HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! Another year of animes gone. Some mediocre, some okay and some superbly extraordinary. As usual my New Year resolution would be to watch more animes and hopefully though it won’t be possible to ask that they don’t suck, at least let it be decent. Especially when the series end, okay? So here is another blog to kick start the New Year!

It feels like a long time though it has only been a year apart when I watched GA Geijutsuka Art Design Class OVA. I may not be an art enthusiast still, so the reason I’m watching this is mainly because of the quirky quintet of the art class. What would an art class be without the lively personalities of those girls. It would be tad boring if they are only creative in their work so I guess this is where the fun is. Those who have watched the TV series may find this OVA like an extension since many of the familiar aspects are retained.

It begins with Namiko and Noda admiring the weather vane from their class when Kisaragi starts panicking and wishes for a disaster to happen! Gosh, what happened to this sweet naive girl that made her desire something so sinister? Apparently their petite textile teacher, Yoshino Koshino strikes fear among the many art students. She’s a very strict teacher when it comes to her work and it seems she isn’t pleased with the first years handing in their work poorly, especially designing original costumes. Poor Kisaragi is trembling in fear. Yeah, that’s the earthquake she’s been hoping for. Herself. Yoshino has what her students call a Public Execution Chair in which students sit on the lower chair as she criticizes their work while looking at the ‘victim’ in the eye. Several students were ‘executed’ in front of class including Kisaragi and Tomokane.

Kyouju tries to give them some tips since she has finished hers but of course she’s on a level which ‘ordinary’ students can’t understand. Too advanced to learn from her. Then it’s Namiko’s turn as she departs her style of using something random as a symbol and then turning it into a fashion but the rest misinterpreted it. Finally the fashion enthusiast Noda explains her way of doing so like imagining the clothes she would like someone to wear and then adding colours and accessories. But Kisaragi isn’t inspired so she tries to summon spirits to help her! Namiko gives Kisaragi a fashion magazine to read but she got distracted about the model’s thin body size rather than their clothes. Then Tomokane seems to have finished hers and presents her work to Yoshino but again she criticizes it for being a rip-off of a popular sci-fi movie years ago. To make matters worse, she pins her work up on the board for everyone to see the work of the ‘cheaters’! Tomokane gets desperate and just draws what comes to mind and surprisingly she got a pass.

Yoshino’s class period ends and though Kisaragi is relieved but she’s still trembling in fear. Low on confidence, she starts thinking that this area isn’t her forte. Noda advises her that she loves watching and imaging clothes since it’s exciting. For those who hate or even have no interest in them but went on to become world class designers, they really must be talented. She believes they normally started out by being in too much love with it and then getting excited about it. She asks if Kisaragi has any clothes she likes because being a girl, there is always a place in their heart that they love some sort of clothes. Kisaragi mentions she likes the kimono and traditional clothes as she used to collect scrap fabric. Though Kisaragi thinks it’s old fashion, Noda thinks they’re cute. Few days later Kisaragi hands in her work to Yoshino and she praises it and even pats her head. She passes! Way to go girl.

In the next part, Kisaragi looks up to the clear blue sky and this make her wants to draw it because it brought back nostalgic memories when Mizubuchi gave her a sketch drawing of the sky during junior high school. Because of that, she bought her first sketchbook and water colour though she couldn’t draw the sky no matter how much she drew. But Kyouju advises that they can’t do that now as they have to remove yarn balls from the curtain. Kisaragi then hands the done curtains to Usami but she says to bring it to the second art room (the one merged with the environment club). Seems Usami too tried removing yarn balls but she cut too much of them that you could see through the curtains. Namiko accompanies Kisaragi to return the curtains but only see Uozumi and Homura. They request Kisaragi to call their teacher Sasamoto. Unfortunately they don’t remember her name except the various ‘negative’ descriptions about her. Haha. That shows how much she entered the club. But the girls get the idea who they are referring to.

Tomokane decides to follow Kisaragi to find Sasamoto at the third year’s GA class thinking she has been given a challenge. They find her there and for some unknown reasons, the third year girls got fascinated with the first years’ new uniforms and starts glomping Tomokane! But Sasamoto has another task for Kisaragi. Since she knows Mizubuchi, she wants Kisaragi to return her sketchbook. Where is she? Hell, she doesn’t know. Probably somewhere with a good scenery. Wherever that is. Try finding out yourself. Dang. You know how big is this school? Better start looking. Sure Noda wants to accompany her to find Mizubuchi but the teacher drags her away citing she cheated on some assignment (she used computer prints rather than hand work).

Kisaragi walks through the school from the weaving section and till the athletes section whereby she got the shock of her life seeing Awara sleeping in a box! Awara is saying she’s doing some sketching activity in her cardboard box? She lets Kisaragi have a tryout as they both fit into it and see the sky being cropped out like a picture frame via the cut-out in the box. Then Mizubuchi comes by so Kisaragi returns the sketchbook Mizubuchi thought she misplaced it. They learn Awara was the culprit in borrowing it since she used some pages to hand in her work as her own sketchbook was running out of pages. Mizubuchi got the urge to make Awara’s sunny sky turn into rain by threatening to drop a pail of water over her! Kisaragi spots a sketch Awara was doing just now. She is taken in by the blue sky that she drew. Kisaragi happily returns to her friends with that sketch in hand and requests them accompany her to the shop at the university building to buy a new sketchbook.

