A few weeks back, I watched Hyōka episode 10 and for one reason or another, something in that episode hit me quite a bit, so, I decided to write a post. This here is that post, it happens to be pretty damn late, but here it is regardless.
In episode 10, Hōtarō is told that he is a genius and that he should use his talent or else risk upsetting everyone else. Heck, Satoshi even said that he was jealous of Hōtarō. Hōtarō being Hōtarō of course denied his brilliant genius and attempted to pass himself of as being indifferent, but he got trapped. Once someone suggested that he should try to maximize his talent, Hōtarō had no choice but to see for himself if he actually was talented or not.
“Thanks for the summary, shithead. I could have looked up episode 10 on Wikipedia and got the same thing. What the hell are you trying to say?”
Well, I think Hōtarō actually knows that he is talented; he just claims otherwise.
“Woah, woah, stop right there. I know that like most anime bloggers, you are a cocky asshat, but aren’t you pushing it a bit too far? You must be mad or something.”
I am holding a conversation with an imaginary individual in a blog post that will be available to the mass public. I think we are long past the point of madness.
“True, true. We should stop this, less our readers think us insane.”
Too late. Bye.
Okay, now that Reiseng’s subconscious has gone away, let us get back to the topic at hand.
Hōtarō knows he is talented, or at the very least, he’d like to think he is. They never really explicitly state that in the anime, but when you think about it, how can someone with the observation abilities of Hōtarō not notice how much better he is at detective stuff than other people? On top of that, he wouldn’t have agreed to Fuyumi Irisu’s request if he didn’t actually believe what she was saying. Most people don’t just blindly believe what others say about them unless somewhere deep down, they feel the same way.
Anyway, even if you don’t believe me, assume I am right. I am always right after all.
So, now a few questions pop up:
- Why was Hōtarō hesitant to admit that he is talented?
- Despite being talented, why is Hōtarō so lazy?
- Why did Hōtarō get angry at Irisu when he realized that he had been tricked?
The third question isn’t really relevant to what I talked about earlier, but I figure that it is interesting enough to talk about, so, I added it. I can do that. So, let us start with the first question.
There are a good deal of reasons why Hōtarō did not want to admit he is talented. I can suggest two possible reasons for this. The first reason being that while Hōtarō does think of himself as possessing some form of talent, in his mind, it isn’t enough to warrant himself being labelled as such.
Hōtarō’s sister is a genius. Hōtarō knows this and for one reason or another, he thinks that he will never be as good as her. So, while he meets the definition of talented as suggested by everyone else, he will never meet his own definition. Incidentally, this is also an answer to the second question, but we will get to that in a bit, for now, let’s focus on the second reason for why he did not want to admit his talent.
Hōtarō does not boast because he seems to have the mindset that if people think you are good at something, they end up expecting more from you. Since they know how talented he is, Chitanda and the others always expect him to have the last say on any given mystery. Every time they ask him, Hōtarō sighs and accepts his fate as detective lackey but frequently enough, he seems to suggest (using words or facial expressions) that they should not expect much from him.
If Hōtarō fails, then people end up sad and he doesn’t like that. If however the folk never expected him to succeed, then if he fails (or doesn’t try whatsoever), no one gets sad. If he succeeds, they end up surprised and happier than they would have been if they expected him to succeed. In order to keep expectations down Hōtarō always insists that he is just another ordinary guy with nothing special to speak of. This habit of keeping expectations down is probably part of the reason behind Hōtarō’s laziness (i.e. an answer to the second question).
“Oh look, he might be good looking, but he is just a lazy bum. We shouldn’t get expect anything from him.” is probably what Hōtarō hopes people think when they see him. By being indifferent and lazy, Hōtarō hopes to have no particular image in the minds of others.
How can you let people down if they never expected something from you in the first place? Hōtarō’s whole “minimum energy, be normal” thing is just another way of saying “being in the spotlight is tiring and mentally taxing (you have to constantly work hard and meet expectations), so, I’d rather not be in it whatsoever.”
