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Literature / Hyouka

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Your average classic literature club. They solve mysteries. note 

"If I don't have to do it, I won't. If I have to do it, I'll make it quick."
Houtarou Oreki's life motto

Hyouka (氷菓note ) is a mystery novel written by Honobu Yonezawa, serving as the first volume in a total of six in the Classic Literature Club (古典部 - Koten-bu) series. It was turned into an anime in the spring of 2012, produced by Kadokawa Shoten, animated by Kyoto Animation and directed by Yasuhiro Takemoto, with Shoji Gatoh serving as series composer, and Futoshi Nishiya serving as character designer; the series covered the first four volumes of the novel that had been published to that date. A manga counterpart was started in January 2012 in Monthly Shonen Ace.

The story follows a lackluster teenager by the name of Houtarou Oreki who, while cursing his first year of high school, lives by his motto "If I don't have to do it, I won't. If I have to do it, I'll make it quick". Nonetheless, things don't go as planned, as Oreki becomes involved with his high school's "Classics Club" at the behest of his elder sister. There, he meets Eru Chitanda, an apparently happy-go-lucky girl belonging to a very wealthy family who, besides having an extraordinary memory, possesses a level of curiosity far exceeding that of anyone Oreki has ever seen. Alongside the curious Chitanda, the chipper Satoshi, and the strict Ibara, Oreki will find himself pushed into using his untapped talent in solving various mysteries ranging in nature and scope throughout his foreseeable high school days.

After five years, the anime series was finally licensed for an English language release by FUNimation, who released the series in two parts as Blu-ray/DVD combo packs in July and September of 2017. The English dub is also available for viewing here.

A live-action film based on the series, Hyouka: Forbidden Secrets, was released in 2017. It stars Kento Yamazaki as Oreki and Alice Hirose as Chitanda.

Fan Translations of the original Hyouka novel series can be read here. This includes the yet-to-be adapted volumes It walks by past and Even though I'm told I now have wings.

Hyouka demonstrates the following tropes:

  • Absurdly Powerful Student Council: Downplayed when Satoshi uses his position on the Executive Committee to put the Kotenbu's name on the far left of the festival brochure to make it more noticeable. Oreki doesn't notice it (and calls it an abuse of power when it's shown to him).
  • Accidental Pervert: It wasn't that bad, but being caught by your friend after you've been peeking at photos of them in cute outfits would be pretty embarrassing.
  • Alcohol Hic: Heard when Chitanda gets drunk on whiskey chocolates.
  • All Just a Dream: The second opening, in which Houtarou disappears into a surreal dream.
  • All Love Is Unrequited: Ibara has had a crush on Satoshi since middle school, but, despite being aware of this, Satoshi still hasn't returned her feelings. Or, rather, he's afraid to.
  • Almost Kiss: Twice in episode 19. Notable because Chitanda has had a habit of invading Oreki's personal space since episode 1, so her sudden awareness of their facial proximity is a sign she is becoming aware of her feelings toward him.
  • Alternate Character Reading:
    • Discussed regarding the word "犠牲" ("sacrifice")note  in the foreword to the second volume of Hyouka. This may be because Sekitani was forced to be this scapegoat, but came to take the position willingly. This trope is also the origin of the term "Kanya Fest". It appears to be a simple shortening of "Kamiyama", but "Kan'ya" is actually another reading of Sekitani (関谷).
    • Also appears during the festival itself, regarding the mysterious thief Juumonji. His name can be read as "ten letters", the rule behind his series of thefts.
    • Oreki gets tripped up by this twice in the same episode; it turns out he's been misreading the names of the Student Council President and the doujin circle that made A Corpse by Evening. What makes the latter example even worse is that the reading is written in Latin letters right next to the kanji...
  • Always Someone Better: Brought to the forefront for several characters during the Kanya Fest arc.
    • Satoshi realizes, once again, that he will never have the effortless detective skill that Houtarou does.
    • Mayaka wonders whether her manga will ever be as good as A Corpse by Evening.