Art Attack!
Well, there aren’t any real developments or anything special since like I have said, it’s just like an extension rather than anything else. This OVA was a little more focused on Kisaragi so we don’t get to see havoc antics from Noda and Tomokane. Even if there are, it was just short and felt toned down. Also, too short a screen time that Kyouju didn’t give out that have that enigmatic feel. Overall Kisaragi is still that gentle and naive girl but with her friends around, she’ll get by. And Awara, she’s still funny because of her penchant of sleeping in cardboard boxes. She’s calling that clubhouse of hers as Leonardo Da Vin House? (The ‘chi’ in Vinci is a play on word because ‘chi’ means house in Japanese).

There aren’t any obvious art techniques in this OVA unless you consider those short advices and point of views from Kyouju, Namiko and Noda about the fashion statement to be one. So if you like designing clothes and dresses, maybe you’ll get a little inspiration and ideas of some of the drawings but that won’t amount to anything much. The ending credits animation is live-action and stop-motion animation as we see that little black pastel ink bottle going around in its adventure admiring several art pieces. That Mona Lisa one was hilarious as we see her sunshine smile picture turn into a freakish ghoul! Scaring the life out of that poor little bottle. Erm… Doesn’t that claymation of the GA girls look horrible?

This OVA sure brings back memories when I was watching the series. Just like any other OVAs that I watched usually after a period of time once the TV series has ended. But still my interest in the arts department hasn’t awakened yet. Heck, maybe I have no talent because I still can’t draw the simplest manga. Still haven’t passed the stage of drawing ‘stick people’. Guess my only ‘talent’ is watching anime, huh?

GA Geijutsuka Art Design Class

My first versus blog featuring three animes based around art. They are Sketchbook ~Full Color’s~ (Sketchbook), Hidamari Sketch (Hidamari) and GA Geijutsuka Art Design Class (Geijutsuka). Art isn’t my favourite or strong subject but it doesn’t stop me from watching them because of the comedy factor (if not the slice of life genre too). Is it because of their quirky and wacky behaviour that contributes to their creativity in art or they’re just like that? Or are they really natural born talents? Since art is a relatively subjective subject, it all depends on the eye of the beholder. Make sure you have the same group of people that have the same taste as you do.

The school
Sketchbook: Fukuoka High School.
Hidamari: Yamabuki Art High School.
Geijutsuka: Ayanoi High School.

The main girls
Notice that all 3 series feature a group of girls in an art club? Is the fairer sex better in art? What a total u-turn than those days when they were dominated by men.
Sketchbook: Sora Kajiwara, Natsumi Asou and Hazuki Torikai.
Hidamari: Yuno, Miyako, Sae and Hiro.
Geijutsuka: Kisaragi Yamaguchi, Miyabi “Kyouju” Oomichi, Tomokane, Namiko Nozaki and Miki Noda.

Other classmates
Other supporting characters of the art club (may or may not be in same year).
Sketchbook: Kokage Kuga, Nagisa Kurihara, Asaka Kamiya, Juju Sasaki, Daichi Negishi, Ujou Sugyou, Ryou Tanabe, Fuu Himuro, Kate and Tsukiyo Ooba.
Hidamari: Nazuna, Nori and Natsume.
Geijutsuka: Chikako Awara, Mizubuchi, Uozomi, Homura and Tomokane’s brother.

The naive one
Which group will be complete without them?
Sketchbook: Sora.
Hidamari: Yuno.
Geijutsuka: Kisaragi.

Always seen with
Refers to the object that is always seen possessed by the naive one. Some sort of a trademark.
Sketchbook: Her sketchbook. And when outside for a walk, her straw hat.
Hidamari: Her ‘X’ hair clip accessory.
Geijutsuka: Her spectacles (always seem like wanting to fall off her face).

Her dreams
No, not referring to the naive one’s goal in life, but the sleeping one. And it’s a little weird too.
Sketchbook: In episode 11, Sora wakes up from a dream that she fed the cats expired food.
Hidamari: The first season has several episodes Yuno having weird dreams. In episode 5, sick Yuno dreams of arriving at school late to see Principal in singlet and shorts. And it’s snowing, you know. In episode 6, Yuno gets chased by a red cloak and misinterprets the red curtain as failing grades. Then in episode 11, she dreams of being abducted by aliens who then performed experiments on her!
Geijutsuka: In episode 8, Kisaragi dreams of being in a dream and in a dream. Among the weird surrealism happening are the locker room getting flooded, an eternal staircase and Namiko hanging from the sky.

The energetic one
The one responsible for many of the jokes and troublemaking incidents. Call them the joker of the pack.
Sketchbook: Natsumi and Asaka.
Hidamari: Miyako.
Geijutsuka: Tomokane and Noda.

Morbid-looking one
The one that have an aura of mystery around them. A little taciturn too. Sometimes creepy…
Sketchbook: Kuga.
Hidamari: Nil.
Geijutsuka: Kyouju.

The annoyed one
Seems they need a little anger management themselves after sometimes needing to put their feet down on the pranks caused by the mischievous ones.
Sketchbook: Negishi.
Hidamari: Sae.
Geijutsuka: Namiko and Awara.

The masculine one
Some girls display more masculine traits than their feminine side.
Sketchbook: Juju.
Hidamari: Sae.
Geijutsuka: Tomokane.

