely know that Houtarou and Chitanda harbour feelings for each other. This is a mystery genre, not a love romance. Whether or not they know about the topic of love, perhaps Chitanda has her family name to uphold so she can’t be really rash about something big like love. Houtarou? Maybe falling in love would be too much energy to use. Haha! So our other unofficial couple, Satoshi and Mayaka, from what I can see she’s still not giving up. Any girl who got rejected by the guy she confessed to would certainly find it very demoralizing and hard to even stay close as a friend. Maybe things will change. Will things stay the same as they are if they start going out as a couple? Mayaka loves Satoshi, even Satoshi admits he loves her. So why doesn’t this equation tally up? Until both sides are ready, status quo is perhaps the best answer for now.

As I have said, the build up to the mystery is great and it really catches the viewers’ attention. However sometimes I feel that there is a little horror element inside. At times it gives me the creeps and made my hair stood on ends. For instance, the unfinished movie arc, the way they show us the angles of the incomplete film feels like a little horror. The dark corridors and the death of one of its members give that creepy feeling that there is something more to this mystery. Also, during the trip to the hotsprings, the hanged yukata also had this creepy feeling. I can’t get it out of my mind wondering if there were supernatural stuffs involved despite knowing well that this series delves more into logic in explaining its conclusion instead of the unexplained. Aside the little horror stuff, a little bit of comedy to loosen up those tension like Houtarou’s one-line sarcasm or Chitanda’s cuteness. Yes, she’s funny alright when she’s in that mode. It may be annoying but generally in a cute and funny way. Wasn’t Chitanda tad funny when she ate the entire box of whiskey chocolates?

As Kyoto Animation animates this series (their other works include Clannad, Air, Inu Yasha, Full Metal Panic and K-ON!), another interesting aspect of this series is the drawing and art. The characters and sceneries may look standard but it is the different creative visuals used when Houtarou and the rest of the club members are explaining their theory. They are really fun to watch (because it beats looking at their ordinary faces while explaining) and thus give us a much better visual and idea on what they are trying to convey. There are a few sequences that felt dream-like especially the ones whereby Chitanda tried to encircle Houtarou in getting his attention-cum-participation in solving the case and he can’t escape her grasps. Maybe that’s why the novel name which this anime is based is called “Hyouka – You can’t escape”. One thing that I do not understand is the mid-intermission, I do not comprehend what its significance or its relation is to the show unless it is to throw us off. Each mid-intermission is a word that explains about the solstice and equinox phenomenon such as geshi, shosho and shuubun. Then as the episode ends, there will be somewhat a second title (if I should call it). It goes by the arcs. All independent episodes will have “Little birds can remember” while the first major arc about Hyouka’s origin had “The niece of time” and the Kanya Festival’s arc with of course “Welcome to Kanya Festival”. The unfinished movie arc which has “Why didn’t they ask Eba?” felt like a slap in the face since it was perhaps the biggest clue in unravelling the mystery of the arc. Later as I found out, all these titles are a parody of Christie’s novels.

For the voice acting department, Yuuichi Nakamura as the voice of Houtarou feels like he is emulating his other role as Tomoya from Clannad unlike his other anime characters filled with angst such as Gray from Fairy Tail and Minamoto from Zettai Karen Children. I guess he still fits voicing laidback characters with a little sarcasm. If Chitanda’s cute voice sounds familiar, it’s because you’ve probably heard Satomi Satou as the voice of Wendy in Fairy Tail and Chiaki in Sket Dance. Among the huge lists of other casts include Ai Kayano as Mayaka (Kanade in Chihayafuru), Daisuke Sakaguchi as Satoshi (Shinpachi in Gintama), Satsuki Yukino as Tomoe (Kagome in Inu Yasha), Yukana as Irisu (Ai in Amagami SS), Jun Fukuyama as Tanabe (Lelouch in Code Geass), Aoi Yuuki as Eba (Madoka in Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica), Saori Hayami as Kaho (Ikaros in Sora No Otoshimono), Ryotaro Okiayu as Tougaito (Byakuya in Bleach), Masumi Asano as Kouchi (Chiaki in Shigofumi), Mariya Ise as Sawakiguchi (Ringo in Air Gear), Toshiyuki Morikawa as Kugayama (Enel in One Piece), Naomi Shindou as Yuasa (Shizuru in Mai-HiME), Mami Koyama as Itoigawa (Balalaika in Black Lagoon), Yoshihisa Kawahara as Tani (Bobby in Binbougami Ga), Aki Toyosaki as Rie (Yui in K-ON!) and Yui Ogura as Kayo (Alice in Kamsama No Memo-chou).

The first opening theme feels like anime pop, Yasashisa No Riyuu by Chouchou. The second opening song, Mikansei Stride is more of rock and sung by Saori Kodama. However I find it funny about that squeaky sound effect at the beginning and end of the song. Like it’s some mouse or lizard squeaking. The first ending theme is a duet by Chitanda and Mayaka’s seiyuu. Madoromi No Yakusoku is by far my favourite song for this series. The same duo sing the second ending song entitled Kimi Ni Matsuwaru Mystery, a rock pop. While the first opening and ending credits animation seem serious and a little astronomically abstract respectively (actually I’m not sure if the ending animation is for fanservice purpose seeing we see our 2 main ladies lying around in what I believe babydolls they are wearing), the second opening and ending credits ending theme feel like a joke. For the second opening animation, we see Houtarou falling asleep and becoming some sort of ghost that can only appear in glasses or reflections as he wanders about. Then when he wakes up, he finds Satoshi and Mayaka has messed with his face, adding papers and accessories to make his face look cartoonish with pieces of rolled up papers stuck on his hair. He has got so much energy to chase them after that? For the Victorian era themed second ending animation, Chitanda and Mayaka turn detective to catch and arrest the guys as wanted criminals in a cat and mouse game. Ultimately the smooth criminals give them the slip and the chase continues. You can also glimpse the names of all the Sherlock Holmes’ titles floating across the screen. Though the series has a number of soundtracks, I notice that some of them are classical music from the Baroque era such as Bach and Faure. In addition to that, there are quite a number of Special Bonus CDs (8 of them in fact) containing a handful of tracks. The music can range from creepily eerie strings, voice or chimes to simple and slow piano pieces to orchestra worthy music with strings and the flute.

This series perhaps is trying to tell us to be inquisitive in the sense that we should be aware of our surroundings and happenings. Otherwise, if you’re a blur case like me, even if the greatest detective combo like Sherlock Holmes and Houtarou teamed up, they won’t get anywhere if a crucial witness like me couldn’t even remember the slightest details. Very faulty memory recall, I guess. Well it seems that I have overused my brains in enjoying this series. But it is all worth it. Now I need to go eat some brain food to replenish those brain cells. And then I’m going to take a long nap to recharge and do nothing to conserve my energy. Who knows? Maybe it will reduce my carbon footprint too. How? Perhaps I should sleep on this thought and think about it. On second thought, that will use up too much of my energy. Busy doing what? Busy doing nothing.

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