I suppose this series is popular enough to warrant a fourth season. So when Hidamari Sketch x Honeycomb came out back in late 2012, I decided to check things out due to nostalgia reasons. I’m not a big fan of the series but because of the eccentric and lovable characters (especially a certain childish teacher), it is the reason why I keep coming back to the series. No bloody violence, no over the top fanservice, no silly cliché jokes that would hurt your stomach when you laugh out so loud. Just plain slice of life comedy of the girls of Yamabuki Arts High School, their interactions and the stuffs they do together as they build deeper bonds through the passage of time. Of course with Sae and Hiro being third year seniors, it means they won’t have much time left at Hidamari Apartments (HA). Time to make more memories. It might not be end of the world once they leave, but you know the emptiness when close friends leave. Well, this season won’t be any tear jerker so don’t bother taking out the tissue papers. Heck. I’ll spoil you. You won’t see them even graduate yet once this season ends.

Episode 1
Yuno wakes up and realizes she has been living at HA for a year. The all too familiar sounds of Hiro cooking, Sae’s faxing, Nazuna and Nori watering the tomatoes. And that crashing sound… That has got to be Miyako. Miyako and Yuno thought they heard people talking in Sae’s room and go bug Nazuna to eavesdrop. Of course directly underneath her room is Nazuna’s as they hear her frustrated scream since she forgot to save again using her computer. Then they go down to help her but Miyako is more interested in eavesdropping next door on Sae. Because Miyako and Yuno continue to ponder what they’re talking outside, I guess Sae too even notices them and ticks them off for sneaking around. The duo see her with her friends and they know all about Miyako and Yuno since Sae always talks about them. This causes Sae to fluster in embarrassment. Later they learn that Sae and Hiro’s grade will be having a class trip to Hokkaido so their friends were here to arrange the groupings. The gang talk about previous class trips they had. In class, Yoshinoya is dressed in a sea urchin because she is eager to go on the class trip. Till a familiar pissed off silhouette is standing outside the door. The Principal reprimands her and she throws a tantrum. Though Sae and Hiro go shopping, eager beaver Miyako and Yuno also tag along. In the mall, guess who is also there? The tsundere. Who? Natsume. Oh. Still have that crush on Sae, no? She becomes clumsy when she spots Sae and when she gets spotted in turn, she puts up her tsundere act for doing last minute shopping. Next morning when Sae and Hiro leave, their juniors give them a grand send off by waving flags.

Now that the seniors have gone for the trip, it feels like the school is 1/3 empty. Yoshinoya laments she couldn’t go on the trip and complains it to her students! But she is eager that next year she will get to go on a class trip with them. Yuno dreams of being a good senior example and all the praises everyone will shower her. Keep dreaming… Sae, Hiro and their friends are touring Hokkaido as they stop by in one of the shops for lunch. They came all the way north just to order omelette rice? Shouldn’t they at least try Hokkaido’s specialty like seafood? Don’t say. Because the omelette rice tastes delicious! I guess everything tastes good when you’re hungry. Later the friends made Sae sit a simulator horse and cheeky Hiro records a video of her ‘galloping’ on it with her handphone. Nazuna and Nori seek Yuno’s help in their cooking. I guess it’s her chance to guide them as their senior. However it doesn’t turn out as expected and Nazuna blames herself. Hiro and Sae are soaking in the hotspring. Natsume continues to be tsundere, dismissing she wants to join them but her friends really know what’s on her mind. Sae thinks Hiro should get out before she gets a dizzy when their friends invite them for a pillow fight.

Episode 2
Nazuna thanks Yuno for last night’s cooking guidance though the latter feels bad about it. Sae wakes up Hiro but since the latter is being a sleepyhead, her yukata almost come undone. This time Yoshinoya comes to class wearing a melon headgear. I guess she’s still not letting the Hokkaido thing pass. Yuno laments she can’t be of good use to her juniors. Miyako thinks she should be herself, if not replicate what her seniors do. Does this mean she has to tail and follow Nazuna and Nori? Yeah, they feel somebody is stalking them! Yuno bumps into Yoshinoya who advises her to be herself otherwise she’ll burn out. Hiro and Sae’s trip continue. Whether it’s boating or sculpting glass (it came out so crooked and bad that the rest thought it was magnificent art!) or standing on a see-through glass on a high tower. Hiro thinks Sae is teasing her when she mentions the glass is strong enough to withstand her weight. She’s not that heavy! Their friend tease Sae that standing over the glass, people can see her panties. Actually, nobody can from that distance.

Yuno and Miyako take Nazuna and Nori to the public bath house. Miyako starts her usual antics by drinking milk first and rushing in naked. The juniors get permission to touch Miyako’s boobs. Yuno also want to have a go but sounded like a pervert so she forgets about it. Wondering why Yuno took them to the bath house, she explains Hiro and Sae’s kindness and thought she would like to do the same to help them out. After the bath, they look up at the night sky and wonder if it’s the same in Hokkaido. Surely it is but only clearer. Miyako gets an idea to call Sae. She thanks them for everything. So why suddenly this? Dried scallops. Oh. Don’t forget to get them. Yuno in her room thinks if Sae and Hiro are like parents, she would love to become the big sister. The seniors prepare to leave Hokkaido and Sae and Hiro think they’ve really toured the place. Until their friend points out they have only been to a small portion of it. Hokkaido is really that big. When the duo return, their juniors welcome them back and even have made garlands for them! Missed them that much? The seniors tell what happened during their trip including an alpaca that looks like Principal, the great omelette rice (stunning everyone since you go to Hokkaido to try their specialty) and Hiro’s video of Sae riding the horse simulation. They then give out souvenirs and try out the Genghis Khan caramel. The taste is not what they expected but since only Miyako is having no qualms with it, they let her finish the caramel. It’s the juniors turn to tell what happened while they’re gone. They survived. Eh? Miyako’s boobs were perfect. EH?! Ultimately Nazuna and Nori praise Yuno because they got to talk a lot with her and Miyako.

Episode 3
Yuno thinks of going out to have fun tomorrow with Miyako but unfortunately it starts such a stormy weather. I guess all their plans will be put on hold. Since they have no food, they think of going down to Hiro and share food with her. It seems Nazuna too had the same idea. Nori too! Thank goodness Hiro has abundance of food for them but Miyako made an unnecessary gesture about her flab so an inner storm is brewing. I don’t think they can survive that one. Nazuna has brought cards for them to pass the time as Sae wonders if Miyako’s room will be alright (the roof is leaking so her room will be flooded). Miyako assures everything will be okay. That’s why she’s here. I guess that’s a no. Hiro wants to make some pasta but ran out of an ingredient and will have to make it taste milder. Nori didn’t want that and drags Nazuna out to the store to get them. However the storm is too much for them so they return empty handed and would rather have mild pasta instead. Fortunately Hiro improvises and uses garlic to make it taste good. Unfortunately tomorrow is school day and that means they reek of garlic smell! Drink lots of milk to cover the smell! Landlady pays them a visit (she’s doing pizza delivery – in this storm?) to check on them. Miyako thought she could have free pizza but is told to dream on. Miyako returns with Yuno to her room and sees her doing her own project of a picture diary. A picture a day. Since she is trying to glue the pages together, Miyako thought fresh air would do her some good and opens the window. It’s still raining outside. The breeze has her pages scatter all over the place. When she collects them all, she realizes she is missing 2 days but doesn’t think too much about it since it is her own project.

The new school term starts and the Principal gives his speech high from above the podium. Yoshinoya tells her class that there will be an earthquake drill and when the announcement is made, she didn’t evacuate her class immediately but instead ponder who started the fire in the home economics classroom (the earthquake started the fire in that room due to the earthquake – wasn’t she listening?). Yeah, her class is doomed at this rate. While the students evacuate, Hiro and Sae communicate perfectly in hand signals that the other students wonder what they’re doing. Nazuna wanted to detour and go to the toilet but Nori stops her since there is fire and in the middle of evacuating! Hold it in! While the Principal makes his speech about the evacuation times which could’ve been better, the students think he likes to be in high places seeing he is talking from the top of the fire engine’s elevator. Yuno squats seeing she didn’t want to sit on the ground for it will dirty her skirt. Yuno assures her she can just wipe it away and flicks her forehead. It causes a domino effect to the other girls squatting as they tumble! Yoshinoya picks out Yuno to sit in an earthquake simulator to demonstrate the scariness of earthquakes. Based on her scream, I think the students are very well convinced earthquakes are scary. Trauma! Back at HA, the girls make mocha since Hiro have some ingredients for it. Surprisingly we see Yoshinoya cleaning the art supplies for her next class. Principal commends her dedication and invites her out for a meal with the other teaching staffs. No drinking, though.

Episode 4
Yuno wakes up too early and prepares her stuff for the swimming meet. Because she can’t swim, she will be a record keeper along with Nakayama. Mashiko gives them a camera to snap all the photos they want for the meet. Till he reminds them it isn’t waterproof and it costs 100,000 Yen! Panicking, aren’t they? Better handle with extreme care. Principal officially starts the meet but Yoshinoya upstages him by showing off her school swimsuit (I guess it borderlines inappropriateness so Principal allows it) and even demonstrates by diving flat into the pool. Ouch. That has got to hurt. The meet begins with Nori taking part and winning her race. Yuno starts taking pictures of her like as though she’s a supermodel. Then she tells her to strip?! Is Yuno sane?! Nazuna congratulates Nori and since the latter is embarrass, she accidentally splashes her cap still filled with water on her. Oh. Yuno also took that picture. Meanwhile Nakayama takes shots of the guys but since they had ‘too much skin exposed’, she couldn’t do her job properly and probably missed all the important shots. During the lunch break, Principal demonstrates his swimming skills. Think he’s an old geezer? Think again! Because he’s damn good! Not only that, he demonstrates his solo synchronized swimming too! The meet resumes and Sae’s turn is up. She bumps into Natsume on the sidelines as she is not swimming. Tsundere mode, on! Sae eventually wins the race and Hiro is baffled that Natsume supported somebody from a different class. Miyako takes part in the medley relay and though she is doing fine, she is holding her breath for the entire length of her swim!!! Can she make it?! Even Yuno and Nori are holding their breath over the close fight. I don’t think they should. It’s not good for their health. In the end, Miyako’s tactic pays off and she wins the race. Yoshinoya announces Class A to be the winner of the meet (the class Yuno and her friends are on). The losers will clean the pool for a week. Bummer. Yuno and Nakayama later return the camera to Yoshinoya and she is impressed of their artistic styles. She makes Mashiko upload them onto the school’s homepage since he had seen her in her swimsuit (nobody asked her to show anybody anyway). Otherwise, see her throw a tantrum. When the homepage is uploaded, seems there is one photo when enlarged, zooms in on Yoshinoya’s breasts! Did Mashiko know what he was doing? Later Yuno ponders of getting her own digital camera and take pictures of everyone and put it in an album. Despite not swimming in the meet, being a record keeper means she took part in it in her own way.

Episode 5
Nazuna visits Yuno and Miyako. She has an emergency. She wants them to teach her how to cook fried chicken. By tomorrow. Or else she can never face her parents again! Apparently they’re visiting and she wants to cook for them. When she visited them during summer vacation, she sounded as though she had gotten better in the cooking basics so I guess the expectation is there. Why didn’t she ask Hiro since she’s the best among the lot? Well, she thought she is busy. Miyako suggests to go ask her anyway. Hiro agrees to help Nazuna out despite being ‘busy’ drawing. Drawing Sae in her sleep, that is. Hiro explains all that is needed to make fried chicken but Nazuna was too busy taking down notes and didn’t see. Care to do it again? Because Yuno’s miso soup is the best, Hiro has her teach Nazuna. Feeling very needed, eh? Nazuna parents soon visit and her friends worry if she’s going to be alright seeing her body language isn’t really confident. As they wait, they get an SMS from Nazuna. It’s an SOS mail! Quickly they rush over and looks like she messed up the rice. Hiro improvises to make rice porridge instead. Her parents are happy Nazuna has good friends. They too know she isn’t good at cooking and it’s hard not to notice. I guess the dead giveaway was trying to cut tofu and vegetables with a fruit knife. After her parents leave, Nazuna thanks her friends for everything. She presents to them a souvenir from her parents. Guess what? Fried chickens… Sick of it already? Maybe another time…

Nori wakes up in the dead of the night because of a nightmare. Since her room is next to Sae, she gets spooked when she heard her knock on the wall and even gets jumpy when she sends a mail. Sae heard her scream and wonders if she’s alright. They answer each other via SMS but Nori realizes it would be just easier to go talk face to face. Nori tells Sae about her nightmare. She was working on an image and the colour kept fading. Suddenly the computer froze! She didn’t save her work! Yeah. That’s the nightmare. Sae thought that was interesting so Nori tries to bluff her with a ghost sighting. Didn’t work. But the centipede bluff did. Noticing Sae still uses the good old dictionary, she suggests getting a laptop and it ended up both of them arguing the pros and cons of a dictionary and a laptop. Eventually they both cool down and apologize. Next, they talk about living independently and Chika, whom Nori hopes would come visit again. The chat lasted till morning till Sae is awakened by the ‘ghostly’ voice of Hiro. She realizes they have overslept and wakes Nori up. She doesn’t want to since she’s in a middle of a nice dream! Eventually she wakes up, rushes back to her room to have a quick shower before heading off to school.

