Written by TheBigN
I’m not the only one that’s pleased that someone has finally subbed the Hidamari Sketch specials (now if only Sketchbook could finish at least :P). As you’ve seen on this blog, the series is one of my favorites, and I keep trying to get people to take a look at it, and it’s working slowly but surely. :3 And I figure that it’s been a while (not really) since I’ve written a post on Hidamari that I should set up shop again. Besides making me wonder what would have happened had Shinbo and co. taken a more… proactive approach on the show (I think it would be awesome fun, but then I usually think that about most SHAFT productions), the specials reminded me how much I liked the characters and the things they do. Since I’m a very easy person to please, I was pleased so much by these two episodes that I felt like showing most of the cast off here. To help with this, I’ve included a shot or two that I thought personifies most, if not all of, the qualities that I see in each of the characters. All of these pictures are from the first Hidamari special, which is made of much win and awesome, though the second special is the same way, only in different areas. This is all in fun (i.e, not meant to be a great post), and as always, feel free to add on, take off, or conflagrate my thoughts as you see them here.
So we begin with our main “protagonist”, Yuno.
Besides some self-reference here, this shot shows what I feel to be a good example of the situation that Yuno’s in now. As she is apparently living by herself for the first time, while doing ordinary things she keeps getting continuous new, unexpected experiences from the Hidamari apartments and its fellow inhabitants. The mangaka’s autograph here represents one of these unusual situations (think abstractly here, please 🙂 ), as this is one of the random things that Yuno finds while looking for something familiar to her that she and her friends can use to have fun. As with any unfamiliar situation though, there is a bit of surprise at what’s going on, and you can also see that a little bit with her facial expression. More often than not, that look is one of a person who doesn’t really know what’s going on, but at the same time, Yuno’s a good-natured and curious person, as well as someone who manages to find enjoyment in whatever she does most of the time; hence the facial expression ends up as a smile. Even if she doesn’t find what she’s looking for (which isn’t the case here), she content with just going through the motions as long as something that piques her interest or helps her out. Yuno is still in the process of getting it together, and it’s fun to watch her progress with that, even if something at simple as randomly finding an autograph doesn’t really do anything for the process. Realize that here I’m just trying to say something other than “OH GOD MY NUTBLADDERS!”, whatever the hell that means (Edit: Found out, and the story of the term’s origins is pretty funny. Not that I’ll use the term myself normally. :P).
And as a final note, this picture comes after Miyako remarks that this is the Yuno she knows, and I agree with her. Yuno’s trademark are those X-hairpin things on the sides of her hair, and in that scene, she was briefly without them for a second. You can obviously see how content she is with them on, and we as viewers are as well. I think it makes sense to interpret the coming Hidamari Sketch x 365 as Hidamari Sketch Yuno 365 when you think about it that way.
Speaking of Miyako, this picture says a lot.
Immediately, you can tell that she’s someone that loves food, or at least watermelons, as evidenced by the smile on her face. Note the smile though; it’s the smile of someone who is carefree and goes at their own pace, and Miyako definitely fits that bill. As a character who admits that the word “plan” isn’t in her dictionary, she’s a spontaneous girl of energy who we find can adapt to the events that come her way. At the moment, that’s all I will say about her, but I have another separate post on her (much like the one I had on Manabi a couple of months back) that should see the light of day in a couple of weeks, so stay tuned. She is my favorite character in Hidamari Sketch, so a paragraph doesn’t really do her justice for me. :3
We switch gears a bit as we move to one of the two upperclassmen, Hiro.
In this scene she’s filling up a bathtub in order to keep the watermelon in the previous pic as cool as the other side of the pillow. This is why we see her face as reflected in the water, but it works well. Her facial expression looks very kind, mature and motherly, and those are some of the qualities that describe her. In this case, the water enhances that calming kind effect, as you could imagine feeling light and protected when lying on its surface in pools and the like. At the same time, look at her hair, which gives the impression that she’s underwater. Those wavy extensions are not necessarily a running gag, but it’s something that appears every episode and adds to character, sort of like the shiny forehead present on some characters in some other Shinbo-directed shows (like Pani Poni Dash! and Yamamoto Yohko). The hair moves on it’s own, and you can get the impression that they’re kind of medusa-like; you know, snakes. Humans tend to think of snakes as sneaky things, and Hiro definitely has a side that belies her kind appearance. It’s nothing drastic, but she does love teasing people, especially Sae, and is easily able to catch people off-guard when she feels like it.
