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Voiced by: Yuuichi Nakamura (Japanese), Adam Gibbs (English)A 1st year high school student with a strict personal policy to never waste more energy than he needs to. As a result, Houtarou's motto is "If I don't have to do it, I won't. If I have to do it, I'll make it quick." Joining his school's Classic Literature Club at the request of his older sister, Tomoe, Houtarou finds his personal policy in constant danger of being broken due to the influence of the ever-curious, Eru Chitanda.
- Adorkable: Due to his frequent inability to socialize properly, especially around Eru, he comes off like this.
- Ambiguous Disorder: It's possible that Houtarou has a mental disorder known as schizoid personality disorder. The one who suffer this kind of condition is often aloof, cold, and indifferent in many different ways like a lack of interest in social relationships, a tendency towards a solitary or sheltered lifestyle, unusual or bizarre behavior, have trouble establishing personal relationships or expressing their feelings meaningfully (which explains why Houtarou is an introvert and has known only few friends), and many of them are good with conversation and mental games despite not seeking it out.
- Anti-Hero: Of the Good Is Not Soft variation. He's a Magnificent Bastard, after all.
- Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other:
- A platonic example with Ibara. Despite their constant barbs, Houtarou goes out of his way to look out for her repeated over the course of the series.
- A partial example with Irisu in the final episode. They never had the friendliest relationship, but they manage to get a nice, civil conversation.
- Awesome by Analysis: What seems like irrelevant coincidences are all solid clues and pieces of information to Oreki.
- Badass Adorable: Despite his serious, apathetic demeanor, he's very adorkable.
- Badass Bookworm: He's brilliant, clever and able to solve any mystery using his own deduction.
- Berserk Button: Do not hurt his closest friends. Just... don't.
- Bishōnen: In the anime as per KyoAni's signature style. Less so in the original novel illustrations.
- Blackmail: Really likes doing this. Oreki isn't above blackmailing others if it will save him energy in the long run.
- Once he catches on to Tougaito's smoking, Oreki blackmails him into retrieving the Hyouka anthologies from the chemical safebox and delivering them to the Classics clubroom.
- Oreki deduces the identity of the Jumonji thief, Tanabe, and blackmails him into targeting the Classics Club for publicity, buying thirty copies of Hyouka, and using his position as Executive Committee president to sell Hyouka in the school's online store.
- Brainy Brunette: He's brunette and brilliantly intelligent and clever.
- Brilliant, but Lazy: Oreki has a natural talent in identifying clues and details that would pass unnoticed by other people, and is able to almost effortlessly put the pieces of the puzzle together. However, his top priority is to not waste too much energy.
- Catch Phrase:
- "If I don't have to do it, I won't. If I have to do it, I'll make it quick."
- "Bingo." When he makes a breakthrough during a case.
- Celibate Hero: In the anime, at least. For a teenaged boy who spends his time doing as little physical work as possible, Oreki is quite conscientious of where his mind wanders when he's around Chitanda, often getting flustered and ashamed when his mind does shifts in an impolite direction.
- Character Development: As the series progresses, Houtarou proves that he is more than just an apathetic and lazy boy. His deduction and intellect are just the tip of the iceberg.
- Character Tics: Oreki has a habit of playing with his forelock when he's thinking particularly hard about a case.
- The Chessmaster: See Awesome by Analysis.
- The Comically Serious: Occasionally, his lines are downright hilarious.
- Deadpan Snarker: He gets a few jabs in, especially with Mayaka.
- Dismotivation: He's as lazy as they come, rarely putting effort into school work and spends most of his free time loafing around.
- The Drag-Along: Despite doing most of the heavy lifting during cases, Houtarou has to be literally dragged into helping by Chitanda.
- First-Person Smartass: Most of it being narrative snark.
- Friendless Background: Subverted. He has Satoshi and Chitanda as close friends. However, he's a very distant and lonely person.
- Four-Philosophy Ensemble: The Apathetic.
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: Melancholic.
- Genre Savvy: Over time, he can anticipate when Chitanda is getting close to saying her Catch Phrase.
- Good Is Not Soft: As an individual, Houtarou is introvert, aloof and apathetic, but hardly a bad person. However, he's not above blackmailing others if it will save him energy in the long run.
- Great Detective: To his dismay, everyone sees him as this.
- Hates Being Touched: Never makes a scene of it, but subtly flinches every time someone gets close to him. Of course, with Satoshi and Chitanda around... His sister seems to be an exception, as he seems to have no issue when she plays with his hair and taps him on the head while he's watching TV in the OVA.
- The Hero: He is the one who undertakes to deduce the mysteries, after all.
