Hyouka, the debut novel of the popular mystery novelist Honobu Yonezawa, will get a live-action film adaptation with Kento Yamazaki and Alice Hirose as the two leading characters, joined by Fujiko Kojima and Amane Okayama. We have a few cuts from the movie, just for you!
Houtarou Oreki (Kento Yamazaki) is a first-year high school boy who tries to conserve as much energy as possible. His motto is, ‘Don’t do it if there is no need to. If it has to be done, do it quickly.’ Although he had been planning to spend a plain old quiet life in Kamiyama High School, he is ordered by his older sister to join the classic literature club, which was about to get abolished. He unwillingly goes to the club room, where he meets Eru Chitanda (Alice Hirose), also a new member of the club. Although she seems like a gentle and cute girl at first glance, Eru is full of a huge amount of curiosity and often says ‘I’m curious!’
Together with Mayaka Ibara (Fujiko Kojima) and Satoshi Fukube (Amane Okayama), his friends from middle school, Houtarou starts to take part in the classic literature club activities. As he gets involved in Eru’s actions, Houtarou solves many mysteries in school. Eru highly values Houtarou’s problem solving abilities, and one day asks him to do her a certain favor. Her request is to try to make her remember the words her uncle had told her before he suddenly disappeared ten years ago. Her uncle’s words had something to do with an incident that occurred 33 years ago in Kamiyama High School. In order to solve this mystery and the mysteries hidden in the Kamiyama school festival, the club members look for clues in ‘Hyouka’, the classic literature club’s essay collection which was published 33 years ago.
Hyouka is the first part of the Kotenbu (classic literature club) series, which has sold over 2.2 million copies. The novel is written by Honobu Yonezawa, who has won the triple crown in mystery novel rankings. Kento Yamazaki will play the energy-saving Houtarou Oreki, and Alice Hirose will play Eru Chitanda, who joins the classic literature club for a certain reason. By looking through the essay collection ‘Hyouka’, the two characters try to solve the mysteries hidden in the school’s history.
Fujiko Kojima and Amane Okayama, who are going to play alongside the two protagonists, are both popular actors in TV dramas and movies, and they are currently playing a role in the NHK’s morning drama series Hiyokko. Kojima is well known from the movies Lesson of the Evil (Aku no Kyouten) and Aozora Yell. She is currently playing Sachiko Akiba in Hiyokko. Mayaka Ibara, the character Kojima will play in Hyouka, is Houtarou’s friend from elementary school, and although she looks very cute, she is a girl with a sharp tongue. Mayaka used to be a library assistant and a manga club member, but she decides to join the classic literature club so that she can be with Satoshi, her crush since middle school.
Amane Okayama is famous for his roles in Kurosaki-kun no Iinari ni Nante Naranai (The Black Devil and the White Prince) and Kizoku Tantei (The Noble Detective). He also plays the role of a man who wishes to become a manga artist in Hiyokko. In Hyouka, Okayama is to play Satoshi Fukube, another friend of Houtarou. Although he praises himself to be ‘a database’ who has tons of knowledge, he only becomes enthusiastic about things he is interested in. Satoshi is very easygoing and always makes irresponsible remarks, and his trademark is his small drawstring bag.
Kojima, who felt very surprised and nervous when she first got the offer, commented, ‘I tried not to think too much and just followed my feelings. Although Mayaka, who is very small and is in her teens, looks very different from me, I always said to myself “I am Mayaka Ibara” during the shooting.’ Okayama commented, ‘Nowadays, I hardly have any opportunity to wear a school uniform, so I was very happy when I got the offer to play a role in a school life story like Hyouka. I also felt that this might be the last time to wear a school uniform. I also was very, very happy to join the same film as Kento Yamazaki and play the role of his best friend. Kento has been my friend since we were in our teens.’
Many of the film’s cast members are close in age, and that’s why Kojima mentioned that ‘in a comfortably tense atmosphere, I was able to act freely. Oreki, Chi-chan (Eru), and Fuku-chan (Satoshi) are all cute and comical characters, so the studio was always filled with a cozy atmosphere.’ Okayama mentioned, ‘The cast members became such great friends that we sometimes got too excited and loud. That’s how much we got along well.’
Regarding the completed film, Kojima commented, ‘I believe that the movie is different from the original novel in a good way, as it has its own atmosphere and story.’ Okayama added, ‘Although it is based on a mystery novel, I think the film is filled with the charms that viewers can enjoy only in Hyouka. I hope this movie can make people feel better, especially those who are stressed out in their daily lives and are feeling lonely.’
Hyouka will screen all over Japan in Fall 2017.