(Scores and order readjusted since the accidental draft post)
Hey there. It’s been a while :D
Once again we’ve reached that time of year where one season ends and another begins. Guess it’s time to lay this season to rest.
13 series on my plate this season, which was doable. Much better than spring, when I tried to take on 17 shows and sputtered out towards the end—although to be fair, there’s much more free time available in the summer.
This season was a mixed bag of shows, with too fast pacing and too slow pacing, surprisingly good plots and plots which quickly crashed into the ground after a few weeks. It’s quite evident when you compare this priority list to my initial one. It’s not abnormal for a season to be random in quality (I don’t think I’ve had a “perfect” season since Spring 2011, really), but this season in particular had almost equal amounts of good and bad shows out of the ones I chose to watch.
I also think this is the first time I’ve ever dropped a show (Joshiraku) because of lack of project activity. I fully understand that it’s not the subbers’ fault for not releasing on time, since some of the jokes are hard to translate…and real life. However, I tend to drop shows if I backlog episodes of my own accord for more than six weeks, and Joshiraku is no exception. After a certain point, I just can’t be bothered.
I’m posting my final priority list with scores, with a mini-blurb of thoughts on each show. Why mini-blurbs? Well, because you don’t need me to write full length reviews on shows—that’s what sites like randomc.net are for. Besides, I like to be different. Note that priority is listed according to what I looked forward to seeing the most each week, and doesn’t quite correlate with its score.
A * denotes a series continuing into the winter season. A ** denotes a series on hold because of hiatus or because the following episodes won’t be on TV.
TL;DR—Final Score for the Summer 2012 anime season—7.92. ~B-. Average, but it’s not really indicative of how awesome the outliers are (since it’s an average! Excuse the pun). Then again, the good is only 25% of the list.
I’ll be writing an Anime Seasonal Quickie on the Fall Season after the first full week that everything airs, followed by a formal list when I definitively choose shows to follow after three weeks.
Spoiler: I try to pick up 21 shows (!!!)
It’s been such a long time since I wrote a long anime ED article. It’s a pity. I have so much I want to write about and discuss with people, but alas, midterms get in the way.
Looking at the back wall of my workspace, I’ve got a post-it note tacked on with a list of subjects I wanted to write about and discuss.
(I swear they all sound like subjects for an essay, now that I’ve written them down lol)
I don’t think I’ll get to all of them, but that last one will be written by next weekend. With all but 1 or 2 shows ending this week, and the Fall season starting up next week as well, I need to lay this season to rest.
Why am I writing about something so trivial? Because I actually look forward to the interactions these posts initiate (specifically the Final Thoughts post). I miss the discussion, people. Discussions are fun, or at least, they are when one’s discussing with an open-minded view. And I hope to get some, granted I survive everything I need to get through.
That tweet made me lol
Makes it sound like they’d become insipid scientists.
On a related note, doesn’t Chitanda’s choice to go into science really match her character? After all, the number one thing a scientist needs is curiosity and the motivation to not just ask “Why?” but follow it completely though as well.
Due to the events in this particular episode, this just had to be done.
“Oreki better stop with this story while he’s ahead. Otherwise, you-know-who will kininarimasu”
I wonder how Chitanda feels in this scene. The other three are talking about fond memories they shared together, of which she wasn’t part of. Great job making Chitanda feel like a third wheel, guys.
“OH THE HUMANITY”
OH. THE. HUMANITY.
“Oh god. He said it. He said the cursed word”
…Who are you?! What have you done with Oreki?
“This is a warning: beware any girl who displays signs of extreme curiosity. You may be infected. This cannot be cured.”
The Kininari virus. It’s spreading! Quick! Quarantine Oreki and the other members of the Kotenbu club! Do it before the entire cast become mindless sparkly-eyed kininari zombies!
“YOU SEE THOSE TWINKLY EYES?! THOSE EYES TRANSFER THE VIRUS DIRECTLY INTO YOUR SOUL!”
I knew those sparkly eyes were a sign of something dangerous! They’re slowly converting Oreki, and they’re slowly infecting the viewers! Why else would she beat Saber on the Newtype popular female poll?!
