Sunday, December 30, 2012

Hidamari Sketch x365 01

Hidamari Sketch x365 01 includes the four Hidamari residents, Yoshinoya, the Landlady, Natsume, and Kuwahara. The first half concerns Yuno’s admittance test to Yamabuki High School, and the second half follows her first day moving into Hidamari Apartments.

Scene 1: 00:01 - 01:53
C: Yu
Yuno goes to Asagi*. While the scene does cut between Yuno running down a street and her sitting in a hotel room, neither setting conveys any yuri worth noting, and so for the interest of keeping the write-up short (and since it would make no difference mathematically for overall readings) they have been grouped into one and Yuno gets a 0 for the whole timespan.

Scene 2: 03:29 - 04:07
C: Yu
Yuno arrives at Yamabuki for her admittance test. While she does hold her mother’s hand, their relationship does not appear to be romantic, so she doesn’t get yurilevels (another example of the divide between yuri and lewdness).

Scene 3: 04:11 - 04:51
C: Yu
Yuno takes her seat and prepares for the exam. No yuri to comment on for Yuno, but the girl in the next seat over seems interested in her.

Scene 4: 04:52 - 05:35
C: Yo, Ka
Yoshinoya rushes to her classroom in time for the exam to begin. She runs straight past Kuwahara without taking notice of her, and Kuwahara responds by expressing disappointment. Neither one suggests yuri, so they both get 0s.

Scene 5: 05:37 - 05:55
C: Yu, Nt
Yuno takes her exam. Natsume is on hand as a test watcher (presumably to make sure nobody cheats), but since she doesn’t take the opportunity to look at the girls in the room and stays focused on her duty, she gets a 0. Similarly, Yuno, being focused on the test, also gets a 0. The girl in the red sweater keeps looking at Yuno with intrigue. I’m beginning to wonder if she’s a character I don’t recognize or don’t remember, since she’s getting a lot of focus for someone who would supposedly be irrelevant.

Scene 6: 05:56 - 06:32
C: La
The Landlady bikes past the school gate and talks to the principal. She says that she’s always interested to see what students will move into Hidamari Apartments, and it’s interesting to note that of her known past, present, and future tenants there are no men**. It could be a coincidence, but for seven random Yamabuki students to all be women (an event with about 0.7 percent chance of occurring, assuming Yamabuki High School has about the same gender ratio of an average Japanese high school) suggests that it could be the Landlady herself causing this to happen. There are a few reasons I could think of for her to allow female tenants exclusively: she may consider male tenants louder or more destructive than females (or there could be higher insurance premiums for male tenants), the school administration may be culturally conservative and forbid boy and girl students from living alone next to each other, or she may be a lesbian who specifically seeks out high school girls. The lesbian theory is supported by her overly friendly attitude toward her tenants (see Hidamari Sketch Episode 12, when she calls Yuno “Yuno-chan,” and Hidamari Sketch OVA 02, when she buys them a watermelon as a gift) and by her haircut and outfit, both of which are at the very least bisexual. On the other hand, we know the principal subscribes to at least some traditional cultural values, telling his students that love letters are inappropriate and continuously reprimanding Yoshinoya for her displays of sexuality, so the theory that he forbids Hidamari Apartments to house men also has some credibility. I split the difference and gave the Landlady a 2.

Scene 7: 06:34 - 07:25
C: Yu
Yuno draws an assortment of objects during her exam. Like the previous scenes, no yuri from her (the audience that applauds her in her imagination seems to be mixed-gender). That red-sweatered girl continues to stare at Yuno and at I’m at a loss as to why she’s there, unless it’s just to convey that Yuno’s acting oddly.

Scene 8: 07:27 - 07:44
C: Yu
Yuno walks out of the exam and rejoins her mother. A joke scene with no yuri to comment on.

Scene 9: 07:46 - 07:57
C: Hi
Hiro goes to Misato’s and Sae’s room carrying some sort of dish. I don’t know if I should include Misato as a character; while she appears in flashbacks in this season and the next it’s very rare and she could just as easily be counted as a side character. She’s not present in this scene anyways, so it’s not an issue that needs to be addressed now, but it may come up in the future. Hiro addresses her as “Misato-sempai,” which could be polite or close depending on their relationship, but since we know nothing about Hiro and Misato’s relationship (other than Misato apparently enjoyed playing pranks on her and Sae) it doesn’t affect her yurilevels. At Sae’s door, she asks if Sae’s awake. Since it seems to be at least late morning and most other characters are awake, it could mean that Hiro is familiar with Sae’s sleeping schedule (which by itself isn’t especially yuri if Sae frequently sleeps late) or is just used to Sae being asleep when she visits. Either way, Hiro gets a 1.