    • This trope is the whole reason behind both Kouchi's Jerkass attitude and the Juumoji Incident. Kouchi is deliberately avoiding reading A Corpse by Evening so she won't have to acknowledge that something so good was drawn by someone who did it as a lark. Tanabe (the true identity of Juumoji), likewise, is frustrated that said artist refuses to go back to drawing. He considers it a disservice to the world not to express such incredible talent when there are people like Tanabe who want that skill but will never achieve it.
  • Ambiguous Disorder: When Chitanda really wants to say something she won't establish any kind of context before cutting right to the chase, leaving the receiver of her comments without any clue as to what she actually meant. If she gets curious, she will convince Houtarou to get her the answers, usually by simply expressing her overwhelming curiosity so strongly that Houtarou has no way out of its glare but to submit.
  • Anchored Ship:
    • Satoshi goes out of his way to not answer Mayaka's feelings for him. Taken to an almost bastardly level in episode 21 where, in order to avoid giving her an answer, Satoshi destroys the Valentine's Day chocolate that Mayaka planned on giving him. They finally begin dating at the beginning of their second year.
    • Houtarou and Eru end up like this as well, although for different reasons.
  • Arc Words: Each episode, whether it is part of an arc or is a standalone story, ends with a short phrase that, upon inspection, is related to the plot.
    • The Jun Sekitani arc episodes end with "the niece of time", a reference to the plot's similarity to The Daughter of Time, with "daughter" changed to "niece" to match Chitanda's relationship to Sekitani.
    • The Student Film arc has "Why didn't she ask Eba?", which cuts to the meat of the mystery—if Irisu actually wanted to know Hongou's intended ending for the film, why didn't she just ask Eba, Hongou's best friend? It's also a reference to the Agatha Christie mystery novel Why Didn't They Ask Evans?
    • The Random Stories arc has "little birds can remember", which is a reference to yet another Agatha Christie mystery novel (Elephants Can Remember). The "little bird" is possibly Chitanda.
  • Artificial Riverbank:
    • Comes up a few times in the first opening.
    • In episode 11, when it's Chitanda's turn to talk to Oreki about the school film's ending, the scene takes place at one of these.
  • Art Shift: Sequences play that help illustrate the analyses that the characters discuss when solving a mystery, and they are animated a different way each time. In the anime, we so far have a pop-up book, mixed media imagery of '60s propaganda, and sketchy, dreamy animation. Episode 9 features three possible solutions to a mystery and a different art style for each proposal.
  • Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: Chitanda has to ask the student council president if he can give the Classics Club more space for the festival, but she ends up getting distracted by all of the cool festival activities she encounters on her way to the student council room.
  • Awesomeness by Analysis: Oreki. When he puts effort into it, he can make brilliantly logical deductions by simply examining and thinking about a few clues in a matter of minutes. Houtarou often says that his deductions are simply luck.
  • Batman Gambit: Kouchi baits Ibara by being patronizing as a way to get customers. "See the Girls at War" posters were made in advance.
  • Beach Episode: The OVA. It was a public pool though.
  • Big Fancy House: Chitanda's place. It's quite impressive.
    • The Classics Club meets at Chitanda's in episode 4. When Oreki and Satoshi bike there, the anime takes the opportunity to show off the scale and grandeur of the Chitanda family's land and mansion. Satoshi is a little disappointed when, instead of a butler or a servant, Chitanda greets them at the door.
    • Mentioned again in episode 18. Oreki compares a Japanese castle in a magazine to Chitanda's place:
      Oreki: Your house is pretty grand, too.
      Chitanda: My house isn't all that grand. I think it's just a little bigger than normal.
      [aerial shot of Chitanda's property]
      Oreki: [to self] I don't understand what your idea of "normal" is.
  • Book Ends: The anime ends with a scene similar to where it began: Houtarou and Eru together in the Spring, but this time, Houtarou allows himself to bask in the glow of the rose-colored cherry blossoms.
  • Bottle Episode: The bulk of episode 19 consists of Oreki and Chitanda in the Club Room trying to figure out the mystery behind a mysterious announcement.
  • 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.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: There is a very subtle one at the start of episode 11. After Oreki's clever movie ending is completely trashed by Ibara, as soon as she has left the room, Oreki turns and looks directly at the camera.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy:
    • Oreki. He is always complaining about how little energy he has left.