Episode 6
Today, the class will have to free sketch their own face. Yoshinoya demonstrates drawing hers and it turns out real good but when the students suggest drawing Mashiko, it turned out horrible. Miyako and Yuno sketch while reminisce about certain memories like Yuno realizing how short she is and Miyako suggesting Yuno to make a face she normally doesn’t do (I guess she was sarcastic when she clapped and yet said it didn’t work). Yuno’s sketch turns out to be good while Miyako’s… She had several hands grapping her hair? And if Miyako said she just drew what she saw in the mirror, does it mean…???!!! Just kidding. Miyako compliments how cute Yuno is and sends her flustering. Later the duo take a bath together back home and Yuno reminisces about the first time she moved here and met Miyako. Then the duo talk while trying hard not to fall asleep. I don’t think they can last… Hiro narrates how her parents and teachers praised her detailed drawing and it made her want to study arts. Once more she is at the crossroads wondering her next path in life. Sae meanwhile dreads next week’s meeting with the teacher about college. So much so, she was about to leave it to the fate ladder! Hiro calms her down. During recess, Miyako notices Hiro not looking well and forces her to go to the infirmary (citing her weight problems to get her moving). She rests in bed but is surprised to see Yoshinoya sleeping next to her! Apparently she wanted to bug Kuwahara but since she was busy, she waited and waited. Yoshinoya has Hiro explain what’s eating her. Though Yoshinoya is amazed she wants to be go to an art college, become a teacher and come back to Yamabuki like her, she cautions if she really wants to be a teacher. Or is it she wants to be at Yamabuki? Even if she did, her friends will no longer be around. That really hit her as Hiro sinks into depression. It’s like Yoshinoya saw right through her. But the most depressing one is Yoshinoya since she is worried she might have said too much. Hiro is not feeling well so she goes home early. Her friends decide to pay her a visit and Nazuna is the first one to panic upon knowing Hiro is sick. Luckily there is Nori to calm her down. Hiro wakes up to see Sae sitting by her side. Sae is supportive and amazed and supportive about her dream to become a teacher and wished she had a teacher who is like her back then (or else Sae wouldn’t have hated drawing animals). It brought tears to Hiro’s eyes. The embrace each other as Hiro feels depressed that she’ll feel lonely once she graduates. Sae also feels the same but knows they’ll be alright. The mood is ruined or rather the tension is eased when their stomachs growl. Next morning, Hiro is up and well. As proof, Miyako teases her as a glutton. Hiro sees Yoshinoya to apologize for clamming up yesterday. She is now clear that she wants to enter an art college and be an art teacher. All thanks to Sae who gave her a little push.

Episode 7
The class is to draw a poster for Yamabuki Festival. The way Miyako puts it, Yuno gets the idea that she might be getting an international debut because the poster that will be picked for the festival will be up on the homepage for the world to see. I guess Yuno counted her chickens and called mommy she will be making her international debut. As they ponder the theme for the festival, Yoshinoya whispers hints she wants a masquerade. Yuno realizes there is not much time left to finish her poster and remembers last year her exhibit was left out since it was incomplete. She won’t let that happen again and rushes up. Once over, Miyako shows hers. It’s in 3D and you need 3D glasses to view it! Principal and the teachers start picking the best poster and one caught their eye. Guess whose? Yuno! Her friends celebrate and congratulate her win as they ‘interview’ her. Her congratulatory speech is, “I am very happy!”. In English. Then she calls her mom to inform about her international debut. The one panicking is her father because now he thinks she needs to rent a secure condo with at least 2 guards! That famous, huh? Yuno gets a mail from her friend Arisawa, asking to go out on a mixer with her. Yuno panics and declines. Of course she was just joking. Yuno dresses up to go meet Arisawa. Sae panics and bugs Miyako for answer about the person Yuno is ‘dating’. Maybe she should ask her herself? They meet up and talk about things over lunch such as Arisawa’s campus life and trash. Literally. Arisawa learns Yuno’s poster got picked from the entire school as Yuno owes it to her friends. Arisawa says never to let them go. Giving herself as an example, she might have her friends’ numbers but didn’t call for half a year. It’s reassuring to think that there is someone you can get in touch with but if you never do it, it doesn’t really count. It’s important to build a relationship that will still be there even if you can’t. Because Yuno has become quite a close friend, Arisawa wants her to call her by her shortened name that her friends do: Arisa. Before Arisawa leaves via bus, Yuno invites her to come to Yamabuki Festival. Yuno gives much thought to Arisawa’s words and texts Sae and Hiro to always be friends. She later shares the apple pie with her friends while the juniors got really excited to know this Arisawa person that she was out on a date. They seem disappointed when Yuno explains she’s a girl and a college friend. Then when she tells them about the conversation they had, Hiro realizes the meaning of the text she sent and thanks her for the nice mail and it means a lot to them.

Episode 8
Yoshinoya seems to be very eager in suggesting her class on what to do for the festival. A masquerade? A maid cafe? When it’s time to vote, she puts ‘pressure’ on her students to vote her suggestions but eventually she is left in despair as the class chooses haunted house instead. As Miyako and Yuno prepare the props for the haunted house, they wonder what they can do to make it scarier. Miyako suggests making the ground movable and that means stacking up lots of flattened cardboards. She tries it out herself but slips and sprains her fingers. Though they are bandaged up nicely, they’ll have to stay that way for a week and that means she’ll have them on during the festival. Yuno gets a real scare when Miyako feels something wet behind her back. Is it blood?! Or is it paint? Yuno’s scream was funny. Another scare for Yuno because back home she spots Miyako looking like a zombie in the toilet. Funny scream. Prolonged version. On the day of the festival, Yuno’s winning poster design is used as the pamphlet’s cover. She loves it so much that she asks for several copies. Yuno and Miyako’s haunted house shift is later so they go around visiting like Sae and Hiro’s class running an udon cafe, Nazuna’s class doing a balloon room (can they find a heart shape balloon amidst them all?) and Nori’s class doing a play in which both Romeo and Juliet are played by boys (Juliet has trauma for cows?!). Yuno also meets Arisa and her friend at the festival.

When it’s their turn for the shift, their friends come to visit the haunted house. They have second doubts to enter since they hear those horrifying screams. That bad, huh? Eventually they step in and I think they are scaring themselves whether it’s Nazuna letting loose her scream or Hiro’s sneeze. They need to take out a talisman from a statue so Nori who isn’t scared did the honours. Till she finds a bloodied hand sticking at the end of the talisman! Freak out! When they reach the exit, they meet Yuno who is manning the reception. The final and ultimate scare is when they put the talisman in the box. Because in that box is Miyako’s face!!! The haunted house must be chalking up a good reputation with all the screams. You can ever hear them from the hallway. Yuno is surprised her parents came and out from the haunted house. They wanted to take a look at her winning poster design and didn’t want to trouble her, that’s why they didn’t inform they were coming. Yuno takes her parents to tour around the festival. Along the way, a WTF moment when Yoshinoya parades around in a sexy Momotarou outfit. The festival ends with the students dancing around the bonfire at night. Yoshinoya wanted to hijack everything, ready with her samba outfit and own music but was intercepted by Principal. Thank goodness. Yuno is dancing with Miyako and the former thought her injuries are healed since she has taken off her bandages. Well, it isn’t because that’s just a fake hand! Yikes!

Episode 9
Yuno is wakened from her beautiful slumber when Miyako and Landlady call her name from outside her room. Landlady has won a Game of Life prize via a drawing contest and decides to give it to her. Miyako calls everyone to play. Landlady is joining in too? Since the game has elements that doesn’t relate to their life, they decide to make several modifications. So I guess you start at HA and end up being a millionaire owning HA. Miyako even makes a miniature HA! Very detailed! While the girls are making the modifications, Landlady takes a nap in Sae’s room. Nazuna and Nori learn that the HA sign outside was done by them. When they’re done, I suppose all that hard work means their stomach is growling. Hiro makes onigiri while Nazuna makes miso soup. Too bad she added too much tofu because it’s a pity they’ll expire today and she bought a lot of them dirt cheap. As the game is about to begin, they find that the maximum number of players is only 6. There are 7 of them. Quickly Landlady goes under Nazuna’s team. The game progresses and we see the girls landing on all the odd squares and most of them are nostalgic things they did or places they visit in the past seasons. Sae lands on a square that has her speak like a cat for the next 2 turns. In great timing, Chika calls Yuno and wonders how she is doing in the game (Nori texted her about it). Conveniently, everybody made Sae talk to her sister and her biggest embarrassment is that she had to talk like a cat. It sends Chika laughing like mad. She can’t stop! Everyone else tried to hold back their laughter. Everyone lands a job that they conjured previously. But Nazuna ends up as the prime minister? Wait. Nori got it worse. She’s unemployed! How is that a job? This prompts Landlady to think how she never dreamt of landing this job back in high school. The girls start to wonder what kind of odd jobs she takes up since even though she is the landlady, she is hardly around. Landlady makes excuses to keep it as a secret. In the end, the winner with the most money goes to Nori! How can an unemployed earn more than the prime minister? Well, she landed on lots of good squares. Irony, life, isn’t it? Landlady notices the lack of loser squares and they mention since had to fill it with lots of winner spaces since they’re thinking of their future. Yeah. You don’t want to get depressed thinking this will really become true later in your life despite being a game, right? Life can be cruelly. So play it safe. After Landlady leaves, Nazuna and Nori see the HA sign outside and hope they could make their own memories at HA. Miyako thinks Yuno should keep this game forever and pass it down to future dorm residents. In 20 or 30 years time and with all their own modifications, it will be a super amazing game. I can imagine the havoc and chaos…

Episode 10
Yuno and Miyako are being reserved as they want the other to take the first step into the snow. However Nori unknowingly makes the first move. If you’re wondering why Miyako isn’t wearing her jacket. Well, it’s from her brother. And it is over-sized. Looks like an over-sized worm… as for Yoshinoya, she dresses up as a snow woman despite knowing how freaking cold it is just to show off to her students. WTF. Later Miyako and Yuno play snow ball fight back at HA and they are surprised that Nori is studying. Want to join in? Well, although it’s a waste not to play in the snow, she notes that she has been falling behind her grades and her parents are paying a lot of money for her to study here. So she needs to buck up and not let them down. In short, she declines to play with them. Yuno and Miyako got so embarrassed that they try digging a hole to bury themselves. After studying for the day, everyone gathers and talk how it is good to have a partner to study as you won’t get distracted unlike studying alone. Miyako thinks it’s a good idea too since she might have finished writing an entire poem on HA had she not study with Yuno. Later Sae talks to Hiro and thinks they shouldn’t put up a grand welcoming party when Chika comes to visit later. Oh, here she is now. But Chika declines to come in for tea as she has a message for Sae and talks to her sister privately in her room. The message is from her parents and though they have no qualms about her studies, they want to know why she put down 2 schools back home for where she wants to go. Is it she is worried about Chika or money? Despite denying, her body language says otherwise. Sae admits about living alone and the cost so going to school back home is fine. But Chika feels annoyed at that she acts like she is suffering on her behalf as Chika lives at school while Sae goes to public school. She thinks it is rude to be concerned about someone for reasons like that.

Eventually both sisters make up and Chika goes over next door for the gyoza party. What party? Seems everyone else knew Chika was coming and have finished making the food. I guess Sae was the last one to know Chika was coming. Why? To get everyone’s approval first of course. Sae didn’t want to tell what they talk about but since Chika was pretty loud next door, they could hear what they said. Chika asks their plans for Christmas and Sae mentions about sharing a cake. Chika hints big sister should be doing something else since she is in her third year. Sae flusters that she has exams to concentrate and don’t have time to waste for Christmas. This prompts Nazuna to think about their future as she learns Hiro will go to an art college to become an art teacher while Sae will try her luck in becoming a writer. They can’t imagine the duo being apart. Yuno sadly notes they’ll be leaving HA in 3 months time. Miyako suggests they can still be at HA. Just stay back for 1 more year! Rejected! She also suggests encouraging them to do their best and forms a cheer squad and leads the other girls to cheer on the seniors. They are touched with their support and Miyako says they’re going to do it every day till they graduate. Every day?

Episode 11
Yuno, Miyako and a couple of their friends visit Yoshinoya. Why? To clean her house! Look at her room filled with magazines and books scattered everywhere! I’m sure they move faster when she wants them to also find sketches they made during their first classes at Yamabuki. They’re tucked away somewhere between those pages. They spot a yearbook album of Yoshinoya when she’s a kid. They’re ecstatic to read it till they see a topic on who is about to get married first. Yoshinoya topped that list. Just lost motivation… While taking a break, one of the friends accidentally knock over the alarm clock. The alarm turns out to be Yoshinoya’s voice reminding her to wake up. Sometimes it also encourages her to sleep if it’s alright to skip breakfast, etc. Creepy… Turn it off! After cleaning it up, Yoshinoya says they can take a book as reward for helping her clean. She’s going to rid them anyway. Besides, she has read them so much that it’s part of her soul. So take part of her soul! Don’t think so… Suddenly a guy and a kid walk in. The girls scream in horror! Who the hell?! Turns out to be Yoshinoya’s younger brother and his son coming to visit (he married young). Phew. Even bro doesn’t believe Yoshinoya is a teacher and asks the girls for confirmation! He offers to give help take the books away since he drove. During the ride, he tells the girls that he once got into a little accident. It turned Yoshinoya into a sobbing mess and couldn’t stop crying. He hopes they will be careful too because she’d start crying if anything happens to them. Back at HA, Yuno and Miyako show the rest the books they got and a picture of Yoshinoya and her brother slip out. The seniors freak out to see this person till they learn he is the brother. They talk what happened during the day and since all the talking is making them hungry, Hiro goes to make something to eat.