- Heroic B.S.O.D.: Goes through a particularly nasty one in Episode 11, when he realizes that his conclusion, while brilliant, was totally wrong to begin with and he was just being manipulated so the movie could end better.
- Hidden Depths: Deep down residing in him, he's a very Nice Guy.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Episode 19 ends in this. He tries to prove to Chitanda that anyone can come up with a crazy theory, but the conclusions he draws from a seemingly innocuous school announcement turn out to be completely correct.
- Humble Hero: Thinks he's nothing special.
- Hyper Awareness: From body language to the simple placement of objects, nothing escapes Oreki's notice.
- Intelligence Equals Isolation: Oreki is intelligent and very distant.
- Manipulative Bastard: See Blackmail for more details.
- The Mentor: To Eru.
- Messy Hair: His hair is rather thick and messy.
- Narrator: He narrates most of the plot in episodes.
- Nice Guy: He's loyal and caring towards his friends. As Chitanda states, Oreki is actually a kind person who helps out others, herself included and rarely does things for himself. So yeah, despite his apathetic demeanor, he's a very compassionate person.
- No Social Skills: It's very difficult for him to have a social relationship to someone, which explains why Oreki is an introvert and has known only few friends.
- Not So Stoic: When he realizes he was being used by Irisu, he briefly displays rage.
- Odd Couple: With Satoshi.
- Perpetual Frowner: For Oreki, it apparently takes more muscles to smile than to frown.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: The blue to everyone else's red.
- Sherlock Scan: Used in Episode 3 to blackmail an upperclassman, Tougaito, who was smoking illegally in a classroom. Upon entering the scene, he immediately memorized the presence of several key items.
- The Smart Guy: And how. He's surprisingly wise and clever, unbelievably good at solving mysteries and seems to be able to always find a solution if he gives it enough thought.
- Smug Smiler: Look at him!
- Socially-Awkward Hero: Emphasis on "socially awkward."
- The Spock: He's an intelligent, clever, stoic young man.
- The Stoic: He's cool, calm and quiet. Showing emotion usually consumes too much energy for Houtarou, however...
- Sugar and Ice Personality: He may initially appear stoic and emotionless but in fact has a caring inner side.
- Tall, Dark, and Handsome: In the anime.
- Tarot Motifs: "The Strength", according to Satoshi. Specifically, the comparison is that a proud lion (Oreki) was tamed by a pure maiden (Chitanda).
- Thinking Tic: He has a habit of playing with his forelock when he's thinking particularly hard about a case.
- Tranquil Fury: He never loses his stoicism, even when he's annoyed.
- Undying Loyalty: Towards his friends.
- The Unsmile: If he tries to force a smile, it's not scary, but he's obviously trying to force a smile.Houtarou: "Damn, I can't smile."
- Vitriolic Best Friends: With Mayaka; they are jokingly referred to as "Kaburaya Middle's best couple". Although they constantly aim snark at each other, it's obvious they get along quite well.
- When He Smiles: Episode 19. It's nice.◊
Voiced by: Satomi Sato (Japanese), Madeleine Morris (English)The daughter of the wealthy Chitanda clan of farmers. An energetic and inquisitive young lady, Eru serves as the Classic Literature Club's president, as well as the source of much frustration in Oreki's life. Due to her insatiable curiosity, Eru can become quite persistent in her effort to understand things and once something has her attention, it's almost impossible for her to take her mind off it.
- Alcohol Hic: The entire box of whiskey chocolates she eats in Episode 9 put her out of commission in Episode 10.
- Ambiguous Disorder: It's not certain exactly what's up with her, but she's definitely odd.
- Beneath the Mask: While she appears courteous, refined and optimistic, she actually has a rather pessimistic view of her constrained upbringing and her family's old-fashioned traditions.
- Catch Phrase: "Watashi, ki ni narimasu" (I'm curious).
- Constantly Curious: To Oreki's dismay. Chitanda and her curiosity pretty much drives the plot. Without her, we would just be watching Oreki sit around all day.
- Ditzy Genius: She's a top student (ranked 6th in her year after mid-terms) and has an excellent memory, but has trouble cutting through Oreki's snark and is easily distracted, as shown in Episode 12 of the Kanya Festival arc.
- Family Business: She is heir to the Chitanda family's farm empire, which has a huge influence over the city. As such, she is well-educated and refined in preparation for the position.
- Four-Philosophy Ensemble: The Optimist.
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: Sanguine.
- Genki Girl: Her massive energy output tires Oreki out just from being around her.
- Hime Cut: To match her wealthy upbringing she has long hair and sidelocks, though the bangs are a little messy. It's probably from all that energetic curiosity-seeking.
