keskiviikko 24. syyskuuta 2014

Hyouka: Of character and mystery

Oh well... I didn't finish Hanamonogatari yet, so here goes.

Surprisingly Complex: Hyouka

If I may start gloating, this was one of the magic series again, grabbing me with great intensity from the beginning, keeping the grip tight, then suddenly changing hands and gripping even harder. One of my top five currently, beat Clannad to the sixth on my list of favorites... But anyway, let's bite straight into this ice cream. (Hue hue hue)

Even though "characters" is before mystery in the title of this post, I will get the mystery out of the way so we can delve more deeply into these characters, mainly our two male protagonists, as they have more things that I especially can talk about. Not disregarding our female leads, but this time the men get some of that delicious analysis pie.

Mystery, the very genre of this series, is actually pretty much a ruse. Especially when the series goes further more and more, it even becomes a thing: Houtarou is not solving these mysteries, he is creating theories that satisfy the curiosity of Eru. He just happens to be right often, and he notices it later in the series. He even stated it in the movie arc: "I'm not a detective, I am a mystery novelist." Taking that out of context is practically the whole story of his life in the Classics club. He just comes across mysteries, and he has to give Eru satisfying solutions to those mysteries. He says that he is just lucky, and he is right. Solving the mystery is not on his menu, he just happens to be right. There comes the problem...

Ain't that amazing, guys...
But how could it be a problem? Because he is mistaken for a genius, a superb mind of deduction. In the end he never tries to solve the mysteries, he just wants Eru to not pester him about it anymore. Yes, that makes him sound like a selfish dick, but the quicker he can give a satisfying solution to her, the quicker he can go back to conserving energy, which is also his way of life (To which I can absolutely attest to). But that tells us something about his character too. He just wants to chill, but the circumstances absolutely deny it. He just cannot say no to those eyes.

So what about our other main man, Satoshi? By the end of the series, the situation between him and Mayaka is left in mystery, but that is not the point.

Satoshi, by his own words, does not want to obsess. He doesn't, because it quickly makes his life boring. It also means that, to him, those years trying to obsess over things were not worth it, and he regrets being a person like that. He has changed, but not easily. He has had struggles with the change, so much so that he can see himself being obsessed to something to undo all that process and make his life boring again. Solution to this is to try to maintain the status quo to make the changes stay.

We know he's done goofed, but still it's understandable
And there comes the X, Mayaka. She is the part of his past that he is afraid of. A girl he loves, but a girl he sees himself regretting loving. Perfect match for him, but not for him that he tries to be. This then presents the main question of the character: if you have achieved happiness, and try to hold your integrity of character together, would abandoning that integrity (and possibly the happiness) in the hope of more happiness be worth it? This question becomes more apparent when you take into account that the happiness gained will not most probably be his, and not even too lasting.

Integrity of character is one of the running themes of the series, from Houtarou questioning if the path he has chosen in life is right, or even right for him, to Satoshi questioning if the path his development is the one that will lead him to happiness. Even though the questions are often thrown in a comedic light, it doesn't devalue them, as the characters (Especially Houtarou, because he is the narrator) ponder about them time to time.


Hyouka definitely asks some heavy questions, if you look into it... And yayyy, the return of the pictures!

tiistai 23. syyskuuta 2014

Impressions from Hyouka

After the first 2 episodes, I'm impressed. KyoAni doing Character Lens so aggressively [b]really[/b] makes this show a must-watch to me. Combined with Tanaka Kouhei's awesome OST, we're set.

The character lens itself is more straightforward, and definitely a focal point of the series. But I liked the more... Subtle way Monogatari did it. But they're entirely different series, so...

Just wait. If this series blows my mind, you will soon see the first full-series-analysis in a long time.

PS. Yes, I do know I'm just sitting and eating dust with Hanamonogatari, but since the second episode was cut short in all players the day it came out, I didn't want to do a blog before I saw it in the full... And it's long overdue, but I've had lots of things, now more with Hyouka.

lauantai 6. syyskuuta 2014

Hanamonogatari #1

Oh man oh man. I'm back, and what with! More Monogatari, just to please my brains, and have my mind twisted in various ways!