Natsume gets the surprise of her life when Sae invites her to their Christmas party. Make that panic mode. Think you’re dreaming? It’s real. Yuno gets embarrassed when she realizes Miyako and the juniors are watching her hum a jingle bell song while preparing the dishes. So Natsume turn up for the party and they start serving each of the dishes they made. Natsume can’t hold back her laughter seeing them in their silly antics. For the presents exchanging event, Yuno has come up with a clever way. Everyone eats a choco banana in which the names of the person whom they’ll be receiving the present is written on the stick. But Nazuna and Hiro got “Winner”. What does it mean? It means they get another choco banana. I hope this isn’t fattening… Natsume gets a big present from Miyako. It’s a longcat pillow. Nori gets a good watch from Nazuna. Can she take such a precious gift? Hiro gets a confirmation letter courtesy from Nori. For what? To order cheese cake. Horror! How many pounds is she going to gain? When it is time to leave, Natsume gets another surprise when Sae offers to help carry her longcat to the station. Along the way, Natsume accidentally lets her tongue slip that she reads Sae’s works. Sae flusters that she does and didn’t pay much attention to what Natsume said about her romantic themes. Because of that, it’s Natsume’s turn to fluster and run away. Back home, Natsume is worried that she doesn’t know how to face Sae anymore now that she knows about it. I guess there’s where longcat’s role comes in. Hug all you want…

Episode 12
Nazuna tries to write New Year’s Cards and screws up by writing what she says (she’s talking to her friends while doing that). She thought of using her name stamp but Miyako quickly makes her own stamp which says “Congratulations”. Do you say that on New Year’s Day? Then she has them take a mandarin orange quiz by guessing which is the sweetest? How to tell? She puts all of it in her mouth?! How can she taste which is sweet? More importantly, how the hell can she fit it all in her mouth?! I think she just wants to eat them badly. Sae and Hiro isn’t seen joining them since they are busy studying. The quartet go to the public bath and Miyako did a dangerous handstand. Don’t imitate this. After Nazuna mails her greeting cards, it started snowing. They meet Landlady passing by and they exchange New Year greetings. Soon, Sae and Hiro pay their juniors a visit and the quartet are pressured not to say taboo words that will jinx them during their exams. Trying hard, aren’t they? I guess they can’t help it. Whether it is Nazuna dropping the chopsticks or Nori hoping somebody doesn’t slip and bomb out. The seniors are cool and won’t let such taboo get to them. While eating soba noodles, Yuno’s dad calls her to check on her (she’s not coming home for the New Year). I guess he is trying to hint how lonely he is because he is talking through the sock puppets! Too bad mommy had to hang up and scold him for bothering their daughter. When it’s countdown to the New Year, Hiro and Sae are fast asleep so the rest continue to wish each other Happy New Year.

When the day is still dark, the gang pay a visit to the shrine. The usual stuff. Pray for their wishes to come true, drink a soup that has a pun in its name which means ‘not bad’, watch the bonfire, write their wishes on the wooden board and putting them up, taking their luck reading in which Miyako got the greatest super luck of all while Yuno is the only one who gets terrible luck. As they escort her to tie the bad luck on the sacred tree, they hear Yoshinoya weeping. I guess she got bad luck too. They also come into Landlady who is halfway drunk thanks to the New Year party. Meanwhile Natsume chances upon Sae’s wish on the board and her friends know she wants to go look for her. Well, if they insist so the tsundere goes looking about. Natsume reaches the top of the shrine and everyone exchange greetings. With Principal joining in, they watch the first sunrise for the year. Everyone returns to their respective places and because Nazuna is yawning, they think of heading back to HA for some snooze. Nori teases her yawn make her mouth look big. As Yuno takes a bath, she ponders she will be a senior this coming year and this also means she’ll be focusing on her exams. Although she may get depressed thinking about it, knowing that everyone at HA will be by her side to figure it out, everything will be alright.

Hidamari Homecoming Stretch
I might not have remembered lots of stuff from this series but I still do remember some of the important stuffs like the peculiar antics of the gang. Thus it may not be that effective in bringing back the nostalgic memories but it is still good fun to watch the gang once more. This season feels like an extension of the third season because of some of the certain styles that appeared in that season. For example, whenever the story of that episode ends, we usually see Yuno (if not, one of the other girls) dipping into their own bathtub while pondering and reflecting today’s events and possibly about the future. Also, the next episode preview is still the same yonkoma style and the end card illustrations from different people with each their own style. Some good, some funny. Hey, this is a show about art, right? Well, sort of. Also, there are relatively no new characters being added.

So overall nothing really much happens. Even if you’re hoping for some romance, you’d be very disappointed. Girls their age having no boyfriend crush or not even talking about boys? Well, at least no yuri relationship. I would rather say that Hiro and Sae’s close relationship amounts to close-knit friendship than anything yuri. There are still a few months away before the seniors graduate and unless they make another season, I’m sure it will be about Yuno and Miyako stepping up and taking over as the senior role. Perhaps we will have a couple of new faces to replace Sae and Hiro but then again, what would be this series be without the original quartet? Sure, they can make cameo appearances, dropping by from college or on their way somewhere but it won’t feel like it is the original Hidamari Sketch gang we have all know throughout the seasons. I won’t say the character developments are lacking but there isn’t much to develop either. You would have guessed everyone would be the same person they are as they were right back in the first season. Or for newbies like Nazuna and Nori, the same girls they were when they were introduced in the previous season. But sometimes it feels that Nazuna may become the next Yuno due to her nervousness in almost everything. I may not remember how often Yuno panics, she still does here but I feel it is lesser. Looks like she has matured a little. But still a long way to go.

Miyako is still hilarious with her antics but I also feel that she is somewhat toned down a little and not as wild as I knew her. Hmm… Maybe it’s my fading memories. Nevertheless as the lively one of the pack, Miyako never changes since she is still the big eater and doesn’t hesitate to tease Hiro about her weight. Or anything that hints to her that she will put some on. Yoshinoya is still my favourite character but like Miyako, her antics are somewhat toned down too. I don’t think she’s grown much wiser during the past year but she is not a total idiot as at times she gives valuable advices to her students when they are in dilemma. Because of that, we don’t see Principal reprimanding her very often like before. What else… Oh, just like last season, I thought Chika would have more appearance but same like the third season, she only appeared in 1 episode. That’s it. Same case for Arisawa. At least Nori and Nazuna have more of the spotlight this season. As for Natsume, I wonder how long she is going to keep up with her tsundere attitude. Doesn’t she get tired? I guess we don’t. Still, she had some of her wish to be with Sae come true. If only she could be more honest with her feelings. Nah. I think that will make things boring. I also notice that this season, Sae didn’t really stress herself out to meet deadlines for her novel work. Maybe she is in her third year so her editors cut her some slack and let her concentrate on her exams. That little bug, Ume still continues to bum around on top of HA. Still funny and amusing in its own way.

The series’ art and visual trademarks are still identifiable but they don’t really offer anything new. Even if there was, I was perhaps not paying attention and it didn’t catch my eye. I remember that in the previous season, food was subtly a highlight and somewhat prominent in each episode. But here, although we still see them, it is not that obvious and it didn’t attract my attention. Maybe it wasn’t that mouth watering. Obviously the Genghis Khan caramel was a turn off. I don’t like died scallops… Udon isn’t my cup of tea. Onigiri and miso soup seemed generic. Omelette rice? I prefer to have a girl to do that for me ;p. Pasta? Me no Italiano… The fried chicken and gyoza don’t look appetizing (sorry). Perhaps only the choco banana and apple pie… Where’s the cheese cake?! But watching this show didn’t make me hungry. I’m not saying that it did for the last season. Hiro is still the master chef among the gang and I hope Nazuna will soon add more dishes to her repertoire now that she has gotten the hang of making fried chickens and miso soup. Well, almost. Don’t give up.

Just as always the opening theme is sung by the girls of HA. Still the lively, upbeat and fast paced pop piece that we have been familiar with since the first season. For this season, the opening song is Open Canvas and I find some of the lines to be funny in the sense that the girls were saying the words of their opening sentence very fast like as though somebody pressed the fast forward button for a second there before resuming normal play. Marble once more does the ending theme, Yumegumo. The pace of this song also feels similar to all the Hidamari Sketch’s ending themes she sung. So you will feel somewhat in familiar territory hearing this piece.

I’m not really sure if a fifth season is in the works but if the series is very popular, why not? Besides the TV series, this series also had other specials for each season to complement it (which unfortunately I didn’t watch). There are also music soundtracks, character image discs, light novels and a video game. If you are really crazy about this series and can’t get enough of the cute characters, I’m sure you already would have the complete collection. As I’ve said I’m not a big fan so the most I’ll stick to is just watching the TV series. It’s enough for some cute and funny moments. Since this series is trying to tell us that because time moves forward and nothing stays the same, it is always best to make memories now and cherish them. One day, I too won’t be able to watch my favourite animes anymore… I hope that day won’t come soon. If it does, I’ll just think back at all the wonderful memories and the episodes that I have watched. If I can remember them, that is.

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.

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.

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.

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).

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

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
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!

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.

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.

