|“||I don't do anything I don't have to. What I have to do, I do it quickly.|
|Houtarou Oreki's motto||”|
Houtarou Oreki (折木 奉太郎 Oreki Hōtarō) is the protagonist of Hyouka. He is a student of Kamiyama High School belonging to class 2-A (class 1-B earlier) and a member of the mystery-solving Classics Club. Despite being a passive character who prioritizes energy conservation above all else, Hōtarō possesses brilliant deduction skills and often finds himself aiding the ever curious Eru Chitanda.
Houtarou lives with his older sister Tomoe and his father in a detached house, although due to Tomoe's constant travels Houtarou is often alone at home. His typical day at home involves reading the daily newspaper and napping, and occasionally reads manga if it interests him. He prefers shallow roasted coffee.
As a student, Houtarou has been in the same class and school as Mayaka since their first grade in elementary school, and they later met Satoshi Fukube in Kaburaya Middle School. According to a previous fiscal year intermediate examination results, his performance ranked moderately at #125 out of 350 examinees. Houtarou enrolled in Kamiyama High School in April 2000.
Hōtarō Oreki has a very passive, calm and seemingly apathetic attitude. Along with his passive demeanor, Oreki seems to always "conserve energy" and never exerts effort on anything unless absolutely necessary; thus coming off as lazy.
Also, because of his attitude, Hōtarō talks little and seldomly shouts or gets angry, though he does appear to get irritated often, and Oreki also rarely smiles and has never been seen laughing. On the other hand, Oreki is surprisingly wise and clever, unbelievably good at solving mysteries and seems to be able to always find a solution if he gives it enough thought. Ironically, during his attempts to get out of doing work, he only ends up creating more work for himself, a notable example being episode 19 where he made a bet with Chitanda about being able to make a theory for any situation and ended up being correct, going through the whole day trying to figure out what the after school announcement was about. In addition, it is rare for him to be interested in something to the point where when he genuinely wants to do something of his own account, his friends become concerned and think he is sick. He also has a surprisingly overactive imagination, frequently having hallucinations when Chitanda asks for his help (at one point imagining her as little angels surrounding him and on another growing flowers and entrapping him).
Despite Hōtarō's energy-conserving personality, he is capable of appreciating praise, and has shown to have a tendency of exerting more than what he would typically give when given positive feedback.
Also, he has shown that he can be kind and is loyal and caring to his friends, made most evident in the valentine episode where he got mad at Satoshi for stealing Mayaka's chocolate and breaking it, as he disregarded her feelings and tried avoiding having to answer her confession while also hurting Chitanda who believed someone stole it and it was her fault. As Chitanda states, Oreki is actually a kind person who helps out others, herself included and rarely does things for himself. He does show a sense of maturity and shrewdness, understanding Irisu's true motive for wanting the Classics Club to help with he group's independent film by writing the whole script but being manipulated to think otherwise and wanting to learn why his former English teacher wanted to look at helicopters outside (having known the reason but wanting to make sure because not doing so would be insensitive to his teacher's feelings) and understanding Mayaka's cousins would fight but explaining to Chitanda that that was normal for siblings and the two would get along fine.
Oreki is fairly tall, standing at 176 cm (5'9"), he also weighs 62 kg (137 lbs). He has unruly short taupe-brown colored hair, with bangs that reach just below his eyes. Hōtarō's eyes are asparagus-green in color. Oreki is principally seen in the Kamiyama High School uniform.
When not in his uniform, he dresses in a rather neutral fashion. Satoshi once said that if Oreki wasn't so lazy, he would be popular because of his looks.
Usually after waking up, Hōtarō's hair becomes a mess.
Reviving the Classics Club
Some time after Hōtarō joins Kamiyama High School, he receives a letter from Tomoe, who was in India at the time, asking him to become a member of the Classics Club which was on its way to being shut down due to a lack of active members.
Although Hōtarō has no plans of joining a club, he obeyed his sister's wish, but only to escape the repercussions of refusing. Hōtarō later meets Eru Chitanda, the only other member of the Classics Club, in the Geography Prep Room one afternoon. Eru was quickly captivated by Hōtarō's skills in solving mysteries, and soon the two become an almost inseparable pair. Satoshi joins the two later on.
The Classics Club quickly becomes enveloped by a sense of tedium, and Eru decides to drag the club into working on the club's annual anthology, entitled Hyouka. Hōtarō shows little interest in working on and retrieving copies of the anthology, but he decides to help after Eru privately requests him to solve the case of her missing uncle, which is related somewhat to the Hyouka anthologies.
