ep 17. The arc's finale.
I appreciate the show showing the festival decorations being taken down. The show doesn't just focus on the peaks of excitement and nostalgia, but also shows the buildup and the comedown, to make everything feel more real.
I liked Eru's talk with Fuyumi. Eru's straightforwardness might be her shortcoming, but it can also be her strength. She doesn't need to be Fuyumi, Eru can just be her honest self, and I'm glad she realized that.
As expected, the resolution to the mystery wasn't nearly as interesting as the buildup to it. Objectively, this was Hotaro's best work yet. Subjectively, I didn't really care. They spent a long time spelling it out and I found myself not really caring who the culprit was. There was one particularly brutal match cut, with Hotaro proudly declaring his name, and then it cut to Satoshi learning downwards, face in shadow, with no identity at all.
What a painful arc for Satoshi, man. For the first time all series, he tried. He really tried, but the world just didn't care.
That's how it is sometimes.
Satoshi and Mayaka have such a weird, messy dynamic. They admire each other but think lowly of themselves, so when one compliments the other, it feels like they're taking a shot. They get each other so effortlessly, but they don't make it easy for other to love them. I wouldn't say it's cute, but it's interesting.
Mayaka doesn't have it much better, as she faces her troll on the bridge between buildings. (I'm sure that wasn't the intended joke there, but I thought it was funny.) Kouchi goes for the classic "I was kidding," intending for it to end the argument. But of course, trolling doesn't actually remove your stake in the argument, it just hides it. It hides your emotions, from the truth of who you are and what you believe, from sincerity altogether. Sincerity is a weakness. It burns you again and again and again. But as Eru and Mayaka already know, sincerity is the only way forward.
Kouchi's story echoes Fuyumi's earlier speech about the struggle of this who sit on the sidelines. How are they supposed to feel when they're trying their hardest, only to watch someone else take a casual swing at their passion and knock it out of the park on their first try? How can they take joy in that? And so Kouchi hides the masterpiece away, in furthest box in the closet, along with her feelings. The reveal that Kouchi wrote Body Talk visibly hurt Mayaka, but I like to think there's some comfort in that. Mayaka sees Kouchi's talent as an impossible mountain to climb, but Kouchi has her own obstacles she can't overcome. We all have someone we look up to, we all have our demons. It's painful, but it's the good kind of pain, one that I'm sure Mayaka can get her through and grow from.
And in the end, the Classics Club sells out their anthologies. It's a small victory, but after all they've been through, it's something.
So that was Hyouka's
fabled Festival Arc. All in all, really lives up to the hype. The themes, the character writing, the visual storytelling. I dunno if the show can top that, but that was a hell of a ride.