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

Hidamari Sketch Hoshimittsu

August 20, 2010

The girls of Hidamari Apartment (HA) are back! Who would have thought that this slice of life anime would get a third season called Hidamari Sketch Hoshimittsu. Well, even if I needed a reason to watch this sequel, it was probably because of that childish, immature and irresponsible teacher of Yamabuki High School, Yoshinoya. Epic fail as a teacher but epic moe when it comes to bringing in the laughs. Yeah, did she ever learn or change? Bad news: She didn’t. Good news: She didn’t.
Fans and for those who have watched its previous 2 seasons of the series would find that the trademark visuals and much about everything else remains the same. For instance, the relationship and interaction between the girls-cum-art-students-cum-residents of HA, Yuno and Miyako along with their 1 year senior Sae and Hiro. Don’t forget the eccentric Landly and the little bug (or whatever that is) who is always bumming above HA, Ume. Of course, needless to say the antics that Yoshinoya do in school which will always result her in being reprimanded by the Principal. Other familiar stuff include the various scene changers in which shows the characters sometimes in different poses or outfits and the end of the day which mostly shows Yuno in the bathtub reflecting the day’s events (nothing ecchi or fanservice considered). But something new for this season I noticed is that, everyone in HA (except Hiro who is the sleepy head and even sleep talking!) wakes up and do their morning exercise and stretching. Even art class students need a little warm up to kick start their creativity.
So what else is new and in store for this season? Well, a year has passed and that means novelist and tomboyish Sae and good-housewife-material Hiro are now third year seniors at Yamabuki while naive Yuno and bottomless-stomach Miyako are in their second years. My, the year sure went by quickly. Also, there will be 2 new tenants at HA and will occupy both the empty rooms (if I can recall, one of them was that ‘secret’ room filled with exercising equipment that Hiro did in secret). They are the shy Nazuna and honest Nori. It’s going to get livelier at HA. You can count on that.
Episode 1 begins with Yuno breaking her plates one morning so her pals help her clean them up before rushing to school just in time. Hey, they just live across Yamabuki. Saves lots of time and energy. In class, the teacher hands back their grammar test papers and it seems Yuno failed! She scored 24 marks and the passing mark is 25 points! Just missed it! There goes her spring vacation as she has to do a retake. Her pals are willing to help her study but Miyako wants to give her amusement park spirits? She’s sure as weird as ever. Yoshinoya too offers to teach but with her ‘Engrish’? Don’t think so. With hard work, Yuno passes the retake with 100 marks! Wow! What a turn around. But it seems she studied too much so much so she’s gone crazy and saying words in English! Landlady comes by to inform the gang that there will be 2 new 1st year students moving into HA. She’s excited because that means more money and getting to splash the cash on her favourite liquour and snacks. And to quickly achieve that, she requests the girls to help clean the empty rooms since hiring professionals costs money. Well, many hands make light work. Landlady orders bento gor them as reward for helping her out. The girls learns she has installed network cables so internet is possible upon request. The girls wait eagerly on the day the new tenants are supposed to arrive. But it seems one of their parents showed up instead. The lively fateher decides to take the quartet out to lunch. That’s when Nazuna arrive and is disheartened to find nobody around. Soon shortly, Nori arrives but also finds no one around and though she knocked on Nazuna’s door, the latter’s sleeping inside. When the quartet return, they finally meet the new girls and quickly get acquainted.
The new semester always bring nostalgic memories for Principal with the old students going and new students coming in. He calls Yoshinoya for her words of wisdom so she says it is love and goes dramatically overboard of what it means to her. He should’ve known better. In episode 2, Nazuna and Nori are invited to Yuno’s room for a welcoming party. With Miyako’s dice, they talk on topics its face shows up. Hamburg steak? Nori talks about her hobby and interest in PC while Nazuna asks the reason the girls draw. Opening ceremony is held the next day as the senior quartet sleep in late. Nori rushes back to Yuno’s room to inform a big news. Seems Nazuna isn’t enrolled in the art class but a normal general-ed one. Nazuna explains she lived nearby and thought Yamabuki was nearby and took the narmal class exam and passed. After that, her dad was suddenly transferred for work and mom went with him to help with the housework. Nazuna starts crying over helplessness so Nori assures she has her good points too. Though they don’t know what they are yet. Heartbreak… Later, Yuno and Miyako decide to do up their hair so Hiro suggests going to Olive near the train station and searches for her never-ending card coupons so they can get discounts. At Olive, the duo get their hair treated by twins. Of course Miyako’s weird request and behaviour is always an eyebrow raiser. At the end of the day when they return, Hiro envies Miyako’s silky and matyre hair. Well, it looked the same to me as with Yuno’s. Sae thinks of getting her hair cut too so Miyako and Yuno jokingly say they’ll cut for her.
The opening ceremony for the new term starts in episode 3 as Principal gives his opening speech which turns into one filled with disappointment of a certain teacher not turning in on a crucial day and has no self awareness. He even said in this coming year, she’ll get hell! Woah! Clearly upset alright. I think I know who he’s referring too but that was dispeled when Yoshinoya’s hops onstage and eagerly introduces herself. Since she’s told it isn’t her turnm she strips her top! Starting the new semester with a bang? Yoshinoya is the homeroom teacher for Yuno and Miyako’s class once more. She tells them they need to choose from 3 electives: Plane (pointing to her hips?), 3D (boobs?) or Information (head?). Of course she got scolding from Principal afterwards. After school, Landlady drops by and meets the newbies for the first time. Yuno is still in a dilemma what to choose and seeks Sae and Hiro’s advice. They both chose Plane since the former knew what she wanted and the latter to polish what she’s already capable of. Still unsure, Yuno rearranges her furniture to take her mind off it. She finds a postcard and remembers nostalgic memories when she first moved in here. When Miyako pays a visit, Yuno decides to do Plane while Miyako says she’ll do 3D. Yuno is at the bookstore when she sees Sae who intends to buy a newly published magazine supposedly containing her latest works. They thought the stock hasn’t arrived yet but when they ask the cashier, he says the demand was so great that it was sold out like hot cakes. Seems that lesbian tsundere Sae fan, Natsume was one of them. Sae and Yuno chat things over a cup of coffee at the cafe as the latter reveals how she’s in a dilemma to choose between arts and humanitites. Sae mentions that being a novelist and drawing illustrations are both important and that she can’t let go both of them. Yuno goes back to tell this to Miyako so the latter says she has 2 plans: Don’t think and accept whatever comes her way! That doesn’t sound much of a plan, doesn’t it?
Yoshinoya enters Principal’s office early one morning in episode 4, sits on his chair and acts like him. Too bad she got busted. Scolding time. Natsume sees Sae walking back alone from school so she musters up her courage to go talk to her. Though just a short distance, Sae thanks her and this causes her to blush and run off. Nori asks Yuno and Miyako a place to get curtains to replace her current short ones so Nazuna suggests a home centre (think IKEA). The quartet are on their way as Nori tells them how she experienced her first time in Yoshinoya’s class. Trying to be a model and naked upon request? Got scolded after that lah… At the centre, they are awed by the many things and when Nori asks Nazuna’s opinion on the curtain designs, she says it’s better to ask Yuno and Miyako who are art students because she has no fashion sense. But Nori tells her off that it’s bad misconception and that not all art students are good in art, thus the reason they study art, right? Nazuna makes her choice so Nori chooses that design. They see Landlady at the nursery as she thinks of growing vegetables at HA. Miyako totally agrees because that will mean more side dishes for the food. Since all the girls agree, Landlady wishes them well to do all the planting. Lazy bum… What a great way of pushing responsibilities to others. They go back and fit Nori’s curtains so Miyako gets permission to take her old ones to replace her broken blinds. Broken since last summer. When Sae and Hiro get back from their shopping, Nazuna gets disheartened to see Hiro’s bundle of tissue rolls the same design as the curtains. The girls then plant tomatoes in the yard. Hiro cooks dinner for them all and the newbies get to taste her delicious cooking. Nazuna still hasn’t gotten use to living alone so Nori cheers her up and will accompany her for tomorrow at the school’s cafeteria.
Yuno tries to diet in episode 5 since today is the physical examination but Miyako is happily eating away. Hiro too is dieting for the whole day when Sae ‘saves’ her by giving her a sweet candy and she’s back to normal strength. As usual, Miyako and her antics during measurement time and for Yuno, nothing much changed. In fact, her height shortened by 0.1cm! Hope it’s an estimation error. When it’s over, everyone gathers and eat a deliciously baked cake from Hiro. During that, Yuno gets a wrong call apparently from someone she knew, Arisawa, a third year of Yamabuki, who was calling a friend out of haste. Yuno says she got her number when she accidentally left her handphone back in her classroom during winter so the rest chat about if they ever lost their handphones. The next part goes back a little in time. To a night when Yuno decides to show her pals about an interesting dog picture she took from her handphone. Realizing she lost her handphone, Sae makes a quick call and someone picked it up! Yuno answers and learns her handphone was left in the arts classroom. She goes to retrieve it and sees Arisawa sketching in the classroom alone. They get acquainted as Arisawa suggests Yuno to be her model and draw a pose of her. She asks her to strip! Just joking. Phew. Yuno learns she’s here at this time instead of the research institute (arts prep school) because she doesn’t like the tense atmosphere there. Arisawa tells her how she was overwhelmed by the amazing artwork she saw at the campus and knew she wanted to better herself at that place. As Yuno is astound by her words, Arisawa finishes her sketch and shows it to her. Yuno praises it very much till it made her blush. They both then part as Yuno return to her pals. She shows them the sketched picture of herself in her handphone. When the girls ask her about the dog, she doesn’t know what they’re talking about. Such short memory.
Yoshinoya has her class do outdoor sketching in episode 6 but Miyako and Yuno notice her very strange behaviour. Like she can’t stop looking at her handphone. During recess, they relate this to Sae and Hiro and being the novelist, Sae says Yoshinoya is in love but it’s a one-sided one. Why is Natsume so busybody eavesdropping? Yeah, she even got surprised for doing that. Principal seems very upset and is looking for Yoshinoya as Natsume tells him she saw her in the library. Meanwhile Yoshinoya is ‘hiding’ in the infirmary still obsessing at her handphone and asks Kuwahara about her opinion on love at first sight. Since the period is over, she kicks her out as she comes face to face with Mashiko. She suddenly blushes, panics and runs away. Yuno and Miyako are on their way back when they see Yoshinoya on the rooftop. Fearing the worst, they rush over. But it’s revealed she was just reading a phone novel and was so into it. The girls bid goodbye so she returns to her reading. Yuno tries to read it too after bath but just couldn’t comprehend. It’s definitely not for kids. Yuno, Miya, Sae and Hiro spot Nazuna helping out a guy classmate at school. They think she’s popular with the guys but Sae seems to get panicky at the thought. They decide to go ask Nori but she too isn’t sure though she notes she once saw 3 boys helping her out. Can’t wait to hear the juicy details, they all go see Nazuna and bombard her with questions like has she gotten a love letter before or shared ice cream with boys. She answers all of her first time during kindergarten. Sae looking more anxious that she’s an early bloomer? Nazuna denies she’s popular with the boys and dislikes helping them out though they help her from time to time. When she was in elementary and middle high, the other girls got mad when the boys help her out. She felt she didn’t want to turn down their offer and is grateful for their help. As they continue to watch her, the rest conclude that it may be Nazuna’s cuteness that prompted the guys to help her. Next day, Yoshinoya shows Kuwahara her new hot hairstyle: She copied Nazuna’s.
In episode 7, Yoshinoya must be regretting that she suggested doing morning exercises to Principal. Because now she’s got to do it with him every day! Boo hoo! In this episode, Sae’s little sister, Chika comes to visit the girls as she gets quickly acquainted with Nori and Nazuna. Over meal, they talk about Chika’s visit to the kabuki show, her first day in high school, her brass band, sports day rivalry between art class and general eds. I wonder how Yuno is going to divide a cake into 7 parts. Well, Miyako suugests to cut it into 8 parts and the remainder give it to her! Greedy! The gang decide to go for a picnic at the lake tomorrow since the weather forecast says it’ll be sunny. When they return, they have tea and snacks at Nori’s room. They talk about what they did at the park and then giving animal forms to the residents of HA based on their personalities. Like Hiro a swallow, Miyako a cat, Yuno a hamster and Sae a gecko! Of all creatures… The newbies talk about how striking Hiro and Sae are, like they’re so cool and elegant, making Sae blush. At the end of the day, Chika parts with them and they promise to chat more with each other in the future. Principal and Yoshinoya happen to jog by. Ironically the old guy is still full of energy ready to go on another mile while the young cosplay fanatic is so out of breath. Otakus out of shape…