With some clues dropped by Tomoe by phone, the Classics Club, now joined by Hōtarō and Satoshi's friend Mayaka Ibara, locates the past anthologies in the Biology Prep Room. There, they discover that the first issue was missing from the copies they found.
In order to begin piecing the clues they found regarding Eru's uncle Jun Sekitani, Eru organizes a meeting at her lavish Japanese-style home and invites the Classics Club to come. Each member hands out their findings, and while Hōtarō did the same, he points to Jun making a heroic sacrifice for the sake of the school.
He later discovers that his theory had holes, and eventually comes up with the conclusion that Jun suffered as a sacrifice for the sake of the school body. Hōtarō also links Hyouka to Sekitani's anguish by pointing out that the word hyouka is a pun for "I scream", which implies Jun's suffering. With the case of Jun Sekitani finally closed, Eru tearfully accepts her now-missing uncle's fate.
As a celebration for the success of the Classics Club, Eru plans a hot spring trip for the club in Zaizen Village, where they stayed at an inn owned by Mayaka's relatives. As he became carsick on the journey to the inn, he is mostly out of action, except for when he deconstructs a ghost story about a hanged man on closed-off area at the inn.
Upon returning to school, Hōtarō and the rest of the Classics Club are invited by Class 2-F's Fuyumi Irisu, who asks for help regarding the amateur film of her class left incomplete after the scriptwriter Mayu Hongō fell ill. In order to determine the culprit behind the murder in the film and the ending itself, the Classics Club meets up with three amateur detectives (Jun'ya Nakajō, Misaki Sawakiguchi and Tomohiro Haba) and the four listen to their respective views on the story. However, it was Hōtarō who delivered the final verdict and eventually brings the movie to its completion.
The pre-screening of the amateur film soon goes underway, and the movie was well-received by many, except for the Props Master Tomohiro Haba, who was disappointed by the outcome. Mayaka later points out that a length of rope prepared by Tomohiro was crucial to the story. To make things worse, Hōtarō has claimed his own conclusion to match that of the scriptwriter.
After Satoshi and Eru confront Hōtarō about his actions during the pre-screening, Hōtarō becomes dejected, primarily due to not considering Hongou herself and because of letting himself be manipulated by Irisu. He stayed in this state until Eru, Satoshi and Mayaka try to cheer him up when he took up a short part-time job as a lifeguard at the nearby pool resort.
Kamiyama High School Festival
By the start of the Kamiyama High School Festival, Hōtarō is back to his usual self, and he spent much of the day in the Geography Prep Room, especially with 200 copies of the latest Hyouka anthology that needs to be sold.
As Mayaka, Satoshi and Eru do their respective attempts to sell their anthology, Hōtarō ends up in a "straw millionaire" situation, where he trades something, starting from the broken fountain pen he received from her sister after coming home, to another throughout the festival. Hōtarō's trades helped the club for the first time when the bag of flour he got in a trade becomes a key ingredient in the Classics Club's dish for the school's cooking event.
Later in the day, Hōtarō's focus switches to a series of items lost throughout the school festival. This was later called the "Juumonji incident" after the name written in notes left by the culprit at the scene of the crime. Hōtarō decides to investigate the case to better advertise the club, and quickly links the case to the gojuon based on the clubs attacked and the items missing.
As the culprit remains at large, Hōtarō receives a copy of A Corpse by Evening from Tomoe at the last day of the festival, trading it for a hand mirror Hōtarō received. To the interest of Hōtarō, the manga gives out clues to the identity of "Juumonji", since the team behind the manga was also involved in a series whose plot mirrors that of Agatha Christie's The A.B.C. Murders, down to the note left by the culprit. Using these clues, he tracks down the culprit, who was part of the circle who made A Corpse by Evening, and makes a deal with him, allowing "Juumonji" to defeat the Classics Club in exchange for helping in selling the remaining copies of the Hyouka anthology.
As the festival draws to a close, Eru's announcement in a show hosted by the Broadcasting Club draws attention to the Classics Club, allowing not only the successful sales of the anthology, but also bringing the Juumonji Incident to a close with the culprit victorious.
Hōtarōu later explains the details to everyone, and he quietly joins the celebration of the successful sale of their anthology.
Beyond the Festival
Hōtarō underwent changes in his character after the end of the Kamiyama High School Festival. Aside from developing stronger bonds with Eru, he also gains a sense of initiative, although he still continues to be annoyed at Eru's moments of curiosity
In one particular instance, Hōtarō plays a seemingly random "game" with Eru to prove that theories can be created out of anything, and their game ends up accurately predicting an event based on their theories.
