Story: Group of girls attending an art school with a teacher who likes to cosplay.
Animation: Most of the background scenes include their apartments or random floating geometric shapes and plain colors.
Sound: The voice acting was good. The intro and outro are forgetable, I just got done watching the series today and I couldn't even hum the intro or outro for you if you asked me to.
Characters: I only found myself attached to only one character in the entire anime and that was Sae. The rest were a little too cookie-cutter for me.
Overall: This was labeled comedy, but it wasn't really. I might have laughed 2-3 times while watching all 12 episodes. The anime itself was okay, not a good laugh-out-loud kind of slice of life anime, but just a plain slice of life.
I was beginning to think about this ‘comedy about nothing’ about five episodes into the 12-episode season. And nothing happened in the remainder to convince me otherwise. Hidamari Sketch, which would begin a run of seasons beginning in 2007 and keep going for seven years, would tell the stories (meaningless and bland as they come) of four art students at Yamabuki High who find their lodgings in the nearby Hidamari Apts.
The sad thing about the characters is the character designs used to render them for the adventures that never seemed to come. Yuno and Miyako are the first-years, Hiro and Sae the second-years. The key character is Yuno, who is the shortest of the four and is the least mature. Life away from family seems to be hardest for her. Her classmate Miyako is perky though not easily motivated. Hiro is the one girl who takes on a more maternal role than the others (at least, the girls tend to congregate in her rooms, while Sae is a tomboyish writer who has already a fair amount of responsibility. The first-years live on the upper story of the apartment complex of six suites and tend to jump from the balcony to get to the second-years’ flats. This is the most action you’ll see in the whole season.
One would expect that an anime based on life at art school would present some classic shades for the scenes. Wrong! There seemed to be something wrong with the color/animation. Though a show based on the arts, color is not a dynamic effect. If the animators used pastel hues, the results would have would have been brighter. the color sets appeared something of a faded hue, like faded blue jeans. Rarely were there bright colors, and the worst were those sick pasty greens and reds.
There were problems with the plot, and it centered on an oddity of chronology with episodes being about one day, sometimes a holiday (last one on Christmas, with very little yule-tide feelings, unless going out and buying art supplies is a quaint Japanese spin on the season). But the dates are wildly out of order, as if we were bouncing about the three-year high school experience. June to April to November to May. Whatever happens in the episode (either pointless or boring) the episode ends with Yuno taking her nightly hot bath. As coloration is ‘off’ in this series, it is not odd to see water as mint green or sky blue, enough of a hue to hide the girl in the buff (nothing wrong with weirdly colored water … unless you’re a lecher or a perv). Not that this matters. Only one female in the cast could be declared as ‘hottie.’ Ms. Hoshinoya, the art teacher, is often volunteering to pose in any number of costumes from bikini to maid uniform to tour guide. The eccentricities often bring down the disapproval of the principal, as uniquely designed a character as one would imagine. Remarkably, characters as Hoshinoya and the Principal are tossed in to offer a touch of spice to the usual trite antics of the four girls. But, getting back to the only ‘sexy’ lady of the show, those strange cosplaying mannerisms would make Ms. Hoshinoya more along the lines of scary than alluring.
Hidamari Sketch is the first of several seasons. As the next years go along, more characters will be added, and possible conflicts may rise with the next years of art school as we do meet prospective rivals to Hiro and Sae. If the ‘anime about nothing’ finds a sounder theme (high school life … the concept is rift with possibilities) the Hidamari Sketch project will improve on an extremely bad start.
Being a Slice of Life anime, one shouldn't expect a plot with depth or moments that will make you cling to the edge of your sanity. One should expect each episode to have a small plot of its own, which tells a story with a beginning, middle and end. This is the case in Hidamari Sketch. Every episode has a plot of its own which gradually introduces you to how each character is based on their interactions with themselves and the situations they find themselves in.
Why 9/10? Simply because the stories told in this first season were filled with the finest humour and flowed through with ease. The only problem with that is that even in the last episode it continued that way. The last episode, as great and enjoyable as it was, didn't feel much like a "last episode".
