Written by TheBigN
So of the series I’ve been watching so far, Sketchbook ~ full color’S~ (I don’t mind the ‘S, BTW) has been one of my favorites so far. If you’ve been reading my blog, you kinda had an idea that this would be the case, as well as some reasons why. Interesting characters experiencing life while doing nothing in particular, awesome scenery, decent music (love the OP a bit more that I maybe should), etc. I think what also adds to my enjoyment is my feeling that this anime might be a little primer on how to keep an open mind (tolerance, that sort of thing). Granted, this might be a bit much only after just viewing four episodes, but it works for me when I see the characters interact with each other.
From the get go, we see the show’s main main character Sora introduce herself as someone who tends to favor capturing moments that leave an impression with a sketchbook instead of a camera. Considering that often these moments are ephemeral at best in front of our eyes, and that a camera seems much better suited to the job, when Sora affirms that it just feels right with a sketchbook, things might seem a little odd. I brush that off as a nice idiosyncrasy at that, not considering it “normal”, but also not thinking it problematic enough to worry about, and even a little endearing to me. Yet when she also notes that she’s a little shy (not like Mugi-choco) and hesitant to talk strangers, it’s an understatement. It comes off more as being painfully bashful, enough to make me think that she’s afraid of getting to know people and that she’s very sensitive in her interactions, and it jarred my initial impressions concerning her. The manga has a nice, and funny, example of this when she first joins the school art club she’s a member in.
We see that Sora has more than just one or two things that are considered eccentric to those of us looking at her; in fact it wouldn’t be bad to say that in a way, she’s a lot like Osaka from Azumanga Daioh, though of different personalities and what not. Both characters usually go through life at their own pace, and while it looks like they have it together in terms of functioning, they experience things noticeably differently from what society sees as standard. But in both shows, they’re surrounded by friends who more or less accept them for who they are, and work through they’re ways of doing things. There have been a couple of scenes in where people like Asou (puppetmaster) and Hazuki (bargain hunter), and even Sora’s brother say things along the lines of “that’s how she is”, or “I can imagine Sora doing this”, and it’s all cool and stuff. It helps that most of the friends in both shows also have some eccentricities about their personas as well (Kurihara and her delight in observing nature, Negishi’s enjoyable irrational anger, Kasugano-sensei’s likes of chicken and yakitori in Sketchbook, e.g.).
In the case of Sketchbook, this acknowledgement and acceptance goes both ways as well, and I believe that it’s a hidden strength of the show. Because we mostly hear Sora through internal monologues (as she speaks few words), we get to learn more on how she thinks, the actions she goes through, and especially about her interests, as she’s a very inquisitive person. In that sense, observations are given, and those include what Sora thinks about other people. Episode 4 has Sora and Kurihara going to a nearby forest to sketch whatever holds their interests. At their destination, Sora spends a lot of time seeing Kurihara being in her element, even remarking that she’s a strange person for her enthusiasm. Yet while we have that, through little things, our protagonist realizes that these things are all a matter of perception. Before rain broke out, a bird flew low to the ground, and while Sora observes just that, Kurihara focuses on the insects that led to the bird (insects fly lower before rain because of added humidity, and so the bird flies lower to get them… or something like that). From that exchange, Sora understands that even though people might be looking at the same thing, they can be looking at it in different ways, and later on wants to try and see things from Kurihara’s POV. It’s executions of simple concepts like that which make watching shows like this fun for me. 😛
In the same way Sora does this in show, I’m doing this while watching the show (out of… show…), even though it’s not necessary. While I’m noting how Sora’s reality contrasts with mine, I also attempt to try and observe what she sees as normal, so I can get a better idea of where she’s coming from. I want to figure out why I feel that discord and trying to mitigate that feeling, while at the same time hoping Sora becomes a little more confident in her interpersonal skills, since others seem more than willing to help her out. I want change to be reciprocal here, never mind that it’s just a piece of animated fiction and all that. This might just be me trying to inject some depth into a show that doesn’t have any (or doesn’t need it rather), but as always, doing this makes watching anime that much more fun for me. :3
And I agree with lastarial that we need an anime that focuses just on the teachers. They’re awesome stuff. 😛