Archive for the “hidamari sketch” Category


Either the Hidamari girls are more stacked than they look, or those uniforms are padded.

I can never figure out how to blog about episodes like these, because every time I try, I end up rooting around the fridge for a snack. Obviously I need to learn how to deal with such temptation, although like all temptations, I'm not sure I want to.

Nazuna's indecision in ordering is familiar to me, though; when I go out to eat, I kind of want to try everything on the menu, but I'm not sure whether I want to take the risk of trying something new. And so I end up getting what I always get. The safe option. Next time, I decide, I'll try to be more adventurous… but by that time, I forget what I had intended, and the cycle repeats.

I like the drinks bar concept, though. I tend to want to hydrate myself far more than anyone else at the table, for some reason. Which is why I never order anything other than plain (ice) water, unless it's free-flow.

Also, spotted in the Nutbladder sub:


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Nazuna demonstrating pressure points.

The terrible secret of the past few weeks is that I haven't had the time to catch up on anime, which means I've forgotten where I left off. Ordinarily this is no big deal, and perhaps even a blessing in disguise, as I can rewatch anime in enjoyment, but when I have a blog to look out for things become a little less carefree.

I won't promise that I'll try harder, because I've noticed how once something becomes an obligation due to promising I'll do something, I tend to put it off, because the added responsibility triggers some sort of perfectionist nature, and everything I do is never enough. Promising to post more meaningful stuff on this blog will be the beginning of the end.

I think part of why Hidamari Sketch and its sequels have risen to be number three in my list of Favourite Anime is because of changes in my life: I'm busier now, or at least more stressed. Or more easily tired. Whatever. I don't seem to be able to gather up the energy to watch as much anime as before; however, unlike normal hobby burnout, this applies to everything, be it anime or video games or writing or reading or whatnot. I'm just tired, sleepy, and would rather not think. I'd be back in my full swing if I had like a couple of years off, with nothing to worry about, but that is obviously just a pipe dream.

Maybe I'm getting old. (Despite only being in my mid-twenties.)

And so an anime that I think would have bored me ten years ago is perfect now for relaxing. And it even teaches me to relax when I am not watching it at this very moment, simply by showing me the simple beauty in everyday life. It's art.

On a tangent actually related to this episode, the pressure point on the hand (between your index finger and thumb) that Nazuna teaches Yuno is something my mother also taught me, but instead of fixing hand cramps, I was told it would do something far different, and not at all related to hands. It could be merely psychological, but every time I get squeezed at that point, I have the strongest urge to retreat to a certain room, sit upon a certain throne, and do some serious thinking. It is, in all honesty, quite moving.

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Nori expounds on the Chinese Fair.

As it were.

There's a Japanese place at Cuppage Plaza around the Orchard area (in Singapore, if anyone is still unsure about my current nationality and residence) that my friend introduced to me. It's on the first floor, and for the life of me I cannot remember its name apart from the "Ou" (as in "king" or "royal") that it starts with. "Ou"-something.

It's great value (eleven dollars for a very substantial meal), but apart from free advertising, the main reason I mention it is that it's the first place I've had tenshinhan (rice in a crab omelette in savoury sauce) before. I did not actually suspect it was a Chinese dish brought to Japan, but considering there was also chahan (fried rice) on the menu, it really should have been obvious to me.

I think the concept of Tex-Mex food is the closest to what my apparently majority US readership would be familiar with: it's a fusion cuisine that may or may not claim to be fusion. It's like General Tso's Chicken, which I can guarantee will not be found in authentic Chinese cuisine, save imported from the US or Canada. (I actually like it, possibly because it cannot be found here in Asia.) It's food that is associated with one culture, while within another culture. The original associated-culture may not even have the dish in question, at least not in its popularized form or name. As an example of contraflow in culture, it's a fascinating topic.

The B-part of the episode strikes a little too close to home, as Yuno's anguish over scoring lower marks than she hoped is a familiar feeling. About the only other comment I can make is that over the years and many, many, many repetitions of that same situation, I… actually, I don't know if I ceased caring, or if I simply became numb to it. I'm not sure when I finally realized that yes, academically I am quite pathetic.

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A Chika episode.

