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.