“I thought you wanted to conserve energy! Sure roles are reversed, but isn’t energy saving more important? WHAT HAPPENED”
Symptoms of Kininari virus include the desire to walk further and more frequently, rejecting offers to ride on a bike with a cute girl, sparkly eyes, and excessive curiosity. Immediately call 911 if eye luminosity reaches/exceeds 196,000L.
“Well that was a sad end to a story about a teacher’s fascination with a helicopter”
Gotta admit, even if this mystery was yet another “filler”/inconsequential mystery, I was actually able to piece this one together myself before Oreki had to use the term stranded. Kinda figured that “liking” helicopters was the easy answer, so he’d have to hate them. Tying it together with his history as an adventurer, a rescue effort with a helicopter was a very plausible idea.
“You’re probably going for “beautiful”, Chitanda. Indeed, it was beautifully put. Empathy.”
Even despite Oreki’s laziness, he considers empathy/”understanding one’s feelings” to be important enough to expend energy on. It shows that he’s considerate enough to learn the full story before spitting out an opinion about a person, even if he’ll never actually meet him in person ever again.
TL;DR—Oreki got kininarimasu’d
Lately I’ve been hearing an awful lot of criticism for KyoAni’s latest project, Hyouka. Many people are saying that the show isn’t interesting, the mysteries are inconsequential, and the characters aren’t fun to watch. They compare this show to other mysteries like Another, Gosick, and Higurashi. While this is the internet and everyone is entitled to their opinion, I’m going to tell you what I find interesting—maybe even curious—about Hyouka.
Hyouka was based on a light novel series of the same name, and it is indeed classified as a mystery. Those that say it isn’t probably haven’t heard of the “armchair detective” genre of mystery, where a stoic (usually innately genius) detective solves the entire case without even having to get up from his chair. It’s meant to portray a superhuman sense of intuition, making the detective an “invincible” character that no mystery, no matter how befuddling, can crack. The thrill of these novels (for me at least) is watching the detective power through mysteries as I anticipate the inevitable one that will really make him scratch his head, purely so I can see how he’ll react to the challenge. Because of this, I would say that armchair detective novels are more about the recurring characters than the actual mystery, because once you know the solution to a mystery, it’s over. But the characters will stay with you for the whole series, and you’ll always anticipate their return.
What Hyouka is, in reality, is an armchair detective novel for the modern high school age with a bit of slice-of-life mixed in; after all, mixing a character-driven mystery novel with a character-driven anime/manga genre doesn’t seem like such a bad idea, now does it? Oreki plays the part of the detective, though to make him even more interesting he is reluctant to display his brilliance, choosing to “conserve his energy” instead (or so he says, but he probably feels overshadowed by his outgoing sister). This juxtaposition causes us to be very curious—there’s that word again—about Oreki, and anticipate the moment where he finally brings his fingers to his bangs and puts the pieces together. For this reason, Oreki is the star of Hyouka. Without him, we would have another slice-of-life—not a bad one, mind you, but a less interesting one.
The biggest criticism I’ve seen is that the mysteries have no consequence—no one dies, there’s no emotional distress, no one loses anything of value: indeed, the mysteries are so frivolous that there are little to no consequences for any of them. But I actually find this quite refreshing. As an armchair detective story, it’s relaxed, and that’s kind of how the whole series feels—a mystery lying on its side, basking in the sun, taking it easy. That might bore some people, but it feels nice, at least to me. And nothing in Hyouka is blown out of proportion or staged—it’s all very grounded in reality. Any of it could happen at any school. For an author to take the lesser-known path by highlighting some of the more mundane mysteries you would find anywhere instead of going for serial killer thriller epics, I applaud that. It would have been just as easy, maybe even easier to come up with some ridiculous setting for another preposterous, drawn-out conspiracy web of murders, but the author had the balls to go in a different direction. And as such, the way that the mysteries progress and the way the characters progress toward the mysteries as they find out more information must be very, very clever indeed in order to break the mold. Luckily, they are, in my opinion.
Another big complaint I’ve seen is that the arcs drag on too long. This is valid; the Kan’ya Fest arc has been going on for five or six episodes now. But that, too, is something I enjoy. The way that KyoAni stretches the arc, kind of like how they did with the series planning of Haruhi, gives that sense of buildup and creates a weird sensation that KyoAni is particularly good at creating: being “epic without being epic”. Starting with arbitrary slice-of-life conversation, then gradually building up (it wasn’t until the third episode of Kan’ya Fest that the mystery actually started to take form). Using high-budget, incredibly well-thought out camera angles and cinematography for ordinary occurrences not really worth emphasizing to that extent, such as a club item being stolen. It’s a style that’s not for everyone, but it’s a great minimalist technique, and it works particularly well with Hyouka because of the show’s foundation of reality.
