Chitanda and Oreki in an intense moment from Hyouka.

Chitanda and Oreki in an intense moment from Hyouka.

The Spring 2013 season is in full swing, and I have enjoyed watching first episodes as usual. As usual some shows are utter rubbish, but it can be fun watching an episode to see how bad it turned. And as usual I have been watching some older shows as well, including a rewatch of Hyouka. I’ve written about Hyouka on multiple occasions before, so I don’t want to rehash that, but I must point out that the series stands up to a re-watch because of four factors: 1) the amazng job KyoAni did on animation, 2) a group of characters that were all quite interesting and endearing, 3) some unusual plot lines, and 4) a nicely detailed setting.

Of these factors, I hadn’t given much thought to Hyouka’s setting on my initial watch. The series is set in the small village of Kamiyama (“Spirit Mountain”) nestled in amongst several national parks. The remote setting adds an interesting element to the series, because episodes examine things like Shinto practices from an insider perspective.

I have enjoyed watching some of the new series, such as Red Data Girl, and Chihayafuru continues to impress, but re-watching Hyouka was far from wasted effort.

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Intense contrast as the storm clouds part.

Episode 5 ends Hyouka‘s initial arc. I was extremely pleased with the way everything came together in the end. Nevertheless this is yet another post about how great this series looks.

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That awkward moment when you realize you already drank the last sip of coffee.

Hyouka continues to impress visually. KyoAni truly defines the top tier of animation production quality. The great news is that episode 3 of Hyouka gives us some solid development on the over-arching mystery behind the episodic mysteries of the first two episodes. The characters also have grown on me.

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What happens when KyoAni tries their hand at the Mystery genre? We're about to find out.

Hyouka is a new series for the Spring 2012 season. In a season that is already loaded with very promising works, it is almost difficult to believe a work that is this anticipated is just beginning. Hyouka is being produced by the [in]famous Kyoto Animation studio. KyoAni is famous for their abundant talent in creating gorgeous animation, but they have tended to focus on moe shows, and thus their brand is polarizing. Hyouka is supposed to have elements of Mystery, but do KyoAni have what it takes to deliver a real Mystery? Are they destined to turn Hyouka into a moe-infused school life show?

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Drum roll, please.

It is my custom to look ahead to the upcoming season, pick out a few interesting shows and predict one that will be really great. As usual, I warn you that this is not a comprehensive preview of the season. Most of those haven’t come out yet, but I have run across two:

  • Star Crossed Anime Blog – this is a comprehensive and methodical assessment of the upcoming season.
  • The Cart Driver – this is a highly subjective and very opinionated assessment of the upcoming season.

Between the two of these you can get a good sense of what anime has in store for us in the coming months. If you want to skip straight to the good stuff, read on!

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