Hairstyles
Not your usual straight hair or pony-tails.
Sketchbook: Ooba has unkempt hair and long bangs that cover her eyes.
Hidamari: Hiro’s hair ‘spreads out’ like Medusa on wet rainy days.
Geijutsuka: Noda, also a fashion lover is seen with a different hairstyle in many episodes.

Siblings
Some of the characters in the series have little siblings.
Sketchbook: Ao is Sora’s little brother.
Hidamari: Chika is Sae’s little sister.
Geijutsuka: Tomokane’s brother (that’s what he is known in the anime as) is Tomokane’s well, older brother.

Teacher
The teacher of the art club.
Sketchbook: Hiyori Kasugano.
Hidamari: Yoshinoya.
Geijutsuka: Takuma Sotoma.

Other teaching staff
Sketchbook: Soyogi Asakura.
Hidamari: The Principal, Kawahara and Mashiko.
Geijutsuka: Mayumi Usami and Sasamoto.

Adult child
The teacher that acts like a kid rather than her age.
Sketchbook: Kasugano.
Hidamari: Yoshinoya.
Geijutsuka: Usami.

Animal mascot
Notice the animals featured in the series?
Sketchbook: Cats.
Hidamari: I don’t know if that bug on Hidamari Apartments could be considered as an animal. If not, then the bunch of doves.
Geijutsuka: Chickens.

The cat factor
Somehow these characters seem to be close to the little feline friend.
Sketchbook: Sora.
Hidamari: Miyako (at least for 1 episode).
Geijutsuka: Kisaragi (at least the cat sketches seen in her sketchbook).

Phobia
Sketchbook: Natsumi fears thunder.
Hidamari: Hiro is afraid of ghosts.
Geijutsuka: Usami is scared of blood donations.

Sleeper
Zzzz… Not to mean that they love sleeping.
Sketchbook: Kasugano (because she’s lazy).
Hidamari: Hiro (not a morning person to be exact).
Geijutsuka: Awara (she loves sleeping in her art club room?).

Outdoor art assignment
You can’t be cooped up in the classroom all year long if you want to hone your art skills further, right?
Sketchbook: In episode 4, Sora and Nagisa had an art field trip at an isolated park with lush greenery.
Hidamari: In episode 11 of the first season, the gang leaves for a sketching field trip to the zoo. Then in episode 9 of the third season, the gang did outdoor sketch at a park.
Geijutsuka: In episode 7 whereby the gang visits the art gallery whereby one of their classmates won an award and had her works exhibit there.

The camera factor
It’s not about brushes and palettes too, you know.
Sketchbook: Minamo (Negishi’s sister) has a habit of carrying a camera wherever she goes and snapping pictures that interests her. In episode 10, Minamo lends Sora her camera so that she could take some pictures.
Hidamari: In an OVA episode of the second season, Sae bought a second-hand Polaroid camera as she and her friends take pictures of each other in different poses and costumes.
Geijutsuka: In episode 4, viewers get to learn tips on how to use photos effectively for art. Also, the gang experiments with this by using their handphones to snap photos as part of their assignment.

The food factor
Yummy…
Sketchbook: Sora feeding the cats expired food. And P-chan experiencing a cold shiver whenever its owner Kasugano expresses her desire to eat chicken meat!
Hidamari: Feast your eyes on the various delicious dishes that Yuno has to offer! And Miyako is a glutton herself…
Geijutsuka: After talking about apples and gravity, the girls decide to go try out a new apple menu at a cafe. Then a time when the girls gather at Namiko’s place for an assignment and ends up making Yami Nabe. Then it turned into Chaos Nabe. Scary!

Skits
Sketchbook: The pair of Drama Queens (that’s what I called them), Ryou and Fuu doing weird comedy gags and jokes directly addressed to the audience.
Hidamari: The yonkoma at the next episode preview.
Geijutsuka: There is a short play before the start of each episode.

The Yuko Goto factor
The characters she voiced in the series.
Sketchbook: Kate.
Hidamari: Hiro.
Geijutsuka: Nil.

The Miyuki Sawashiro factor
The characters she voiced in the series.
Sketchbook: Nil.
Hidamari: The Landlady.
Geijutsuka: Tomokane and her brother.

Art and visuals
Other than the ordinary 2D drawing.
Sketchbook: The beautiful sceneries.
Hidamari: Usually done as shift changer, some of the visual styles include real photo cut-outs, labelling of objects and marker pen-like drawings.
Geijutsuka: In each episode, there will be simple and basic lessons on art techniques.

Episode order
Sketchbook: In chronological order.
Hidamari: In mixed up and anachronic order.
Geijutsuka: In chronological order.

Episode title
Refers to the naming of the title of each episode.
Sketchbook: Normal. Nothing extraordinary.
Hidamari: Have dates in which the event occurs.
Geijutsuka: Mainly named after types of art that is featured in that episode.

Background music
This is what I noticed the big chunk of the background music to be.
Sketchbook: Slow and casual, feels like lounge music.
Hidamari: Fun and simple tunes.
Geijutsuka: Jazzy and easy pieces.

