I think other people say it best when, well, they always say it better:
I had a really bad impression of Hyouka when it first aired, but now, I think I can see why KyoAni decided to adapt it. The mysteries don’t feel unrealistically convoluted, while still being fairly intriguing. Like what they did with Nichijou, KyoAni also decided to be creative with their animation for Hyouka, giving the show a much-welcomed surreal feel.
So far, Hyouka has been incredibly mundane. There are no gods, robots or retconners in sight. The mysteries concern neither killers nor conspiracies. The solutions are all quite… normal. Mundaneness has never been a problem for me and there’s something to be said about its persistence about keeping everything normal. Some people are already designating it as a slice-of-life rather than a mystery. And a part of me wants to agree with them.
I don’t really care for mysteries is what I’d say if I were lying. Recently having read Book Girl’s second volume, I still felt that pull that keeps the pages flipping. The as of yet only review on this blog is a favourable one of a mystery light novel. But still there’s something ephemeral about a “mystery”. And quite personally, I prefer the eternal over the ephemeral.
Then it might seem a bit weird why I would rather look at Hyouka as an SoL instead of a mystery. The good ones however tend to stick with me. Aria as the obvious one, the Clannad visual novel (SoL with a purpose; I have no good words for the anime). Even the more comedy focused ones like Lucky Star and this season’s Acchi Kocchi. I have ackc as my second favourite anime of the season (and you can guess the first; the hint is ice cream). These and more consistently rank highly on my list.
On the other hand, if you call something a mystery I expect some, you wouldn’t say, mystery to solve. Which is different from some mystery getting solved for you. Which is, I suppose, my entirely unreasonable expectation. And at the same time the reason mysteries don’t stick with me.
To elaborate, all of the mysteries so far have a rather arbitrary explanation behind them, concluded from facts held from us until the timing was right and the truth confirmed in an equally arbitrary fashion. This makes for rather shitty riddle solving from the viewer’s perspective, and a lot better storytelling. And a little bit more like how it’d work out in real life.
How boring. And wonderful.
A little credit to day, my esports hero. Important part starts at 1:22, the time I linked to, and ends at about 8:04. The extra :04 for the quote “screw life lessons, we just play video games”.