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Hyouka - Part 1 - Collector's Edition (Blu-Ray)
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(Dec 04, 2017)
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Hyouka is a stunning masterwork that spins a charming tale of high school romance and mystery. After disenchanted student Hotaro Oreki joins his school’s Classic Literature Club, he meets Eru Chitanda, a kindhearted and inquisitive girl with boundless curiosity and a knack for getting him caught up in all sorts of trouble.
Contains episodes 1 to 11 on Blu-Ray with both the English dub and the original Japanese track with English subtitles. Presented in Collectors packaging.
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If you want an Anime that involves mystery solving with a likeable cast of characters, then I definitely recommend this series, especially if you like detective shows or stories, like Sherlock Holmes or Agatha Christie's work. They even pay homage to said works in the series! The way the show makes smaller-scale mysteries interesting is pretty neat! My personal favourite mystery case is episodes 8-11 (the school movie murder mystery arc). The deduction skills of the main character are excellent and the way they're shown visually is inventive! Overall, it's a very good Anime and I can't wait to own Part 2 in this collection. The show looks wonderful on Blu-Ray too, but with Kyoto Animation's stunning art style, that's to be expected.
Side note: I absolutely love the 2nd ending credits sequence to Hyouka, which we will get once Part 2 is released. It's Sherlock Holmes themed and it's great!
Good animation too, am waiting for the second half 25th June so not long
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For me, personally the main character, Oreki Hotaro, is eminently relatable in his quest to conserve energy. I know others might not feel that way, but for those who are filled with excess energy and like to do everything, there's the second man, Fukube Satoshi, who is just like that. The main ladies are also quite enjoyable characters.
The animation is absolutely stunning, exactly what one would expect from Kyoto Animation. What sticks out most to me is the way the animators used color and saturation to reflect Hotaro's mental state. When he is conserving energy and not paying attention to the world the saturation level is low and everything has a gray tinge to it. But certain stimuli make him start to notice things and engage with the world (especially Chitanda Eru, who he is in love with). When this happens the saturation level increases a huge amount and he sometimes has imagination sequences where he notices colors, lights, or purple hair things that are not really there. I feel that this is a great way to get inside Hotaro's head and show that the story really is his. The music is also quite nice, especially the show's opening theme.
This collection does include the OVA episode where Hotaro becomes a lifeguard for a summer job. It also does include both blue ray disks and DVDs, which is really nice for those us of who haven't upgraded to blue ray players yet, but plan to at some point.
I had already run into Hyouka and watched the entire anime online. But I wanted to buy this version so that I could have a physical copy and because I wanted to support the industry. If I hadn't wanted to support the industry I certainly would never have paid so much. It is really rather expensive to only receive the first half of the series. But I do want to support the industry, and you should too. If people like you and me don't continue to buy wonderful series like this one there will no more adaptions and anime will gradually become harder to get, especially if you like the dubs. So the higher price and only getting half of the show are the reason I only gave four stars. But you should buy it anyway.
Hyouka is, at its heart, a slice of life show based upon a series of novels. It follows the lives of a group of four high-schoolers who all belong to the school's Classic Literature Club. What it does differently, though, is it throws in a twist of mystery. The main character is one Oreki Houtarou, and his motto is that of energy conservation "If I don't have to do it, I won't. If I have to do it, I'll get it done quickly". He gets roped into joining a defunct club by his older sister, who has graduated, and upon arriving to the club he meets a strange girl named Chitanda Eru. She's the super-formal daughter of a well-to-do family and her passion is curiosity; even the slightest of mysteries pique her interest. Luckily for her, and unfortunately for him, Houtarou is something of a savant when it comes to detective work.
Upon realizing Houtarou's knack for problem solving, Eru latches onto him and drags in two more members to make the club official. The story takes off from there as they work together to solve various mysteries, big and small.
I'm careful about calling this show an outright mystery series. It's a show with mysteries -in- it, but they're often benign and are more presented as a vehicle through which the characters interact. It's fine that way, though, since there isn't a single bad character in the entire show. They're all very realistic, extremely well-rounded, and there isn't a single generic archetype in the entire bunch. They all have realistic wants, needs, fears, strengths, weaknesses, etc. How many times will I ever get to say that about any series, let alone about an anime series?
The mysteries are never all that far-fetched, either. They range in heft from trying to figure out why people keep signing out a specific library book, to giving Eru closure on a topic pertaining to her presumed-dead Uncle. The show obeys all of the laws of good mystery writing, and never leaves out crucial information or treats the viewer as though they're stupid. It is entirely possible to solve each mystery in the show at the same time Houtarou does, and the show often directly references Sherlock Holmes and Agatha Christie novels.
I haven't even said a word about the production values, when they're easily on par with the writing. The visuals are absolutely stunning most of the time, undue amounts of attention are paid to everything, every last painstaking detail. For a show that could just as easily have been talking heads on static backgrounds they have gone above and beyond the call of duty to put on a spectacular visual experience. You will gleefully look forward to Houtarou postulating out his solution to each mystery because it's always accompanied by a quirky yet extremely helpful explanation animation to visually show how he reasoned his way through a given case. They make interesting use of camera angles, lighting, and backgrounds to keep things dynamic and there is an obscene fluidity in even basic things like talking or Eru's hair.
It may sound like I'm gushing, but it's because I'm just so used to shows doing "just enough" to get by. The effortless perfection on display in nearly every scene in Hyouka puts the even the isolated 'good' bits of animation found in tiny portions of most other things to absolute shame. You won't even notice it unless you look for it, because the animation in Hyouka what everything else should look like, but doesn't even aspire to.
If my positively beaming ramble hasn't told you my opinion of the show yet I'll spell it out for you: This is the best modern anime series I've seen since Steins;Gate. It ranks up there as one of my favorite shows of all time and running out of episodes to watch was a painful experience for me. There are a couple episodes in the show that were superfluous, or perhaps even subpar, but only in comparison to the rest of the episodes.
If you're at all a fan of anime, you owe it to yourself to watch this. It's not a spectacle like some shows, it won't wow you with action or hook you with weekly cliffhangers. There's no constant stream of fan-service, gratuitous or otherwise (though the first ending tries really hard). Some folks may find it boring because of all that, and it's their loss. What Hyouka sets out to do, it does. It endeavors to be excellent, simply excellent and accomplishes exactly that.
If I had to make any statements in addendum to the above, I'd say that this English release is everything I hoped for. The dub is charming, and features some talent that I haven't heard from before. They handle some tricky Japanese-English word play deftly and with grace, which is refreshing. If I had to make any complaints, it's simply with the half-season format. You're only getting half of the show in this set, and while it ends in a somewhat satisfying place in the story, it's still no small bummer that it happens to be the case. All that said, I'm thankful it's even being released in English after all of this time, so I'll take my lumps as they come in that regard.
Pick this up today, you owe it to yourself.