Hidamari Sketch


Yuno has just begun school where she always wanted, Yamabuki High School. She moves away from her family to an apartment by herself in a complex called Hidamari-so, right in front of the school. There, she meets a classmate, Miyako, as well as, two seniors students, Hiro and Sae. Yuno's days become hectic as she begins socializing the these strange art-students that live in her complex. Although she's not used to her new life style, she begins to actualize her dream while being with these gentle friends.

Hidamari Sketch is based on a synonymous yonkoma revolving around the daily lives of a group of young girls all living in the same apartment where artists gather. It was first serialized in the seinen manga magazine Manga Time Kirara Carat in April 2004, published by Houbunsha. Yen Press licensed the manga for English language distribution, and released the first volume on May 27, 2008. A twelve-episode anime based on the manga under the original title Hidamari Sketch aired between January 11, 2007 and March 29, 2007. Two more special episodes were aired on October 18, 2007. A second season entitled Hidamari Sketch× 365 began airing on July 3, 2008. Two light novels have finally been written, with their story drawn directly from the manga.

AniDB, AnimePlanet, ANN, Official, Thread@AnimeSuki, TV-Tropes, wiki
AniDB, AnimePlanet, ANN, Official, Thread@AnimeSuki (x 365)

Studio: SHAFT
ef, Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, Negima, Rec, Pani Poni Dash, Tsukuyomi, Geneshaft, Generator Gawl

Director: Shinbo Akiyuki
ef, Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, Negima, Pani Poni Dash, Tsukuyomi, Cossette, Nanoha, Triangle Hearts, SoulTaker

Character Design: Ito Yoshiaki
Gakuen Alice

Original Creator: Aoki Ume

Series Composition: Hasegawa Nahoko
Zero no Tsukaima: Princess no Rondo

Typical SHAFT ... surreal images, occasional two-color backgrounds, real photos over drawing, etc. Surrealism and minimalism actually help a lot to divert the viewer's attention away from the technical details and focus it on the dialog and atmosphere. In general, I came to love this approach and its a pity we do not see it outside this studio. As for the character designs, well ... the characters look a couple of years younger then they are supposed to be, but since this is not a fun-service feast, I do not mind it. They are very well drawn and animated consistently.

OP and ED of both seasons are light and easy-going j-pop, fitting though with the overall atmosphere of the series. The BMG is very subtle, most of the times even unnoticeable, because it always manages to integrate flawlessly with the atmosphere of the scene it accompanies. The VA were very well done, conveying the appropriate emotions and was very distinct for each character's personality.

Actually, the lack of one is apparently the case here. The series is character driven and deals with the every day lives of the four main characters. Also of note is the shuffling of the chronological order (each episode title corresponds to the date its events take place within a single year). This shuffling though confusing at first actually works well, in the sense that takes away the viewers focus from the events themselves and redirects it to how the characters deal with them.

As with the plot there is little true development of the characters during the timeframe shown in the series. But, all four characters are very well developed and feel like real persons with distinct and interesting personalities.

Yuno,VA:Asumi Kana
Yuno is a young playful girl and the main protagonist of the series. She lives in the Hidamari apartments, along with her close friends and neighbors Miyako, Hiro, and Sae. Her friends think of her as a very nice person. She dreams of being a great artist someday. Although she is a skilled artist overall, she considers painting and drawing her specialties.

Miyako,VA:Mizuhashi Kaori
Miyako is Yuno's close friend, classmate, and next door neighbor in the apartment building where they live. She has an active personality and is always trying to have fun with her friends. Her exuberance frequently borders on the childlike, but she is undeniably creative. She is very spontaneous and claims the word "plan" does not exist in her dictionary. She loves to eat and has frequently asked for Hiro's leftovers when she is on one of her diets. She sometimes points out that Hiro may be gaining weight, which earns her a punch on the head by Hiro. Miyako's energy is frequently excessive and misplaced. Her rent is cheaper than that of the other girls because her apartment is in poor repair, which is fortunate because she has less money than the other girls most of the time.

Hiro,VA:Goto Yuko
Hiro is a year older than Yuno and Miyako, living directly under Yuno's apartment. Although she tries to be a supportive senpai to the girls, she tends to worry excessively about her weight, causing her to go on diets for periods while occasionally binging on sweets. A childhood friend of Sae, she is one of her neighbor's principal sources of support when she is involved with a deadline or other crisis.

Sae,VA:Shintani Ryoko
Sae is an upperclassman and good friends with Hiro. Her artistic specialties are photography and fiction writing; she writes fiction professionally and enrolled at the school specifically so she could learn how to illustrate her own work. Sae, who is tall, athletic, and generally mature, has a playful side that can be at the same time enigmatic and cunning; she has a habit of giving Yuno just enough warning about potential problems for the younger girl to fail to avoid them. She also has a fondness for playing detective when faced with such anomalies as Miyako's apartment. She tends to get upset when Miyako refers to her as having masculine qualities. She also gets very uncomfortable when asked about her love life, frequently inventing a history for herself that even cursory examination would show to be absurd, while blushing furiously.

Yoshinoya-sensei,VA:Matsuki Miyu
Yoshinoya is Yuno and Miyako's homeroom teacher and art instructor. She is buxom, exuberant, and a cosplay maniac. So much so, in fact, that she will frequently wear incredibly complicated things that are at times truly inappropriate. She has a fondness for modeling for her class, displaying her latest outfits whenever she can, and showing off in general. It is later revealed that Yoshinoya still resides with her parents, and would often be criticized by them for not being mature. When asked her age, she will answer "eternally seventeen".

The Principal is a thin, aging and balding man whose teeth are almost always chattering. Although he sometimes exhibits inexplicable behavior, when he appears it is most frequently to chastise Yoshinoya over her latest excess. Miyako can do a frightening effective imitation of him.

Ouya,VA:Sawashiro Miyuki
The Landlady is the female owner of Hidamari Apartments. She has quite a few masculine characteristics as she often wears baseball cap, goes out for a fishing in her spare time, and is a heavy smoker. Although she has a very laid-back personality, she is often seen very busy doing various part-time jobs.

Chika,VA:Kugimiya Rie
Chika is Sae's thirteen-year-old sister. She is more spontaneous and energetic than her older sister. She enjoys cooking and has an infatuation with a Kabuki actor. She has no artistic talent and prefers music and home economics to art.

If you like high school slice-of-life comedy with a healthy dosage of surrealism, try also: Azumanga Daiou, Pani Poni Dash and Sketchbook

Or if you liked the surrealism and minimalism of SHAFT's animation try Shinbo's other works: ef: a tale of memories, Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, Negima, Pani Poni Dash, Tsukuyomi, SoulTaker