Nori describes the delicious dishes of the Chinese Food Fair at the school’s cafeteria in episode 8. Especially the famed crab fried rice. Of course Miyako is all fired up to try them. But tomorrow is the last day! Yuno and Miyako plan to go during recess but since Yuno had unfinished work, they decide to go after school. When the moment comes, they are disheartened to learn it’s sold out since it’s the last day so not much food was cooked. They come home dejected but Hiro offers to make imitation of it for them. As expected, it tastes delicious. They learn Nazuna had already tried the dish earlier this afternoon but she didn’t tell them because she wanted to taste Hiro’s version. Hiro felt honoured and so happy that she’d cook any dish Nazuna would ask for. Erm… Why is Miyako suggesting on Nazuna’s behalf? Yoshinoya holds an internal contest in which the class will sketch motifs and need to hand them in by today and will be graded and reviewed by the end of the day. Seems the items chosen for the motifs are a bottle, can, eggplant, string and hat. Yuno panics pon hearing the pun words from the items: Bin, kan, nasu, ito and hatto which sounded like Binkan (Sensitive) Sweetheart! Must’ve know Yoshinoya long enought & go paranoid over her crazy character. Then she notices Yoshinoya watching her work and gets a little alert but in actual fact she’s observing her little butt! WTF?! Yuno must be having a hard day because her pencil tip broke several times and during recess, all set lunches have eggplants in them. At the end of the day, though Miyako’s work is one of the top, Yuno’s is one of the bottom. This causes her to be depressed. Yuno goes to talk to Hiro and at the same time Sae is stressed out on her novel job. This prompts Hiro to mention Saes’ job also puts her in Yuno’s situation all the time where she’s constantly being judged and having to come to terms with her ability. So how does she bear it all? Hiro’s answer: Probably because she loves it. That night, Yuno can’t sleep and starts sketching. Next morning, she’s sleepy in class but Miyako says it’s alright she can snooze because while she was sleeping, she drew eyeballs over her eyelids, freaking out Yoshinoya. Double eyes!
If you are familiar with the non-chronological order, then you should know that episode 9 goes back in time when Riri and Misato are third years staying at HA while Sae and Hiro the new freshmen. Riri and Misato discuss on where they want to go when they’re in college. Though they named several grand cities around the world, they note they can’t afford it and plan to just go to Okinawa after they graduate. Not that they can afford that too. One morning the gang wake up to find sesame seeds scattered over the corridor of HA as part of Misato’s visualization of time. Because of Sae’s work, she keeps dozing off in class lately. During recess, Hiro learns of Sae’s work and how she’s pressured to keep up after she got a rookie prize but the one after that got rejected. Back home, Hiro cooks for Sae and thinks of moving next door to her next year so she can check on her from time to time. They also talk about the erratic Misato and her art in which she got scolded from Landlady for ‘vandalising’ HA. Speaking of the devil, Misato must’ve smelled the good food and gatecrashes for a taste apart from teasing Hiro can be Sae’s good wife. Of course she also advices Sae to continue doing what she loves doing. Riri then comes by to pick up Misato to help work on her English. Back to the present, Yoshinoya and her class are at the park doing landscape drawing with light and shadow as the motif. While searching for a suitable spot, Yuno and Miyako see a couple of classmates throwing stones to a rock in the middle of a river resembling a weeping woman. They claim about a rumour if anyone manages to hit it, they will get better at drawing (since it looked like one of Picasso’s pieces!). Yuno tries but couldn’t hit it despite several times unlike Miyako who has long achieved that. She tried throwing a bigger rock but it breaks a chunk off it! Is she desperate?! Back in class, Yuno notices her hands shaking and panics because she thinks it’s the curse of the weeping woman! It’s because she threw the big rock lah. Back at HA, Nazuna helps massage her hand and this makes her feel better so Nori and Miyako want some too.
Yoshinoya locks the art prep room as a lesson for Mashiko not to enter without knocking in episode 10. WTF?! So he feints Principal is here as Yoshinoya goes into super panic mode and it’s left to our imagination what kind of avalanche helter-skelter that was in the room. He apologizes for lying. She’s not dead, is she? Yuno accidentally flushesher room’s spare key down the toilet. Landlady is happy to give her spare but it’ll take a few days since she needs to find it in her messy closet. Good luck to both of them. For the time being, Yuno stays with quirky Miyako and the next day borrows a clothes hanger to pick her room lock but it got stuck! The rest find out about her case and offer her to stay at their places so Yuno gets to experience first hand each of their quirkiness. Like Hiro putting on face fresheners and can’t really get up early in the morning, Nori who is always talking about computers, Nazuna who gladly helps with her maths and learning she too is an only child just like Yuno. As for Sae, Chika called them to ‘warn’ about Sae’s sleeping habits. As usual Sae stays up late to finish her manuscript. Next day in school, Yoshinoya overhears how Yuno hasn’t been home for 5 days and dramatically rushes over to tell her that sleeping all over and running away from home is not good. After some unrelated ranting (each being scolded and such), Yoshinoya runs away crying like a little girl. WTF?! What’s her problem? Is this her problem in the first place? After school, Landlady has finally found the keys (after rummaging and discovering lots of unwanted ‘lost’ items). Seems it is a box filled with hundreds of identical keys! Poor Yuno has got to try each one out to see which fits. I don’t know how long she took but thankfully she found the right one. But right after she opens the door to her sanctuary, a stinking stench of her miso soup left 5 days ago greeted her. She decides to stay with Miyako for the time being.
On a rainy off-day in episode 11, Yuno and Miyako watch a matchstick mystery quiz on TV and ecide to visit Nori’s room since the programme mentioned to obtain the answer on their website. Looking at their facial expressions, they must be expecting high hopes but were damn disappointed. Nori teaches Yuno the wonders of computer. Of course that klutz girl panics at every moment that doesn’t go well. They check out some of Yamabuki teacher’s online profile (don’t want to know Yoshinoya’s one), order pizza and also use CG to draw. Then Hiro and Sae come by also looking to borrow her PC for the mathstick mystery quiz. They too seemed very let down on the answer. Yuno notices a very big shoe at the shoe locker area and thinks it belongs to a new transfer student. But as Sae points out, they are the senior’s graduation projects for them to cool down before the exams. Since universities don’t take them into account and there’s no time limit or don’t have to be displayed anywhere in particular, they’re allowed to put them anywhere in Yamabuki. Yuno and Miyako observe the various arts peppered throughout Yamabuki so much so they can’t tell the difference between art and the real stuff like poster ads, fire extinguishers and even humans! While the gang are together during recess, it hit Yuno that Sae and Hiro are going to graduate next year. Her thoughts are interrupted when Miyako suggests to Sae to make big boobs! Yoshinoya gets another reprimanding from Principal about ‘corrupting’ the minds of the students but notes her creativity using sakura petals to creat a shirt. Yuno and Miyako continue observing more art when Yuno sees Arisawa who happily tells her she made it into college. They exchange emails before parting. That night, Yuno ponders how lonely it’ll be when her seniors graduate but feels she has to try her best since she’ll be a senior too. Graduation day arrives in spring as Yuno and Miyako note how beautiful the sakuras are and congrulates their graduation.
Hiro finally wakes up early in episode 12 to do exercise with the rest. The tomatoes they planted are ready for harvest so Miyako calls forth a Tomato Summit to decide its fate! What else is there? Eat lah! After making a few tomato dishes, since they have lots of leftover, Nori suggests making Insalata Caprese, an Italian salad. HA becomes Ristorante Hidamari for the day. Yuno, Nori and Nazuna go shop for other ingredients when they meet Yoshinoya on their way. Seems she’s got loads of school work to complete but gets motivated after seeing the girls do their best. But I guess she couldn’t take it anymore and breaks down in the staff room in front of the teachers and Principal. Like they’d understand her problem. She’s always weird, right? So that’s normal, right? When the trio come home, they divide the task like Nori-Nazuna team to make tomato desert and Sae-Miyako team to make tomato sauce. After creating and creatively decorating the various tomato dishes, they call Landlady over to have some. As usual the food tastes exceptionally good as Landlady takes this chance to know the newbies better. Landlady leaves after the meal and that’s when weary Yoshinoya just stepped out of the school, her work finally finished. Thank heavens. They give her a bottle of home made tomato sauce so this lifts her spirits and cheered her up. Before the girls part for the night, Nazuna wants to remember today’s menu not just by pictures. Nori suggests to use her computer and put pictures in the recipe too. Then everyone watch and admire the beautiful lone star in the sky. Yuno in her bathtub says how HA is a wonderful place because there’s good food, great conversation and being able to smile with her friends and can’t wait to look forward to tomorrow. Doesn’t that sound like a catchphrase for a restaurant?
Since I’m not a fan of the series, my feeling is more towards this: Nothing much. Of course I don’t expect any kind of grand ending from this kind of genre but if you talk about the character developments, there are only little of them. For instance the main quartet of HA. You can guess that they are the same girls as from the previous seasons right till the end. Though Yuno may have been learned a little but she’s still the same naive girl we all know. Just like the rest. Nori and Nazuna’s appearance didn’t have much of an impact so much so I felt that they were providing more support to the main quartet. Natsume’s role may be even minor than these girls but I was expecting some sort of tsundere showdown between her and Hiro or at least confront herself with Sae. That didn’t happen. Maybe just wishful thinking.
Of course my favourite character is still Yoshinoya. Just too bad she didn’t make enough appearances to bring me dropping down on the floor rolling in laughter. I don’t mean to sound like a sadist because I love to see her every time she gets scolded or reap what she sows. Don’t feel bad sensei. At least you’ve fulfilled your role in making viewers laugh. I hope she would have a spin-off sequel of her own. And speaking of her character development, I guess she’s the only character that I was hoping that wouldn’t change. And I got it alright. Would it be fun if she’s serious and mature? No doubt Principal would be relieved and spend his time doing useful things rather than hunting down and reprimanding that said teacher. I also noticed that the Ume bug didn’t make as frequent appearance as it did as compared for the last 2 seasons. I also thought Chika would have made more apperances instead of just 1 of the episodes. Maybe she’s got busy over her high school stuff and can’t frequent HA.
Thus besides the introduction of a handful of new characters, everything else remains the same. From the drawing and art of the series to the background music and even to the end credits and next episode preview. There may be some nice drawing and art in this series but the general visuals of the characters and the sceneries make them look more cute rather than having viewers to awe at. And yes, this season also has each episode focusing on the dishes that the girls eat, mainly those Hiro made. So is this an art themed show or a cooking class? Yum. The next episode preview works like a yonkoma (four panel comic) and I happen to notice that some (if not all) of the dialogue that is being said in it appears somewhere in the next episode. Even the art in the yonkoma. So it made me wonder, "Hey, I think I"ve seen this scene and heard those lines in the previous next episode preview before". And as always, the different illustrations from different people having their take and style of the characters of the series serves as the end card. If you have watched the previous seasons, you’ll notice some of the fun background music reused in this season. I’m not sure about if there are new ones but what’s wrong of reusing old ones if they sound good, right?
The voice casts are also maintained for this season and the new additions do provide suitable voiceovers for their characters. After having heard how Soul Eater’s Maka and Natsu No Arashi’s Jun sound so similar, it never occured to me that the newbie Chiaki Omigawa could sound so different while voicing Nazuna. She was just unrecognizable as the quiet and reserved girl as compared to tough or cross-dressing chics. Another newbie, Hitomi Harada voices Nori and her other recent anime roles include Himeji in Baka To Test To Shoukanjuu and Menoly in Bleach. The opening theme maintains its liveliness just as in the previous 2 seasons. The same seiyuu who voiced the main quartet of HA sing the opening them once more, this time entitled Dekiru Kanatte Hoshimittsu. But the ending theme this time feels like rock. Sung by Marble and called Sakura Sakura Saku ~Ano Hi Kimi Wo Matsu Sora To Onaji De~. I don’t know if the ending credits animation is considered to be a little depressing because apart from being shown in shades of grey, it’s like the gang gathering and staring around the sakura tree shedding lots of its petals. Or it could just be me.
What are the chances of a fourth season being produced? Well, Hiro and Sae have already graduated so it would be less fun without them around. Maybe it’ll be Yuno and Miyako’s turn to shine and lead Nori and Nazuna. They could show clips of other days during the same year since this series doesn’t go in chronological order or they could carry on with the current time frame and show Hiro and Sae carrying on with their lives (whether in college or working) and meet up with their HA pals during their free time. That is what I’m speculating after all. But one thing is for sure, they had a great time at HA. Will always be waiting at your service. Except Yoshinoya of course. She could’ve been a great comedian and clown if she didn’t become a teacher. I’m just saying… Sometimes there’s a thin line between creativity and being weird.

