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Hōtarō Oreki

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"I don't do anything I don't have to. What I have to do, I do it quickly."
—Houtarou Oreki's catchphrase
Hōtarō Oreki
Hotaro2
  Kanji 折木 奉太郎
  Romanji Oreki Hōtarō
Characteristics
  Age 16
  Gender Male
  Height 176 cm (5'9")
  Weight 62 kg (137 lbs)
Personal Status
  Occupation Student
  Clubs Classics Member
  Relatives  
First appearance
  Manga Debut Chapter 1
  Anime Debut Episode 1
Voice Actors
  Japanese Yuichi Nakamura

Hōtarō Oreki (折木 奉太郎, おれき・ほうたろう, Oreki Hōtarō) is the main protagonist of the Hyouka series. He is a student of Kamiyama High School in Class 1-B, 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 oftens finds himself aiding the ever curious Eru Chitanda.

Biography

Houtarou belongs to a family of at least four members, and lives with his older sister Tomoe and their father in a detached home, although Tomoe's constant travels often leave Houtarou home alone. Houtarou's typical day at home involves reading the daily newspaper and napping, and occasionally reads manga if it interests him. He prefers shallow roasted coffee.[1]  As a student, Hōtarō has been in the same class and school as Mayaka since their first grade in elementary school, and the two would later meet Satoshi in Kaburaya Middle School(鏑矢中学). According to a previous fiscal year intermediate examination result, his performance ranked moderately at #125 out of 350 examinees. Houtarou enrolled in Kamiyama High School(神山高校) in April 2000. [1]

General Information

Personality

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 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.

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.

Appearance

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. Fukube Satoshi once said that if Oreki wasn't so lazy, he would be popular because of his looks.

Plot

Reviving the Classics Club

Some time after Houtarou 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 Houtarou'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. Houtarou 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 Houtarou 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 Houtarou did the same, he points to Jun Sekitani 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 Sekitani suffered as a sacrifice for the sake of the school body. Houtarou also links Hyouka to Sekitani's anguish by pointing out that the word hyouka is a pun for "I scream", which implies Jun Sekitani's suffering. With the case of Jun Sekitani finally closed, Eru tearfully accepts her now-missing uncle's fate.

Summertime Anguish

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, Houtarou 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 Houtarou 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, Houtarou has claimed his own conclusion to match that of the scriptwriter. After Satoshi and Eru confront Houtarou about his actions during the pre-screening, Houtarou 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, Houtarou 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, Houtarou 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. Houtarou'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, Houtarou'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. Houtarou 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, Houtarou receives a copy of A Corpse by Evening from Tomoe at the last day of the festival, trading it for a hand mirror Houtarou received. To the interest of Houtarou, 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.

Houtarou later explains the details to everyone, and he quietly joins the celebration of the successful sale of their anthology.

Beyond the Festival

Houtarou underwent changes in his character after the end of the Kamiyama High School Festival. Aside from developing stronger bonds with Eru Chitanda, he also gains a sense of initiative, although he still continues to be annoyed at Eru's moments of curiosity. In one particular instance, Houtarou 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, Houtarou ends up locking himself and Eru in a shed inside Arekusu Shrine due to Houtarou'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.

Relationships

Tomoe Oreki

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.

Satoshi Fukube

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.

Eru Chitanda

Hōtarō maintains a friendly relationship with Chitanda and usually follows her whims although they differ from his energy-saving lifestyle. He is easily dragged into Chitanda's bouts of curiosity, which he finds he is unable to ever ignore. It is heavily implied that Oreki 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 later realizes that he does indeed have feelings for Chitanda.

Mayaka Ibara

Hōtarō and Satoshi have known Mayaka since their middle school years. 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.

Gallery

For this subject's image gallery, see Gallery: Hōtarō Oreki 

Quotes

  • "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."

Trivia

Houtarou in deep thought - Ep 4

Holding his hair out of habit, in episode 4

  • 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 Chitanda, 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.

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Official Light Novel website character description. Retrieved 23/06/2014.

Related Articles

Character Navigation Bar
Main Characters
Hōtarō Oreki | Eru Chitanda | Satoshi Fukube | Mayaka Ibara
Kamiyama High School Students
Fuyumi Irisu | Masashi TōgaitoJirō Tanabe | Muneyoshi Kugayama | Kaho Jūmonji | Ayako Kouchi | Shōko Yuasa | Kurako Eba | Jun'ya Nakajō | Tomohiro Haba | Misaki Sawakiguchi | Takeo Kaitou | Midori Yamanishi | Mamiko Senoue | Takeo Katsuta | Yuri Kounosu | Koreyuki Tani | Ariyoshi | Iizuka | Henmi | Matsushiro | Nakayama | Mayu Hongō | Yasukuni Yoshino
Other Characters
Tomoe Oreki | Jun Sekitani | Yōko Itoigawa | Masakiyo Ogi | Haruna Anjō | Rie Zenna | Kayo Zenna

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