This week’s old animu is Hidamari Sketch. Hidamari Sketch is a slice-of-life anime about four girls who live in the Hidamari Apartments and attend an art school. Like Azumanga Daioh, which is something like a gateway to slice-of-life anime, Hidamari Sketch was adapted from a four-panel comic.
The most distinctive thing about the show is its direction and style. It won’t take you long after starting it to realize that it’s produced by SHAFT. It’s really strange to see SHAFT’s style applied to slice-of-life, since the other series it works so well with are very different. Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei is black comedy and the weird style complements the show’s twisted viewpoint. ef is a drama and romance and in this case, the style fits the quasi-intellectual mood of the show.
The direction definitely helped Hidamari Sketch stand out more. Without it, it would have been a lot quieter and muted and it would have been a lot less interesting to watch. After all, the show is fairly formulaic. Each episode begins with Yuno waking up and ends with her going to bed. It’s the most slice-of-lifey of the ones I’ve watched. At the same time, the anime was also made different by going with a non-chronological order in the plot.
This is different from Haruhi’s broadcast order, since the chronological order is used in the DVDs. Rather, the plot for the anime is deliberately not chronological and jumps around to various spots in the year. It takes advantage of the fact that slice-of-life doesn’t rely on prior knowledge very often. This allows for some interesting things that crop up over the course of the anime, like Yuno’s caterpillar. The ending in particular works incredibly well because of this.
If slice-of-life is your thing, then this is a good one, if only to see how SHAFT would make a slice-of-life anime.