Hyōka (ep. 5)

The last pieces of the puzzle fall into place.

And the picture they reveal . . .

. . . is not a pretty sight.

The meaning of the word “sacrifice”. The origin of the school festival’s nickname. Even the very word Hyōka itself.

As befits a club with at least nominal ties to literature, so much of its history turns out to be hidden under a veil of semantics.

Hōtarō pulls most of the weight in this episode, as usual – but I’m glad to see everyone pitch in with their own contributions here and there. Itoigawa-sensei, the librarian and onetime Classics Club member, sets the record straight on what really happened to Sekitani Jun nearly half a century earlier. Mayaka, our resident Manga Club representative, deciphers the meaning behind Hyōka‘s strange cover illustration of a dog devouring a helpless rabbit as its kin stand idly by in the background. Satoshi, fount of local lore, cracks the origins of the “KANYA SAI” nickname for the school festival. All this is made possible by Hōtarō’s deductions, but to hear these resolutions coming from someone else is good for keeping the chap from monopolising the story.

In the end, this isn’t about Hōtarō or any of the other club members – not centrally, at least. This is about Eru and her desire to say a proper farewell to her uncle; to give him a decent burial, so to speak, by making her peace with the memories he left behind. Our reluctant Sherlock provides the key with which she finally unlocks the mystery of what Sekitani Jun imparted to her all those years ago, and with it, a long-awaited moment of release. What she hears from Itoigawa-sensei and Hōtarō is not a happy memory by any means, but it brings her a sense of closure.

The word Hyōka, the cryptic title Eru’s uncle gave to the Classics Club’s anthology, turns out to be a final message for posterity. Abandoned by his peers, and unable to say anything lest others are dragged down into ignominy with him, Sekitani Jun hid in plain sight that which he could not express. No wonder Hōtarō felt frustrated when no-one else seemed to understand the concealed message: this was the last gasp of a soul in despair and nobody had ever taken notice. In a way, with the mystery unravelled, some measure of justice has finally been done.

Sekitani Jun, we have heard you.

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