- Manic Pixie Dream Girl: Towards Oreki. One could say Oreki wasn't really alive until Chitanda showed up.
- Moe Stare: Her eyes practically glow, when she says her above Catch Phrase.
- Nice Girl: A sweet and cuddly bundle of infectious enthusiasm and idealism. In fact, she is so nice she struggles to act the part of a demanding leader for her club, even with Irisu's advice.
- The Nose Knows: Her sense of smell and hearing is abnormally sharp. Oreki even compares her to a dog.
- No Sense of Personal Space: Tends to get really close to people without realizing it once she gets excited.
- Ojou: Being the daughter of an immensely rich and powerful farming clan, though she never expects special treatment, and tends to downplay her family's wealth.
- Purple Eyes: Her most outstanding trait, identifying her as a main character.
- Raven Hair, Ivory Skin: Chitanda is noticeably paler than most of the other characters and is immediately noted by Oreki and Satoshi to be attractive.
- Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl: With Oreki.
- Spoiled Sweet: Her family owns an enormous farming business and is loaded, but Chitanda is still an absolute angel.
- Stupid Sexy Friend: Oreki frequently has to stop himself from being captivated by Chitanda.
- Tarot Motifs: "The Fool", as she is always the one who haphazardly instigates interest in a case or mystery.
- What Beautiful Eyes!: Her eyes light up when her curiosity has peeked. Oreki can't help but be drawn to her gaze.
- Wide-Eyed Idealist: Due to her sheltered upbringing, she can be rather naive about certain things, such as when she was shocked to learn that Mayaka's younger cousins sometimes do not get along despite being siblings.
Voiced by: Daisuke Sakaguchi (Japanese), Dallas Reid (English)Houtarou's best friend and a fellow member of the Classic Literature Club. Unlike Houtarou, Fukube always tries his best to lead a colorful life, and as such, is also a member of the student council as well as the Handicrafts Club. Dubbing himself a "Database," Fukube has a fantastic memory, often reading things just for the sake of gaining knowledge no matter how trivial.
- Ambiguously Bi: While he has feelings for Mayaka, he loves getting close to Oreki, which sort of makes it hard to tell where —if anywhere— his interests lie.
- Anchored Ship: With Mayaka.
- Beneath the Mask: Actually a Sad Clown carefully hiding his obsession issues.
- Bishōnen: Further emphasized by his flamboyant personality.
- Break the Cutie: Satoshi's normally jovial expression is broken momentarily when Oreki tells him he's found a lead in the Juumoji case by means other than discovering a mistake or connection of occurrences, methods Satoshi has tirelessly been using in an effort to solve the case himself.
- Bromantic Foil: The goofy, teasing friend to balance straight-faced Oreki.
- Catch Phrase: "A database can't draw conclusions."
- Cloudcuckoolander: A mild example. He's more of a Keet but he also has some strange hobbies, not to mention his costume choices...
- The Cutie: Easily the sweetest and most adorable character in the series.
- Fanboy: Of Sherlock Holmes.
- Foil: To Oreki. While Oreki is stoic, calm and quiet, Satoshi is sweet, flamboyant and cheerful.
- Four-Philosophy Ensemble: The Realist.
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: Phlegmatic.
- Genre Savvy: He realizes that his lack of talent or motivation prevents him from having "main character" capability, which results in him being a Stepford Smiler.
- Guile Hero: Rounds Oreki out by handling social affairs such as promoting the club's anthology. Satoshi is also very good at keeping the club together, being the one who mediates Oreki and Mayaka, and also encourages Chitanda's curiosity, which in turn forces Oreki to be more involved.
- Heroic Self-Deprecation: Despite appearing carefree and whimsical, he is generally unassuming and thinks little of his actual abilities, reflected in his motto that, despite being a database, he can't draw any conclusions.
- In Touch With His Feminine Side: And how. He's pretty cheerful, sweet, flamboyant, loves getting close to Oreki, occasionally wears a pink t-shirt, and his cell phone (as shown in episode 16) is pink.
- Keet: He's very energetic and lives each day to the fullest.
- Nice Guy: Satoshi is cheerful, thoughtful, and has a good sense of humor. For the last description, Satoshi is very careful with his application of jokes for he believes that they must be improvised, or else they are just common lies, moreover he fully understands how they can cause misunderstandings.
- Odd Couple: With Oreki. The two couldn't be any more different, yet maintain a strong friendship.
- Overshadowed by Awesome: Feels this way towards Oreki, believing his Hard Work Hardly Works.
- Photographic Memory: A self proclaimed "Database".
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: The red to Oreki's blue.
- The Rival: Satoshi holds a bitter, one-sided rivalry with Houtarou when it comes to detective skills.
