Hyouka: Episode 11.5

One might as well call this episode “The Melancholy of Okeki Houtarou.” With Houtarou in an even more depressed state than his usual self, one cannot but feel sorry for him.

Of course, his actions make complete sense. Here was a guy who wanted to keep a low profile throughout his entire life. For someone to say that he has talent and is extraordinary, he regains that hope of accomplishment back in his body temporarily. When he was used like that after having his weakness used and exposed, Houtarou probably felt as though there was no point in raising ones hopes anymore. The event back them must have shocked him greatly for him to act like that. Although he is a dull person from the start, the special emphasized this to a T. His hopes are most likely shattered and may not come back again. His dull personality overall might very well be a defense mechanism for him to cope with life.

Anyway, the day starts with Houtarou lying around doing nothing, when suddenly, he finds his sister in the shower. It seems as though she came back last night and already made herself comfortable. Of course, she teases Houtarou for doing nothing per usual so she gives him a job to do for a few days to make use of him. She calls up her friends to tell her that her brother will work for him. She also gives him some sunscreen in the process. As it turns out, his job was life-guarding at a university pool her friend goes to. Indeed, it was just like sitting at home and doing nothing while getting paid for it, but Houtarou does not seem like he’s having a good time.

Not to his surprise, Satoshi, Mayaka, and Eru came to see him, most probably due to Satoshi calling the two after finding out that the lazy Houtarou was working, but that did not bother him. The core of the problem appeared when Oreki took a lunch break. While Satoshi, Mayaka, and Eru tried to cheer Houtarou up, or at least get him to talk, he speaks blandly, as if not really caring about any of the topics they have discussed. What happened with Fuyumi was so powerful that it made Houtarou ignorant of what other people were trying to say to him. Although he is acting immature at this time, again, his spirit was broken, so it may take time for him to get back to his normal self again.

Still, the three did not give up from trying to get Houtarou out of his hole. Eru talks about some swimmers when Houtarou comments that those who have the talent will do well while those who do not will fall no matter how hard they tried, courtesy of what he learned after dealing with Fuyumi. However, Eru does not accept that, and tells him that he does not need the public to tell him whether or not he is talented or not. All he needed was at least one person to think that he is special. To Eru, Houtarou is a special person. While Eru considers Satoshi and Mayaka special as well, it was Houtarou that she was most fond of in particular. Satoshi and Mayaka also tried their hand at getting Houtarou up on his feet. For Satoshi, he claims that he his currently not dull anymore; he has no color at all. Satoshi states that he was more interesting when he fights back or at least throws out some insults. For him, it was better for Houtarou to act that way rather than the null color that he was currently portraying. For Mayaka, she wants the old him back since she is clearly getting annoyed by the fact he is acting like this.

The help does not affect him much until Eru has a mystery for him to solve. Apparently, a woman had something white on her ear that was now missing. Mayaka states that it could be an earring, and Eru is curious about how it was missing from her ear. Having no other choice, while staring at Eru’s breasts and looking away in the process, Houtarou has no choice but to follow along. As he searches for the earring with everyone, Houtarou thinks that maybe they do not need to look for it after all. Houtarou asks Mayaka to get in Satoshi’s arms, who refuses at first, but goes to Eru’s arms instead after Houtarou tells her that it was a part of his theory. After doing so, Houtarou claims that there was nothing to search for. The woman they were “helping” had a child with her that was eating at ice cream cone. Most probably whatever was on her ear that Mayaka and Eru saw was probably ice cream that was either washed away or removed at some time after the two finished eating lunch. She was not wearing any earrings in the first place, evident from the way she was trying to get water out of her ear. With that, the mystery was solved.

Eru shouts out that this was why she found him an amazing person. This can be treated as a direct confession, but neither of them seemed to see it as such. Of course, Houtarou states that saying such things won’t get her anywhere, regaining the cynical personality that he has. Truly, he should be blessed to have such wonderful friends be there for him when he is down like that. The team would try to reward themselves for a job well done, but the thought of eating ice cream stops Satoshi. Apparently, he is not done with his part of the manuscript, much to Mayaka’s chagrin. Mayaka quickly takes him home to get him to do his work, leaving Eru and Houtarou alone. Eru would leave as well, which means Houtarou is back to do his job as a lifeguard, which may not have been so bad after all.

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