Opening and ending themes
Sketchbook: Opening theme is Kaze Sagashi by Natsumi Kiyoura and ending theme is Sketchbook Wo Motta Mama by Yui Makino.
Hidamari: All opening themes from 3 seasons are sung by Kana Asumi, Kaori Mizuhashi, Ryoko Shintani and Yuko Goto. They are Sketch Switch (opening 1), Hatena De Wasshoi (opening 2) and Dekiru Kanatte Hoshimittsu (opening 3). All ending themes from 3 seasons are sung by Marble. They are Mebae Drive (ending 1), Ryuusei Record (ending 2) and Sakura Sakura Saku: Ano Hi Kimi Wo Matsu, Sora To Onaji De (ending 3).
Geijutsuka: The opening theme is Osaki Ni Sil Vous Plait by Haruka Tomatsu, Miyuki Sawashiro, Yui Horie, Ai Tokunaga and Kaori Nazuka. The ending theme is Coloring Palettes and each have their own version depending on which of the girls is singing it.

Number of episodes
Sketchbook: The TV series has 13 episodes.
Hidamari: Spanning over 3 seasons, the first season had 12 episodes, the second season had 13 episodes and the third season had 12 episodes.
Geijutsuka: There are 12 episodes in the TV series.

Specials
Other non-TV episodes. Means if you but the DVD you get to watch these extras…
Sketchbook: 6 episodes of Picture Dramas.
Hidamari: The first season had 2 special episodes while the second season had a “fourteenth” OVA episode plus additional 2 special episodes.
Geijutsuka: A single OVA episode was released back in April 2010.

Conclusion
Each of the series has their own unique points so it is hard for me to say which one is better. I like Sketchbook because of the numerous background music which truly provides ear candy to me (not forgetting the Drama Queens). I like Hidamari because of the various art visuals on display as well as the amusing weirdo Yoshinoya (she’s got to be the weirdest of the weirdest) and I prefer Geijutsuka in terms of the insights and enlightenment of several art techniques and methods. Ultimately in all series, it is the behaviour of the characters that drives the story and how they interact with each other. My drawing still sucks big time so it’s no surprise that I don’t even draw my own doujin work (if I ever had one in the first place). So being an artist may not make you a millionaire in your lifetime but it is the passion for it that makes many enthusiasts continue with their love. Unless you’re already dead, that should rake in millions at Sotheby’s or Christie’s =p.

Sketchbook ~Full Color's~
Hidamari Sketch
GA Geijutsuka Art Design Class

I never thought that I would watch another art themed anime such as GA Geijutsuka Art Design Class. Okay, so perhaps the main excuse was the cute bunch of girls as the series’ main protagonists. So am I paying attention to the art details or the girls, you say? Both, I say. Firstly, if you have any intentions of watching this series, you need to have a little interest in art. Though I can’t say that for myself nor am I an artistic person, but based on my previous experiences in watching art themed animes, it wouldn’t hurt a bit since there’d be some comedy factors which I look forward to.
 
As a down side, it may be boring when they start explaining art terms and such to a noob like me. As far as I can remember, unlike Sketchbook ~Full Colors~ or the Hidamari Sketch series, this anime does explain to viewers art techniques, the basics and the likes. It’s no surprise since the producers did get guidance from the Joshimi University of Art and Design. Don’t play play. Graduates and experts materials here. So in addition to the visual eye candy of the various art displays, remember to take down important notes for those of you who are interested into venturing into this field.
 
Next of course would be the characters. Without the unique and lively characters, this series would be tad boring. To sum up the main quintet students of the art class, we have Kisaragi Yamaguchi who is the gentle, shy and naive one of the pack. Sometimes I feel her glasses are too low hanging on her cheeks that it may drop anytime. Next is the cheeky and petite Miki Noda. One half responsible for ‘mischief’ and probably why the series is lively because this cute girl spicing up things with her weird ideas whenever she’s bored. The other half of the mischief goes to Tomokane, the hyperactive tomboyish girl of the pack and a little temperament and brute. Then we have the mysterious and ominous-sounding Miyabi "Kyouju" Oomichi. She reminds like a chibi version of Mai-HiME’s Natsuki. Serious and never seen with a smile, you can’t help love this stoic but intelligent girl. Last but not least, Namiko Nozaki, the girl with a big heart and usually plays the big sister of the pack. Not to mention her well endowed figure. Probably it ‘stands out’ because the rest are so flat chest. Haha. Just kidding. Seriously.
 
Since the series do not have a particular plot, each episode begins with a short play to say that the show is starting and the episode proper is divided into short skits. If you even noticed them. Though they stick to a particular theme for that episode, some of the scenarios are so short that it makes you go "What was that all about?". But I guess having a long winded plot won’t work for an anime of this genre either. So as episode 1 introduces the main characters, our first ‘lesson’ sees the girls drawing and having fun (or maybe screwing around if you’re looking at Noda and Tomokane) with poster colours. Then the girls give insights and tips on pictograms, which is part of their class assignment. Then there’s this spoof of Power Rangers of the girls called Colour Warriors Irodorangers. Red, Yellow, Cyan, Pink and Black. They assist those who have trouble in their assignments. Like do we need them? Here, they do some weird combo sketch of the word "GA" on the easel. But it was a big failure in the end when white paint is hosed all over it. Back to reality, the lecture continues with lessons on visuals and colouring and the use of computers for modern art which has both its pros and cons. Finally when the girls hand in their pictogram assignments to their homeroom teacher, Takuma Sotoma, he notes their creativity but thinks they serve no actual use in real life. Yeah, maybe just wanting to get over the deadline. And if those pictograms were really used in real life, I’m sure the havoc and confusion it will cause after the heartily laughter.
 