On the other hand, their bonds are put to the test in two particular occasions. Firstly, on New Year's Eve, Hōtarō ends up locking himself and Eru in a shed inside Arekusu Shrine due to Hōtarō's honest mistake and it took their combined efforts to call for help.
Also, at Valentine's Day, after recognizing Eru's efforts in helping Mayaka make some handmade chocolate for Satoshi, he covers up for everyone by making up a case involving someone else stealing Mayaka's chocolate when it went missing. He then confronts Satoshi, whom he knows was responsible for not only taking the chocolate, but also breaking it in two. Satoshi soon admits to the deed, and also reveals his change of heart from a competitive person to someone who longs for mediocrity.
By the end of winter, Hōtarō joins Eru in the yearly Hina Doll Festival in the town as he replaces an injured participant. In the festival, he acts as an umbrella carrier for Eru, who plays once more as the Empress, while Fuyumi Irisu plays as the Emperor. For the first time, Hōtarō shows interest in Eru while she was dressed in her full garb, and was distracted by Eru's appearance throughout the parade.
At the end of the day, after a short talk about the sudden rerouting of the festival parade, Hōtarō listens to Eru's plans of studying the sciences to help her family and her wish to share Eru's nostalgic side with him, and was already planning to confess his feelings for Eru. However, after remembering Satoshi warning him about the challenges of living a rose-colored life, he holds back, and instead appreciates the coming of spring with Eru.
The Hoshigaya Cup Endeavor
At the start of Houtarou's second year in high school, he and Eru managed to invite a freshman named Tomoko Oohinata to join the Classics Club. However, due to a confrontation involving Eru herself, Tomoko withdrew her provisional membership to the club. With the club demoralized by Tomoko's abrupt withdrawal, Houtarou decided to find out the reason behind Tomoko's decision and to clarify things before the deadline for club membership, which also fell on the day of the school's marathon event, also known to some as the Hoshigaya Cup.
During his run across the 20-kilometer course across town, Houtarou recalled several events spanning the 42 days of Tomoko's activity as a provisional member. During the New Recruit Festival at the start of the school term, Tomoko's interest in the club was piqued by a conversation between Houtarou and Eru regarding an unexpected sight in the table used by the Confectionery Research Society, which eventually led to exposing a food poisoning accident by the Cooking Club due to a mistake in ingredient preparation. On the day of his birthday, Houtarou was surprised by an unexpected party by the members of the club at his house, where Eru tried to cover up her knowledge of Houtarou's address. Two weeks later, the club visited a newly-opened cafe Tomoko's cousin owns near Kaburaya Middle School. Lastly, on the afternoon before the Hoshigaya Cup, a series of conversations ultimately led to Tomoko quitting the club the day before.
Based on the things he gathered from Satoshi, Mayaka and Eru and the details he remembered earlier, Houtarou began suspecting that the entire issue was caused by misunderstandings between the people involved. He eventually confirmed this from Tomoko herself, who admitted that her remarks against Eru (i.e., calling her a "bodhisattva on the outside", which is later connected to being a "yaksa on the inside") were out of fear that Eru's connections would expose the wrongdoings committed by Tomoko's middle school friend, who also attended Kaburaya Middle School. Tomoko eventually decided to apologize to Eru to clear up the misunderstandings between them, but felt too shameful of what happened that she was unable to return to the club as a result.
Hōtarō's eccentric older sister who requested Hōtarō join the Classics Club; doing so both to change Hōtarō's lifestyle and to preserve the Classics Club.
Hōtarō has been friends with Satoshi since middle school. They have a close relatonship which is shown by Satoshi calling Hōtarō by his first name. Though he tries to supress it, Satoshi is jealous of Hōtarō because of their drastic difference in talent. Whereas Satoshi spends a lot of energy to make other people happy, he has great difficulty solving mysteries on his own and is clearly outshined by Hōtarō. Though they are close friends, this envy Satoshi feels causes him to lose his temper with Hōtarō easily and manifests in a desire to see him fail.
Hōtarō maintains a friendly relationship with Eru and throughout the series they have gotten closer. He usually follows her whims although they differ from his energy-saving lifestyle. He is easily dragged into Eru's bouts of curiosity, which he finds he is unable to ever ignore. It is heavily implied that Hōtarō has a crush on her, as he is seen fantasizing about her several times throughout the series; however, he interprets this as either an annoyance or a disturbance to his lifestyle, especially around Satoshi and Mayaka. However, he is shown to blush in front of her several times and she also seems to be the only girl he "notices." When Eru dresses up, Hōtarō seems to be speechless about it. He also cares for her, shown where he got upset with Satoshi as he both hurt Mayaka and Eru in the process on Valentine's day. He later realizes that he does indeed have feelings for Eru, describing it as "how Satoshi was feeling" while talking about Mayaka.