    • Also, the illustrator of A Corpse By Evening. He's extraordinarily talented, but rarely uses his abilities; he only did that one task "for fun" and refuses to create anything else. The entire Juumonji incident was an elaborate, and unsuccessful, attempt to convince him to help with a new project.
  • Can't Hold Her Liquor: Chitanda in episode 9. Granted, the whiskey chocolates were stated to be rather strong and she did wind up going through almost the entire box by herself—but she still wound up getting so drunk she passed out and woke up with a hang-over, so it probably still qualifies.
  • Catchphrase:
    • Chitanda's "Watashi, ki ni narimasu!", variously translated as "I can't stop thinking about it!", "I'm curious!", etc. It's a sign to Oreki that things won't be quiet for a while.
    • Oreki's "Bingo".
  • Catchphrase Interruptus: Oreki stops Chitanda's in episode 15.
  • Chain of Deals: At the beginning of episode 12, Oreki's sister gives him a broken fountain pen for no particular reason as he leaves for the school festival. Later on, a fashion club member asks to use it as an accessory, giving Oreki a voucher for a free make-over in exchange. In the next episode, another student arrives to buy an anthology from the Classics Club booth and Oreki gives him a heads-up that his fly is down; Oreki gives him the safety pin from the back of the voucher so he can fix it. The student then gives Oreki his toy water pistol in return. The next episode, Oreki trades the gun along with an anthology to two members of the confectionery research club for two packs of cookies, as well as a pack of wheat flour. Oreki then gives the flour to Satoshi to help Mayaka in the cooking contest (by tossing it down from a window instead of actually going down there himself, naturally). In the episode following, Mayaka (at his request) repays him by giving him a mirror from her Himitsu no Akko-chan "Akko"-chan cosplay. When his sister drops by the next day, she decides to keep it going by trading him a copy of A Corpse by Evening, which turns out to be essential to solving the Juumonji incident.
  • Cherry Blossoms: A very nice scene given during the time Chitanda invites Houtarou to her small home district to help her in a doll festival. Too stimulating for Houtarou's energy conservationalism, but he did enjoy it.
  • Childhood Friends: Oreki, Satoshi, and Ibara. If you couldn't tell from their banters already.
  • Chuunibyou: Members of the Club seems to have this syndrome. All of them take very seriously their duties in the Club, at the point of working more as a Mystery Club than a Literature Club.
  • Cliffhanger: The ending of the last published novel Even Though I'm Told I Now Have Wings. The reader is left not knowing under what circumstances Chitanda lost/may lose her position as heiress to the Chitanda family's legacy, and what will become of her should she lose such an important aspect of her life and upbringing thus far.
  • Club Stub: The Classics Club was in danger of being discontinued due to low membership had it not been for Houtarou joining.
  • Cooking Duel: One staged by the Cooking Club though their members are the judges and commentators rather than the contestant.
  • Cordon Bleugh Chef/Lethal Chef: Played for Laughs in episode 14; Misaki Sawaguchi from the Astronomy Club. What in the world was that, anyway?
  • Darker and Edgier: Hyouka is this compared to the other slice-of-life themed titles from KyoAni, containing more realistic and serious tone, dealing with mystery-solving, manipulation, logical thinking, and generally less wacky hijinks than other titles have.
  • Daydream Surprise: Done in the last moments of the finale. With Chitanda mildly lamenting her fate within their small city (in short, keeping it alive), Oreki proposes that she does not have to do it alone to her elated surprise. One brutal Gilligan Cut tells us that Oreki only imagined saying that to her, being too afraid of relinquishing his current lifestyle with such a proposal.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Oreki.
  • Ditzy Genius: Oreki pegs Chitanda as this.
  • Dogged Nice Girl: Ibara for Satoshi.
  • Dragged by the Collar:
    • Several times in the Niece of Time arc, Chitanda drags Oreki out of the Kotenbu clubroom to investigate something.
    • Mayaka drags Satoshi off to work on Hyouka's manuscript in episode 11.5.
  • Dramatic Wind: This is actually used quite often, though subtly at times.
  • Dull Eyes of Unhappiness: Episode 16; Oreki is about to talk of his thoughts on the Juumoji case, which excites Chitanda. But when he denies her curiosity by telling her it involves an "adult topic" and she can't hear him out, her reaction is nothing less of this trope. It's pretty hilarious. The topic is extortion, by the way.
