Hyouka 8, Shining Bread 9, Acchi 10

I’m beginning to think that what we see in Hyouka is what we get. If they were going to dive any deeper into the characters or work on a more “important” mystery they would have done so by now. They literature club mystery is the as ambitious as they’re going to get. Houtarou would probably be happy to hear this.

So it’s little mystery of the week, or two weeks, as this episode doesn’t try to include it all. The film club made a mystery movie, but it’s incomplete and the writer fell ill. They have to resume filming in two days with no idea what happens next. Based on the footage the formidable Irisu shows them, who is the killer? They haven’t told the lit club, and therefore us, why they’re watching the footage but it’s obvious to us. But even so, the movie does too good a job at being a bad amateur production to the point where it was difficult to watch. Also, I was distracted by the fact that here’s another high school club in a KyoAni series who’ve made a bad movie. When it started I expected to hear “Mikuru BEAMU!” Alas, that doesn’t happen. The only break in the dullness is a shot of the lit club members, watching, making a comment or a STFU face.

But I think there’s more to this than simply figuring out who the incapacitated Hongou meant to be the killer. We spend a lot of time seeing Irisu, the Princess, looking archly at them. We also meet Eba, Hongou’s best friend, and have too long a conversation with her to suggest that she’s a throwaway character. Irisu has a way of making the people around her pawns, we hear, and Hongou’s description makes her seem like Chitanda. Ebu wasn’t involved in the production because she wasn’t interested. Irisu would have voted it down if she had been in charge then. Lots of questions. Why is Hongou sick? Why is Irisu now in charge of this movie? Why does Eba show disdain for it? Why was the footage so bad that I did better with a student film I did in middle school? Right now I haven’t the foggiest idea, and it will only get more complicated next week when they start to interview the crew members.

Shining Hearts – Shiawase no Pan 9 has four scenes, the interesting ones bookending the dull ones. First we get Xiao-Mei and Hank sneaking back into the palace to steal more stuff–and that shining doohicky in the box that was taken by Hank. Not much to it except for Hank’s little car that he carries on his back, and smashing their way out of a maze. What fun is that? We get a maze and then they don’t even use it. After their escape we join Rick and the girls, including the recovered Kaguya as they go on a picnic where nothing is accomplished except to show how recovered Kaguya is, and show the girls in swimsuits, for they drop by the sea (or is it a lake?). Rick drops them off but doesn’t stay to see them in their swimsuits, basic lust being one of the things he must have forgotten about. After that there’s a scene with Rick and Amil where he says yet again that he’s a baker for the foreseeable future, which we knew already but Amil apparently didn’t. Not much point to that scene, either. Finally we get some more fun as Hank wakes up his hanging doll just as soldiers arrive. But we’re out of time. Really, they didn’t need to take all that much time at the picnic, swimsuits notwithstanding.

There’s something just plain wrong with having a Christmas episode in the middle of June, so I’m going to ignore the second half of Acchi Kocchi 10 and concentrate on the first half, which has Mayoi in a bear costume trying to scare everyone for no good reason. Io and Tsumiki aren’t scared at all, but she has success with Hime not because she’s a bear but because she runs like a man. She adds a sled prop to get Sakaki and as you would expect both nearly die in the attack. But my favorite cute moment actually comes in the Christmas half when Mayoi and Tsumiki hide in a locker when they learn Io’s got plans for that day.

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