DVD Review: Hidamari Sketch – Season 1
22/01/2016 Leave a comment
MVM Entertainment continues to push-out the anime releases this month and in our latest DVD Review we take a look at the first season of Hidamari Sketch; which is of course animated by SHAFT.
For years, Yuno’s dreamed of attending Yamabuki Arts High School, but now that she’s been accepted, it means the scary prospect of moving away from her home and family for the first time! Fortunately, Yuno quickly learns that if her new neighbors at the eclectic Hidamari (Sunshine) Apartments aren’t technically family, at least the majority share the bond of being fellow art students.
From second year students like Hiro and Sae, who try to behave like helpful older sisters (mostly successfully) to her hyperactive new neighbor, classmate, and best friend Miyako (who has the scariest apartment ever), Yuno begins to build the support network she’ll need for dealing with strange characters like her oddly masculine landlady, her cosplay-obsessed homeroom teacher, her tooth-chattering principal and all of the other odd denizens who inhabit her chosen world of art.
It won’t be easy, and it won’t always be pretty, but with her friends at her back Yuno’s going to reach for the stars!
Just like the Monogatari franchise Hidamari Sketch is of acquired taste and as a result those who disliked the Monogatari franchise may also dislike what Hidamari Sketch has to offer. Of course the episodic content is vastly different, as this isn’t a story about demonic apparitions after all, but it does use the same animation style with tilting heads, realistic screenshots and varying differences of design throughout each episode.
In short; if you did not like the animation style used within the monogatari series then you won’t necessarily like what it has to offer in Hidamari Sketch; and that’s regardless of what the story has to offer which – when it gets down to it – isn’t much. The story of Hidamari Sketch doesn’t progress in a liner fashion; for instance the first episode is actually episode ten, instead it offers stand-a-lone episodes that follows the events of four high school friends, known as Yuno, Miyako, Hiro and Sae, as they attend the Yamabuki Art High School and live within the same apartment building known as Hidamari.
Each episode offers a new story to be told; be it one of the girls under the weather from a cold, creating an art piece for school or taking in the wonders of the summer holidays. Each episode is different; but how they are portrayed to the viewer, and how the characters react within that episode, all remain the same. It’s uncanny but theres nothing noteworthy or memorable within Hidamari Sketch for me to recommend someone to watch it; which is bizarre as it is often referred to me as an anime I should watch.
As i said; Hidamari Sketch is of acquired taste and, in some ways, a bit like marmite. You either love it or hate it and for me its the latter which is a real shame as while the events of each episode, and the animation style used, are deterring the character personalities are superb – if not a little bit predictable. For instance Yuno, the protagonist, can be considered as the all-rounder while Sae can be considered as the brains; Hiro on the otherhand is self-concious and Miayko is the airhead of the group. It’s this lovable cast of characters, and their quirky relationships, that make Hidamari Sketch something worth watching; even if there’s nothing of value to watch in the episodic content itself. Bizarre.
MVM Entertainment’s trend of barebone DVD releases continue with Hidamari Sketch but to some extent its not as ‘empty’ as you may imagine. To start with there is the inclusion of six trailers for other anime releases, majority of which have yet to receive a UK release, but there is also the inclusion of the textless songs.
This of course is your usual line-up of bonus content; but look deeper – and more specifically on to the second DVD disc – and you will find two bonus OVA episodes bundled in with the line-up of episodic content. Ironically these can’t specifically be called extra features as they are listed along the normal episode listing and not in a seperate sub-section (such as the trailers shown above).
Media: DVD 9 x2
Running Time: 2:55:53 (Disc 1), 2:04:55 (Disc 2)
Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0 192kbps (Japanese)
Subtitles: English (Yellow)
Resolution: 720 x 576 (576i)
Aspect Ratio: 16:9 Widescreen
Frame Rate: 25 fps
Hidamari Sketch is a twelve episode anime that follows the residents of Hidamari Apartments throughout their daily activities; whether it be school, fixing up the apartment or just having general banter through bizarre discussions. Its a show that doesn’t offer a lot and only expects your attention – however limited it may be – and while majority of the show i found to be a bore there is a few giggles to be had; most of which will involve Miyako’s easy-gowing life-style.
When it comes to this DVD release by MVM Entertainment, which has most likely been originally authored by the folks at Sentai Filmworks, then everything is as you would expect it to be. Numerous episodes are spread out across two DVD discs and while most series tend to strain from pixilation or distortion this show does not; but thats most likely due to the relatively basis animation style of the series.
English subtitles, all of which are presented in white, are clearly readable throughout the show and just like Monogatari there is a fair amount to go through. Menu layout is also on pair with what you would expect from a traditional Sentai Filmworks release all of which see the episodes listed on the main page with extras listed on a separate screen. As Hidamari Sketch is only available in Japanese (with removable English Subtitles) there is no setup option; it’s simply play and away you go!
Hidamari Sketch is not a show i would consider, or recommend, watching; it offers nothing of real merit or valueand those looking for a progressive story will want to look elsewhere. Of course if you are looking for, relatively, mindless fun with a unique animation style then this show may be worth having a go. The presentation and production of the DVD discs however are a different story; sure enough they have been presented to the best degree of quality and that’s all you can really ask for me. Overall it’s a great DVD release by MVM; but a rather disappointing series from a show i’ve heard such positive things about – put simply it’s a bit dull and it goes nowhere; but hey! thats just my view!
Hidamari Sketch – Season 1 will be available on DVD and Blu-ray from the 25th January 2016.