Apr 17, 2010
kevo (All reviews)
Fans of the Hidamari Sketch franchise will do well to know that the third season of the show is really just like the other two. Yuno and her three fellow tenants of the Hidamari Apartments return for another season of... doing nothing in particular. They go to art school, gather together spontaneously for humble dinner parties, and genuinely enjoy their lives. There is no complex plot or character insinuations; Hidamari Sketch is an absurdly simplistic and optimistic take on the lives of four girls so normal and so carefree that they cannot possibly exist. Yet if you suspend your cynical mindset for a fleeting moment, it really is a lot of fun. From the mellow dialogue that walks gracefully the trapeze line between inane and sublime to the director Akiyuki Shinbou's notable animation effects inspired by postmodern abstract art, Hidamari Sketch is a different take on anime but still familiar to the casual viewer.

Unlike season 2, this season of Hidamari Sketch moves forward in time and introduces two new characters: Nazuna and Nori. While it takes some time for the show to really flesh them out as part of the cast, they are only marginally interesting in the show. Mostly I found that Nori was energetic and outgoing, Miyako's niche, and that Nazuna was shy and introverted, like Yuno except more moeblob. It's difficult to add characters to ensemble casts like Hidamari Sketch in the third season because everyone else has firmly staked their positions. Regardless, two more characters do a little bit to introduce some fresh air into a show that's might have begun to run out of steam after two seasons.

Besides that, there's not much else new in Hidamari Sketch. Everything we know and love is back, more or less, and even improved. The ever-lovable Yoshinoya-sensei has tons of screen time and is unflappably entertaining each time, going with her crazy classroom antics and getting scolded by the old principal. There's an episode set two years ago about the old tenants Misato and Riri before they graduated and were replaced by Yuno and Miyako. Time capsule episodes are a really fun aspect of Hidamari Sketch. Sae's ridiculously cute little sister, Chika, makes an appearance or two this season as well. The landlady has more lines and is much more visible this season as well. Overall, the main structure of focusing around the antics of the main cast and occasionally involving minor characters is preserved.

The writing is rather mundane. I swear that half the episodes end with just the girls eating dinner. Despite this, I can't really think of anything bad to say about it. Sure, it's lacks the epic grandness of a modern literary manifesto but that's not what Hidamari Sketch wants to do. This season was pretty entertaining, and the dialogue feels natural. It helps that the voice acting is very talented as well.

The animation is what you would expect from SHAFT: crisp and unconventional. The show is very cheerful with bright colors and abstract geometric themes in the art and backgrounds. There's a slight desaturated look and the alpha is pretty high, but the resulting effect is pretty cool.

As with the other seasons, the opening theme is sung by the cast while the ending theme is sung by marble. Nothing spectacular really, but I like the ending theme. The scoring is pretty much what we've seen for two seasons already. The unique, cartoony, minimalist soundtrack fits into the background of the show. Mizuhashi Kaori is ridiculously good as Miyako, and Goto Yuko's voice for Hiro is pretty recognizable for fans of The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi.

Overall, give this show a watch if you liked the other two seasons. It's not really something to marathon; it took me 85 days to watch 13 episodes. Nothing new, but why fix what isn't broken?