Scene 10: 08:00 - 08:29
C: Yu
Yuno rests at home after the exam. Her mother teases her for her passive agreeable nature since the exam, but since she isn’t tracked in this investigation (she’s an established heterosexual by merit of being a mother and wife) no yurilevels are given to her. Yuno’s embarrassed reaction isn’t particularly gay, so she doesn’t earn any yurilevels either.

Scene 11: 08:43 - 09:28
C: Sa, Hi
Hiro wakes up from a nap and talks with Sae on the balcony. Sae asks if she’s cold in her pajamas, displaying a concern for her well-being, and the two discuss the first-years using language referring to both of them at the same time: “those were the days,” referring to both their early experiences, and “our juniors” being notable. A warm and friendly scene between them overall, with final readings giving Sae a 3 and Hiro a 2.

Scene 12: 09:28 - 10:03
C: Yu

Yuno leaves her parents and gets on the moving truck. She spends her time as she leaves trying to get both of their attentions, which doesn’t raise her yurilevels like focusing on her mother might (though by precedent that likely wouldn’t either). Another 0.

Scene 13: 10:13 - 10:24
C: Yu
Yuno trips balls. There’s no evidence that the mover took advantage of Yuno’s naivety and nervousness to offer her a water bottle secretly laced with drugs that knocked her unconscious before stopping at a service stop, violating her repeatedly, and going through her belongings to steal her valuables and the cat from earlier, aside from the imagery of the mover’s truck entering a pink and red tunnel of Xs (the “X” symbol often being used to represent Yuno) before the scene fades into white. As such, it’s possible she was just dreaming. She gets a 0.

Scene 14: 10:27 - 11:02
C: Yu
Yuno arrives at Hidamari Apartments. She sees Miyako for the first time, but since the sight bothers her she ends with a 0.

Scene 15: 11:02 - 11:31
C: Yu
Yuno goes to her door. When she sees the nameplate, rather than ask Miyako or one of her other new neighbors, she turns to the male mover. While it’s true Hidamari has not yet had a chance to convert her, it still displays a lack of yuri tendencies for the current time. Yuno continues to score 0.

Scene 16: 11:34 - 11:49
C: Mi
Miyako notices her new neighbor. There’s no indication that she knows it’s a girl, but since she’s interested either way it keeps her yurilevels at 0 for the scene.

Scene 17: 11:49 - 15:15
C: Yu, Mi
Yuno and Miyako meet while eating udon. Miyako’s interest initially appears to be food-based, but she very quickly warms up to Yuno, complimenting her food and giving Yuno a variety of familiar honorifics so shortly after meeting. Yuno is pleased by the display and by Miyako, particularly when she first refers to her as “Yunocchi.”
The “Yunocchi” moment is very significant for Yuno’s yurilevels and character and deserves to be looked at in detail. Throughout the episode, the shot has occasionally cut away to a mental image of Yuno, eyes not visible, standing alone in a large, dark, and empty room, usually when Yuno gets depressed or anxious. Miyako’s honorific (a variant of the informal and more common -chan) causes this image to reappear, but Yuno looks up and makes her eyes visible, and a sequence of sketches quickly flashes on the screen: the first, marked “May,” is of Miyako sleeping on Yuno’s shoulder while riding the bus, the second, marked “August,” is of the two in swimsuits while Yuno looks happily at Miyako, and the third, marked “November,” is of the two asleep and sharing a blanket while possibly in a bed. The doors of the empty room burst open and dozens of white Xs swarm into the empty space, destroying the roof and flooding Yuno with light, and the shot fades out to a still image of Miyako smiling and hugging Yuno. This scene is not a depiction of simple happiness, it is a representation of a nutbladder*** in mid-burst. The overwhelming joy Yuno feels at being accepted by Miyako as a friend and her expectations for a very strong, very close relationship between the two will very, very easily get Yuno a 4 for this scene.
The rest of the time is spent explaining the setting, with Miyako describing Yamabuki High School and Hidamari’s reputation for attracting strange students, so there isn’t anything particularly yuri there. Yuno gets a 4, while Miyako gets a 3 for being generally pleasant and welcoming but not especially gay.

Scene 18: 15:16 - 16:42
C: Yu, Mi, Hi
Yuno and Miyako go to Hiro’s room and the three draw pictures. Hiro is polite to Yuno, but her nurturing side (the one that usually gets her yurilevels towards Yuno or Miyako) isn’t on display yet here. Since much of the scene is a joke about Miyako’s eccentricities, nobody behaves with notable yuri and everyone ends with 0s.

