It’s no surprise that these days, I tend to enjoy the usual slice of life anime with a mostly, if not all female cast. Perhaps one of the most known school-girl slice of life story that publishes in the Manga Time Kirara Carat is Hidamari Sketch. It’s not too surprising since this is the first title out of many published in the Manga Time Kirara that received an anime adaptation.
If you take a first glance of the show’s poster image or one of the volumes of the manga, this might remind you of another show, Madoka Magica. The person behind these character designs is Aoki Ume. She is a mangaka known for creating cute character designs.
While Hidamari Sketch is one of her well known works, she also created character designs for Madoka Magica including some characters in Magia Record, and the main character for Kirara Fantasia, Kirara. If you didn’t know, Kaname Madoka is basically based on Yuno. Of Shaft both animated Hidamari Sketch and Madoka Magica. As expected, I enjoyed the first season quite a lot since it has a lot of funny and cute moments.
The story focuses on a girl named Yuno. She receives an acceptance to Yamabuki High art school. She moves into a small apartment building near the school. From there, she makes friends with her neighbor, Miyako along with Sae and Hiro who also lives in the same apartment building, but on the first floor. As they do various activities together in the apartment, at school, and various places in the city, cute things happen.
If you noticed that after watching the second episode, you might notice that the episodes are out of order. If you watched Suzumiya Haruhi, it’s kind of the same way. However, it’s by design as each episode focuses on a certain date. In the manga, 15 strips make up an entire month. So, if you want to watch them chronologically, you need to jump around the first three seasons. Still, since the pacing is slow and each episode feels like an individual short story, it’s not disorientating compared to Haruhi.
I have to admit that there are a lot of funny and cute moments. Yes, tons of them. One of them is of course Miyako poking fun at Hiro’s weight on several occasions. Of course, Hiro seems to like her sweets, but at the same time concerned about her weight woes. While she becomes annoyed when Sae brings up her diet woes, she is outright brutal on Miyako when she pushes this button. This shows that Hiro and Sae are awfully close, although Sae is reluctant to admit it.
The funny thing is that Miyako also does this to Sae by mentioning how masculine she is on several occasions. Her short hair doesn’t help as others mistakes her as a boy, especially Miyako sometimes. But still, I have to admit the moments with her, and Hiro are cute. They are so close that they border on becoming an actual couple.
Of course, Miyako is awfully close to Yuno. It’s not too surprising since not only she eats every slice of bread Yuno is trying to use as an eraser. I have to admit that moment was hilarious. Of course, there is more. Miyako mentions how pretty Yuno’s pink panties are after she is jumping off the balcony in the 8th episode.
Also, I find it amazing how she advocates same sex relationships. When Yuno runs off to see Kishi Maiko to ask her if she will find a dream, Miyko cheered her on and tells her not to worry about same gender being an obstacle. It’s quite obvious that Miyako is up to something that we already know about. Still, this is not too surprising since Miyako is close to Yuno.
Even so, I have to admit that there are some nice moments. Yes, the episode where Yuno catches a cold and her body is glowing red. I have to admit that her dream was crazy. She works on a statue for some kind of assignment. Then she changes into a princess’s dress and continues to work on the statue before she collapses. She also wonders around town and sees Chika singing karaoke.
Meanwhile, Miyako changes Yuno’s pajamas while she is asleep after realizing how much she is sweating. She even discovers Yuno’s mole as well. Still, this brings home the point how much Miyako cares about Yuno. This is in addition to Sae and Hiro eventually visits Yuno to see how she is doing.
Of course, I have to admit that Yoshinoya is a fun character. Sure, she is Miyako’s and Yuno’s homeroom teacher, she is ditzy and into cosplay. Yes, she tried to become a model and have her students sketch her in various cosplay outfits. That is until the principal comes into the classroom.
Obviously, this gets her into trouble with the principal. As you would expect, she is into cosplay that she even makes her own outfits. She even declares herself as being “forever seventeen” and still lives in her parents’ house. There is no wonder she becomes upset when her parents kick her out for a day. Yes, even when it’s a holiday.
Still, I have to give her props since she tried acting as a tour guide but couldn’t do it after the motion sickness. Even so, it’s sad that her voice actress, Matsuki Miyu passed away from an infection in 2015.
On the other hand, while this show originally aired both in 2007 and Shaft’s subsequent works looks better since then, I have to admit that the animation direction is creative as seen with other shows they animated. Not as creepy compared to Madoka Magica, but their signature art direction works well, especially with some of the episodes. For instance, Episode 5 as Yuno experiences a strange dream while she experiences a cold. While it’s definitely feels surreal, it does show the state of mind she was in.
Overall, the first season of Hidamari Sketch is very enjoyable, mostly because of the cute moments that tastes like diabetes. Besides the animation, the music is also very good and adds to the overall carefree mood of the series. Of course, there are four seasons of this show and I will review more in the future. Still, if you enjoyed Madoka Magica and need something that is lighthearted and filled with cuteness, definitely give this show a go.
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