[Note: This post contains not a ton of Hyouka and a rather large amount of a personal account told with cringe-worthy detail, so consider yourself forewarned]
Jumping right in, the anime I "got" was Hyouka, specifically episodes 10 and 11. In 10, Irisu tells Hotarou straight up, "You are special." But then disaster strikes in 11 as Hotarou gets the mystery he was trying to solve "wrong," thus proving himself not special. This whole thing confused a lot of people. There was lots of "WTF?!" in my Twitter timeline, and not many seemed to understand (at least at first) why Hotarou got so upset. I found it all very natural, to the point I was a little underwhelmed after hearing everyone's surprise about it. Upon thinking about, I realized the reason I found it so natural is because it pretty closely mirrored my own life not too long ago. I've been where Hotarou was before (or at least in a place similar to it), and I know what it feels like.
|Yeah, I'm familiar with this.|
There were other, more immediate issues as well. Scholastic requirements already required of me were starting to increase greatly in pressure, and I also had my blog to keep up with. I was struggling to get out a review I had been planning for weeks, I was dealing with "recent blogger = no commenters" syndrome, and, most of all, I was starting to branch out to other aniblogs in full. I think that was what did it, specifically finding and reading 2D-Teleidoscope.
2DT's blog has always been a bit of a bittersweet thing for me (I'll probably make a post on it sometime), but never more so than that it was that first time I read it. My life and blog issues had already gotten me quite stressed and depressed, but that experience was the straw that broke my proverbial back. I felt immense joy - and a sense of discovery usually reserved for those "special" anime shows - as I read the blog. I knew I was seeing something really special, something amazing, and that was the "sweet" part. But at the same time, I knew I was seeing something really special, something I couldn't hope to do. Over the course of two hours late one evening, as I read nearly every post on the blog, I saw what special was. In doing so, I fully (and quite consciously) realized that it wasn't me, and it never would be. I was not special. And I didn't know how to deal with it.
So, much like Hotarou, the first thing I did was become angry. I spent a few hours that night just typing out rants about things I disliked, anything, using the blog as a springboard. I can't say I was fuming or lashing out at people or even getting worked up to the extent that Hotarou was. Heck, my siblings have given me a number of different titles (ranging from "robot" to "sociopath") for being outwardly quite emotionless. But inside, I was quite fired up, and it says a lot about the feeling that it elicited such an intense emotional response from me. That's probably why I could understand Hotarou's anger so well. The initial reaction for both of us was the same. I felt my ire rising, and though I knew I was really angry at myself, I felt the need to blame others for it, to lash out, to turn the focus away from myself, if only for a moment. Hotarou did that with Irisu, and I did it with society as a whole (the target of my still unpublished rant). But after the initial anger, all that was left was a feeling of self-loathing and emptiness.
|I think Hotarou felt it too.|
What happened next was a bit anti-climactic, much like it was with Hyouka. For me, I just sort of...continued living. I got back into blogging with a little project I had wanted to make for a while, and I decided that I'd try to change my approach, since I realized that I'd never be special in the ways I wanted to be. I promised myself that I'd be okay with just being "average," and I've been fighting an uphill battle on mud against my natural (and unfulfillable) desires ever since. I can't tell you how many times I've slipped back into and out of depression. My mood for the Summer must look like a cosine graph, what with the way my hopes of being special came back (coming soon: Diary of a Pre-Calculus Chapter Lived). But Hyouka got me thinking about something. The "solution," whether for Hotarou or for me, doesn't seem to exist. People don't just suddenly become special, and there are some standards that you simply can't (or won't) ever live up to. Life just "goes on," both for him and for me. What if that is the solution, though? What if just being yourself is enough to be special? Perhaps I'm being a bit romantic, or perhaps Hotarou is still the limbo of depression that I was. But I feel that it's certainly safe to say that Hotarou is special, just perhaps not on his own terms.
If we look at it that way, then maybe the idea of being special just by being ourselves isn't so farfetched after all. With Hotarou, it's obvious enough; he's essentially a teenage Sherlock Holmes (even if he denies it). And for me? Who knows. It's those little things that lift me out of depression up to the positive amplitude of my graph. A professor from Cuba calling me a "grammar expert." People commenting on my blog. Seeing the tab I have Twitter's "Connect" feature open in light up. Perhaps those things make me "special" in my own way...Well, at the very least, it's a nice idea, isn't it?