Scene 19: 16:42 - 17:15
C: Yu, Hi
Hiro introduces Sae to Yuno. Sae collapses and doesn’t affect the scene, and Miyako stands around silently, so neither of them are tracked here. There’s some evidence substantiating the bond between Hiro and Sae when Hiro says Sae is on a deadline and that’ll she bring her dinner later, but realistically that could be the action of either a friend or a lover so it doesn’t get very high yurilevels on its own. Yuno, on the other hand, gets substantial yurilevels when she’s frightened by Sae and hides behind Hiro, clinging to her jacket and peering out from behind. It’s telling that having just met her, Yuno instinctively treats Hiro like a maternal figure; her mannerisms in this scene are very similar to a child taking cover behind its mother. Hiro also receives some yurilevels for allowing this, and in fact more so than she would in a normal episode since she just met Yuno. Overall, both end up with 2.

Scene 20: 17:15 - 17:50
C: Yu, Mi, Hi
Miyako tells Yuno about a nearby bathhouse, to Hiro’s dismay. Hiro begins the scene by offering to repeat anything she’s said for Yuno, which could be viewed as maternal but even so wouldn’t be very yuri. Miyako interjects to talk about the bathhouse and suggests they go, first saying she hasn’t been there in order to guide Yuno into saying she hasn’t either and thus make her more likely to agree to the offer. While proposing to bathe together gives her high yurilevels, the complex mind games she sets up display that Miyako has a lack of confidence that Yuno would say yes, and more broadly a lack of confidence in their newly-formed friendship overall. It’s possible that Miyako simply hasn’t had time to better understand Yuno yet, but for now I can’t give her anything higher than a 2. Yuno’s low profile in this scene and Hiro’s reluctance to bathe with the others gives them both 0s.

Scene 21: 17:50 - 17:54
C: Mi, Hi
Miyako starts to pull Hiro towards the bathhouse. Her open cheer at holding Hiro’s hand and taking her to the bathhouse gets her a 4, while Hiro’s discomfort and terror at it keeps her at 0.

Scene 22: 17:54 - 18:43
C: Yu, Mi, Hi
Hiro explains why she doesn’t want to go to the bathhouse. Miyako pokes her stomach, a low-level yuri action, but Hiro’s angry response prevents her from getting side yurilevels from it. Yuno’s few actions in the scene are reactions to other events in the scene, and since she’s sidelined here she doesn’t have the opportunity to get any yurilevels. Final readings are Miyako with 1 and Yuno and Hiro with none.

Scene 23: 18:45 - 18:47
C: Mi
Miyako remembers moving to Hidamari Apartments from the nearby Roma village. The Romani have a strict taboo about homosexuality, which could mean two interpretations of the scene: first, that Miyako’s culture left her unable to comprehend yuri, and second, that her inability to address her yuri nature was part of the reason she left and joined Japanese society. Her two-wheeled cart of possessions suggests that she wasn’t forced out but was able to leave on somewhat peaceful terms (assuming she left recently and did not spend some time as a homeless woman), and considering Miyako is very bad at restraining herself it’s unlikely her family wouldn’t have learned of her yuri tendencies if she had displayed them then. Miyako gets a 0 for the scene.

Scene 24: 18:47 - 20:31
C: Yu, Mi, Hi
Hiro asks Miyako and Yuno about their reasons for moving in, and Yuno does her best to make the others think less of her. Miyako gets some yurilevels from her interest in Yuno throughout, spontaneously asking follow-up questions to her comments and calling her a “big-shot.” Asking Yuno to come over when she has a problem conveys that she already trusts Yuno to be a source of comfort during trouble, and overall she gets a 2. Hiro’s continued aloofness keeps her at 0, while Yuno gets 0 as well for spending the scene insisting she is a worthless human being.

Scene 25: 20:31 - 21:00
C: Yu
Yuno returns to her apartment and takes a bath. It’s unknown if the rubber duck is male or female, so it doesn’t affect her yurilevels. Since that was the only thing that could have in this scene, Yuno ends with 0.

Scene 26: 21:00 - 21:11
C: Yu, Mi
Miyako gets that bath she had been jonesing for since Scene 20. She wears a towel coming in, but soon after jumps into the bathtub alongside a fully nude Yuno, a clear display that Miyako already feels very comfortable around her. While it’s not explicitly romantic, there aren’t many explanations for the rapidness with which Miyako warms up to Yuno other than love at first sight; she ends with a 3. Yuno doesn’t seem especially enthusiastic, but she doesn’t force Miyako out either, and ends with a 1.