  • Eagle-Eye Detection: Oreki has this among his arsenal of detective skills.
  • Easily Forgiven: Satoshi is let off the hook fairly easily for stealing Mayaka's Valentine's chocolate and breaking it, just so he didn't have to accept it. At the very least, Mayaka could have let him stew in his own guilt for a while. A long while.
  • Eyecatch: A simple bit of Purple Prose regarding the date.
  • Face Doodling: At the very end of the second opening. The victim's Oreki. The culprits are Ibara and Satoshi.
  • The Faceless: Oreki's elder sister, Oreki Tomoe. The most we get is everything under her nose. Pause episode 16 at just the right time, though, and you can catch just the bottom half of her eyes.
  • Fair-Play Whodunnit: The student film in episode 8. Although the script is unfinished, the fact that the mystery follows all the rules means the director is confident that Oreki and company will be able to tell her the solution even though she can only show them the first half of the movie. Subverted because Hongou did not intend for the victim to actually die and Irisu is lying about why she wants Oreki's help.
  • Foreshadowing: In hindsight, Oreki's theory about the end of the student film not only does not fill the gaps that his friends later point out to him, but also misses the very part that would have led him to Hongo, which is the reason why the culprit did what he did. As Irisu was deliberately trying to veer him away from Hongo, she immediately gives the okay for the first thing he presents that makes sense and prevents him from digging further in by showering him with flattery.
  • Fortune Teller: Chitanda's aptly-outfitted friend from the 13th episode, Kaho Jūmonji, who sets up a tent in the hallway for the culture fest. Wheel of Fortune not included.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble:
    • Sanguine: Chitanda. She fits the outgoing Proper Lady type to the letter.
    • Choleric: Ibara. Although she's not a leader, she gets very passionate over the things she cares about, as seen during the cultural festival and the Valentine's Day episode, and is rather short-tempered and impulsive. However, in her gentler moments, when she's not annoyed, she's quite the phlegmatic.
    • Eclectic: Satoshi. Although he's quite an extrovert, his Hidden Depths reveal that he's this way because otherwise he'd fit the negative attributes of the Melancholic type (obsessive, perfectionist to the point of depression) a lot more. He's ultimately a combination of sanguine and a phlegmatic (sweet, kind, witty, teasing, a bit quieter than Chitanda), with some melancholic traits.
    • Phlegmatic / Melancholic: Houtarou is introverted and somewhat aloof and cynical, but also calm, stoic, reliable, compassionate, observant and definitely lazy, reactionary and (in his gentler moments) docile.
  • Genki Girl: Chitanda is a more refined example. The hot-bloodedness is there, just a bit lower in temperature, tempered by her kind and polite nature.
  • Genre Savvy: Satoshi realizes that his lack of talent or motivation prevents him from having "main character" capability, which results in him being a Stepford Smiler.
  • Girly Run: Done by most girls, even when they're not running that fast—but especially by Chitanda.
  • Hallucinations: Oreki frequently experiences a variety of hallucinations, often attributed by him to the level of energy he feels he is experiencing from others. Often these involve perceptions of moving or shifting kanji. At one point in episode 1, he has visions of Chitanda's hair becoming vinelike with radiant flowers in it, ensnaring him as she pleads for his assistance. At another point, he sees the kanji from a set of club posters flood around him as a black sea. He also sees dozens of tiny red Chitanda "angels" tugging on him when she gets him involved in another mystery. Don't worry. He's still very much sane.
  • Heroic BSoD: Houtarou goes through a particularly nasty one in episode 11 once he realizes that he was totally wrong and that Irisu was lying to him in order to manipulate him into writing the script. Also, judging from his actions in episodes 10 and 11, Satoshi is veering dangerously close to one as well. As of episode 17,he is most DEFINITELY in the midst of one.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: In episode 19, Oreki attempts to discredit his deduction skills by trying to decipher a vague school announcement. His conclusion turns out being completely correct and Chitanda is all the more impressed.
  • Hot Springs Episode: Episode 7.
  • How We Got Here: The New Year's story in The Doll That Took a Detour is structured this way, showing how Houtarou and Eru found themselves locked inside a room.
