Hyouka 4, Kimi to Boku 7, Moretsu 19, Nyaruko I forget …

Hyouka 4’s mystery, or continuation of a mystery, doesn’t quite live up to the others so far, but its patient telling and production levels carry it along.

Chitanda can’t wait to hear Houtarou’s theory.

Chitanda agrees, after some prodding by Houtarou so he won’t have to do all the work, to let the other lit club members into her story. They research and meet at Chitanda’s enormous house to present their findings and present theories, except Houtarou, who forgot the theory bit. You’d expect the reverse from him–doing the thinking but not the legwork. Interesting theories are brought up by the other three and promptly shot down, Houtarou goes to the bathroom to think, and comes back with a satisfactory conclusion. The mystery isn’t as interesting because I at least could not connect to what was happening in Japan 45 years ago. I didn’t know that the student unrest went down to the high school level. The kids are working with written records of the time that may have been biased. Apart from Jun being expelled there is nothing concrete. Last week we picked up the clues as Houtarou noticed them. Also, though Houtarou’s thoughts make a plausible theory, it is just that–a theory. Chitanda later has second thoughts about it, and, judging from the previews, Houtarou will have his own next week.

One of many theories, each with its own visual style.

What makes this dull meeting, full of theories and history, interesting are the games KyoAni plays. Apart from the usual detailed animation of the show’s reality, each of the kids’ theories are presented using a different style, texts with letters that grow, twist or fall to the ground, bits that look like they came from revolutionary posters, cartoonish characters, it seems endless. This seems to be KyoAni’s strategy. The show spends a lot of time with people sitting around talking. No matter what they’re talking about, it’s still visually static. Since what they’re talking about is the important thing, they have decided to concentrate on illuminating that as vividly as they can. Which begs the question: how would other studios treat this material? SHAFT? The mind boggles.

Mary’s reaction to being confessed to.

Kimi to Boku 7 brings us a better-than-average Valentine episode. The usual scenes where people react to how many/few chocolates someone else got are quickly finished and we get to the main deal, Mary trying to bring herself to give her beloved Shun her gift. The episode avoids doing a Sawako and throws us a curveball, a completely unknown girl from another school shows up with HER chocolate for Shun, naturally Mary’s there to see it. So now we not only get Mary’s frustration, coupled with Chizuru’s concern for her, but also Shun’s complete bewilderment to play with. The other boys toss in asides but basically stay out of the way. Chizuru, for once, is not annoying, and takes a major step forward. Mary is her usual bundle of insecurities. Shun manages to deal with his situation with his usual gentle courtesy. Good episode.

Marika seems to be enjoying her filler episode.

Moretsu Pirates 19, just filler, really. They set up a small crisis when weary Marika loses her captain ring and the Bentonmaru’s crew can’t get the ship to work, but it’s really just a way to get the yacht club girls to meet the actual pirates and do things like exchange hardware and stuffed animals. In other words, they set up a potentially dangerous situation (and don’t forget Marika forgetting to lock the ship… tsk) and make it hardly worth mentioning. I expect that now and I still watch the show.

Finally, Haiyore! Nyaruko-san finished up the kidnapped mom story in a typically inane way. The evil woman, Luhy, wanted Yorika’s help building her company’s next gaming console. The climax (the console will never work because there are no games for it) is followed by another climax (the parent company pulls the plug) which it didn’t need, because of the first climax. Well, Nyaruko has a few good moments, and Cthugha works well with her. And because they couldn’t stretch the story to the end we get a combination beach/hot springs story, with the predicted jokes, to pad out the episode.

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