Hōtarō and Satoshi have known Mayaka since their middle school years where they were named Kaburaya Middle School's best couple, much to both of their disgust and annoyance (as stated by Satoshi in episode 2). Kind words are rarely ever exchanged between them and most of their conversations are laced with sarcasm. Despite that, the two do seem to consider each other friends to a certain degree and Hōtarō appears to truly care for Mayaka as he was willing to get mad at Satoshi for her sake.
GalleryFor this subject's image gallery, see Gallery: Hōtarō Oreki
- "I don't do anything I don't have to. What I have to do, I do quickly."
- "I'm not against socializing, so long as it's not tiring."
- "The more inexperienced you are, the more you want to show off."
Personalities and Personal Details
- It's possible that Hōtarō has a mental disorder known as schizoid personality disorder. The one who suffer this kind of condition is often aloof, cold, and indifferent in many different ways like a lack of interest in social relationships, a tendency towards a solitary or sheltered lifestyle, unusual or bizarre behavior, have trouble establishing personal relationships or expressing their feelings meaningfully (which explains why Hōtarō is an introvert and has known only few friends), and many of them are good with conversation and mental games despite not seeking it out.
- Hōtarō has a habit of holding his front bangs with crossed arms whenever he is in deep thought. Certain characters have caught onto this habit.
- He doesn't care about his rank in the school. When he was ranked 175 out of the 350 students, he considered it a school 'prank' that he was actually ranked right in the middle.
- Due to the lack of exercise and other related activities, he gets carsick easily. This is shown in Episode 7 when he got carsick although it's only been an hour and a half of travel.
- Before he entered the Classics Club, he already had some interest in reading. As a proof, He has a bookcase in his room which he shares with his sister.
- When he is angry or upset, he usually shakes his left leg.
- It is implied that he might be able to reach (or actually already has) the same level of deductive reasoning ability and intellect as his sister's (who was implied to have been on top of things since Episode 1). This was during the time he tried to compete with Eru, Eru to prove that anyone can just make up any theory for any situation. During the said scene he was able to completely unravel a mystery regarding the school announcement made after-class hours, using only the announcement itself and the fact that he saw an article about fake bills going around town. Surprisingly, he is able to completely solve the mystery (albeit he was treating it as a game and was biding his time slowly, probably due to his nature of conserving energy.) as shown when the next morning, he reads on the newspaper the very same conclusion he came up with. It may possibly just be his lack of motivation and self-awareness that keeps his true abilities from coming out.
- According to the original novel series, his birthday is 28 April 1984. In Futari no Kyori no Gaisan, the fifth book in the series with contents beyond the anime adaptation, his 17th birthday anniversary was celebrated in the last Saturday of April 2001, which is 28 April. However, there was not any mention about his birthday in anime series as well as in the first four books. In that book, Chitanda also said that Hōtarō was the first member of the Classics Club who was 17, which can be implied that he was older than other main characters.
Trivia Related to Other Works
- Hōtarō has a similar resemblance to Hachiman Hikigaya from the 2013 anime, Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Come wa Machigatteiru, both are the protagonist of the story, lazy but smart and they do their own works in time, they were also being forced to join the club, and both were introverts. They also have their messy hair trademark, but Hachiman's "dead-fish" eyes are differently compared to Oreki's drowsy eyes, and they have different perception of people around him.
- He was the featured detective of Volume 83 of the Detective Conan manga.
- Yūichi Nakamura, Hōtarō's seiyuu, and Daisuke Sakaguchi, Satoshi's seiyuu, also voiced two characters in Clannad, Tomoya Okazaki and Yōhei Sunohara respectively. Like Hōtarō and Satoshi, Tomoya and Yōhei were also close friends.
|Hyouka Featured Characters|
|Main characters||Eru Chitanda • Houtarou Oreki • Satoshi Fukube • Mayaka Ibara|
|Students||Ayako Kouchi • Fuyumi Irisu • Jirou Tanabe • Jun'ya Nakajou • Kaho Juumonji • Koreyuki Tani • Kurako Eba • Masashi Tougaito • Mayu Hongou • Misaki Sawakiguchi • Muneyoshi Kugayama • Shouko Yuasa • Tomohiro Haba • Yasukuni Yoshino|
|Other||Jun Sekitani • Haruna Anjou • Kayo Zenna • Masakiyo Ogi • Omichi • Rie Zenna • Tomoe Oreki • Youko Itoigawa|