Hyouka spends another installment building potential – everyone seems to be gaining traction in their goals, yet interestingly, the exception is the fellow who looked unstoppable for these last few episodes.
The self-proclaimed “Database”, Neon Lights, Fukube, whatever name one would like to recognize him by, this character was certainly steamrolling these past several episodes – he was doing well within the more whimsical bits, and once the thief became the highlight, his enthusiasm was at least still on a rise. This episode is a subtle but substantial shift however – within the closing moments of the previous episode, Neon Lights seemed fired up to solve some mysteries, yet this time around, it looks almost as if he’s feeling the weight of inability against him.
An unfamiliar female is given camera emphasis from the neck down upon the opening of the episode – and one will immediately figure it to be Oreki’s sister, who indeed, it proves to be. Her reason for coming is unknown – although in any case, she takes Oreki’s cosplay mirror which he received from the tsundere an episode ago, and then in exchange, gives him a doujin manga.
Incidentally, the manga happens to be the exact one which the tsundere was seeking – yet it seems this doujin work will amount to far more than merely a tsundere’s accessory. Oreki begins examining the manga his sister left him – and whilst doing so, it seems he comes to realize something which is not necessarily a connection, but far too much to be a coincidence.
For a while now, it was believed the series was exhibiting two separate realms of story – the unusual thief, and then the tsundere’s missing manga. In actuality however, it seems that wasn’t the case at all – both problems stemmed from the same root, and as for the root, that’s actually what the series has been leading into the entire time.
Much of the purpose of what we’ve seen thus far was to bring us here, this current point in which all is being tied together – and then subsequently, to the solution of the mystery, which will then finally, as a mere bonus, sell out the remaining Hyouka volumes. The simpler tales of cooking contests and whatnot earlier on were fine in themselves – yet it’s doubtful any would have thought the story would turn out to be elaborate to this degree.
This arc began within the 12th episode, this is the 16th, and the event itself is no more than a school festival – however even then, it feels as if we’ve been a part of it for as long as memory can serve. A string of nonstop development has been unfolding for a hefty segment of time in ways which one may not even have perceived for the time being – yet looking at what we do have for now, Oreki comes to basically surround the idea that the group behind the tsundere’s admired manga is playing some role in the thefts.
More remains to be learned behind the manga society, or rather, the manga and its relevant creators – yet also don’t forgot Neon Lights. He looked to be breaking down at how Oreki was gathering evidence – likely, a mix of hopeless bafflement. Even atop that however, also note that Neon Lights did seem questioning as to whether his friend may be correct or not. From the manner in which the situation is set right now, it’s possible that Oreki will open the way for Fukube, rather than the oft-seen other way around – meaning it will be Neon Lights who catches the criminal.
On another note, one should also wonder if Oreki’s sister is playing any devious role in this as it’s simple enough for anyone to be discussing subjects in the background – much like we’ve already seen before within this series.
Ideally, the turnout will manage to be spectacular – since Hyouka’s fate is truly falling into this mystery, it means the end-result will determine either overall success or failure from here.