Written by TheBigN
I could safely say that Hidamari Sketch is a show that I can rewatch years down the line and still feel like the show hasn’t lost a step. Each episode is standalone, though you find that things introduced early on are referenced later in the series and become signals for our remembrances (progress! Change and reflection!). In the first episode, we already have our four protagonists together as good friends, chilling out, relaxing and so on, and though it would be nice to find out how the foursome gets together (which is done in the manga), that information doesn’t really matter that much, and it’s okay. If I can say that Manabi Straight was about the beginnings and growth of friendships and what happens before, during and after the process of moving of, then Hidamari Sketch is about the fun times being had when those friendships are already in the growing stage and the future is nothing more than a passing glance. To me, it’s a different slice of the same “life” pie that Manabi is (Manabi is the entire process of eating one pie before starting on a new, different one), at a period where you’ve already begun eating it, but you’re nowhere near finished with it. Or something like that; making good metaphors is a strange concept for me. 😛
So throughout each episode, we see Yuno, Miyako, Sae, Hiro and sometimes Yoshinoya-sensei in one way or another doing things where “nothing happens” and just living life in the process. There’s no goal to achieve here and much of the show moves at a leisurely pace, so people who don’t really enjoy these things can easily find it boring and such. To me, this remained charming from what I saw in the beginning, since in the process, we get to know more about the characters through these interactions, which if you’ve read this blog before, you tend to know that it’s one thing that I like.
In this case, change isn’t really “visible”; while the days change, the characters seem to stay the same as they are. But we constantly get new facets from those characters: that Miyako actually has “sense” a lot of the time; that Sae, despite initial appearances, is easily embarrassed (eating a flock of gnus) and quick to excite; that Hiro’s desire to lose weight rivals her desire to eat delicious food; that Yuno’s can’t hold her liquor well (oh wai- this one’s in the manga too :P); that Yoshinoya-sensei really cares for her students, and so on. It never felt like the show was forcing these things on me either (which is always a plus), as the all the characters were enjoyable to begin with, and nothing they did seemed out of character or deliberately forced by Shinbo and Co. to make you feel a certain way.
What makes this show one of my favorite series is that ol’ nostalgic feeling it evokes in me. Granted I’m just a couple of months removed from college and medical school has will have its own fun times in store, but Hidamari Sketch reminded me of just hanging out with friends, doing stuff that in the grand scheme of things don’t really matter (save for giving us happiness during a tough time at Cornell). I could say that I did a lot of pointless things with my friends, but they were enjoyable things like just eating together talking (whoa Lucky Star), and that’s the vibe I got from the show. From my short life experiences, normal things become unusually better when you experience them you’re your friends, and Hidamari takes that message to heart. I keep thinking back to when I believe Miyako mentioned that the Hidamari Apartments were a place where more… eccentric art school students live, and certainly the main characters are oddballs in their own way. So you could say that I also felt a camaraderie that transcended interests, mediums and realities with the Hidamari girls.
I also liked how the anime presented the hackneyed “friends stick together” idea. We never really see the friendships strained in anyway, but we get many examples of how their still developing bonds are pretty strong. From when Miyako, Hiro and Sae tend to a sick and awesomely delirious Yuno (the one episode where you can see Shinbo ran with the episode), to when Hiro watches over a Sae sleeping after fulfilling a tough deadline. Little things like that made the series seem more sincere than most series when trying not nearly as hard to get the point across.
So, in conclusion: I know I’ve said stuff like this before, but Hidamari is charming, connecting, and super scooter happy. It’s a nice anime gem this year, and more people should check it out. There are reasons why Miyako made it as far as she did in Saimoe and why Yuno is still in the tournament (and why I believe she still has a chance against Little Miss Cleaver). :3
Now can someone please try and sub Moyashimon? 😛