  • Intoxication Ensues: Episode 9 features Chitanda absentmindedly eating the better part of a box of whiskey bonbons. She actually only gets a bit loopy, only to pass out...
  • In-Universe Camera: The trick to the mystery in the student film. Although it turns out it wasn't the trick the original director had intended.
  • Imagine Spot: Triggered in episode 2 when Chitanda catches a scent of paint on a school history book. Oreki briefly imagines dog ears and a tail on Chitanda.
  • Japanese School Club: What brings the main characters together: the Classics Club.
  • Jitter Cam: The student film in episode 8.
  • Keet: Satoshi. The colors are on the inside.
  • Kissing Discretion Shot: Or a less drastic Hugging Discretion Shot. Still, the way the animation portrays the end of Satoshi and Mayaka's exchange in episode 17 implies this heavily because of Satoshi's arms reaching out. See for yourself.
  • Know-Nothing Know-It-All: Kouchi, a member of Ibara's Manga Society Club, professes her patronizing thoughts on the club's festival booth, making light of their efforts, getting to Ibara easily.
    • The way Kouchi smiled when Ibara finally responded to her remarks was quite trolly.
      • Apparently, the members invoked this trope as a part of a Batman Gambit.
  • Locked in a Room: Chitanda and Houtarou accidentally get locked in a shed in episode 20.
  • Locked Room Mystery:
    • Episode 1's mystery, except no murder is involved.
    • The student film in episode 8 features an example with a murder mystery. Though that was not what the writer originally planned. It only appeared to be one to the Classics Club because the people doing the filming changed an important detail in the script.
  • Luminescent Blush: Oreki and Chitanda frequently exchange these:
    • Episode 11.5, when Oreki points out how white Chitanda's bikini is.
    • Episode 13, the mother of all blushes is shared by Oreki and Chitanda when she catches him peeking at her cosplay photos.
    • Episode 20, when Chitanda first appears her kimono. Oreki is breathless, to say the least.
    • Episode 21, when Chitanda is mumbling about Valentine's day chocolates and Oreki is trying to figure out what she means, to no avail.
  • Manic Pixie Dream Girl: Chitanda to Oreki.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Oreki, surprisingly enough. He blackmails multiple upperclassmen, Tanabe and Tougaito, in order to advance the goals of the Classics Club. He also goes out of his way to keep Chitanda uninvolved, even lying to her about the Jumonji case to keep her in the dark.
  • Manipulative Bitch: Fuyumi Irisu. Oreki figures her out, but not soon enough. Episode 14 expands on this slightly, delving into Irisu's character during her conversation with Chitanda.
  • Meaningful Name: "Hyouka" is the name of the main characters' high school student anthology publication. Also see Stealth Pun and Alternate Character Reading.
  • Mistaken for Gay: Happens to Chitanda in episode 14 when she gets a bit too close to Irisu, much to the Empress' dismay—or not. Chitanda doesn't seem to realize the effect she's having on the other.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: In the beginning of the novel and anime, before the actual storyline kicks in, the mysteries Houtarou solves are pretty trivial, yet most of an episode focuses on them. He solved how a room becomes locked seemingly on its own, why the same book was checked out and in from the school library for weeks, and where the unauthorized flyer for a "ghost club" was hanging (this last one was actually a fake mystery he planted so he wouldn't have to waste energy walking to the other side of the high school to solve a mystery that Eru was curious about). Still, his perceptive thinking has potential, despite his slothy exterior.
  • No Sense of Personal Space: Chitanda has a bad habit of thrusting herself in other people's faces when she gets worked up or 'curious'. Although in episode 19, she is suddenly aware of how close her face is to Oreki's.
  • No Social Skills: Oreki comes off this way, seeming to be too lazy to bother learning social etiquette. However, as long as it's not too draining, he can in fact socialize with others.
    • He doesn't really emote (although he is shown blushing when praised), is only shown interacting with Satoshi, Chitanda, and Mayaka on a regular basis, and is rather blunt when speaking with others. Still, the fact that he can't seem to say "no" to Chitanda to save his life and that he went out of his way to help Chitanda at least twice suggests that Oreki is actually a nice guy underneath his constant frown.
