An episode about silent screams. An episode of jealousy, insecurity, and darkness. An episode about expectations. An episode about light and dark. A hard episode, but perhaps a warm one.
The Kanya Festival has come to a close.
I suppose it’s appropriate that an episode that returns to the idea of things we want to say, but can’t—our silent screams, our own hyouka—at the end of the Kanya Festival which was the source of Sekitani Jun’s own agony. But, unlike Seikitani Jun, who needed Oreki to speak for him out of the past and into the present, those who wish to scream now are able to let their voices be heard. Not loudly. Not even, necessarily, by the people who they wish could hear. But even just making a noise, however small, can be good. It can bring healing on its own, even if that healing is laced with bitterness. Lemons beside roses, as it were.
The final crime of Juumonji is where things begin. A crowded room. A mass of people waiting for the culprit to strike. A plot that is only revealed later on in the episode. A lie, you could say. A keeping of people in the dark. And even those complicit, their reasons what you might even call pure, cannot fully rejoice in the triumph of their success—there are things more important to them imposing upon their consciousnesses and concerns.
This, you might call a silent scream. It’s good to see that it will be voiced by the end of the episode.
Irisu tells Chitanda to turn back (above: a reflection, and arrow to return to her prior way of doing things), to give up trying to make control people through expectations because she’s not cut out for it. Chitanda cannot deliberately make people feel as if she has expectations for them—it is something that comes naturally to her. It’s not a gap in skill, nor a need for someone else to fulfill what she doesn’t have.
But everyone, it seems, has their own definition of expectations and their own ideas of where they come from. For Sekitani Jun, it was the expectations to be a “legend.” For Satoshi, it’s his ongoing dialogue between wanting to follow Oreki and wanting stop “always looking up”—about giving up on his own ambitions. For Tanabe, it’s about a difference in skill and the obligations of talent. Expectations of the self, expectations of others, expectations of the world. Hope and despair. Dreams and reality. Masterpieces (of logic, of writing), and not.
The conversation between Oreki and Tanabe, with Satoshi looking on, is as follows (see captions on pictures in the gallery):
With all that said, with the execution of the mystery’s resolution so nicely packaged up, we turn to the screams. There is a certain beautiful irony in the efficiency of Hyouka‘s cinematography during Oreki’s indictment of Tanabe. Despite dominating his senpai visually and logically, Oreki once again fails to perceive the true depth behind Tanabe’s actions—as with Sekitani Jun’s hyouka, he cannot hear this scream until it is voice. For Chitanda’s uncle, it can through a pun. For Tanabe, Satoshi, Ayako, and Mayaka, it is something that can be uttered—or, at least, cried over.
Oreki wonders at the nature of Tanabe’s communication—if you want to tell someone something, why not tell them? But how can you tell someone that you’re both jealous and desperate for them to fly far in front of you?Just look at the weight of this shot, of expectations crowding around in the shape of bicycles and in the overbearing pressure of the roof. How can you let them know that the reason you’re screaming inside is them?
I don’t know if it’s possible. You either say nothing—as Ayako does—or you hope there’s someone there to understand (like Mayaka).
The division between the competing desires. That’s why Tanabe’s mouth (which desires to speak and be heard honestly, thus the straightforward shot) has to be parted from the rest of his head over a cut and by egregiously bold shot composition. You cannot speak. You cannot say anything. You know it’s selfish, so you remain quiet.
In an episode filled with cluttered shot composition, visual representations of the complexities of bottling up these silent screams, the moments when characters are backgrounded by the sky (as in the two shots below) stand out all the more in contrast. The moments of honesty shine through in simple clarity. It’s painful. It’s isolating. It’s lonely. You’d rather not say it, but it must be said. Even the power of the low-angle shot, which normally places its subjects in positions of power, cannot overcome the emptiness in the rest of the frame.
But there’s hope. Even if you aren’t heard by the one you want most to hear, perhaps there’s still someone who will listen and care. You might be able to cut loose and celebrate with your friends, an oasis of fun and of carelessness in the midst of your cares. Having screamed silently, just to yourself, be able to move on. The expectations, hopes, and the despair will pass for a bit. You can take a step forward. You may not need the things you think you need, may find other things that you can want.
Perhaps people are, in the end, meant to succeed. That’s what I think.