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!

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