When they're not working hard at school, the girls of the Hidamari apartments love to get out and about. Whether they decide to visit an art museum on a day off, go for barbecue with the landlady, or visit the pool at the height of summer, Yuno and the gang know how to make the most of every situation they're in. But sometimes it's just as nice to relax at home with friends, from enjoying a peaceful pajama party, to helping Hiro wash her curtains and blowing bubbles with the detergent.
This review is the result of binge-watching the Hidamari Sketch specials connected to the Hoshimittsu and X SP collections. Each is a pair of original video animations that could have easily worked its way into the respective seasons, only the quality of the animation in these special editions is superior to the other twelve that make up the regular season. The technique is far more vivid and the use of color more vigorous when compared to the pale pastels of the first season. The music remains the same for each set, but the lyrics have always been lively. Hidamari Sketch always celebrates the simple events of life, especially as viewed through the eyes of a high school girl living away from home for the first time. Yuno ... I mean you. Visits to an art museum to appreciate the paintings and sculptures ... with a shocking realization that these collections could have items from any of these girls laboring in that field while at Yamabuki High. Improving one's swimming skills ... knowing that you don't need to be unconscious to float. Enjoying time at a buffet ... and learning the eating techniques people have when faced with the proposition of 'all-you-can-eat.' Going home to visit the parents ... and how those imperceptible changes just appear when one has been away for a while. The pleasures of barbecue ... and how those 'burnt offerings' lend to a sense of community for all those who come and dine. The development of these OVA as pairs supports the sense of 'slice of life' without the feelings of erratic jumping about the calendar as experienced in the first season. But these episodes all clustered about the carefree summer months. The Hoshimittsu specials help prepare for the Honeycomb season where we await the glorious day when Hiro and Sae graduate from Yamabuki High and all the emotions these six girls will have as that moment arrives. This marks the beginning of the fourth and final season of the Hidamari Sketch enterprise, one of the more thoughtful glimpses of the comradery of girls passing through those most important years of life. While it began roughly, the narrative smooths out to become a bittersweet remembrance of the good things of life.
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