    • Oreki has also stated that he is "not good with kids" when he and Chitanda needed to ask the inn owner's child some questions. Chitanda doesn't question it and handles the situation for him.
  • The Nose Knows: Chitanda has this ability, which makes Oreki compare her to a dog. Her senses in general seem unusually sharp, with both hearing and sight also being remarked upon.
  • Not So Stoic:
    • In episode 11, when Houtarou discovers Irisu's true intentions in requesting his help and her tendencies to being a Manipulative Bitch, he gets pissed.
    • In episode 21, Houtarou gets seriously angry over Satoshi's actions, which directly hurt Mayaka, and indirectly hurt Chitanda. He goes as far as to tell Satoshi that if the latter doesn't have a really good explanation, he's taking a punch to the face.
  • Numerical Theme Naming: "Exponential Four Clans", as colloquially named by Satoshi, are four prestigious families in Kamiyama; Juumonji (10), Sarusuberi (100), Chitanda (1000), and Manninbashi (10000).
  • Oh, Crap!: Oreki's reaction when Ibara tells him that the new script he wrote for the movie didn't include a rope when the writer specifically asked for it can only be described as this. Fans would've reacted in much the same way.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Satoshi and Ibara feared for the worst when Oreki finally declared that he was "curious" in episode 18.
    • Basically any time Houtarou actually seems interested in something (a point or two in the student film arc being another example), expect Satoshi and Mayaka to overreact to it.
  • Overshadowed by Awesome:
    • Satoshi implies he feels this way towards Houtarou. A tidbit of this bursts out in episode 16.
    • This may also be the reason for Oreki's slight resentment toward his older sister, who appears to be very much on top of things, much like the Sherlock-Mycroft relationship.
  • Perpetual Frowner: Never smiling or even grinning, the only expression worn by Oreki is a hollow and lifeless stare coupled with a constant frown on his lips. And even when he does smile, it looks really snarky.
  • Playing Card Motifs: Point of view changes in the third volume are indicated by playing card suits: hearts for Chitanda, clubs for Fukube, diamonds for Ibara, and spades for Oreki.
  • Posthumous Character: Chitanda's uncle, Jun Sekitani, although he's technically just a missing person soon to be legally dead.
  • Public Domain Soundtrack: Bach's "Air on the G-String" and Gabriel Fauré's "Sicilienne" are used fairly prominently.
  • Pun-Based Title: See Stealth Pun below.
  • Puppy-Dog Eyes: Chitanda does this to Houtarou whenever she gets curious about something, which often leads to him reluctantly joining in.
  • Real-Place Background: In true KyoAni fashion, Kamiyama is closely modeled after a real city, in this case Takayama in the Japanese Gifu prefecture. Many local landmarks are clearly recognizable, including the high school and the cafe where Chitanda and Oreki meet.
  • Red Baron: Irisu from episode 8 is nicknamed "the Empress" for her domineering presence, encouraging a discussion on Tarot Motifs.
  • Reflective Eyes: Both Oreki and Chitanda during their first (official) meeting.
  • Romantic Ride Sharing: When Chitanda offers Oreki a ride home on her bike he imagines two scenarios, one of Chitanda being the one to drive the bike while he's the one holding her waist with a colorful background behind them along with butterflies, and the other is him driving the bike while she's the one holding onto him with angels and birds in the background. He refuses the offer in the end.
  • Rule of Drama: Nakajo in episode 9 doesn't care about the mystery film's solution following the rules as long as the movie's dramatic.
  • Sailor Fuku: School uniforms are same as actual uniforms of the original school.
  • Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl: Oreki and Chitanda. The second ending shows this perfectly.
  • Scenery Censor: In episode 7, with Oreki at the hot springs.
  • School Festival: This school festival, called the Kanya Fest, became an important factor in the mystery concerning Chitanda's uncle, Sekitani Jun. The anthology Hyouka also revolves around this. In the anime, the actual festival starts in episode 12.
  • Serious Business: The series gives a nod to this, incorporating some Values Dissonance: what seems trivial or superficial to an adult can be make-or-break for a high school student.