Ah, Sae, the other upperclassman. Of everyone in the group, she gives off a cool vibe and plays that role for the most part, often as the voice of reason/common sense and usually as the most collected of the bunch. If you take off the blush here, you can see what I’m feeling here. But the blush is also an integral part of Sae, as despite usually keeping a calm, collected look, she is easily flustered. Really easily. As befitting someone with her personality, she has some hidden aspects that she prefers not to reveal, like her writing of novels, not really having any relationship experience to speak of, or having a younger sister. These rather interesting tidbids of information are sources of embarrassment for her and are also things that show that she’s not as far away from everyone else as she seems, like Amu Hinamori, but Sae is nowhere near being as COOL and SPICY as the hero of Shugo Chara. However, with Hiro knowing Sae as well as she does, and Yuno and Miyako’s curiosity and perceptiveness, respectively, these secrets are easily out in the open, and become sources of amusement when Sae exuberantly responds. The lines that she spouts when trying to keep the truth hidden can be awesome; for an example, in episode 11 when they visit the zoo, after Hiro teases Sae about going there with a boyfriend she’s never had, a red-faced Sae attempting to keep up appearances ends up saying “We held hands and watched the ice cream while eating a herd of Gnu”. Beautiful.
Now for some other characters. Starting with the beautiful Yoshinoya-sensei, these comments should be much shorter.
As you can see, the eternally 17-year-old teacher loves dressing up in costumes (though she doesn’t consider it to be cosplay). And as you can also see, it’s a nice self-referential nod to another teacher in another SHAFT directed adaptation, though Yoshinoya isn’t quite matching the demeanor of the normal occupant of the costume. She is a person filled with mysteries, but what we do know is that she loves showing off her self-made costumes, cares about her students, and often acts younger than she looks to the annoyance of the principal, and you can obviously see all of this from this shot in the OP animation. 😛
In the tradition of badass old men (a most recent example being the awesome, awe-inspiring, and sometimes (j)awe-dropping Professor Itsuki from the just ended Moyashimon), the principal of Yamabuki High School fits this vein as another mysterious character (moreso than Yoshinoya). He is a man of many talents, and an example of his athletic prowess is this picture that shows him in the process of landing from an epic high jump over the school fence (you have to see it to believe it, so just trust me with this one :3). An important note is the wavy lines surrounding him: from the source material, the principal is someone that constantly shakes. Whether if it’s from constant cold, old age, or something else, he tremors to the point where it affects his speech, and the shakes get worse when he’s angry; the fact that Miyako can do a dead-on impersonation of him makes him even that more awesome.
The last “main” adult here is the landlady of the Hidamari apartments. Like the principal, she has no name, and we don’t know a lot about her. However she seems to be a person who’s very comfortable and carefree in her life, as you can see by her facial expression. She’s someone that is currently set and satisfied, and that attitude gives a maturity to her. I believe that she’s also someone that those qualities (plus her awesome dialect) make her someone that the students look up to. This picture, with the sky surrounding the landlady (she’s so high~. High above me, she’s so lovely), as well as the highlight on her hair, is a good overall representation of her.
To finish up this “study”, we have Ume-sensei.
Those who’ve played or watched Pokemon would remark that the representation of Aoki Ume, Hidamari Sketch‘s mangaka, here looks like a Metapod; whether or not that was the point is something else to be determined. As far as I know, she’s hanging around the apartments and the school, she’s letting the audience know the current time frame in the episode, and she’s providing a little mascot power on the side. The expression on its face in the picture mirrors how I feel about Ume-sensei overall. I can understand that she’s the mangaka and that she has a nice voice, but it’s a forgettable extra to me. Obviously she should interact with the main cast more for me to really consider her being important in the actual anime. At the same time, she beats the pants off the cat-blob thing we saw in Lucky Star, and I’m willing to battle on this point (Epic Win? I’m looking at you? :P).
To sum it up, as a show with a focus on characters, Hidamari Sketch does a pretty good job with them. This concludes today’s lesson. :3