In episode 2, Noda notes a very short pencil from Kisaragi as she tells them that this special pencil she bought during the time she sat for her high school entrance exam. So a short flashback on how Kisaragi went into a stationery shop and panicked to buy a pencil just before the exam so the granny of the store gave her a special set of pencils believed to be used by some famous poet and scholar. Gullible Kisaragi bought them and of course her pals think she has been ripped off and think granny just wanted to get rid of the old stocks. Though Kisaragi says her art did improve, the rest thinks it’s due to her hard work she’d put in all these years. Next, Tomokane fell asleep and dreams of some fantasy shonen-like adventure with Noda fuelling the fire whispering the story in her ears. Like she’s the heroine enrolled in this school to hunt for the Dark Arts organization who killed her brother. She meets bully victim Kisaragi and saves her from her tormentors Noda and Namiko. Then in some sketching battle, Sotoma declares Tomokane the winner though her opponent’s drawing was so real and photo-like. The reason? Well, this is a sketch competition so I guess Tomokane’s sketch lines were pretty… sketchy. Then a twist which has Tomokane finding out Kisaragi’s spectacles are a symbol for the Dark Arts but that’s when she got up from her dream. Back in reality, the lesson continues with the different types of pencils and its grading which indicates its shading intensity. Lastly, Kisaragi goes back to the stationery store but finds out from the storekeeper that granny has passed away. The storekeeper notes that Kisaragi was one of those people who got tricked by granny’s stories to buy her old stocks so he gives a set to her for free since he knows she takes care of them and that not many people today uses pencils. Next day, Noda sees Kisaragi sharpening her new pencils but isn’t the one she bought from the shop. She says she’ll save them for special occasions instead. Come to think of it, I have several short pencils still kept in my drawer from my high school days…
 
In episode 3, the girls play a colour version of tag. Then they gather materials needed to make a collage. The girls state their reasons why they enrolled in this school as we are told that chickens are the school’s symbol and are treated as lords thus the reason why we see them roaming around freely on the school grounds. Cute. Were you expecting something else? If it was kittens then I don’t think that feline lover Kisaragi will ever concentrate on her work. She loves them too much to even go into daydreaming mode or easily distracted by them. However this series won’t be totally fun by focusing on our main quartet. At times, the story will feature the other art club members. Note, art club not art class. Yeah, why do they need to have an art club in this art school? For those who aren’t in art class. One such person is third year student Chikako Awara. She is in despair and finding refuge in her best friend, Mizubuchi, that her art club will be terminated since there aren’t enough members. Besides the guys, Uozumi and Homura, and the couldn’t-care-less club’s advisor, Sasamoto, they are just 2 members short. But they can just get by with at least 1 freshman. Mizubuchi can’t join because she’s in another club so desperate Awara makes their mannequin, Sanae, their fourth member. Shot down. They decide to ask Mizubuchi’s childhood friend Kisaragi but see her happy with her own pals and drop the idea. Though they didn’t get to recruit, Awara learns that a merger proposition to avoid the disbandment with the School Life Environment Club which has only 1 member. Awara is brought to tears and it seems Mizubuchi is the only member of that club. Yeah, it’s a small world alright. Back to our main girls, Kyouju is it in the colour tag so Tomokane and Noda brought their 256 colour reference book so as not to be defeated. Of course she throws them off course with a difficult colour and tags Tomokane. Then when Kisaragi got tagged and thinking how she wasn’t good at it while she was young, she starts crying so Kyouju takes over her it tag. Then I’m not sure what she’s doing because she’s burying it in the grounds later.
 
The gang are using their handphone to take photos as part of their art assignment in episode 4, which startles a naive teacher, Mayumi Usami. After some tips on how to effectively use photos for art, then it’s the AIDMA rule to attract customers for an advertisement and the girls painting at the back of each other’s white lab coats. During lunch time, Noda and Tomokane have them draw lots to make lunch more interesting. The girls are to do whatever their paper they have picked indicates. While Kyouju seems to be safe, Namiko seems to be the one ‘screwed’ at the end. Fortunately she manages to turn that drawback to her advantage and turn the tables on Noda and Tomokane. After recess, it’s portrait drawing as Noda pretends to interview her pals. Bored Noda makes a play using the colour equipment while the rest continue with their stamping art and action painting, Kyouju uses jam for her paint since they don’t have red, Namiko makes that mistake of mixing up a cup of water to soak her brush and her drink (not sure if she drank it afterwards). When their work is done and left to dry, Tomokane accidentally rips it so they improvise by handing in a collage of the ripped piece. They got an ‘A’ for excellent dedication except for Kyouju who got a ‘B’ for a very unique smell in her piece. I hope nobody ate that piece.
 