    • In the "Niece of Time" arc, an older character is highly scornful of her own (and her fellow students') actions several decades ago, saying that while they thought they were being righteous and revolutionary at the time, she now thinks of the incident as pointless tantrum-throwing that was never going to have any long-term effect anyway. Specifically, the student body took a stand when the teachers decided to cut their beloved cultural festival short in favor of boosting the school's reputation as an academic institution. The students declared this a violation of their rights and staged protests and walk-outs. Notably, the librarian's views change once she's become one of the authority figures that she and her classmates were rebelling against.
    • The "Why Didn't She Ask Eba?" arc sees a short, clumsy student film at the center of both intrigue and personal crises for the main characters. The club president tricks Oreki into writing a decent ending for the film after she judges the original writer's script too weak to run with, pretending that the film's ending is an unfinished mystery to avoid the unpleasantness of telling the club that the original ending was terrible. It's an unpleasant con, but the feelings of those involved are so overblown — from the Literature Club Member's harassing of Oreki when he fails to convey the "true feelings" of the original writer, to Irisu's overly complicated scheme to get a decent ending written, to Oreki's moral crisis when he discovers he's been tricked — that the film's importance seems like that of an Oscar nominee, not a student film that will likely be seen by thirty at a high school event.
  • Sherlock Scan: Episode 2.
  • Ship Tease: Oreki quickly gains a casual crush on Chitanda, but since his own negativity does a good job of repressing it, it develops rather slowly. Chitanda gradually begins to warm up to him as well, and that she feels the same becomes very obvious in episode 11.5.
    • The second ED, while a nice homage to mystery novels, is a very strong Ship Tease for both main couples.
    • Episode 6: Oreki is briefly excited by the prospect of Chitanda being a soulmate after she explains that she avoids getting angry in order to conserve energy. He's genuinely disappointed that she's joking.
    • Episode 7 is quite blatant, with Houtarou passing out just from fantasizing about Chitanda in the bath, then blushing and flinching when she touches him. It probably didn't help that Chitanda expresses disappointment when she found out the hot springs wasn't a mixed bath.
    • Oh, man, the OVA. It's really hard to count how many times Oreki tried not to glance at Chitanda in her swimsuit.
    • In episode 13, Houtarou finds the photos of Chitanda cosplaying...yeah. It gets especially shippy near the end where Chitanda hesitantly questions about it and they both start blushing.
    • Episode 16 also has a moment between Mayaka and Satoshi, see Kissing Discretion Shot above.
    • Episode 18 features Houtarou and Chitanda going on a pseudo-date.
    • Episode 19. The episode consists entirely of Chitanda and Oreki talking to each other, puzzling out a mysterious announcement to test his deductive abilities. The episode features Houtarou promising to accompany Chitanda on a visit to her uncle's grave, two Almost Kisses, and Oreki giving a genuine smile. And once again, the next episode promises even more.
    • Episode 20 is referred to by Animation Director Chise Kamoi as the "date episode" in the comments of the rebroadcast. And for good reason: the episode starts with Chitanda inviting Oreki to a New Year's shrine visit to show off her kimono, and the two of them exchange blushes when Oreki first sees her.
    • Episode 21: Plenty, as expected of a Valentine's day episode. For starters, Mayaka asking Chitanda if she likes anyone. After a bit of stammering on Chitanda's part, but before the audience can hear her answer, it cuts to a scene of Houtarou yawning. Later, Chitanda starts to explain to Oreki why she didn't have chocolates for him, and ends up nearly confessing only to exchange blushes with Oreki, who only barely comprehends the situation.
    • Episode 22: Chitanda sadly explains to Oreki that, although her land is neither the most beautiful nor full of potential, she still wanted him to see it; she makes herself completely vulnerable before him so that he can understand her better. After this impassioned monologue, Oreki nearly confesses to her in a Daydream Surprise, only to hold back at the last moment, to the dismay of shippers everywhere. All this happens amidst falling Cherry Blossoms; an ethereal, pink-infused scene.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Ms. Itoigawa's flashback to the Kamiyama Cultural Festival includes what looks to be a Beatles cover band.
    • Sakamoto-san can be seen in episodes 2 and 5 as a decoration in the library.