The animation in this first season of Hidamari Sketch is the best you can find. They visibly did not have such a large budget for this season; however, Aoki Ume excelled her artistic spirit in this anime which has a large portion of its story and character development turned to art. In literature we read with the use of metaphors, similies and some personifications. All of those are used in the animation of Hidamari Sketch, graphically. The X that shows up on the screen, and your mind automatically turns to Yuno. The paw that symbolises Miyako, Sae's glasses, Hiro's hair. The backgrounds are colorful and happy when needed; grey and lonely when needed. Similar to Pathetic Fallacy in literature. Aoki Ume is a genius.
The sound team for Hidamari Sketch did a great job too. I have the soundtrack and constantly listen to it because it fits with the anime in a way almost unique to Hidamari Sketch. Hidamari Sketch's soundtrack is beautifully made and there are no mistakes, or songs that feel out of place. The soundtrack was composed by Kikuya Tomoki.
The voice acting is, in my opinion, another point in this anime that makes it unique. Hidamari Sketch's voice actors have amazing talent and did not only grasp the characters, but contributed to them as well. Miyako's voice actor, in particular, did a great job.
I have so much to say about the characters in Hidamari Sketch, it's not even funny. In a Slice of Life anime, the characters are the central piece. No character in Hidamari Sketch falls in with "the usual" or "the expected". All characters are unique and exceedingly amazing in their own ways. I have always got an easy pick on what character I most like from shows; but Hidamari Sketch was different. It took me three seasons to decide who I liked most.
Yuno: Yuno is the main character. Though some can argue the four girls are the main characters together, the focus is usually on Yuno. Her main characteristics are how short she is, and her insecurity when it comes to it; her love for art and her good spirit. A lot more is shown in the following seasons.
Miyako: Your first impressions of Miyako is that she is outgoing and energetic. But that is definitely not all there is to her. Besides her financial condition, you later discover through smart hints spread out through the series, she probably had quite a drastic past. Such drastic past was, to me, amplified when I noticed how much she eats. A lot. It is very rare to see Miyako worried about anything, and she keeps her head cool all times. For some she might seem immature at times, due to her outgoing nature; however if analysed correctly it is noticeable how mature she is. Constantly dropping phrases that sound more like life lessons here and there. My favourite character.
Sae: Sae is yet another unique character. She is constantly reminded about her small breast size and it makes her go red. In fact, many situations make her blush: Anything related to love, in fact. She has this shy side to her which is extremely interesting, considering how much of a father figure she also is sometimes. She has a part-time job as a writer and constantly stays up late, which shows her determination.
Hiro: This character is the group's mother, in essence. She is always in charge of the food, and constantly worried about her friends. This motherly aspect of her is mentioned, if not in this season, in x365 openly by Yuno once or twice. Another great feature of Hiro is her worry about her weight. She has a slim body but thinks she's fat; something I found quite amusing. Usually this kind of character is portrayed as someone who does it for the attention, but it is definitely not Hiro's case, which brings me back to how unique the characters in Hidamari Sketch are.
How will I even write an "Overall" section for the first season of my favourite anime? This season introduced me to the pinnacle of Moé and Slice of Life. I believe there is no way Hidamari Sketch could get a better first season than this, especially with the budget they had for this show. Overall, this season was 9.8/10 solely because of the last episode not feeling like a last episode. Overall, this season had the show's characters well introduced and set a perfect foundation for many other seasons to come.
Summary: “While Hidamari Sketch is not a profound or hilarious anime, I quite enjoyed its pleasant atmosphere, calm humor, and charming characters. Anyone who’s looking for a laid-back and cheerful anime and who doesn’t dislike moe or ‘pointless’ anime would be well-advised to check out Hidamari Sketch.”
Hidamari Sketch is not profound. It does not grip viewers with an enthralling plot, nor does it offer insight into the deep themes of life. It isn't exquisitely animated, nor is it a rollicking series of hilarious gags.
Why, then, have I offered it a 9/10?
The answer is simple: I enjoyed watching it. I liked the calm, pleasant atmosphere of the anime coupled with the quirky but nice characters. I appreciated the fact that I could get the occasional laugh but mostly revel in watching the carefree happenings of the cast’s lives.
