Since I started watching Hyouka, the first thing I noticed was how well I was able to relate with Hotarou. I don’t necessarily believe in “storing my energy” and such, but that idea of not exerting myself in life is something I can agree to. Even now, I never strive to go above and beyond in almost any of the things I do. I complete the minimum and carry on with my day. I never really saw a reason to care any more than that.
Back in high school I didn’t join any clubs. “Wasting” my lunch time or time after school seemed extremely unappealing, even when the alternative was me going home and just hanging out in my room. I kept my involvement with my school at an absolute minimum. Partially because I hated the school, and partially because I just didn’t care.
The immediate connection I felt to Hotarou was at first only on a superficial level. Like how in episode two, he was awoken by a phone call at 10:30. He probably would have slept in for much longer, and he definitely didn’t have any plans for the day. That’s basically a description of every weekend of my life right there.
Besides the small parallels I noticed between myself and Hotarou, there was one moment that really struck a chord with me. This was in episode two when he was telling himself how he couldn’t ever be part of a group of people who are talking and smiling to one another. To him, it was a completely different experience than what everyone else was having while socializing. This was one of the few moments I’ve had when watching an anime where I felt I had a deep understanding with a character.
I don’t have that much difficulty talking to people. I’ve never been too much of a shy person. My problem lies with my inability of having a natural conversation with other people. I can be with a group of people, but just like Hotarou I still feel like I’m simply watching a bunch of people talk, and not truly being part of that conversation.
Recently, since several people suggested it to me, I tried walking into the anime club at my college. I ended up talking with them for a good thirty minutes, but it wasn’t a pleasant experience for me. Everyone else was talking and having a good time, while even though I was able to say a few things, I felt I was simply filling in the appropriate social cues to the conversation. I felt like an observer more than anything.
Hotarou lives in a world without colour. He feels that being himself around those who are lively is something simply too incompatible to happen. In that one scene, we are first shown how Hatarou is actually standing right beside three people, but in his own mind he sees himself far away from them. Him being present at all wouldn’t have had an effect on the conversion. In this moment, he feels different from everyone else.
It’s evident that Hotarou wants to be able to be part of it all. He wants to be able to talk to Eru and laugh with friends. He clearly has a crush on her, and probably feels envious of Satoshi’s ability to talk easily to her. Draggle actually gave some tragic insight about that. I feel like Hotarou is only able to watch as someone goes out and does something he wishes he could.
Though, it really isn’t just about learning to talk more. It’s a mindset that Hotarou is stuck in, and somehow needs to get out of. I never expected myself to connect with a character so early on in an anime, and because of that, I already have a strong interest in knowing how they plan to develop his character. The series is going to run for 21 episodes, so that should be more than enough time to give us something good.