Hidamari Sketch

Hidamari Sketch

September 26, 2009

If you are not into animes which are slice of life with comedy and prefer those with over the top action, mindless slapstick humour or even frustrating love triangle tensions with convoluted twists and plots, then do not read any further. Those who agree may find the 12 episode Hidamari Sketch series a yawn fest. I know that I noticed myself yawning but overall this is an easy going anime. Nothing very heavy actually.
This show which is based on a yonkoma comic strip manga of the same name, focuses on the quartet of girls who are currently studying arts in a private high school named Yamabuki. Which means, this is another art themed anime so those aspiring to be future artists may consider watching this show though it isn’t any guarantee that you will learn any art techniques. Hardly. It is basically how the girls interact and bond with each other during their schooling years and the other characters around them. Are you still reading this?
Located closely and directly across Yamabuki is a dorm named Hidamari Apartment (HA) which houses the students studying there. Oddly as far as I know the dorm has only 6 rooms and only 4 are occupied. You may have guessed that our main girls are the ones staying in them. A brief introduction of the characters. First year student Yuno is your typical nice girl but will start to panic when things get a little tough or out of control. Some may find her moe. Then there is her classmate Miyako, the main reason why this series is funny because of her spontaneous cheeky and mischievous ways. One cannot comprehend how she thinks or what goes on in her head though she possesses quite an artistic talent. Some may think of her as a troublemaker but not an extreme one. Miyako is also a glutton and is always hungry, devouring any kind of food that she has her hands on. Then there are their 1 year seniors, Sae and Hiro. Bespectacled Sae works part time as a writer. Due to her tall and athletic appearance, she has a little problem with her ‘masculinity’ qualities and is uncomfortable when asks about her love life. Hiro on the other hand is good housewife material because she is the one who mainly prepares the meals that viewers will see in most episodes. Unlike Miyako, Hiro is very diet conscious and is always in a dilemma of eating her favourite snacks in fear of gaining weight. She is Sae’s pillar of support whenever Sae is bogged down with her work commitments and deadlines.
There are other few characters which make the series colourful. They include Yuno and Miyako’s homeroom teacher, Yoshinoya. This cosplay loving teacher has one kind attitude which makes viewers wonder if she is fit to be a teacher. Not only she acts like a child but is lazy! Sometimes dressing her cosplay outfit to class and teaching stuff which is unrelated to arts, she’s really an amusing character. I don’t know if it’s her version of art. Then there’s the literally long face principal of Yamabuki whom I shall simply refer to as Principal. The odd thing about him is that he is always shaking! No, not dancing. I wonder if it’s an old age problem. Principal is the only person who can keep Yoshinoya in line. Whenever Yoshinoya goes about with her antics, Principal will drag her away for some good lecture or chase her down. It’s like a cat and mouse game but will she ever learn? Then there’s the landlady of HA (whom I will also refer to as Landlady) who is always doing lots of part time jobs to pay off her debt and trouble trying to stop her smoking habit always failing the end. Bad habits die hard. Viewers will also notice a green little creature (is it a bug or bird or neither?) called Ume. Always bumming on top of HA doing random stuff, I later found out that it is supposed to represent the author of this series, Ume Aoki, and her short appearances do not bear any purpose or role in the series.
As each of the title has a date in them, viewers can guess the timeline of the story. Which means, the way they show the mixed up order of the series reminds me of the one in Suzumiya Haruhi No Yuutsu. But unlike in the latter series, the plot of this one isn’t heavy or greatly linked as each episode could be viewed as a standalone without confusing the viewers with only minor developments here and there. Basically in each episode there is some sort of trend I noticed. Most of the episodes starts off with Yuno (if not some other character) waking up from bed, then proceed with a particular activity for the day, followed by the gathering of the quartet in one of their rooms having meals and discussion over topics of the day or events that has happened and finally Yuno taking a bath and pondering them and her future before turning in.
So in episode 1, it is New Years Day and the usual shrine visiting for prayers and luck reading. While Yuno’s luck reads extremely good, Yoshinoya is misfortune. Sae advices Yuno not to get her hopes up. In class, Yuno forgets to do her homework while Yoshinoya rants about her activity during winter break. Banking on her luck, Yuno tries to get Yoshinoya’s approval to hand over her homework during the next class but she is rejected. So Yuno rushes back to HA to complete her homework and makes it back in time as it starts snowing. Because of that, she forgot to eat so Miyako gives her an onigiri courtesy from Hiro. Yuno and Miyako leave for their clean up duty. Miyako makes art in the snow with her footprints to make "Love & Peace" but misspelled it as "Piece". Sae and Hiro spot it and take a photo from a floor above. Later the quartet gathers in Hiro’s room and discuss about Yuno completing her homework during lunch and the misspelled word (Miyako trying to give lots of excuse). Yuno receives an SMS from Yoshinoya who is impressed of the subjects she had chosen for her rushed homework (New Year card collage of Yoshinoya in cosplay outfits. No wonder). Yuno thanks Hiro for her onigiri and finds out that she got her onigiri was because Hiro had too many rice cakes and thinks of dieting. Miyako wished she had left some leftover food for her. Yuno comments that Hiro is a nice girl, which has Sae and Miyako telling Yuno the same thing, causing her to fluster.
It’s summer vacation in episode 2 but Yuno notices a note from Landlady to help make a new nameplate for HA. The gang gathers in Miyako’s room to do it and find out her room was recently cleaned because it was filled with garbage that they could hardly walk. They learn her room’s rent is much cheaper than theirs by 40,000 Yen and come up with theories why HA was called by a different name like Chidamari (blood) or Odamari (shut up), or even haunted. When Hiro mentions a creak in the floor and actually steps on 1 herself, Miyako says that there was never such sounds and thinks Hiro is heavy, pissing her off (Hiro throws her out of the room!). As they split up their jobs to write the hiragana words, Yuno drops her paintbrush and notices it rolling on the floor. Hiro wonders if the floor is slanted. Yuno lifts the floor covering to see several senbei as drying agents. Sae then quickly drags Miyako to report this to Landlady. When they return, Yuno and Hiro find out Miyako’s dirt cheap rent. When HA was remodelled, Landlady ran out of budget and Miyako’s room was remodelled by Landlady herself and was left unfinished. Everyone completes their creative portion of the nameplate and hangs it up. Miyako shows them a notice of a summer festival and those who wear yukatas will be given candy. Desperate Miyako tries to make 1 out from a curtain so Hiro lends her her old magical girl yukata. Though Miyako is fine with it, Sae thinks she looks like a prostitute. The gang patron the festival stalls and had their fun. Sae learns Hiro still kept that unlucky yukata Miyako is wearing because her grandma believes there’s a naughty fox spirit living in it and all bad things may turn into good 1 day. Though fireworks haven’t start yet, Miyako somehow hears its sound as the rest follows her. As they arrive, they’re greeted with the start of a magnificent fireworks display. They think it must be the yukata’s doing. Back home as Yuno takes a bath, Miyako barges in because she thinks she heard sounds of kakigori (shaved ice). She then goes into Hiro’s room and true enough, she is making them and Miyako wants some. Hiro is surprised and in dismay.
In episode 3, a rainy school morning has Yuno finding out Hiro’s perm spreading out like Medusa and Sae sneezing. In class, Yoshinoya is wearing a sexy dress as she is today’s art class model. Since Miyako says it’s too hard to draw, Yoshinoya changes into several other outfits before being ticked off by Principal. Unable to continue, Yoshinoya asks Yuno and Miyako to take a Brutus bust as replacement. Class antics include Miyako eating bread used as eraser when drawing with rough charcoal because she hadn’t had breakfast, Yuno accidentally sneezed and has a coffee blot on her sketch (which Yoshinoya thinks it’s Buddha later), and Yuno fell asleep during class so her face was covered in black charcoal. Back at HA, as they talk about Sae’s cold, Miyako mentions the last time she caught one was during entrance exam. Yuno is amazed she managed to pull through but Miyako says she bribed her way through. Everyone starts panicking when Miyako says it’s a joke and that she got through by recommendation. With that, they note how the bribing story sounded more plausible. Later as Miyako’s room is leaking, the quartet sat around watching each drop from the ceiling into the bucket while playing shiratori. Sae and Hiro worry a little when they find Yuno’s previous room was occupied by their senior Misato. They didn’t elaborate but tell her to beware the purple snake. Yuno start panicking due to lack of info and goes into frenzy when a little drop drops on her head. This causes everyone to panic as they tripped and spilled existing full buckets while trying to contain further leakage. After taking a bath, Yuno spots a purple snake near her window and is relieved that it’s just a rope. Curious, she goes over to pull it and a basin drops on her head. Hiro and Sae chat how Misato loved playing pranks and was scolded by Landlady before she left. Yuno is seen sprawled on the floor as she says how she hates rainy days.
Yuno gets up in episode 4 to see Miyako hanging out to dry her mackerel fish. At school, Yuno and Miyako are sketching outside within the school compound. Yuno takes a stroll and sees a jizou statue in the bamboo thicket (a couple of girls having a secret tryst?!). Miyako sees Yuno cleaning the statue and gets excited. She gives it wear a traffic cone, believing she’ll be rewarded for her good deeds. WTF?! A stray tennis ball hits Yuno. It’s from Hiro as she rushes to apologize. To the statue. Sae comes by and drags Hiro away. Back home, Miyako is upset her dried mackerel is gone. As Hiro is in a dilemma to eat cake, Yuno suggests going karaoke so she could lose some calories. At the karaoke bar, Hiro starts off and sings another intense piece to burn more calories. Sae reveals that a little girl came up to Hiro and touched her arm and said she’s fluffy. Hiro is upset because she promised not to tell. It’s Sae’s turn to sing. Her 1st was good but her 2nd is out of tune so she excuses herself to the toilet. The trio learn Yoshinoya sculptured the statue during her college days and the weather altered its appearance. Miyako states she saw Sae praying there and when she returns, they question her. Sae reveals that she was doing so because she believed a rumour that one’s breast will grow big by doing so. Miyako is upset because it isn’t related to food. Now it’s Yuno’s turn to sing but is totally hopeless and finally Miyako who is surprisingly good due to her past experience for singing at stores for candies. Hiro then has another go to burn more calories. At the end of the day, the gang spot the little girl who called Hiro fluffy and they find out she was referring to her hair. Then she mentions how short Yuno is, shocking her. Because of that, Yuno is seen holding lots of milk. Back home, Yuno rewards herself with a piece of cake after all that singing and after weighing, she has gained 1 kg. Oh the horror. All for nothing.
In episode 5, Yuno falls ill and has a strange dream whereby she arrives late for school in the cold winter, Principal in singlet and shorts and announcing to look for missing Yoshinoya. In real time, the gang notice that Yuno ‘malfunctions’ when she is sick so they take turns nursing her before leaving for school. Miyako comes back to cover up sleeping Yuno and make some bunny apples. Yuno’s dream continues whereby she walks through some machinery and sees a wooden guy fixing a thermostat. She spots her friend Chika and recalls her misplaced handphone. That is when she wakes up and notices an SMS from Chika, reminding her of tomorrow’s Valentine’s Day. Meanwhile the trio are surprised to find Yoshinoya in the infirmary and sleeping soundly. Miyako teases her for faking it but she insists her cold is real. Though it’s trivial, Principal isn’t pleased. The trio head back to give Yuno some cold syrup and after making her porridge, they tell of Yoshinoya’s case, Yuno’s weird dream and Miyako makes an accurate impression of Principal, impressing everyone. Then they discuss about Valentine’s Day and Miyako is thinking of eating chocolates Hiro makes. Sae knocks Miyako’s head when the latter teases her to be a boy for receiving chocolates from Hiro. They soon leave to let Yuno rest but silently come back later to leave school notes and cake. Hiro and Sae remember fond memories how the latter took care of the former when she was sick, making Sae blush. They note Yuno looks cute like a little sister. Yuno wakes up later that night feeling thirsty and hungry. She spots the notes and cake and eats the delicious cake. But she has a hard time going back to sleep and is wide awake.
Yuno wakes up from a dream of being chased by a red cloak in episode 6. It is the final test and Yuno thinks it’s coincidence her answers are all marked ‘A’. Also, some of the test questions aren’t related to art. More like survey. After Yoshinoya collects their papers, she announces the one with the lowest score will have his/her name posted on the school gates, freaking everyone out. That is, until Principal comes in and ticks her off did she abandon her intention. Back at HA, Miyako basks in the sun and Yuno is surprised to find her very tanned. Yuno and Miyako suddenly comes into Sae’s room, causing Sae to feel embarrassed because she was speaking through her fan and making choppy words. Since Hiro is away doing some project, Yuno and Miyako rummage through Sae’s drawer and read out lout some love romance notes, making her even more embarrassed. Sae then suggests going to a pool but Yuno can’t swim so Miyako brings an inflatable pool as Sae hands her a t-shirt top and bikini bottom as her swimsuit. Sae mentions the different combination so Miyako won’t have her breasts cramp. She then realized the implication… Later as Hiro joins them while making nabe (something about losing weight so she can fit into her summer dress), after Miyako inflates the pool with a pump, the foursome takes a refreshing splash. They lie afloat as Yuno tells them about her weird dream. Later as Yuno takes a bath, she interprets her dream as red curtain (akai kaaten) which has a similar sound to failing grades (akaten) and starts panicking. After bath, she notices her caterpillar hatching from its cocoon and watches it bloom with her pals. But to their shock, it is a moth and when it starts flying around, they start going into panic mode.
The sports festival in episode 7 but it’s raining. Sae is confronted by an arrogant rival, Natsume, who proclaims she’ll beat her team this year, who is on a 5 year winning streak. As everyone assembles, a strong wind blows the canvas roof off and fell onto Yoshinoya (giving out a funny scream before the crash). With that, the sports festival is put off tomorrow. Back at HA, a short blackout occurs before the electricity comes back. When everyone warns Miyako about her room’s drying agents, Miyako is curious if the drying agents catches fire when it’s wet, what happens if it is in the rain. So she tosses 1 out but nothing happens. Hiro brings Miyako and Yuno to a local shopping mart, Berry Mart. After paying at the counter, Miyako enters a draw and gets a pike fish as her prize. They return to see Sae talking to Landlady. Sae receives a package filled with thorny chestnuts and puts on a gloomy expression when she reads a letter and getting to know that person is coming. Landlady sees the chestnuts and is interested but Hiro gives the pike instead, much to Miyako’s dismay. It’s the chestnuts or the pike… Miyako gets an idea to break the chestnuts by playing baseball and Yuno realized that lady with Sae earlier is Landlady and feels guilty for not greeting her properly. That night everyone gathers for a delicious chestnut rice dinner and this boosts their spirits for tomorrow.