Scene 27: 21:12 - 21:39
C: Sa, Hi
Hiro brings Sae sandwiches. They share a quiet smile when Hiro arrives, their conversation conveys a deep sense of ease around each other, and the dinner is even eaten in low light: altogether, this scene (and its counterpart, Scene 29) is probably meant for new viewers to quickly show the close relationship between the two before the episode ends**, and it does its job well, giving both characters 2s.

Scene 28: 21:39 - 21:41
C: Yu, Mi
Miyako scrubs Yuno’s back. She does so very happily and fully nude with legs spread far open, getting her a 4. Yuno has a towel over her chest and blushes non-romantically (evident from her grimace) at the experience, but again, for not pushing her away she still gets a 1.

Scene 29: 21:41 - 22:01
C: Sa, Hi
Sae and Hiro keep talking. In the previous scene, Hiro called Yuno adorable, and the maternal-derived yurilevels from that line have been added to her readings here. The main yuri interaction here is when Hiro asks Sae if her sandwich tastes good, flustering Sae before getting her to reluctantly say it’s “super” delicious. Her’s is an example of a romantic blush, since it’s out of embarrassment that she has to be open about her feelings rather than shame from being physically manipulated. Hiro is pleased with her discomfort and gets additional yurilevels for it. Overall, Sae gets 3 and Hiro gets 2.

Scene 30: 22:01 - 22:08
C: Yu, Mi
Yuno and Miyako relax in the bath together. Miyako is still upbeat and nude but is no longer interacting with Yuno, while Yuno appears to have grown accustomed to Miyako’s presence. They each get 1s.

Final Yurilevel Readings: (both Aokis and Umes are out of 4)
Episode: 1.0193A

  1. Sae: 2.706U
  2. Landlady: 2.000U
  3. Miyako: 1.737U
  4. Yuno: 1.063U
  5. Hiro: 0.630U
  6. Yoshinoya: 0.000U
    Natsume: 0.000U
    Kuwahara: 0.000U

A mid-level yuri episode that was held down by low readings in the first half but picked up substantially as time passed. Scene 17 provided not just a majority of yurilevels for the total episode reading, but a plurality: 0.6110 Aokis in the 206-second scene alone, the sixth highest individual contribution to an episode’s reading in the investigation. Sae’s high readings stem from a very low scene time (92 seconds total) and mid- to high-yuri readings in each one. Hiro seemed to suffer from Sae's absence, spending most of her time acting as a considerate but distant sempai to Yuno and Miyako. The Landlady’s only scene got her a 2, pushing her up to second place for the second time, but none of the other side characters got yurilevels and they all stayed planted at the bottom of the rankings.
Earlier I mentioned that if Miyako really did come from a Romani village but managed to leave on good terms, then she probably couldn’t have had latent yuri tendencies growing up. We see in this episode, however, that she very clearly does, with her boldness and warmth towards her new friend and neighbor giving her the second-highest reading she’s received in the investigation. There’s a similar pattern shown with Yuno: her yurilevels come only from scenes directly inside Hidamari Apartments; if we were to cut out the scenes from the first half before she arrives, her yurilevel reading would increase to 1.629U. Could it be possible that Hidamari Apartments itself is what's turning everyone gay? (Answer: probably not.)

Further analysis will continue with Hidamari Sketch x365 02.

*: Yamabuki High School and Hidamari Apartments are confirmed by the manga and by Hidamari Sketch x365 13 to take place in the fictional town of Asagi somewhere in the Kanto region of central Japan, near but not part of Tokyo. The mover’s truck passed a sign reading “Ngatatyo” and “Kudamuta,” but there’s no clue as to what direction it took.
**: There are two schools of thought in "diegesis," the study of interpreting how a story is told: one, intradiegesis, interprets events as happening in a consistent universe much like our own where everything can be explained in terms of the story, while the other, extradiegesis, interprets events as being conscious decisions on the part of a writer and explains everything in terms of how it advances the goals of the writer in telling the story. The Hidamari Yuri-Levels Project generally goes with intradiegetic analysis because it is mostly a study of characters interacting with each other and their environments, and thus is predicated on everything having an internal logic for the investigation to hold any merit, but on the occasions when it’s obvious that a scene exists because there is something specific the producers are trying to do extradiegetic elements are incorporated. Examples of both in action can be seen in this episode: the attempt to determine why Hidamari Apartments only houses women is intradiegetic, while the note that Sae is hurriedly included in the final few scenes because the producers wanted to include her in the episode is extradiegetic.
***: The nutbladder, being the bladder which holds the man essence, obviously isn’t present in the female body, but with the evidence provided by this scene it can be speculated that there is an equivalent counterpart for women (the ovabladder?). Alas, so far all medical institutions have turned down my requests to conduct an investigation into the question, often by force.