It’s funny that those who enjoyed Gosick and UN-GO are criticizing this series for being character-based instead of having interesting mysteries. Gosick did much the same thing, or need I remind you of the very first mystery you were presented in that series? Did you quit watching after that because the mystery was lame and quickly solved? No, you kept watching for the dynamic between Victorique and Kujo. Or Inspector Blois’s hair. Either way, you stuck with it for the characters.
I feel I may have gone on a bit long, and I’m not trying to attack anyone’s opinions. If you don’t like Hyouka, that’s fine, and there are probably many more reasons besides the ones I addressed why people hate it. I honestly just felt like writing my thoughts on the show.
A viewpoint from the opposite spectrum. It takes a lot of knowledge and insight to be able to pinpoint and specify the merits of a show panned by may others. Colour me impressed.
I’m quite a stickler for holding an open view towards stuff I watch, and believe me I try my best to come off as not too biased for/against shows. However, everyone always has an inherent form of bias, and I’m certainly no exception. That’s why I like seeing stuff like this, offering a perspective I would normally be unable to perceive because bias clouds my judgement.
For the record, until recently I landed slightly against Hyouka, although with the most recent episode I’ve shifted closer to being in favor rather than against. If the blurb on the season preview for this show had specified the nature of the “mystery” this series goes for, I don’t think I would be as disappointed. If you’ve forgotten, the blurb mentioned “a hidden incident about the past” which implied some sort of deep dark secret. That’s what hooked me (besides the KyoAni point). As we know, this was the very first Hyouka arc, which I initially found interesting if not “oddly” executed. It took 13 more episodes for me to finally warm-up to the format this show was going for.
In my Spring season final thoughts post, I gave Hyouka an 8 as a sort of placeholder score for its halfway point. I never specified why I ranked it highly despite being near the bottom of my priority list, and I keep forgetting to address it, but quite simply Hyouka in and of itself is unique. It’s not your typical mystery show, in which dead body is found—>sleuthing—>culprit is arrested. I couldn’t quite put my finger on how to describe said unique trait until I was enlightened by this post.
“Armchair detective” genre. When I first read that, I instantly thought “Kamisama no Memochou”. Not quite sure why that one specifically, but it fits the image. The detective is specified as a NEET who never goes to the scene of the crime and solves said mysteries from her room (or at least, that’s what I got out of it from what I watched. I dropped it).
TL;DR—I’m not saying that I fully love Hyouka now after reading this post. That would just be pretentious. Instead, I’ll say that I’ve been given a better perspective through which I can see Hyouka in a new light. I really, really liked this post.
Fun fact: Kamisama no Memochou, Gosick, Un-Go…I dropped all those shows because they failed my three episode test (although Gosick had a nice OP imo). I wonder why Hyouka survived. Visual quality perhaps? It wasn’t the KyoAni reputation; I once dropped Nichijou before going back to finish it…. It seems like the only mystery I’ve managed to stay interested in is Detective Conan. But that’s just the stereotypical mystery show, isn’t it? haha
…….. so insulting…. >.>…. gah…. my heart… it hurts…
Ah…I might’ve been a little too harsh there. Sorry :(
I’m not totally dicking on Hyouka. I just can’t help but feel disappointed whenever I think about the show. And when I’m disappointed I tend to get a bit sharp.
It doesn’t help that there are only 6 episodes left to that show to make up for its lack of..ehm..interesting plot points. -_-
You know it’s bad when an action show has a better mystery than the mystery show.
I agree with this on so many levels.
The most recent episode made the show seem more like a cooking show than a mystery one. Hell, it seems like Hyouka’s trying its best to be anything but a mystery series.
I was also disappointed to see that all of the trading that’s been going on for the past two episodes just led to a bag of flour used to win the cooking competition. No big reward. My “straw millionaire” theory got thrown out the window…for now. There’s still a chance that the competition led to another trade (but deep inside I really doubt it).
As a side note, Hyouka once again has an arc which is lasting way too long -_-