It’s summer vacation in episode 8 and Yuno gets up to draw and gauge her skill but finds it hard to stay awake. Miyako joins her when Yuno gets an SMS from Sae. Yuno spots Miyako standing on the balcony ledge and jumping down! Luckily she’s not hurt. Miyako comments about the nice blue sky and Yuno’s panties, sending that girl into panic as she comes jumping down too. The duo find out Sae is having writer’s block trying to finish a novel before a looming deadline. Miyako suggests writing several random words on cards, pick some out and make a story out of it. Like that will work. Later Yuno and Miyako go shopping and are impressed by a book written by Sae they spot at the stand. They meet Hiro along the way who tell them the reason Sae enrols in an art school is so that she could draw illustrations on her own. They come back to see Sae’s place quiet so they leave the food at the door. Hiro mentions how Sae becomes disorderly and tense when deadline looms. As Yuno and Miyako sketches, they spot the Principal and thinks he lives at school. They also see Yoshinoya acting up because her own parents kicked her out of her home as they don’t want to waste her holidays bumming around. That evening, they check on Sae who has fallen asleep on her near completed work. As Yuno finishes her sketch, she remembers earlier in the day how Miyako encouraged her to jump down from the balcony. I guess she was crazy enough to try but since she was too scared, she is clinging on to the railing and hanging halfway till she dropped down. How embarrassing. That night as they gather for dinner, Sae is embarrassed when Yuno and Miyako has read one of her works at the bookstore and wonders how they knew her penname. The culprit is Hiro who feels more people should read her work, especially the recent interesting one which resembles so much like Lamune’s storyline. Before Hiro could go on, embarrassed Sae quiets her. Yuno is amazed at Hiro and Sae’s friendship and truest and wonders if she could be like them. Miyako pats her shoulders and say "I’m always looking for people to make me food". I guess food is friendship to her.
Yuno wakes up from an alarm clock she borrowed from Miyako in episode 9. A blood curling scream pleading not to kill her. Man, that is one weird alarm which will wake anyone up. Outside, Miyako spot several dropped lottery tickets and return it to its rightful owner. As reward, the owner gives it to them. They discuss what they’ll do with the 3 million Yen prize money if they won the lottery. In class, Yoshinoya starts a special lesson whereby she brought her ex-student, Maiko Kishi, to give students inspiration. Kishi is into filmmaking and shows the class her work (including video bloopers of her parent’s farewell, teasing and embarrassing tales from Yoshinoya). She then asks the class their goal and dreams but Yuno is unable to answer. Later Yuno goes to talk to her and wonders if she will find 1. Kishi advice lifts her spirits. Yuno and Miyako are taking out trash when Yuno spots a beautifully drawn sketch thrown away. Back at HA, Yuno learns from Sae and Hiro that the painting belongs to a talented senior who had to be transferred to another school due to her parent’s circumstances. Yuno gets depressed and felt guilty but the rest cheers her up. That evening Sae buys the newspaper to see if their lottery number matches but nobody won. They also spot a column that Kishi has won an award for a film contest. That night, Yuno sleeps with Miyako and the former is still depressed about the transferred genius case and her own for not having any clear goals. Miyako cheers her up with her never give up line and thinks that genius girl is trying her best somewhere out there to reach her dream.
Miyako tries to wake Yuno up for the school festival but to no avail in episode 10. So she takes her painting and rushes off to school. So when she wakes up, she starts panicking over her missing painting but Miyako tells her what has happened. During her class’ Cinderella play, Yuno can’t help think how embarrassing it would be since it isn’t complete. Although she made few errors, her class play is a success. Later Yuno goes to the gallery to see her unfinished painting but the viewers are praising it. Miyako takes Yuno to see her drawing, which is a picture of Yuno herself as everyone stares at the real life model. In the evening, Yoshinoya puts on some cosplay after show performance but gets scolded from Principal. However that didn’t deter her as she does an independent one after that. The quartet goes to the public bathhouse and Yuno is surprised to know its name: Yunosama. There, Miyako is up to her usual antics, discuss on stuff like why Dracula fears garlic, the painting they saw at the gallery and Miyako’s horse role during the play. After bath, Yuno notices a life size mirrors in the changing room which reminds them of being in a ballet room. The bathhouse owner comes in to see the quartet doing embarrassing ballet impersonations. Yuno goes home and takes another dip since she notices her bath water is still heated and not wanting it to go to waste.
The gang leaves for a sketching field trip to the zoo in episode 11. Yoshinoya acts as a bus guide tour but soon gives up due to motion sickness. At the zoo, they sketch several animals like Japanese monkeys (Miyako doing hilarious drama voice dub for them), elephant (Hiro thinking of putting moisturizers whenever she sees its wrinkled skin), tapir (Miyako thinks of it as an onigiri while Yuno mistaken it for a zebra crossing), and a seal (Hiro thinks it’s trying to court Sae since it playfully follows her). During lunch break, they see each other’s drawings. Expect weirdness from Miyako’s one. A hippo standing on its 2 feet? They learn Sae isn’t good at sketching animals because during junior high her teacher criticized her horrible drawing. When Yoshinoya peeps at her drawing and praises it, Sae feels over the moon. When they return from the trip, Yoshinoya open her eyes to find herself in Hiro’s room. Though she took a cab back, she still experienced carsickness and was outside HA when she collapsed, the reason they took her in. They learn Yoshinoya once lived here as a student and find she has a photo book of her in several cosplay outfits which is a sell out! 300 copies in 15 minutes! They are suspicious and think she is some famous idol in disguise or planted some people to make her look popular. As they quip how cute she is in her outfit, Sae asks her age and her reply: Eternally 17. In her mind obviously. After she left, the gang continue to discuss about her weirdness but likeable teacher. Sae and Hiro say she used to visit sick students as not to make them feel lonely but had to stop after getting their illness and absent from school the next day (also got scolding from Principal lah). They also discuss several outrageous rumours surrounding her like being a former delinquent, daughter of a big company, a Hollywood star and a heroine who saved an old lady from an oncoming truck. But they laugh and dismiss it all. Yoshinoya then returns to pick up a forgotten item and corrects them it was actually a boy she saved. Was she eavesdropping all the while? The quartet are stumped that the rumours may be true.
Sae’s little sister, Chika comes visiting in episode 12 and Sae isn’t happy. You can guess the usual sibling quarrel but that’s their way of showing their love. Chika teases her messy room, a reason why she can’t get a boyfriend. She then tours Yuno and Miyako’s room and later their school and meet Yoshinoya who asks if she’s going to enrol in this school. Sae shrugs that idea off and Yoshinoya feels it’s a shame as there’re many cosplay outfits she wants to show her. Is that her intention? Chika spots a head bust of Principal and thinks it’s some Martian before bursting into laughter. As the gang have lunch bat at HA, Yoshinoya drops by in a Santarina outfit and hands them a present. That night, Yuno hears a knock on her door. It’s Chika and she wonders if she could sleep over. She tells Yuno and Miyako about her grouse on Sae how she tried several times that she’s coming over but never got a reply. Sae then angrily comes in looking for her but was invited to stay and play card games instead. They learn the sisters fight because Sae refused to sign an autograph on Chika’s book. The girls sleep together and next morning Chika wakes up to find herself overslept and rushes to prepare herself since today she has to go meet a friend and thanks them for taking care of her. During dinner, the quartet had handmade cake Yoshinoya gave them and talk about the times they had and that they won’t be seeing each other for a short while till school reopens. Sae receives an SMS from Chika thanking for her Christmas present. Sae blushes but Hiro realizes that she must’ve signed her autograph while she was sleeping. Later as Yuno takes a bath, she feels lucky to have 2 homes.
But it’s not over yet as there is another season called Hidamari Sketch x365 with additional 13 episodes. More fun and goodness to be expected from the Yamabuki girls. Episode 1 goes back in time whereby Yuno and her mom are seen rushing to school for her entrance exam and makes it in time. In the exam hall, Yuno is still a little klutzy and clumsy. Yoshinoya too is late and bumps into Principal who drags her away for another round of good lecture. On results day, Sae and Hiro watch from HA the new students who are happy of their acceptance into Yamabuki. Yuno is one of them. Soon Yuno moves her stuff from home to HA. As she unpacks, Miyako drops by and they become acquainted. Miyako tells her about the facts of HA including 1 which attracts weird students. Referring to herself? She brings Yuno to meet Hiro but they see her on the floor shivering in fear. Hiro thinks she heard haunting sounds from the room above (creaking floor sounds when Yuno moved in). Uh… Weirdo number 2. The trio get acquainted like drawing bunnies and this has Hiro bringing them to see next door neighbour Sae. But upon opening the door, a hand pops out and drops dead to the ground, scaring Yuno. Hiro mentions about the nearing deadline so they decide to leave her alone. While chatting in Hiro’s room, weirdo number 3’s hand slips back in and closes the door. Like a zombie alright. The trio continue talking about the junior’s reason to move into HA and Yuno gets permission to see them if she has any problems. Yuno goes back to her room and realizes she hasn’t finished unpacking. She takes a bath but Miyako barges in to join her because her room has no water. Hiro goes over to Sae and tells them about the newbies she has met today. This episode is slightly refreshing in the sense that several short English idioms are shown onscreen like "Spare the rod, spoil the child". Very educational.
In episode 2, Yoshinoya gets another lecturing from Principal for thinking about Valentine’s Day chocolates rather than being a teacher. Yoshinoya retaliates by saying she isn’t giving him any chocolates this year and runs away in tears. In class, Yuno gets an SMS from Chika stating she’s nervous about her exam results. Later she got a reply that she has passed. Yuno and Miyako go find Hiro and Sae but they aren’t in their class. They spot Hiro standing at the bottom of the staircase watching Sae congratulating Chika over the phone. When Sae realizes her spying friends, she gets embarrassed. Back at HA, they talk about nostalgia like the bunnies they drew a year ago and Miyako’s habit of wearing old school uniform when cleaning her room. Sae gets a call from Chika asking for another round of congratulations since that time was a little rushed. Yoshinoya is at the infirmary talking to a colleague, Kuwabara, about any intentions of giving chocolates. Yoshinoya is upset when she mentions Principal but since she has no other guy to give, she decides to give some to him based on Kuwabara’s suggestion. Principal who is eavesdropping felt happy. Back in Hiro’s room, Miyako’s indirect teasing about weight gain of this nabe has Hiro shut her out temporarily. Since eating nabe causes Sae’s glasses to fog, she takes them off and this is the 1st time Yuno sees her without them on. However she’s as blind as a bat and mistakes the ladle as a clam. After that, Hiro makes very sweet red bean desert and after bath, Yuno gets an SMS from Chika saying how she’s so excited that she can’t sleep.
In episode 3, Yuno and Miyako meet Yoshinoya on her way to school on her off day because she got a call from the demon (who else. The Principal lah). Yoshinoya suggests a wonderful shrine area for them to sketch since they have no plans for the day. After taking the train and climbing a seemingly endless steps, they meet a nice good looking Shinto priest and realize he is the reason Yoshinoya thinks the shrine is wonderful. The duo split up to sketch the scenery. After finishing, they meet up and head back. Meanwhile Yoshinoya is being reprimanded for not filing her tons of paper work and leaving it all last minute. Sae gets an SMS from Yuno saying that they’ve missed their stop after oversleeping on the train. They eventually manage to get home. Hiro and Sae are out shopping and bumps into Landlady. They brought up room 203 which is unlocked but she shrug it off as there’s nothing to steal from it. Back in the room, Sae tries to being up the matter about Landlady but Hiro cuts her off and changes topic to eat snacks. While discussing Yuno and Miyako’s day out, Sae gets a call from her manager and goes out to answer. She meets Natsume who starts panicking and flustering upon seeing Sae before going away. Is she tsundere? Sae goes back and rejoins the conversation. Meanwhile Kuwabara rushes to school after getting a call from Yoshinoya. It seems Yoshinoya thinks 2 heads are better than 1 and ‘requests’ her help to finish her work. It’s Kuwabara’s day off too. Many hands make light work, eh? As expected, Yoshinoya gets more scolding from Principal for shirking her duties. She never learns, does she? Trying to sweep everything under the carpet or pass the buck, eh?
Miyako finds a stray cat in her room in episode 4. After sharing some of her food, she and Yuno go search for its owner since HA rules don’t allow pets. The search is futile so Miyako decides to let it stay in her room. The rest help to buy milk and cat food. Hey, I know Miyako is a glutton but she’s eating cat food too? They sleep together but the next morning, Miyako wakes up to find the cat gone. Yuno is emotionally crying to her seniors about the cat’s disappearance as they console her but Miyako is lying on the rooftop with 2 different stray cats by her side. She isn’t sad but believes they’ll meet again. The next scene shows the upcoming cultural festival and Yuno is unsure what to draw for the art’s exhibit. Last minute Miyako has her own plans while Yoshinoya is totally into her cosplay performance. Yuno goes to seek her senior’s advice but upon opening Sae’s door, she is shocked to see Sae on top of Hiro! Don’t worry. This isn’t turning into a yuri series. Later they clarify that they’re practicing for a play. Sae shows her a lily painting she did last year. Yoshinoya wishes to borrow Kuwabara’s stethoscope for her cosplay performance but she refuses. Kishi drops by to give them tickets to her film premier so Yoshinoya give her tickets to her weird cosplay performance too. As Yuno walks around school still unsure on what to draw, she remembers Kishi’s words and gets inspired. Back in her room, she burns the midnight oil and puts all her effort into her sketch. Even after dinner and bath, she continues to sketch hard till she falls sleep.
Chika visits the gang during spring break in episode 5. They engage in conversations over homemade food. Chika gets excited when they suggest going to karaoke but upon reaching the place, they are disheartened to see it closed for renovation. Walking back, they meet Landlady going fishing on her day off. She tells Hiro that she’ll come and get that thing in room 203, in which Hiro says to hurry. After meeting Principal, they encounter Yoshinoya who has just got another round of scolding from you know who for bringing personal stuffs to school and is seen packing them. Sly Yoshinoya decides to offload some of her work by trying to get the girls to help. Though they are reluctant, Chika offers to help. Back home, the gang makes nabe and since Chika is having so much fun, she thinks of moving here but Sae rejects. During meal, they remember going to the public bath with Yoshinoya whereby Miyako displayed her superb Enka skills followed by Yuno’s out of tune singing. Then everyone sang together in the bath. After dinner, they have cake and give Chika a handkerchief present. Their conversation include finding out Chika joining a brass band and Sae’s masculinity of being mistaken as a boy and receiving Valentine chocolates from girls. This made her embarrassed. Later as everyone retire to their own room, Sae gives Chika a necklace present of her own over a sisterly chat.
