Hyōka (ep. 19)

Shh. I’m working undercover.

Another episode barely worth writing about.

But don’t get me wrong – I didn’t think it was bad.

I’d compare it to a cup of hot chocolate. Luscious, comforting, a great perk after a hard day’s work . . . but not something one would build a marble monument to. (All right, poor analogy. Give me a break, I’ve had a rough day and my mind feels like pureed carrots.)

Our reluctant Sherlock goes through a thought exercise with the Classics Club’s resident cream puff, the objective being to prove just how far from amazing he really is. Take a random event (in this case a cryptic announcement), weave together a wild theory to explain it, and see how far off the mark it actually is. Me, some kind of incredible master detective? Lady, I just make this stuff up as I go along. The fact that I’m often right is pure dumb luck.

Amusingly, by the end of the mind game Hōtarō forgets why he started it in the first place. Yep, lest we forget, the chap with the tousled hair is actually human, and therefore capable of having a bit of fun (even if he doesn’t realise it himself).

And lest we forget, the ending makes clear that there’s more than pureed carrots in that energy-saving head of his.

All right, let’s put this lazy post to bed (and me, while we’re at it). First, the good stuff. Splendidly delicious animation as always, the kind that positively screams “buy me on Blu-ray!” straight into one’s face. (With eleven or so volumes to collect priced at about 7,000 yen apiece, I can already hear my bank account screaming in agony.) The mystery itself was far from epic, but a decent enough puzzler to keep me entertained – a bit like dipping into one of Agatha Christie’s short stories in-between reading her full-length novels. And Eru, dear sweet Eru, charming as ever and heart-meltingly precious with her frequent face-puffs of frustration.

There’s also that bit near the start where the resident cream puff invites our reluctant Sherlock to visit her uncle’s grave with her. Mm, taking the lad to see the family? (Presumably deceased, sure, but family nonetheless.) I’d say this takes things up a notch, if the tiny but perceptible colouring of their cheeks is anything to go by.

(On a more serious note, I’m actually glad to hear Sekitani Jun’s name mentioned again. I still haven’t given the chap a proper farewell. Rest in peace, old boy – or come back soon if you still happen to be lost but alive somewhere.)

Now for the not-so-good stuff. It’s just not the same without Satoshi and Mayaka around. (For the money they’re saving on voice acting salaries, KyoAni had better cough up an ending to remember.) And truth be told, nothing much happens.

With the ending almost in sight, I’m beginning to think the final arc (or more likely just a series of concluding episodes) won’t be as much of a stunner as the Sekitani Jun mystery. In the end, I’m cool with that – if hardcore excitement is what I was on the prowl for, I’d have dumped this plodding but richly satisfying series long ago.


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