Kisaragi accidentally breaks Sotoma’s coffee cup so the gang improvises and make him a paper cup in episode 5. They also show him their assignments, which is to design a household tool. As usual, their drawings are creative but he tells them to redo them again (Noda’s alien abducting drawing?). They redo it but it is as outrageous so Sotoma tells them to go back to the drawing board once more. Sotoma learns from Usami, Kisaragi’s soft mug design since she got the idea that such mugs are easily broken. Next, the girls celebrate Namiko’s birthday in the art room as the girls learn of a shocking discovery that Kyouju doesn’t have a boyfriend though she is popular but her parents has arranged a fiancee for her. On the other hand, the art club members are cleaning up their club room (Awara made a cosy box cottage for herself to sleep in?!). While cleaning, they find several textbooks on certain subjects. Then Sotoma wants to get some materials from the storeroom so the kids opened the never-have-been-opened-for-a-long-time door. They went in clean and came out messy. Seems the door was connected to another art room but was never used. They finished cleaning and Awara’s cosy cottage is thrown away. But the next day as Mizubuchi spots her dozing off on her chair, she just puts an entire card box on her. Meanwhile on a rainy day, Namiko, Noda and Tomokane forget to bring their umbrella. Kisaragi has one to spare but notices that it is her cute kitten umbrella. She puts it back in and runs away. Tomokane and Noda give chase. Good luck.
 
We are introduced to a boy who has a weak body and thus his frequent visit to the infirmary in episode 6. I’ll refer to him as Ill Boy. He is being brought by Uozumi and Homura to the art club but the place is totally pitched black. They see Awara sleeping with that card box over her and when they lift it, they see her bloodied and disfigured face. They put it back down without any reaction. This pisses off Awara as her plan was to scare them. Seems that there are scaring props left behind by their seniors so Awara plans to have a scare fest. And when Awara learns of Ill Boy, she won’t let him escape and wants him to join the club. The gang rummage through the stuff and preparing for the scare fest, Usami decides to go look for a stopper for a broken painting stand in the art club. Mizubuchi goes out to lure some guinea-pigs and Usami happens to be the first one. She got easily scared and rushed out only to meet Kisaragi and her friends. Though they don’t understand what’s going on, they decide to help her retrieve her painting stand which she accidentally left behind during her fright. So the usual scaring affair. As expected Kisaragi is totally afraid while Noda is absorbing all those ‘evil’ ideas for her mischief. Tomokane just smashes her way through breaking anything in front of her. Then at the exit, there are 2 doors. They open one in which every damn thing in the store room comes falling out. Before exiting the real door, the girls just take whatever since they don’t remember what Usami was looking for. When they come out, they show her all the scary props in their hands and thinks one of them should be the item she’s looking for. Another fright for her life. In the aftermath, the art club is messed up like as though a typhoon has passed. As they clean up, Ill Boy hands in his application to join the club, much to Awara’s delight. Ill Boy mentions that one of the girls back there was his sister: Tomokane. Tomokane too has a feeling that her brother was behind it since she could never beat him mentally or physically (he’s weak so she can’t touch him). Ill Boy feels energized and thinks the art club is interesting.
 
Episode 7 is about Trompe-l’oeil or visual trickery (such as optical illusions). A classmate of theirs, Yoshikawa, informs the girls that her works and Kyouju won awards in the art exhibition and are being exhibit for several days. She invites them to come take back the art from the gallery. The group visit the gallery and had their fill watching several famous paintings and sculptures of art. I don’t know. To me, it has always been a piece of paper scribbled with lines and colours or a piece of nicely dented stones (don’t hate me art purists!). As Kisaragi admires Kyouju and Yoshikawa’s works, she says how she felt a little envious and feels a little frustrated. The rest comfort her and thinks she loves painting and felt that way since she spent so much time on it and yet didn’t get selected. When they return to class, Noda feels that though she is an art student, she doesn’t know much about arts so the rest suggest visiting an art museum come Sunday. In addition to arts for adult, there’s a section for kids too. The one with kittens are real tempting for Kisaragi. While the girls take their time to admire the works, Noda seems to be browsing them quickly. Something about you really need to take a good look from every point and angle if you’re to appreciate this kind of thing. In the end though the girls feel modern art is a difficult genre, Namiko suggests to suit their level, they browse the kiddie’s section. Yeah, easier to understand. Horrible drawings in my opinion. Heck, better than mine anytime. Noda notes that she’s taking a short break from this kind of art but when she sees a person with an overwhelming fashion, she gets hyped up. Well, that’s her passion. Isn’t that a form of arts too?
 
The theme for episode 8 is surrealism. We are given examples on names of colours which are divided into systematic name and character name and what colours represent. Later the girls go to the store to shop for art materials as we learn different categories of colouring such as pastel, pale tone, dark tone, oil paint, transparent watercolour, colour pencil and charcoal. Kisaragi seems to be so sleepy that she slept through class and attempts to wake her up were futile. Her pals had a hard time standing in for her. Kisaragi dreams the weirdest dream a girl like her could dream. Like the so cliche every time she thinks she woke up from a dream, something strange happens and she finds herself still dreaming. This include the locker room getting flooded, a giant ball chasing her down an eternal staircase, walking through an optic illusion place and painting a door to escape it, seeing Namiko hanging onto the sky, the black paint going wild as it engulfs her and finally herself sketching things while she was young. When she wakes up for real, her pals hand her today’s assignment on surrealism and magic realism. Though the rest have trouble explaining it, Kisaragi feels it’s like drawing the world in your dreams. That’s why the saying your future depends on your dreams, right? So go to sleep!
 