Surprisingly Complex: Hanamonogatari #1

Lots of stuff going on... Ougi apparently changed from a girl to a boy, apparently because I think Ougi is actually neither, Naoetsu High without our trio, and Kanbaru's arm got fixed. Well, we're off with a rather cluttered start, are we not?

So, we start with Kanbaru apparently dreaming about her mother, and how she "died." I always thought it was odd that they mentioned that her mother died, but now they explained that in a way, she did. She became... Whatever she might be now, and her old self died in process... Kanbaru then wakes up and we see that she tapes her arm while asleep, even checking daily news to know if the devil has been causing havoc... And then she tries to clip her nails, but the nails on the monster hand break.

Random: Did you notice the length of those fingernails? Damn. Explainable by she not playing basketball anymore, but... Coupled with the fact that she told us that she has lost lots of nail clippers, I think it is linked to the fact that her hair also grows really fast. Which I think I elaborated on second season, but it's most probably because an side effect of the devil's arm. And she's clipping the nails again next day!? Insane, I tell you.

She then proceeds to run to school. Cue OP. Can't say too much about the OP yet, because I'm not sure who it is directed to.

Then she meets up with Ougi-kun..? Weird. Well, if he is human, it is weird, if he's not, then it's explainable. Do not know currently. Anyway, Ougi is again telling their weird facts about things, that will probably have again some impact on what's to come. Or not. Let's hope Ougi will not turn to be as mischievous as in Second Season...

She then starts investigating the mysterious Devil Lord, which she thinks is herself...

Again, Random: There were multiple occasions where taking the matter to the proper professionals was taken mentioned... I think they're up to something...

While investigating, she calls to Karen, who is casually chilling in Koyomi's room. What's that about..? I have my suspicions. Might also be about the fact that Kanbaru doesn't know where Karen exactly is, and referring way back to the character lens, she might just be putting her image of Karen talking to varying places in the Araragi household.

Now, about that character lens. This episode is layered with LOTS of blue and yellow, which are Kanbaru's colours (Her hair and the yellow raincoat). Also, Uniform things turn textured, like the lines in the race track and the ground in the "Devil Lord" scene.

Continuing, we get to the focal point of the episode, the Devil Lord, who is a past rival of Kanbaru's. With that, we can see that this arc will have lots of things about the past. Wait, what did Ougi say about the past? Well, continuing on. This Devil Lord seems to have an injury on her leg, and it is in full bandage because of that. Of course this rings the alarm of "That's not a real injury, is it?", but we have to wait and see for that.

This Devil Lord listens to other people's worries, but does not do anything to them, because the fact that when people think the problem will be solved for them, the problem solves itself, in time.

Random: Devil Lord grabbed Kanbaru's left breast. What lies under the left breast? Heart. Also, it was the left arm that was taken over by the devil. The connection is possible. Also, did you notice that after she grabbed Kanbaru's breast, Kanbaru started to understand her, even a little. Grasped her heart, maybe? And is it possible, that it had something to do with Kanbaru's devil arm disappearing? Or was that a different matter entirely?

Kanbaru dreams again, and wait? Is that Gaen's voice again? Does her aunt narrate her dreams? That's rather odd.

We also can talk about the next part of this arc: Acceptance. Acceptance of the past and the future is the way to move on in your life. Devil Lord's way of providing placebo help gives the people time to accept things, and thus lets them get on with their life.

Metaphor time! Binding her hand during sleep is the metaphor for Kanbaru restraining her life because of her past. This is linked to the Devil's Arm, and means that if she accepts her past, she could get on with her life, in this case, not be restrained by the Devil's Arm.

So, suddenly the Devil's Arm is gone. Intriguing. Is this because of her? Of Devil Lord? Or something else?


Well, in short, past, future and acceptance. Make what you will of it.