    • The Manga Society cosplays a few Vocaloids for the School Festival in episode 12, while Mayaka cosplays as Frolbericheri Frol and her sempai Kouchi dresses as Nakoruru. The following episode, Ibara and Kouchi cosplay as Akko-chan and King, respectively.
    • In a blink-and-you'll-miss it moment, Ibara has one of Azusa's shirts in her room while searching for her lost manga.
    • In one of the final episodes of the anime, while Houtarou answers the phone, he sits exactly like L. And barefoot, no less.
    • The second ED shows Chitanda and Ibara dressed as distaff versions of Sherlock Holmes and Hercule Poirot, with the names of several Holmes and Agatha Christie stories shown in the background. Likewise, Oreki and Satoshi dress up as Arsène Lupin and Moriarty.
    • The first ED features Chitanda and Ibara in a planetarium, on a circular bed, their feet at opposite ends but facing each other. Holding hands. Sound familiar?
  • Shown Their Work: The show contains all those little details; the usually-left-unexplored tidbits of school's life that usually doesn't get covered by most anime. Examples include:
    • In the second arc, the quiz club can briefly be seen practicing for episode 13's quiz game.
  • Smug Snake: Haba, the props master for the student film in episodes 8-10. Ibara develops a distaste towards his 'presence'.
  • Stage Magician: The Magic Club shown in episode 15.
  • Standard Snippet: An a capella group at Kanya Fest sings "Sukiyaki".
  • Stealth Pun: "Hyouka" means "frozen treat", or, commonly, "ice cream", in Japanese. The message that Jun Sekitani left for Chitanda by making the name of the anthology "Hyouka" was "I scream", a pun derived from sounding like "ice cream". Houtarou personally views it as an Incredibly Lame Pun, however. It shows up again in the OVA, which is set after episode 11. Houtarou is still in his funk after dealing with Irisu's deception, and he's presented with a case that helps snap him out of it. The solution? "Hyouka", ice cream, once again. This one gets commented on as well, as the mention of "ice cream" reminds Mayaka that Satoshi needs to finish the anthology.
  • Stepford Smiler: Satoshi if episode 10 is to be believed. Confirmed later as the story goes on.
  • Stylistic Suck: The student film in episode 8 has boring music, poor writing, worse cinematography, and even worse acting. Houtarou believes this to be intentional—that the awful lighting (the cameraman turning a flashlight on and off as needed), Jitter Cam, inconvenient camera angles, and the actors' looking into the camera and awkward speech are actually clues that the culprit was the cameraman, driven to kill by the others ignoring him to his face. Turns out Houtarou is both brilliant and entirely wrong (that is, on the question he thought he was answering).
  • Tarot Motifs: Discussed in episode 8. According to Satoshi, Mayaka is Justice, Satoshi is The Magician, Chitanda is The Fool, and Oreki is Strength. Oreki as Strength is an intentionally loaded comparison, since in this episode, he is a lion being "tamed" by Irisu, but at other times the lion-taming woman would be Chitanda or his older sister Tomoe.
  • Tsundere:
    • Mayaka for Houtarou (interestingly enough, she acts nice towards her crush Satoshi).
    • Arguably, Houtarou for Chitanda.
  • Unknown Rival: Tani to Satoshi.
  • The Unsmile: While taking care of a customer at the Classics Club's culture festival stand, Oreki's inner thoughts while half-smiling were "damn, I can't smile".
  • Unusual Chapter Numbers: The OVA is set chronologically between episode 11 and 12, and is therefore called episode 11.5 even in the official listing licensed by Funimation.
  • Valentine's Day Episode: Episode 21.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Houtarou and Satoshi and also Mayaka and Houtarou.
  • What Beautiful Eyes!: A common reaction to Chitanda's eyes.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: In episode 21, Oreki calls Satoshi out for stealing Mayaka's chocolate, which obviously hurt Mayaka's feelings but had the side-effect of Chitanda blaming herself for failing to guard her friend's chocolate.
    Oreki: I assume you have a good explanation for this. If this was your idea of a joke...
    Satoshi: If it was?
    Oreki: [grabs Satoshi by the scarf] I'd have to hit you. For both Chitanda and Mayaka. Hard.

Alternative Title(s): Classic Literature Club Series, Koten Bu Series, Koten-Bu Series