First, my reason for covering this show? I love it – no more to say. The art is fabulous, the mysteries are always ones that you will never think of, and it’s just rewarding to see the characters interact and build friendships with each other. Hyouka 17 is the long-awaited conclusion to the Kan’ya Fest Arc, and it manages to bring the main three conflicts in the past few episodes together; at least this arc is a lot better in terms of pacing and mechanics compared to the Irisu arc or Chitanda’s arc. Let’s see how everything manages to tie together in the end, shall we?
The Mystery of Juumonji
It turns out that Juumoji is somebody that slips out of everybody’s mind – it’s Tanabe, who is part of the student government. It seems that Houtarou’s genius mind has figured this out long before the episode started, but his only hindrance is Chitanda – from last week’s episode, we could tell that something was up. Though it doesn’t seem in character for Houtarou to be going out of his way to resolve some problem, he has his own inner motives as well. While we see the Classics Club’s copy papers burst into flames as a result of Juumoji’s final crime, we find out later that this is all Houtarou’s planning. The way he thinks it out is clever as always and certainly left me surprised. He blackmails Tanabe into buying 30 copies of Hyouka just so the Classics Club can sell them all out – that’s pretty clever, if you don’t ask me. He’s probably doing it all for Chitanda – whether he knows it or not.
Tanabe’s motive for the crimes? He wants to send Kugayama, the student body president, a message: “Kugayama, have you read Kudryavka’s Order?”, thus the reason why “ku” has been skipped in the Japanese alphabet. This ties to the next important conflict of the arc:
Mayaka and “A Corpse by Evening”
It’s clear as day that the older students of the Manga Lab seem to have some sort of disdain for Mayaka, but she sticks to her promise and gives her senpai “A Corpse by Evening,” thanks to Houtarou’s older sister. It turns out that expectations were weaved into this part of the story too, as the senpai (I can’t remember her name, nor do I remember them giving her a name,) has read “A Corpse by Evening” already but couldn’t dare finish it because of how skilled Anjou was at writing it. She knew that Anjou had written a masterpiece, but couldn’t accept the fact – or the defeat. Instead, the senpai apologizes and draws the cat from the back of “Body Talk,” the manga that Mayaka was planning to bring as a substitute for the first one.
Though I was never particularly interested in this point of the arc, it was very well planned out and gave more character depth to Mayaka, who doesn’t get much focus in the previous arcs. I also found it interesting how the Manga Lab story could tie in with the Juumonji story without seeming like it was deliberate. Though the end with Mayaka breaking down could’ve been developed a little further, it was still a rather strong conclusion.
What’s Up With Satoshi?
We get a glimpse of a different, much darker Satoshi that many of us have probably forgotten from the Irisu arc. He’s been exhibiting this sort of strained personality since the rivalry against his classmate during the cooking competition, and then even more with the crimes of Juumonji. He originally seemed to be disappointed with Houtarou’s talk with him on the school roof in the last episode, but now it seems that Houtarou’s exceeded his expectations and left Satoshi in the dust. While Houtarou’s revealing his plan to Tanabe, Satoshi listens on and is horrified by how easily Houtarou can solve the mystery.
Perhaps jealousy is taking over the database who can’t draw conclusions?
Rating: How about a 9 out of 10? The ending to this arc, as well as its solution and the way it solves all these different storylines, are much better than how they handled the previous arcs. This is the Hyouka that I loved and looked forward to. Of course, there are some things still questioned, such as Irisu’s sudden conviction of Chitanda’s lack of persuasion skills, or Mayaka’s breakdown, and maybe even the depths of Satoshi’s jealousy. I look forward to hopefully hearing more about these untied strings in the next episodes to come.