First Impressions: Hidamari Sketch, Hoshimittsu

Living in an apartment complex can be so fun!

Or so boring.

Since so many of my Anime Network On Demand shows are ending at once (yup, finally some full season reviews are on the way again soon!) I was eager to see what new shows they would provide. As of now there are only two, and Hidamari Sketch: Hoshimittsu was the one that I chose to watch first based on the fact that I’ve vaguely heard of Hidamari Sketch. I have to say, after viewing just one episode, that I don’t get it and I don’t like it.

These would be those annoying teens in restaurants who keep yelling that they're SO CRAZY but are actually kind of boring and average.

The first episode involves an apartment complex full of girls who are supposed to be in high school(?!?) I think, but are drawn to look much younger, imho, like ten- to twelve-year-olds. One girl fails a test at school, so her friends help her study, and she finally passes. Good for her. Then two new girls move into the apartment building, but the other girls are out having a meal with one newbie’s parents. (Without their own daughter? How tacky! Everyone knows that you’re supposed to treat your own kid plus their new friends to Olive Garden on the first day of school.) One newbie gets all freaked out that no one is there. The other just waits for the others to return. They do return to the apartment complex, everyone meets up, what a crazy situation that was, I hope we can all be friends! The end.

Meet the new girls. Or save that 25 minutes of your life for trimming your toe nails.

I didn’t like this episode to the degree that I found it difficult to finish. Instead of the usual break in the middle, this one had what seemed like a million little breaks, which made this episode seem to last FOREVER. After looking it up online I discovered that this is actually the third season of Hidamari Sketch, which surprises me a bit, because if all of the episodes are this slow, how did it ever merit a second season, let alone a third? There must be some people out there who love it, I’m just not one of them. Like A Little Snow Fairy Sugar, this particular shojo is probably just too young for my tastes. I can enjoy high school anime series as long as they’re funny or romantic (or better yet, both). Yet just banking on cuteness alone doesn’t really draw me in as a viewer. I found this episode to be mind-numbingly boring, and I couldn’t wait for it to be over. It’s not even that I don’t care for slice-of-life stories, because I do. But something has to be dynamic, be it a story or a character or a setting, and I wasn’t getting any of that from this bland episode.

After passing her English test, one girl goes *wild* and *keeps* *speaking* *English*! So zany!

So a character fails a test. Boo-hoo, get over it, study harder next time. I didn’t even care about characters failing tests back when I was at risk of doing the same. But I can recognize how this could appeal to a younger audience who might still be in school and dealing with tests and new friends and all of that rigmarole. And yet, one of the characters has a good long think about things while sitting naked in a bathtub, and once again I’m forced to wonder why that bit of fan service was necessary. You can’t tell me that she couldn’t have been thinking deep thoughts while riding a bike or having tea or sitting in a park or doing any of a million different activities that don’t involve her being very visibly underage and totally nude. I’ve said before how much “cute” fan service gives me the icks (I’m lookin’ at you, Akane Iro ni Somaru Saka) and I don’t understand who the audience is for shows that, in my opinion, seem too cute for older folks but too ecchi for the younger crowd. I know that being naked in a bath isn’t considered that big of a deal in many other countries (especially ones with public bathhouses) but from my point of view it’s unnecessary and a tad on the skeevy side of things.

And that’s my two cents. I know that it’s probably unfair to judge an entire three season series on one episode, especially one in the third season, but I can’t imagine trying to slog my way through another moment of school problems and cleaning apartments and dealing with new people in Hidamari Sketch. If I was interested in that kind of thing, I’d just go back to being a broke college kid living in a crappy dorm.

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