Oreki is a first year high school student who does his best to conserve his energy. His motto is “If I don’t have to do it, I won’t. If I have to do it, I’ll make it quick.”
However, his older sister ropes him into joining the Classic Lit club at his school to prevent it from being dissolved. Then he meets Chitanda; a girl in the club with a seemingly endless well of curiosity, and finds himself dragged into solving every little mystery that arises at or around the school.
Hyouka is described as a Mystery/Slice of Life anime. What this means in practice is a very gentle series with mysteries that don’t involve any death, and nice slow pace and lots of room for little moments of stillness and character interaction. There are little mysteries in most episodes, but not all of them. There are larger mysteries that range over multiple episodes, but none that span the length of the entire (contrary to what you might assume when the first of these larger mysteries is revealed).
This might make the series sound potentially boring or dull. However, despite the mysteries being little, solving them remains surprisingly compelling, and the characters are well drawn enough that you find yourself rooting for them even when the stakes seem fairly low.
Also, the animation quality is really well done. The characters theorizing about the mysteries allows for flights of graphical fancy that belie the simple setting and the animation team takes full advantage of these opportunities.
One last note: Hyouka does not resolve itself the neat way you might expect after seeing the premise. This gives the end of the series a slightly bittersweet quality that was surprising but not bad, though your mileage may vary.
Hyouka is recommended to fans of slice of life anime and manga, and people who like the gentler cozy mysteries.
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