A masterpiece, this series will cure your depression and teach you that life is worth living. The first few seasons are slow paced and calm, allowing you to warm up to the characters and the way the episodes work. Then the pace picks up and the days get more excited and there is literally sunshine everywhere.
If you haven't watched this series yet, there's no good reason why not.
How. Really, how can a comedy be anything beyond that? Just ask Hidamari Sketch.
Not that often do you see a freaking comedy last over fifty-two episodes. Hidamari Sketch is notable in that, not only do you just feel for the characters throughout the whole thing, but it is one of the very few comedy anime out there that retains the same production crew throughout its entire run.
Its visuals become astoundingly better as it progresses, specifically on the way they draw the characters, but the progression feels much better knowing it is not a new team at any given point working on it. I know that
another certain anime did this for EVERY season and that was a major turnoff, but I digress.
I am not writing an entire review for this anime right here, as that is for the season three review. As I said in my first one that was written for the first season, each review counts both seasons. So, the first counted 1-2 and, once I get to it, the third one will count 3-4 as a whole; mainly cause they are pretty similar. However, I could not wait and, after finishing it right now, had to write a review on these OVA specials first. So, this sis more of a summary of my opinion on the entire series, well the next one will be centered on the prior two seasons. Prepare to cry if you, too, watched all of it and are reading this.
Heartwarming is not the only word I have to use for this, not at all. From Miya comforting Yuno during the graduation when she was collapsed over the thought of not seeing Sae and Hiro for a long time, to the opening featuring every single character that ever had a major appearance in the anime. It was all just so painful to watch, but in a good way. It reminded me that the buildup was fast approaching and that, after this, the anime would be no more. It is a comedy, but it gives me feels unlike no other comedy before it that I have seen.
And, not gonna lie, due to her already minor appearances, I was thinking this would be solely centered on the main girls and that it would not have any major roles for minor characters. But, Natsume got me more than anyone else in these OVA specials. I wish it lasted longer, but what they did for her still made me tear up more than any other sad moment in these specials. So much so that the entirety of Natsume's character unfolded in front of my memories as I was watching it and I could not hold it in anymore. And, though I was not exactly streaming down the face, my eyes were filled to the brim.
For the first time, I saw a tsundere character break entirely out of their mold; their comfort zone, to be precise, which is normally what they have whenever they are not around other people. Natsume broke down, and I mean hard, in front of Sae. Her tear ducts were welting and she was breaking down to Sae how she would find a way to meet her again; basically saying that she did see her as a friend the entire series.
This was finally realized by Sae during the finale of the fourth season, as Natsume confessed to reading Sae's books; albeit on accident, her synopsis on the story was exactly what Sae wanted to hear from one of her readers and she promptly booted out after mentioning it.
Sae approached her as she blabbed on about what they were going to do, grabbed her shoulders and said she did see her as a friend, too. And, entirely out of character, Natsume instead embraced Sae, rather than running away, as she knew this would be the last time she would see her.
The scene could have been longer, but it makes sense that it was short due to how minor she was in the anime. But, her progression in that one scene where she actually confessed her feelings and did not do the generic tsundere thing where she brings up a good point or two really hit me hard.
Given how used I am to it and how much knowledge I have of the stereotype to make a healthy assumption that the sad scene would have fallen short, it was surprisingly adequate and Natsume embraced Sae until she calmed down, rather than doing it for a little bit and running or, well, dashing away at all after any of the lines she said.
She normally avoids contact with Sae for long periods of time, but she wanted this time to be the longest she ever spent with her; and that moment alone can give anyone whom appreciated her character a hard smack in the heart and have you at least watering a little bit in the eyes. Perhaps, cause Natsume did not hesitate once when she was saying her goodbyes.
It really is enough to make you appreciate her character development; especially when you go all the way back to season one, where she literally appeared one time and was originally a comedy character that was meant to provoke Sae during the festival. Then, she became a recurring character in the next season, where she had significant development among any other character in their school and, despite being minor again in the final two seasons, her development was at its peak during these seasons and the last of these two specials just released her everything.
If there is somehow a brief OVA spin-off series where we see Sae and Hiro beyond college, if not in it, then I hope Natsume has some significant development during them. She deserves it after the ending of these specials.
My apologies for delving into Natsume a lot, but I just appreciated her involvement here; little as it was. And, I did not capitalize on much else cause most of the other characters had pretty minor goodbyes and it followed a few generic cliché bits with the singing during the ceremony, the goodbyes to the minor characters we never saw at all in the entire series and so forth.
If I had to pick one more goodbye that struck me, that was even shorter than Natsume's own, it was with the landlady. When she brought up the "Sunshine at Hidamari Apartments" or whatever that flyer said on it as she put her arm around Sae and Hiro, it was the zoom before the next scene that hit me hard; showing them all crying, as the landlady had been with them throughout their entire high school years.
