This post is meant to be read in tandem with A Day Without Me’s post over at her blog, GAR GAR Stegosaurus. If you haven’t given it a look I strongly suggest you do. Stemming from this post, an immediate reaction to Episode 12 of Hyouka, and the off-handed suggestion that Satoshi Fukube, the self-titled database of Hyouka‘s high school detective team, is in fact gay.
Thus, the two of us set out in search of just how much evidence existed to support our theory and returned with some surprisingly sound results culminating in these parallel posts. Hers was to focus on what she calls “signposts:” signifying common characteristics that are meant to be seen and recognized by the audience as homosexual, regardless of whether they are true to life or not. Mine, as you are about to discover, was to focus on the development and nuances within Satoshi’s interactions with others as framed by the series itself.
In Hyouka‘s premiere episode, the audience is introduced to Satoshi Fukube through the lead character, Oreki Houtarou, in a conversation about Houtarou’s supposedly “gray” personality. The above screenshot is certainly telling, we’ll address the way Satoshi looks at Houtarou in a bit, as Satoshi is first and foremost portrayed as someone who not only pays attention to things, but pays attention to Houtarou specifically. The jocular tone he takes with Houtarou, even in their first-shown conversation, signifies their closeness as friends, a rarity for a personality like Houtarou who tends to ignore people. On the other side of this personality coin is the overt friendliness of Satoshi. He is the quintessential friend, who is liked by everyone but presumably not emotionally close with many. Yet, he chooses to be close to the prickly Houtarou. This initial conversation is bookended at the end of the first episode, with a concise breakdown of Houtarou’s character by none other than Satoshi. Satoshi cuts through Houtarou’s blustering and immediately points out inconsistencies in Houtarou’s actions that point to his already-changing character. Again, this goes to show the amount of attention that Satoshi pays to Houtarou in a given day.
Of course, this could also easily be attributed to Satoshi’s role as the database. After all, Satoshi’s talent is his ability to accrue facts and figures; a self-described database; his role within the detective team is as such. However, Satoshi’s insights into other characters in the series are surprisingly limited to the most banal of statistics. He knows immediately who Chitanda is, in spite of never having met her before, based on his knowledge of her powerful family. His knowledge of Ibara should by all accounts be extensive, yet he never shares it with any of the other characters within the series, and therefore never informs the audience. The only person that the series chooses to frame Satoshi’s interactions with and interest in is Houtarou.
Satoshi’s interest in Houtarou is never more evident than in Episode 10, where Satoshi’s jovial student mask slips and for the first time, barring slight visual cues which, again, will be addressed shortly, he reveals the serious side of his personality. When asked by Houtarou if he ever doubts his own character, Satoshi brushes him off saying that of course he does. He remains personable throughout the conversation, all the while levying criticisms against himself and his character. At the very end of the conversation, Satoshi’s face falls flat and he admits his jealousy towards Houtarou. This conversation is important not only for the immediate weight that it brings to its present situation, but also for the weight it adds to Satoshi’s actions. Piggybacking on something Satoshi says in the first episode, “A joke only lasts for a moment; if it leaves a misunderstanding, it becomes a lie.” it shows that Satoshi is more than well-aware that his own words and actions have consequences. Above all, it shows that nearly everything Satoshi does is seemingly deliberate, making his initial impression of rosy high school student ring all the more false.
In addition to this, Satoshi above all, wants to believe in Houtarou. When Houtarou deduces an incorrect conclusion to the unfinished movie of Class 2-F, Satoshi notices immediately, presents his reasons to Houtarou, and then asks Houtarou how he will present the conclusion of the movie to others. Satoshi reiterates that if Houtarou says that the movie’s ending was his idea and his alone, Satoshi will support him; however, if Houtarou chooses to say that the ending was what the original scriptwriter had wanted, Satoshi will have to oppose him. There is a desperation in Satoshi’s voice and facial expressions as he addresses Houtarou, signifying that Satoshi desperately wants Houtarou to be honest with everyone and himself. In a more selfish fashion, if Houtarou is honest, it will validate Satoshi’s own admiration for Houtarou.
There are also visual cues that hint at a the hidden depths of Satoshi’s personality. In the above shot, Houtarou has just admitted his potential yearning for, as Satoshi puts it, a rose-colored life. In this case, a rose-colored life would mean something akin to what Satoshi has: being a member of multiple clubs, outgoing, jocular, and well-liked by all. However, Satoshi is noticeably shrouded in darkness for the entirety of this scene. As the clouds clear, the Rembrandt lighting chooses not to illuminate Satoshi, the one who supposedly has it all already. In the Episode 10 conversation mentioned previously, Satoshi’s face is highlighted starkly immediately before he admits his jealousy (see the screenshot above this one) and the camera is quick to cut away from his face when he actually does express jealousy, leaving the audience to only guess at what his face might look like. Seemingly, Satoshi has become a master at repressing his own emotions and desires.
I would be remiss if I did not address another, glaringly obvious, reason for Satoshi’s interest in Houtarou. The clue to this lies in the most recent ending song where Satoshi dresses as none other than one of the most well-known villains in detective fiction: Professor James Moriarty. Most recognized as Detective Sherlock Holmes’s archenemy, Moriarty in popular dialogue is not only portrayed as a criminal mastermind, but one who is on the same level of genius as Holmes himself, the only difference between the two men being their morality. While I hardly believe that Satoshi is a criminal mastermind, I wouldn’t be surprised if he had had some hand in Houtarou’s development within the series, including providing a few of the mysteries for Houtarou and the gang to solve.
If not gay, at the very least, I think that the evidence is stacked in favor of Satoshi being far more obsessed with Houtarou than one naturally is interested in their own classmates and friends. What the series chooses to do with this remains to be seen.