Hyouka Ends

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I have mixed feelings about this series. There’s a lot to like about it. The artwork is great. The writing is clever. The characters are likeable. However it left me feeling vaguely dissatisfied.

One complaint that many people have raised is that this doesn’t have the chills and thrills that one usually gets in a mystery series. The stories are properly-constructed mysteries but they generally don’t involve real crimes. (Maybe it’s technically a crime to borrow your sibling’s clothes without permission but it’s not one that the police would be interested in.) Or if it is a real crime than it’s a purely fictional crime, or one the characters hear about second-hand. In any case the characters are never in any danger.

This is obviously a deliberate choice by the author, and it’s not an inherently bad choice. For one thing, it adds plausibility. How many serious crimes could we expect high school students in a small town to encounter? However if we aren’t going to get thrills and chills then we need something else, such as an overarching story that ties the episodes together into something that is more than the sum of its parts.

And there are hints of that, but somehow it never comes together. The main characters all have some growing up to do and issues that they need to work through, but at the end of the series almost a year has passed and nothing much has changed. Show ▼

If the show were to continue for another season or two it might come to a satisfactory conclusion. Certainly Hyouka has enough good points that I would be happy to watch another season. However I get the impression that this has not been a big hit, which makes another season unlikely. For better or worse this is probably all there is.

It’s too bad. In most respects this is an above-average series. Done a bit differently it might have been great, but as it is it falls short.