In an episode where Hyouka switches up its normal format—instead of solving a mystery himself, Oreki has to create a mystery that someone else can solve—it’s appropriate that we also see a shift in terms of the stakes of the episode’s events. Where heretofore Hyouka‘s mysteries have been expressions of interior character realities, in episode 20 (which is really the precursor episode to the finale, in many ways) we see and feel the outside world starting to creep in on the comfy lives of the Classics Club.
Man, we are just racing through things at this point—and with only two episodes, for good reason. We have to deal with the fallout of Tsubaki’s confession, confront Kaori’s impending death, and get in one more concert for Kousei before we’re done. And, frankly, that’s like the minimum of what KimiUso needs to accomplish. Let me just say that I do not envy the task of whoever’s writing this thing.
Well, not my favorite episode of the show, following up an episode I also didn’t think was all that great. Akatsuki no Yona‘s had slow pacing throughout the show, but these recent episodes have slowed down the progression of events to a pace that is starting to work against my enjoyment of the show. I think I said this last week, but Yona‘s never been as good at externally motivated conflicts as it’s been at character-driven conflicts. We’re kind of in full plot mode right now, and the action is driving our characters, rather than the other way around.
Episode 19 is kind of a pivot episode for a lot of people, an iconic and emotional one that, as I wrote, was Toradora!‘s defining moment for me. But because that episode was such an emotional watershed for the series, it’s easy to forget how intense the penultimate arc of this show is as we watching everyone try to cling to the status quo that is radically different, even opposed, to the way their relationships are now. That’s the game Ami’s frustrated with—that, with all the evidence to the contrary, Ryuuji, Taiga, and Minori continue to insist that the way things were before was the right way to be.