A strong wind in episode 9 so much so it messes the hairstyles of Namiko and Noda. Kisaragi shows them a colour ink she got from a childhood friend as a congratulatory gift for passing the entrance exam. However it was too precious to be used and therefore never used. Then the talk around school as one of their students appeared as a model on a front page of a magazine and has garnered a legion of fans. She seems to be Noda’s sister. Then Kisaragi feels a little ill after overworking on her assignment so Kyouju freshens her up with grape juice but she got drunk! Seeing that she was just hungry, they let her have some biscuits. Later Uozumi and Homura have trouble cleaning the courtyard since they can’t hurt the chickens or they’ll really retaliate. That’s the school’s lord for you. Tomokane eavesdropped and got an idea. Yeah, it’s Irodorangers again. They’re up against a giant chicken who doesn’t mind them cleaning but it got out of hand when they paint the word ‘bird’ with several modifications and designs on its belly. The chicken is now mad and powers up into a monstrous self. So the Irodorangers summon their card box mecha and fire colour paintbrush missiles which is as effective as real missiles. Their attack fails till Kyouju steps in and with her mysterious blast, sends the chicken squirming in fear and apologizing for his arrogance before dispersing into several little chickens. In reality, I don’t know how but Kyouju manages to line up the chickens perfectly and making them march. Wow. It’s another rainy day and as usual Kisaragi doesn’t want to lend her cute umbrella to those who forget. But will Tomokane and Noda give up? But thankfully the sun comes up so the girls walk back together while describing the spectrums of the rainbow. Kyouju informs another interesting bit that the spectrum was discovered by Newton, the same guy who discovered gravity from falling apples. And speaking of apples, the girls decide to try out a new menu at a nearby cafe.
 
The bloodmobile is in town for a blood donation drive in episode 10. Usami is in charge of gathering those interested but she herself seems nervous. Sotoma announces this to his class so cheeky Noda asks that if they donate blood, can they skip class. He agrees but only if she turns 16, which she isn’t. The only one among them who is old enough to do so is Namiko. Meanwhile, the rest gets an assignment to design a mascot for the blood donation drive. Each of them comes up with their own interpretation and perceptions of what it should be (vampires to mosquitoes to a dying heart in need of blood?). By that time, they still haven’t come up with an idea as Namiko comes back. They ask her if anybody cried so Namiko points out Usami though she didn’t manage to donate blood because she didn’t weigh enough. Days later, Sotoma notices a report that Awara has won the contest for the blood donation drive mascot. However Awara wasn’t even aware that she submitted for it! Later Namiko seems depressed so Kisaragi advices her to cheer up because every time she sighs, a bit of happiness flies away. Noda cheekily grabs it (she’s like smashing a mosquito?!). Noda suggests that Namiko needs to break free from her boring routine like enter class dramatically, in which she did. Then Noda accidentally spills a box of metal screws and Kyouju suggests picking them up with her metallic hairpin. Now this is another mysterious point of her. Things suggest that she may be a robot because she still has screws stuck on her head! So is she really one? Then the usual lunch folly (like those who eat muffins are from the mafia?). After that, the girls discuss about some people who dream in colours while others in monochrome. I’m not sure about that big card box in which Kisaragi felt like crawling into it. Uh… Kyouju’s there too. As Noda and Kisaragi lament the amount of art equipment they have to bring back and forth to school, they cheekily sense Namiko’s sigh and tries to grab it. It ends with them buying more art supplies at the store before going home.
 
In episode 11, Kisaragi finds an old pasteboard and couldn’t help draw a cat when she spots the drawing of a cat looking for a girlfriend. Awara is assigned to draw a picture storybook for pre-school kids. Since they are presenting it to little kids, colour plays a big part in their story. As motivation, Awara has been given 5000 Yen as financial assistance on its production and wants her art club members to help out. Doesn’t the heroine in the story look very much like Kisaragi? Sure does. Mizubuchi decides to call Kisaragi for help since she is knowledgeable in this area. Mizubuchi also suggests making it interactive so the kids could join in. Uozumi and Homura went to do the presentation to the kids and it seems they were laughing questioning their weird drawings. Hey, they had fun, didn’t they? Kisaragi is low on art supplies again so the rest accompanies her to buy them. However she notes that her allowance is running low this month so the sale really helps. While they browse around, the usual fooling around from Noda and Tomokane playing with stamps, pinning hair clips over Kyouju’s hair and getting enthralled with a grand painting set which costs 100,000 Yen! As they make their purchase, they are entitled for a lottery draw. Noda volunteers and manages to get stationery vouchers worth 1,500 Yen each! Noda and Tomokane show their appreciation to Kisaragi for buying them notebooks by treating her to crepes. Finally as Kisaragi is searching through the pasteboards, she notices the cat one with kittens multiplied. Lots of them.
 