This was truly a beautiful conclusion and this anime had a worthy amount of episodes. I hope one day I do get that spin-off OVA series.
Five seasons of sunshine wrapped up in two little OVAs.
I was very surprised by the way they treated the OVAs. Watching the trailers, I was sure they were going to be heart-wrenching passionate episodes with tear-jerking music and "namida ga ippai" that would trigger an international waterworks show. Yet after watching these episodes, I couldn't help but feel...a bit warm inside. Sure, they were sad, and it leaves a sense of emptiness knowing that if this wonderful series is to continue, Sae and Hiro will no longer be main characters. But they also fill the emptiness with a sort of joy, a sense of satisfaction,
of completeness, of unity.
Looks like the Hidamari Series was able to stay sunny till the end.
The way they treated the two episodes was quite nice, one dedicated to the exams and results and the other dedicated to the graduation ceremony. I liked the lack of overlap, and the way the first prepared you mentally for the second.
The art is as per Hidamari style. Even though I started off hating it, it's really grown on me through the years. The music also, nothing special, just wonderful touching graduation goodness. Seriously, the Japanese get such amazing music for graduation while we Westerners are stuck with Pomp and Circumstance...
Oh, Miyako, how I love you and your amazing sense of wit! Was it just me, or did she ramp up her teasing of Hiro by like 10x? Otherwise, the characters are really maturing. Nori not so much, but Yuno and Nazuna are really growing up, and its obvious in the way they deal with their world. Cameos from all the characters, from the Landlord to Chika, and of course, the wonderful Principal, whose speech, by the way, was totally rad.
I don't think I've ever watched an episode of Hidamari Sketch with a frown on my face. Is it even possible?
Hopefully, sometime in the future, we will be saying Hello once more to the residents of the Hidamari Apartments.
Hidamari Sketch: Sae Hiro Sotsugyou-hen (Sae and Hiro Graduation)
A perfect end to an amazing anime series. (I hope it's not really the end) =(
It was so great to see Hiro and Sae graduate. The composition of frames set up during the entire second episode for the OVA was so well done. SHAFT did an excellent job showcasing how much Yuno-chi was being affected by Hiro and Sae graduating and eventually having to move out. Yuno was moved, as were as all the other girls and as such, I too was moved . . . to tears.
To recap from all the other
reviews I have done about Hidamari Sketch. A story about 4 girls (then 6), Yuno-chi (Main Focus), Miya-chan, Hiro, Sae, Nori and Nazuna who live out their lives in an apartment right across from Yamabuki High. We have characters of many spectrums: shy/reserved, timid, nervous, eccentric, simple minded, caring, loving, motherly; honestly so many terms could be used to describe the girls.
It's a slow rolling adventure about essentially nothing: eating foods with your friends, going to school, going to the bath houses, just celebrating life and all that occurs within it. All the girls except for Miya-chan have some sort of problems that they face, whether it's Hiro's weight problem, Yuno-chi's lack of direction, Sae's confidence etc. etc., they all feel real and are handled very well through all 4 seasons. Yoshinoya-sensei continues to be cute all the way throughout and Natsume will forever remain the girl with a crush so great, she can't do anything about it. I'm really glad that Natsume had more screen time in x Honeycomb and her scene in the OVA too; really shows how much she cares for Sae. The only thing I wish we could have seen more of was Chika-chan, Sae's younger sister. She is incredibly cute, with an attitude and personality that is quite different from Sae herself. I honestly thought that she was going to join her sister and live in the Hidamari Apartment when she became a high school student.
The art style that SHAFT uses is so adorable and cute, polka dots and great art, blending in real life items with their style, pastel colors and vibrant ones too. Never once did I feel the colors or art style were too aggressive or boring, I love it. I love all the outfits that the girls used when not in their school uniforms, I love how the outfits always had this layer drawn on-top that, when the outfits moved, more of that "on-top" layer would be shown. I have no idea how to call that technique, but it's so mesmerizing. The entire series showcases how the art style of a company matures and becomes greater than ever before, I think.
The music used throughout the entire series is quite amazing. Background music is played when it makes sense, always lending more emotions to the scene at hand. The openings and endings used are all fantastic, with the openings always being peppy, cheerful, quick to bring excitement to you, where as the endings are always slower in pace, use a more relaxing melody and have beautiful singers for your ears to experience. Music from Hidamari Sketch alone is quite amazing to listen to and when combined with the art style, the show goes past the stratosphere becoming an amazing series of music and art.
Hidamari Sketch.... as a whole entity, is without a doubt a fantastic and great slice of life. The girls, the slice of life story, the relationships, the entire thing.... just so good ~.The way the episodes are played out, throwing the viewer into relationships already built and confusing us, works so well in the end. Reason why Hidamari Sketch is out of order!. By the end of this series, I felt so connected to the characters and story that was occurring, it was incredible.
10/10. I love this anime. So glad I was able to experience it.