I know I'm late (what with realizing only after seven episodes), but it took until now to realize that the common thread for this season is apparently the early morning exercises.

Is it a common thing among groups of friends to compare each other to animals? After Lucky Star and now this, I kind of feel like I'm missing out.

Cutting a round cake into seven equal pieces sounds like one of those trick questions found in puzzle collections or Professor Layton or some such. Seven being the number that it is (prime, and inconveniently divisible), I can't think of any special cutting methods that trump the Hidamari residents' direct protractor method. Then again, with the answer being fifty-one degrees and an endless series of decimal places, I assume precision is not that important. Conversion to radians does not help much, I feel.

Presumably we need not have a repeat of Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, whereby Chiri cuts the Gordian Cake via a blender.

I did squee a little when Chika mentioned playing the alto saxophone. I kind of agree with her: the most fun you can have with a musical instrument is playing together. Then again, in my case, it could be because playing together hides the fact that I kind of suck at it.

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Mashiko-sensei enters the room.

One day I will be caught up on Hoshimittsu. Unfortunately, today is not that day.

It was strangely fascinating to watch the girls of Hidamari Apartments talk about whether or not they're popular with boys. Being in an all-boys school makes for a fairly stunted set of social skills when it comes to talking to girls, even ten years after the fact. Actually, being one of the nerd crowd in an all-boys school makes for a fairly stunted set of social skills period, so that's no help at all.

I understand, in a sort of Stating The Obvious way, that this is entertainment, and the way the talk went with Nazuna about other girls getting jealous of her through no real fault of her own may not be entirely accurate to life. The truth is likely to be far more prosaic, banal, and boring.

And yet, because it is entertainment, it is, by definition (or it should be, anyway), entertaining. It's a glimpse into the other side, another world of soft colours and quiet reminiscences and being able to talk about these sorts of things without being criticized for not being Manly enough.

Of course, since I've never had anything remotely close to a girlfriend myself, this is even more worthy of study. Relationships are a mysterious thing indeed.

Also, I like how Mashiko-sensei (the male teacher) just walks into the art prep room, with nary a second glance at the walls covered with posters of Yoshinoya-sensei in various cosplay outfits. Clearly the man is used to this.

He is to be saluted.

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Nori, if you did not know.

I wonder if it says something about me that the first thing I did upon seeing the chest shot of Nori was to check that yes, that did look like the Adidas logo.

In keeping with the theme of exercise, I don't know if I would have joined in the early-morning stretches that I think are pretty common in certain parts of Japan, if they had been available here in Singapore. For one thing, waking up at six in the morning means floundering around in the dark, with maybe ten to fifteen minutes to spare before I have to catch the bus to school. When the weekends come, I generally either have extra-curricular activities (school band; symphonic, not K-On), or I want nothing more than to sleep until noon.

This may be why I'm not exactly the healthiest specimen around, I suppose.

I do appreciate that Hidamari Sketch Hoshimittsu introduced Arisawa to us in an actual episode (well, half-episode), since she seems pretty interesting. This could be because Arisawa has no idea what to do with her life; despite being ten years older than her, I am still in the same situation.

Finally, Yoshinoya-sensei can apparently be squeaky without footwear. Fushigi mystery.

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Nazuna looking surprised.

Catching up on the episodes I got earlier, but didn't get the chance to watch until now.

When I was living alone, curtains felt unnecessary. Yes, privacy and all that, but I figured anyone who wanted to peek into the life of a random guy was welcome to, especially since I believe that a place can only be called "home" if you feel comfortable enough walking around it in your underwear. (Too Much Information, I presume.) And I was fortunate enough not to get a facing with direct sunlight, so it wasn't too bad.

Watching the Hidamari Apartment residents spend so much effort to pick out pretty curtains and treat it as a matter of course makes me feel even more of a dame-ningen: a worthless person, as far away from the life of bright happiness and sunshine and normalcy as can be. A sad deviant, the stereotype of the lurker in the basement, even though there is no basement. No doubt I will be expected to find a basement to lurk in.

This is why I tend not to apply my entertainment too closely to my actual life. Escapism is the key, here.

I do have to say that I can see the fascinating with shopping for furniture, though. Every time I end up at IKEA or some such store with my friends, we end up gawking for hours at the utterly weird accessories and gadgets people come up with just to spice up, say, an alarm clock.