Namiko is absent from school due to a cold in episode 12. It seems the cause was the usual folly from Tomokane and Noda the other day, splashing water here and there while washing their art tools. However, Namiko has some sort of ESP as she keeps texting Kisaragi about the stuff that are about to happen such as Tomokane and Noda teasing her behind her back, the due assignment and the cake shop buffet. Even the cheeky duo felt it was nothing without Namiko around. Wonder why those 2 didn’t catch a cold? There’s a Japanese belief that idiots don’t catch cold, right? When Namiko comes back the next day feeling better, Tomokane and Noda try to hide Namiko’s ‘finished’ assignment because the day before, they ‘help’ her finish painting it. Yeah, their face is getting paler. They know what’s coming. Then another assignment from Usami to draw feelings of expression. Kisaragi thinks of finishing this fast so Namiko suggests them for a sleepover at her place. After buying food ingredients, they arrive at Namiko’s home for the much anticipated Yami Nabe. What kind of nabe is that? Well, you turn of the lights, throw in all sort of ingredients in the pot, wait for it to cook, then everyone picks and eats the whatever ingredient they got. Oh yeah, Fear Factor! You know what this means if we have Tomokane and Noda around. Yeah, Noda put in potato chips, chocolate, candy balls, etc. WTF?! When it’s time, Kisaragi takes a peep and I think it’s so horrible that even Kyouju notes that it has turned into Chaos Nabe. Everyone has an awful time trying to finish the servings while drawing their feeling and expression at the same time. Killing 2 birds with 1 stone. Can’t finish the nabe? They have to. It’s going to be a long night. Next day, Kisaragi relates this incident to Mizubuchi and it seems nabe-lover Awara is planning her own version of Yami Nabe for her club members. Usami is happy with the many assignments as Kisaragi and her pals continue to do stuff together. Okay, so maybe the half priced baked sweets is more tempting than finishing their assignments.
 
As expected, I wasn’t hoping much for an ending for such a series. I mean, what else more would you want? Everybody is happy with the way things are and live goes on. Though there are times I caught myself yawning as some of the art topics didn’t really interest me, it was mainly the characters’ antics which put a little smile on my face. This show could have been a real bore fest and cure for those with insomnia had not been for Noda and Tomokane. You could say that their little harmless pranks are creative and they could be top students if they put those creativity to good use. Thankfully there is Namiko to put her foot down and brakes if those 2 ever got out of line. Kyouju is still a mystifying character. Sometimes I feel her personality makes her suitable for black arts if she intends to venture into it. Hope not. And I’m sure Kisaragi would turn out to be a brilliant artist if she isn’t so gullible or easily distracted by cute kittens. By the way, it still wonders me why the art club members don’t actually join a real art class like the quintet if they’re interested in arts. Maybe they’re just part time or wanting a place to sit around? Just like Sasamoto who treats the club room as her personal retreat or hangout, eh? Who says everyone is perfect anyway? Though the art lessons do give insights on art enthusiasts, I noticed that as the episodes go by, they gradually lessen. As for the drawing and animation of this series, it’s not like everything is eye candy or high quality. Just your standard conventional Japanese anime art with cute wide eyed characters, that’s all.
 
I didn’t initially take note of the seiyuus but later on to my surprise that there are quite a few well known seiyuus voicing the characters. For instance Kisaragi is voiced by Haruka Tomatsu and she’s barely unrecognizable if I didn’t find out about this. After hearing her voice lively roles like Lala in To Love-Ru, Ayame in Asu No Yoichi and Nagi in Kannagi: Crazy Shrine Maidens, it was unthinkable that it was her voice behind this gentle girl. Then there’s Yui Horie as Namiko (Naru in Love Hina, Eri in School Rumble) and no matter how many times I just can’t seem to recognize her voice at first go. Same case with the versatile Miyuki Sawashiro as Tomokane, both the brother and sister. Need to hear more of the person who voiced Rozen Maiden’s Shinku and Galaxy Angel’s Mint. Then there’s Kaori Nazuka as Kyouju (Hiromi in True Tears, Kaya in Natsu No Arashi) good job in making her character so mysterious yet interesting, Akemi Kanda as Awara (Mikan of Gakuen Alice), Ami Koshimizu as Mizubuchi (Tenma of School Rumble), Minami Takayama as Sasamoto (Conan of Detective Conan fame, Nabiki of Ranma 1/2) and Ai Tokunga as Noda (Viola in Kiddy Grade) who fits nicely in making her character sound cheeky.
 
The opening theme is entitled Osaki Ni Sil Vous Plait and is sung by the seiyuus of the main quartet of girls. As expected from this lively piece, the lyrics are filled with words relating to art and I there are certain things in the art-filled opening animation which I find a little weird. Yeah, like that weird dance in the opening with the girls in kimono leaping while rolling their wrists (like those you see in boxing training). Not that it will catch up and be a dance trend but I still find it funny nevertheless. And what’s with the opening lines which repetitively go "Hitotsu, hitotsu, hitotsu, hitotsu, hitotsu…"? I don’t know how many times but I lost count. Don’t mention that rap part too… Though there is 1 main ending theme called Coloring Palettes, each of them are sung in different beat, style and tempos depending on the seiyuu voicing them. It is befitting since it also reflects the personality of that particular character they voiced. The ending credits animation shows in chibi form of what the girls do when they were young (may be related to art or not). Throughout the series, I noticed the several background music to be jazzy, casual and fun. This is important and suitable since it doesn’t make the whole show sound empty. Just like art itself needs to be fun, I guess it is right to have fun-filled ear candy as well.
 
Art is still a subject which doesn’t interest me partly because I was never good at it. Well, it still depends much on the individual. I guess anime and manga are another type and form of art, no? So after watching a handful of art related animes, I’m starting to really think that art class students are just as quirky due to their creativity. I mean, if you’re going to be a boring and monotonous person (I’m the one to say), might as well take up history. Sorry, not meant to say that history is really boring but the general perception and those who aren’t really keen on the subject (like me) would say so. And yeah, I still can’t draw a decent anime character. Only lame stick people…
 

GA Geijutsuka Art Design Class