To break it down:
Story: Hidamari Sketch is adapted from a 4-koma manga, meaning a manga comprised of individual, usually unrelated, four-panel skits. Needless to say, such panels can’t tell detailed stories, but they’re often sweet, and they usually offer a punch-line of sorts or a beat of character interaction. In the anime, this style was mostly upheld, and the simple but poignant style of the 4koma came through.
Because of the near plotlessness, characters are important in such an anime (or manga). Hidamari Sketch brings the viewer several reasonably unique and refreshing characters. Each of the characters has a couple main attributes which are played on throughout the anime, but as the episodes progress and one sees the characters in many different situations, they get a somewhat fuller sense of the personality of those characters. Finally, all the characters are very pleasant. There are no abrasive people (cf. Lala, School Rumble) or hyperactive ones which can sometimes be annoying (cf. Kana, Minami-ke - I did say -sometimes-). Hidamari Sketch's nice characters contribute to the anime's light-hearted and enjoyable feel.
The events of the anime, as well as the characters, contribute to the gentle, cheerful atmosphere of Hidamari Sketch which made it so enjoyable for me. Sure it's unrealistic, sure it's pointless, but I found it to be excellently pleasant and relaxing. (Great to watch at 2 AM. ;D)
The bright atmosphere of Hidamari Sketch is matched by its animation. I believe there were almost no dark colors in the anime, rather the scenes are filled with bright colors and bright characters. Character animation is well-done, the “moe” intent is blatant but reasonably fitting. Scenery behind a character is often replaced with a patterned background when they speak, which, combined with the variance in camera position and some stylistic quirks (showing footsteps instead of a character walking, etc - I mean, it's Studio Shaft), helps to keep a mainly "talking heads" anime a little more visually interesting.
As much as the animation of Hidamari Sketch contributes to the light-heartedness of the anime, so does the sound. The voice actors are well suited to the characters, and the background music adds a cheery feel to the anime with simple but enjoyable tunes.
Conclusion (yes, finally):
(Same as summary >.<) While Hidamari Sketch is not a profound or hilarious anime, I quite enjoyed its pleasant atmosphere, calm humor, and charming characters. Anyone who’s looking for a laid-back and cheerful anime and who doesn’t dislike moe or “pointless” anime would be well-advised to check out Hidamari Sketch.
Now you may be thinking, but fly_boy42, I've seen hidamari sketch, it's literally about girls sitting around and doing nothing, there's nothing entertaining about that! Well, no, you probably aren't thinking that, you're probably thinking: what the heck is hidamari sketch?! Well it's a show about four girls doing nothing, but it's kinda like watching a dysfunctional effeminate family, with an aunt who needs to grow up. she's an adult now, stop acting like you're a student. Also, Hiro is voiced by yuko goto, also known as the voice of mikuru asahine. Incidentally this is also a very pretty anime, with lovely and soft visuals, only gay men could not like it. It even has two seasons and is getting a third, it's as popular as sayonara zetsubo sensei.
So, yeah, the show is all about Yuno (the character metroidmaster replaced in my video) and her life at a dorm while she goes to an art high school. Her dorm mates are the perma-hungry Miyako (replaced by me) effeminate Hiro (replaced by gendreavus) and tomboyish Sae (replaced by the strafe) These girls often hang out during their down time at talk about trivial things. But the thing is, their antics are heartwarming and fun. The huge lack of plot or goings on is compensated by just how nice it is, Like I said before, it's like watching a family with two daughters and a mother and father. And no, this show has no romance, since there is only one old man, and the rest of the characters are women. Another point of this show is that even though the characters are based off of moe stereotypes, they are much more 3 dimensional than most comedy animes, and they better be, seeing as this anime is centered around them.
It's weaknesses are that it's anime can be confusing because the timeline is random and typical SHAFTiness of cutting corners for the sake of better visuals may confuse people. (in many scenes they replace walking up stairs with vertically moving lines.)
Another problem with it is the fact it is one of the slowest shows I've ever seen, and I spend most of my time watching slow paced anime. The most action packed episode has the dorm exploding and the principal jumping over a gate in one bound. Oddly enough, that was a much more action pact than most of the episodes, SHAFT was just faking us out.
So, yeah, it's not for everyone, but if you like watching nice things, you might want to check it out. If you like action and deep plots.... well, there's always more naruto...