As I alluded earlier, his sister is also part of the reason why he is so lazy. She is a genius and a recognized one to. Hōtarō thinks (perhaps rightly so), that he will never be able to get close. So, why should he even try? Why should he try to use his talent when the he knows that the finish line is unreachable? You are probably getting tired by this point, but there is one more, important reason behind Hōtarō’s laziness.
Hōtarō does not wish to prove himself untalented. If our earlier assumption of Hōtarō knows he is talented is correct, then we can also assume that like any regular joe, he wants to keep thinking that he is talented. So, naturally his actions include avoiding anything that might discredit his talent.
“Man, if only I had actually tried, I could have gotten a good mark.” You hear that phrase all time time and if you don’t hear it, then you likely say it. Folk that somehow think they are special, talented or otherwise better than everyone else don’t want to do anything that might prove otherwise. I think there was a study done where they found that complimenting a child’s hardwork produces harder working children while complimenting them and telling them that they are special produces lazy children (the children don’t want to mess up and lose their specialness). Hōtarō is the exact same and this is also why he got so angry Irisu.
Irisu convinced Hōtarō that he is talented and while that alone would have prompted no action from him, the implication that by being lazy, Hōtarō was trampling the pride of others, definitely was. We all know how this played out. Hōtarō tried and he thought he did a good job, but then he realized that he failed.
I am sure that as soon as Mayaka pointed out his mistake, Hōtarō knew that he had messed up. Despite knowing that he had messed up, Hōtarō tried really hard to justify himself in order to save himself from the crushing remorse that comes from being normal.
Think about it. You spend your entire life thinking that you are talented and that if you actually tried, you will be able to do magical things. Then you try and then you fail. Does that not make you sad? Does that not make you want to blame everything but yourself? Of course it does, but sometimes that realization is important. We don’t really know if internally, Hōtarō has changed much, but I’d like to think that he has. I hope he has become a bit less worried about whether he really is talented or not and is just going to live life having fun with his friends.
We have now answered the three proposed questions and I hope that my answers met your expectations. I apologize for perhaps stretching my interpretation of Hōtarō a bit too much, but his circumstances kind of hit home and I sort of wanted to talk about that.
*Warning*: You are about to learn a bit about me. You might not want to do that.
On a more personal note.
I have never considered myself to be particularly talented. Oh wait, what did I do there. Ooops.
Anyway, I can totally understand Hōtarō’s desire to be low key. In fact, I only claimed he had that desire because I wanted to relate him to me. People often tell me that I am too self-critical or too self-demeaning, but I don’t think that’s true, at least not for the reasons most folk think.
I think I tend to give people the impression that I lack self-confidence and while I can not deny or verify that claim, I don’t think that’s the main reason behind being self-critical. I just don’t want people to have high expectations of me only to let them down with unsatisfactory results. I’d rather I make them expect nothing and hopefully give them something than make them expect something and end up giving them nothing.
As nice as it is to not have any expectations shoved on top of me, I realize that this is a bad way to approach things, especially in the workplace. As a general rule of thumb, people with large egos and a healthy dose of self-appreciation are the ones that make it far in life, so, I will probably have to change my approach sometime, but for now, I am too lazy to bother.
I am also lazy. I think that like a lot of us, I to hide from hard work because of a fear of normalcy. “Man, if I had tried a bit harder, I could have gotten a super good mark in that course” is something I think on a frequent enough basis (though I have started to work much harder in University).”If only I put some effort into my blogging, I could be the best blogger ever” is something I would think if it wasn’t so damn obvious that I am just pure lazy when it comes to blogging.
I guess that’s why I really admire people who constantly try their hardest. They have accepted themselves and are no longer scared of finding out more about themselves. It takes a good deal of rock hard willpower to achieve that kind of mindset. Someday, hopefully I to can achieve that and if not for everything in life, then at least for one or two special things.
Sorry for the cheesy ending and I apologize for not including enough Hōtarō ass (sorry Chrono), but I hope that at the very least, now you know a bit more about Hōtarō and his green eyes, and hopefully yourself to.
Thanks for reading.