In episode 6, today is the day Sae meets her editor. But before she leaves, she gets a call from her mom to encourage Chika who is enrolling in summer school. While waiting at a cafe, she meets Natsume who sarcastically teases her if she studies here better. Meanwhile angry Principal is chasing Yoshinoya for failing to water plants but she insists that she didn’t forget. Just that she didn’t wake up in time. She’s good in the blame shift game. Natsume leaves and Sae’s editor comes in to take a look at her work and approves it. Sae returns and the gang gathers in Yuno’s room. After eating banana ice cream, Sae suddenly asks if they have anyone they love as part of her research. This include Yuno saying her love for dad and Nyanta. Who? A cat? Miyako is obviously dried food. Hiro then shoots back at Sae and she blushingly says she has lots of experience herself (liar!). When everyone leaves, Sae SMS to Chika and soon gets a call from her. It turned into a sisterly squabble like Chika teasing her she’s boyfriendless and can’t keep her company since she is attending summer school. Of course Sae replies by saying she’s busy with dates. A lie obviously! Hiro and Sae’s class are doing cream puffs for home economics so much so Miyako can’t concentrate in class and thinks only of tasting them. Hiro’s cream puffs prove to be delicious and she lets her juniors enjoy them. Later when Hiro is at a bookstore, she spots Natsume. Upon seeing Hiro, she panics and makes a hasty magazine purchase before leaving. Hiro returns to tell Sae about it and wonders what books she reads and perhaps a fan of Aya Tachibana (Sae’s penname). As Hiro reads an article on diet chocolate, Yuno and Miyako come by to share some chocolates. Sea continues to work till she dozes off so the trio take their leave. Outside, Yuno notes how Hiro is like a wife to Sae and a mother to them due to her kindness and generosity. Hiro thanks them.
School entrance ceremony in episode 7. Miyako comes over to Yuno’s room for breakfast but flips her eggs wrongly. Upset Yuno clangs the pan on her head. Their ruckus has Sae busting in and tell them to keep it down. Initially they don’t remember who she is. Soon Yuno panics and gets nervous on what to bring for her ceremony so Sae helps her out. In the school hall, as Principal gives his speech, Miyako comments out loud his long face and falls asleep soon after. Meanwhile Misato visits Hiro and Sae while cleaning up her stuff from her room as she is moving out. When she spots Landlady, she runs away but the latter gave chase. In class, Yuno and Miyako gets to know Yoshinoya as their weird homeroom teacher because she’s asking for any volunteers to be a nude model for tomorrow’s rough sketch. After school, they get a letter saying to come to Hiro’s room. They enter and are surprised by the seniors as they hold a welcoming party. They take the juniors to Berry Mart to shop for some snacks. Then they return to talk about today’s event which has the seniors recalling their own like Sae notes how Natsume didn’t have an attitude back then. They start to worry when they learn Yoshinoya as their homeroom teacher. When Yuno notes empty rooms 103 and 203 and Miyako thinking of storing her stuff there, Hiro vehemently objects and tells them not to or else Landlady will scold them. Yuno asks how they take care of their food. They mention they cook themselves so Yuno vows to do her best. Miyako is relieved since her food woes are solved. That night, Yuno spots Hiro sneaks out from room 203 but thinks she went to talk to Miyako.
The sports day in episode 8. The quartet are on the same team: Red. Same with Yoshinoya. Bummer. Miyako as the rep screws up her oath while Natsume from White team issues a challenge to Sae. The game starts which include Yuno in a scavenger race (needing to find a dog but got infatuated with it), Miyako’s excellent run during hurdle race and the gang show their in-sync through the centipede race and ball toss game. After lunch, the games continue with weirder sports as Red team closes the gap on the White team. The final event is relay race and Yuno is depressed because she is the anchor. Race starts and Sae is neck to neck with Natsume. Finally Yuno gets the baton and runs to victory. Only thing she kept on running… In the end though the overall winner is Blue team, at least Red team beat White team so Yoshinoya has her team sing some weird victory song. Back home, the gang discuss today’s events which include how Yoshinoya tried to get even with Principal through the cavalry event since he announced those who are able to take off his headband will get extra points. She failed miserably and lost. The gang also praise Yuno for the way she run their team to victory.
It’s summer vacation in episode 9 but Yoshinoya sleeps in not heeding calls to wake her up. In school, she’s lamenting why she must continue working so Principal chides her. In her retaliation, she runs away and decides not to do any. Every time she does own thing, the angry Principal catches up to her and she starts running away. As she is writing summer greetings to her current and graduated students underneath her desk, Natsume stumbles upon her. Yoshinoya requests her to deliver them in order to reach fast. Natsume delivers 1 outside HA and gets flustered when she thinks Sae is coming and runs away. That night, Yoshinoya can’t run away anymore and is forced to complete her paperwork under Kuwabara’s watchful eye. Principal gives her motivation that if she finishes her work, she gets to play sparklers. When done, they light up the sparklers as Kuwabara and Principal notes how happy Yoshinoya is because of her love for her students and she’ll never let go of her passion for art. Another scene has the quartet watching Kishi’s newly released movie and are moved. Back in Hiro’s room they discuss about the film and Kishi’s potentials. The next day over Hiro’s beautiful and creative lunch, they chat about what they’ve being doing. For instance, Miyako has been scribbling animation in her physics textbook. Then Sae gets a call from her editor and leaves the room. Yuno and Miyako also leave to find out Sae is checking her mailbox and think it’s a love letter. Actually a fan mail which the editor mailed it to her. Back in her room, Sae reads the letter which expresses their liking for last month’s story. They congratulate Sae as she blushes.
In episode 10, Yuno and Miyako are making clay sculptures using their old pair of shoes as models. Meanwhile Natsume meets Sae at the garbage section and teases her but panics upon seeing Principal there. He advices them about friendship and after he leaves, Natsume blushes when she notes how he called them friends and Sae confirms it. But she gets pissed and her usual attitude when Sae mentions Hiro’s name. She then storms off. I think this girl is in love with Sae. Back home, Yuno and Miyako decide to show off their real-like clay shoes. Miyako spots Sae sleeping on her desk and plays a prank. When Sae wakes up, she panics upon seeing a pair of shoes next to her futon like as though someone is sleeping there. Sae then storms into Miyako’s room realizing that this is her prank but flusters when she sees 2 sets of shoes at her place and quickly apologizes for bothering them (1 set was that clay shoe). Later Yuno is paid a surprise visit by her parents who are on vacation and decided to drop by on their way home. In her room, they get acquainted with Miyako and gave her meat buns as souvenir. Then Miyako go get Sae and Hiro and they get acquainted with them too. Yuno’s pals leave to buy snacks so Yuno spend quality time with time like giving her dad back massage and mommy cooking some snacks. They leave during evening and exchange photos. As the quartet are eating dinner, they get a surprise visit from Yoshinoya who tells them that Yuno’s parents have visited her at her home and told her to take care of their daughter. As Yuno’s parents take a train home, they’re glad Yuno has good friends. Except one. Yoshinoya. Better be wary of her.
In episode 11, Yuno is eating onigiri alone on the school rooftop when her humming attracted pigeons. She tries to feed them but her onigiri broke on her so the pigeons pound on her tills she screamed them off. She then dozes off and dreams of being abducted by aliens who perform an experiment on her. WTF?! Later she goes back to the stage to get her forgotten jersey when she heard weird sounds coming from the small passageway behind the way. To her shock, she sees Hiro in tight longs, knocked out outside a door with an encrypted message and a full size mirror. Back in Hiro’s room, the gang retell what happened while she was lying unconscious in the infirmary. This include Yoshinoya trying to kiss Hiro to see if she would wake up. Sicko. Also Sae mentions about Yamabuki’s 7 Mysteries so the trio along with Yoshinoya went there to do their investigation. They find the drama club’s room filled with outfits. Sae deduces that Hiro bought pants which are too tight so she skipped meals in order to fit into them and using the mirror as indicator, which contributed to her collapse. They tell Hiro to eat properly but Hiro says that isn’t the real reason she collapsed. Though that is partly true, the truth is that when she tried to pull up her tights, the bumped her head on the low ceiling. Meanwhile Yoshinoya happily puts on a drama club’s outfit and is thrilled. Upon standing up, she knocks her head and is out cold. Since nobody is around, she is trapped there till morning. Serves her right. That night, Yuno and co hear mysterious sounds coming from room 203 and opens it even if Hiro tries to stop them. They find Landlady there with several exercising equipments. Miyako pesters Hiro for an answer so she admits she did part time diet modelling job for Landlady but quit since it was too embarrassing. She wants Miyako to keep this a secret. What are the chances? Yuno is in her room when she hears ghostly cries of help (from Yoshinoya) and freaks out so she takes a bath with Miyako.
Yuno and Miyako are shocked to learn Sae doesn’t care about Hiro in episode 12. They conclude that they must’ve had a fight. Hiro confirms it as she is aggressively eating her food and obviously upset. She mentions that she entered Sae’s room to find her sleeping when the phone rings. She picked it up on her behalf and the other person on the other line was Sae’s editor, though she didn’t say anything weird. During recess, Sae ignores Hiro and sits next to Natsume and gives that tsundere her sandwich, surprising Natsume and making her blush and happy. Back home, Yuno and Miyako go talk to Sae and the latter confirms what Hiro said. Miyako points out that Sae is at fault for relying too much on her. As Sae goes to apologize, Yuno thinks how she and Miyako don’t fight which prompts Miyako to think what makes Yuno mad. She starts by saying out loud Yuno’s embarrassing "My Future Self" essay so Yuno smacks her with her sketchbook. Boy, she can sure pick a fight easily. Sae and Hiro apologize to each other and reconcile. Hiro is brought to tears as they both embrace. Later the gang use colour papers to decorate the bamboo tree outside HA and write their wishes in conjunction with Tanabata festival. All 4 had the same wish. That is to stay together like this.
New Years Day in episode 13 and Yuno comes back to HA from her hometown. The quartet decide to visit the temple and on their way drop by Yoshinoya’s home shortly before the quintet continue their journey. The usual prayers with Miyako’s luck looking good while Yoshinoya still has hers as misfortune. Natsume comes by with her friends and gets flustered to see Sae there. Sae’s luck reading is "unexpected aid" so she and Hiro wonder who will it come from. They think it must be that fan letter so they have good words for the fan and Sae is encouraged to do better. Natsume who is hiding behind a statue and eavesdropping, flusters even more. Don’t tell me she is that fan who wrote the letter! As they’re leaving, Natsume makes a wish to be more honest with her feelings this year when Sae spots her. Yup, it has to be her. Back at HA, the quartet talk about what they did for the holidays and their wish for the year. Sae recalls Natsume’s weird acting at the temple whereby the duo had a ‘showdown’ as they told each other wishes. Natsume wishing for world peace? Obviously a lie. Because Sae hopes her wish would come true, Natsume left with a happy feeling. Everyone gathers at Yuno’s room as she give them souvenirs. But as everyone left, Yuno felt uncomfortable as though she hadn’t complete something yet. She manages to sum up her courage and get her friends’ attention before they retire to their rooms. Yuno says "I’m back". And their reply, "Welcome home".
Though there are several special episode releases, I didn’t really get to watch them as they are quite rare to find and are released as DVDs along with the other episodes. Basically they are additional adventures of the gang as I read such as a visit to the water park, dressing up and taking pictures from a camera Sae bought and Hiro getting a love letter and even confess to her but turned him down (aww, I wished I could see the disappointed faces of everyone).
Well the whole entire isn’t anything to shout about but at least it is shown at a calming pace. Yoshinoya is my favourite character because of her childish behaviour. I can’t get enough of her lazy and one kind attitude. I’m always smiling and preparing to laugh on whatever easy way out methods she cooks up just to forsake her work. I wonder if Principal will have enough strength to keep on chasing and mending her ways. Miyako too is my other favourite character due to her carefree behaviour and speak-before-she-thinks actions. Especially she loves teasing Hiro about her diet in which she gets her deserved retribution. I also wonder when will that kid ever be full. Any food is okay with her. Though I don’t remember if it’s ever mentioned in the series (probably not), I have a feeling that Natsume is indeed in love with Sae and her tsundere attitude is just to hide that fact so as not to lose face. But with Hiro always by her side, there’s lots of work she needs to do if she wants Sae to look at her. Maybe not too. The other characters’ quirky behaviour are enough to give them a little distinguished personality and though over the series you can pretty much guess what kind of character they are as they don’t really undergo heavy transformation.
The drawing, art and animation are more towards moe and kawaii. At points when the scene gets comical, the characters’ chibi form usually has their face elongated like a sideways oval and their eyes, well like rough simple pencil sketches. Odd. Over the series, they use several artistic displays as short scene changers, if not characters in random poses and outfits. However I want to note that only the 1st episode of the 2nd season is very smooth and fluid like as though it was done using computer animation. I wonder why they didn’t continue with the rest of the episodes. As for the next episode preview, it is shown in yonkoma style and the speeches in the word bubbles are what the characters narrate onscreen.
Besides the arty display, another thing about this series is the presentation of the various foods that Hiro cooks or the quartet bought from the shop. So if you don’t feel that the anime is providing enough eye candy, maybe the meals that they prepare would provide mouth-watering delicacies for your ‘eye candy’. It’s ironic that Hiro is so concern about her diet, yet she makes so many of such dishes. Yeah, for her friends. Like Yuno said, she is like Sae’s wife. Perhaps indirectly she developed such phobia while test tasting.
My favourite seiyuu is Miyu Matsuki who voices Yoshinoya (Harumi in Zetsubou Sayonara Sensei, Yukari in Nogizaka Haruka No Himitsu). I love it whenever she starts lamenting. She sounds so cute! I also particularly like Hiro’s dreamy voice who is done by Yuko Goto (Kaede in Shuffle, Hikari in Special A, Nanami in Lamune). You can’t get more moe than this. Other casts include Kana Asumi as Yuno (Yukari in Sekirei), Kaori Mizuhashi as Miyako (Ai in Aria The Animation), Ryoko Shintani as Sae (Himeko in Hime-sama Goyoujin), Yuichi Nagashima as Principal (Brook of One Piece), Miyuki Sawashiro as Landlady (Shinkurou in Kurenai) and Rie Kugimiya as Chika (Nagi in Hayate No Gotoku). There are a few background music which are fun to listen to.
I’m not sure how popular this series is but it manages to spawn 2 light novels and even a video game! I wonder how the game play would be like. So next time if you see an art student, don’t brush off their creativity as weird. To each his/her own. We are all weird in our own uncanny ways. Besides, art is abstract and up to one’s interpretations. Thus everyone is artistic in their own ways. Which reminds me, I still suck at drawing even the simplest form of manga or anime related drawings. I wonder if those girls would gladly give me some lessons on how to sketch. I’m sure they’ll gladly be waiting at HA like always. And no Yoshinoya, please.

Hidamari Sketch
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