I was going to mention how it seems like the newbies are paired off with each other, apart from the original four residents, but further thought made me realize this was already happening, since the beginning: Hiro and Sae are one set, as is Yuno and Miyako. Presumably by the time we are comfortable with Nori and Nazuna, there will be a whole new set of Married Couple jokes.

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Sketch Switch, creditless version.

Since my fellow AnimeNauts co-blogger (who is, I admit, making the vast majority of the posts there, because he is some sort of blog-posting machine) was ordering stuff from Amazon (if you're wondering: the Blu-rays of Ghost In The Shell 2.0 and The Sky Crawlers, among other things; on a completely unrelated note, he does not own a Blu-ray player yet), I piggybacked Hidamari Sketch season 1, licenced by… Sentai Filmworks, it says on the case, and distributed by Section23 Films. Never heard of them, to be honest.

See, I do buy anime I like.

The DVD came in a case the same size and shape as a single DVD, except this time containing two DVDs, with all twelve episodes and two specials. Extra features are the usual DVD credits which I assume nobody watches, the clean opening and ending animations, various Also Available From The Same Distributors, and a downright bizarre ad for The Anime Network, which I will leave to people actually inside the US to bother testing out. Curse you, region-locks.

Subs-only (using the same yellow font that's been on every R1 anime DVD I've watched recently; seriously, is it a standard or something?), and the picture quality looks a little… low. I'm not sure how much of it is due to the originals, and how much is due to having to fit fourteen episodes onto two DVDs.

Well, at least it's widescreen.

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Mysterious Girl A.

I'm sure the shippers will be all over Hiro's mumbling of Sae's name in her sleep.

What happened to the newbies? I've been hoping to see more of them beyond their brief appearances, if only because we haven't had much chance to get a firm grasp of their personalities.

Something which gives me pause whenever I'm watching shows like Hidamari Sketch is the way they include stuff that I feel I should know about, but I am not privy to every minute detail from every extra or bonus or omake or spinoff or whatever. These things are usually put in as a bonus for the knowledgeable viewer, and shouldn't detract from the basic enjoyment of the story, but when enough time to be noticeable (generally more than a couple of seconds) is spent lingering on the Oddly Significant Character or something, I get the feeling that I'm missing something.

Hopefully the mystery of the girl in the screenshot will be solved soon enough, preferably within the anime itself.

On an unrelated note: don't worry, Yuno. I've also done that before.

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Nori explains HTML.

It is honestly surprising that until Nori arrived at Hidamari-sou, there was no Internet connection there. I suppose I'm just too used to living my life online.

We've all seen the standard generic lawyer-friendly versions of brands we all know about, but which come with so much trademark baggage that shows cannot even mention them without jumping through a lot of hoops; even something as innocuous as affixing a ™ sign becomes onerous when it comes to exhibiting it in an anime; I think only studios like SHAFT, which make a name for being ARTSY and all that, can do anything along those lines.

More likely, there will be all sorts of regulations and guidelines on displaying the brand: it cannot be portrayed negatively. It cannot be used in a way other than it is normally intended for. The entire brand logo must be displayed. All this is perfectly understandable, since the brand represents the company's name, both literally and figuratively. (Compare regulations on displaying country flags.)

There have been plenty of other writings, some of them even academic, on the significance and implications of all of this. I am not… well, technically I can talk about this with some degree of accuracy, but this is an anime blog, and I post here to get away from work.

But I do find it interesting that we can recognize all these alterations to the brands we know, because they are the brands we know. We know which fast food chain "WcDonald's" is, or "Zony" mp3 players, or "Packy" biscuit snacks. On that note, Pocky represents an intriguing case: outside of Asia, people seem to know it in conjuction with anime and Japanophilia, but it has been so prevalent, even in lawyer-friendly form, that it is recognizable, even cliche.

Not much can be done for an Apple logo, although attempts have been made by keeping the general shape and colouration of an iBook or iMac or iWhatever, which is pretty distinctive, and substituting other fruits. For Microsoft Windows, apparently four coloured boxes is sufficient.

I can only imagine how anime will deal with Tux.

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