- Sore Loser: Satoshi tries his best to keep it in check, but he used to be very obsessed with winning in middle school.
- Stepford Smiler: A minor case in that Satoshi has quite a few insecurities, but he forces a smile everyday regardless.
- Sunny Sunflower Disposition: He's friendly and warm, and actually dresses as a sunflower at one point.
- Tarot Motifs: "The Magician", likely referring to the tarot's association with wisdom and guidance.
Voiced by: Ai Kayano (Japanese), Jill Harris (English)A member of the Classic Literature Club. Ibara is easily put off by Houtarou's snarky attitude, but shows her nice side to Satoshi. She volunteers as an assistant at her school's library and is also an avid reader of manga.
- All the Other Reindeer: Downplayed, some members of the manga research clearly don't like her too much.
- Devoted to You: Towards Satoshi. She has liked Satoshi and only Satoshi since middle school.
- Fangirl: Her favorite manga is "A Corpse by Evening".
- Four-Philosophy Ensemble: The Cynic.
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: Choleric.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Though she can be impulsive, stubborn and rudely frank, Ibara is very capable of being nice. She generally, unless annoyed, is very pleasant and kind to the people around her.
- Little Miss Snarker: She's the smallest of her friends and she has plenty of snark to go around, though almost all of it is directed at Oreki.
- Miko: She works as a shrine maiden in her free time.
- Serious Business: Takes manga very seriously.
- Tarot Motifs: "Justice", likely due to the tarot's connection with objectivity and desire for truth reflecting Mayaka's own personality and position as The Watson to Oreki's Sherlock.
- The Team Normal: She lacks any outstanding investigative skills. However, because of this, Mayaka provides a more relatable standpoint during a case, and sometimes makes simple observations others like Oreki or Satoshi might overlook.
- Tsundere: To a certain extent towards Oreki.
- Vitriolic Best Friends: With Oreki, though neither would ever admit it.
- The Watson: Minus the narrator function.
Fuyumi Irisu "The Empress"
- Aloof Dark-Haired Girl: Irisu, in stark contrast to Chitanda, shows little emotion more than she needs to.
- Big Bad: The closest character this show has to one as main antagonist. She manipulated Oreki during the mystery of the unfinished film, after all.
- Distaff Counterpart: To Oreki. When you think about it, both have a lot in common.
- Hair Decorations: A white headband.
- Jerkass Fašade: When she has a goal in mind, Irisu is cold, emotionless and manipulative. However, in the last episode, it is revealed that this is no more than a facade, since behind her coldness is a very friendly girl.
- Lack of Empathy: In Irisu's mind, when there's a job to do, there are no people, only tools.
- Manipulative Bitch: She manipulates Oreki.
- Nice Girl: When she doesn't have a goal in mind, Irisu is incredibly nice and friendly.
- Odd Friendship: With Chitanda, particularly because both have an extremely different personality.
- Raven Hair, Ivory Skin: She is seen as attractive both in-universe and out. Even Satoshi describes her as being very beautiful.
- Red Baron: "The Empress".
- The Spock: Only the results matter to Irisu. How ethical the means are is hardly worth considering.
- Sugar and Ice Personality: In the final episode, Houtarou gets suspicious when she asks his opinion on why the procession took a different path than it was supposed to, but Irisu replies that she was honestly curious. She may be a manipulative, apathetic girl most of the time, but Irisu can actually be friendly when she doesn't have a goal in mind.
- You Are Better Than You Think You Are: To Oreki. Subverted, she only said that for the sake of using him... maybe...
- Awesome by Analysis: She's implied to have even better intuition and analytical abilities than her little brother.
- Chekhov's Gift: A pen that doesn't even work ends up getting Oreki a bag of flour that helps the Classical Club win a cooking competition.
- The Faceless: Usually from the nose and downwards.
- Rapunzel Hair
- Small Role, Big Impact: Everything that happens throughout the series is arguably because of Tomoe, and she doesn't even have a face!
- Crazy-Prepared: Takes extensive measures to keep his little secret secret.
- Expy: Bears resemblance to Itsuki Koizumi. Considering that both series are animated by Kyoto Animation....
- Hot Scoop
- Hurricane of Excuses
- Keeping Secrets Sucks: He's a smoker, but is underaged and has his family's reputation to think of.
Voiced by: Jun Fukuyama (Japanese), Dave Trosko (English)A member of the Student Council and a manga artist.
Voiced by: Toshiyuki MorikawaPresident of the Student Council.
Voiced by: Naomi Shindo (Japanese), Dawn M. Bennett (English)The president of the Manga Club.
Voiced by: Saori HayamiThe sole member of the Fortune Telling Club.