Corrections: 1/27/13: Corrected misspelling of Kuwahara's name as "Kawahara." 4/14/13: The setting of Hidamari Sketch was originally said to be "Yamabuki town." This was fixed upon learning that an actual name for the town, Asagi, had been given by the series. Recognition goes to Asagi-chou for noting this.
8/24/13: Yamabuki High School was initially mislabed as "Yamabuki Academy." The name has been corrected.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Season 1 Overview

The main goal of the Hidamari Yuri-Levels Project is to provide a database for interpretation and analysis that can be used in discussions of yuri in the show, but I would be amiss to not put forth my own interpretation of the data. Since every first season episode has now been analyzed, this is the proper time to begin the analysis of the larger trends of the show. The analysis of Season One will look at patterns of data within the season for episodes and characters, determine an Aoki reading for the season as a whole, determine an overall Ume reading for each character, and provide explanations for these figures.

Analysis of Episode Readings
These are episode yurilevel readings ranked from highest to lowest:

  1. Episode 08: 1.7505A
  2. Episode 05: 1.5996A
  3. Episode 12: 1.5197A
  4. OVA 02: 1.5116A
  5. Episode 04: 1.4438A
  6. Episode 01: 1.3837A
  7. OVA 01: 1.3372A
  8. Episode 10: 0.7669A
  9. Episode 07: 0.6447A
  10. Episode 09: 0.6206A
  11. Episode 02: 0.6117A
  12. Episode 03: 0.6066A
  13. Episode 11: 0.5410A
  14. Episode 06: 0.4957A

Figure 1: Aoki Readings per Episode - Season 1

The linear regression gives a slight but statistically insignificant increase in yurilevels through the season.
One trend that stands out is a very sharp divide between high-yuri and low-yuri episodes: the first half of this list has readings all over 1 Aoki, while the second half clusters around 0.6A. What is making the first half high in yuri, and what is driving down the second half?
If the general consensus on Hidamari Sketch xHoneycomb is to believed, then the “lewder” (more sexual) episodes may the gayer ones, since both trends were independently observed multiple times. However, it’s the exact opposite that seems to hold true. Using a rough definition of lewd content as any with overt sexuality or nudity, the following episodes would be considered to have substantial lewd content:

  • Episode 02 (Yuno’s dancing in the first scene)
  • Episode 03 (Yoshinoya modeling her cosplay outfits)
  • Episode 05 (Miyako undressing and changing Yuno)
  • Episode 06 (the first swimsuit episode)
  • Episode 10 (Yoshinoya’s performance at the festival)
  • Episode 11 (Yoshinoya’s honorarium)
  • OVA 01 (the second swimsuit episode)
With the exception of Episode 05 and OVA 01, these episodes had a reading of less than 1 Aoki. Using simple arithmetic means, the average “lewd” episode had a yurilevel reading of 0.8512A, while the remaining episodes had an average yurilevel reading of 1.2678A.
The remaining episodes’ high yurilevel readings are usually driven up by displays of close friendship or affection between characters: Episode 01 has Yuno and Miyako playing together in the snow, Episode 08 has Hiro tending for Sae when she collapses from overwork, Episode 12 displays Chika’s relationships with Yuno and Sae, and so forth. These episodes have consistent if low yurilevels in every scene, rather than spiking to 3s and 4s in certain moments and staying yuri-free the rest of the time. I’ve referred to this as “low-level” or “friendly” yuri, and the episodes which display the most of it are the ones that show up in the top half of the episode rankings.
As has been mentioned in the write-ups several times, yuri is considered the “purest form of love,” meaning it is viewed as a type of love that is platonic, solely romantic, and non-sexual or otherwise lacking in lewdness. The non-lewd episodes (the ones that show more platonic, friendly yuri) are 48.9 percent higher in yurilevel readings than their lewd counterparts. We are still early in the series and I expect lewdness and yurilevels to increase starting around xHoshimittsu, but so far it’s looking like yuri may well indeed be a pure of love (the investigation is not tracking incest and as such defining yuri as the purest form of love is not possible).

Trends in Yurilevels of Characters
There weren’t any major surprises from seeing the Ume readings visualized:

Figure 2: Ume Readings per Episode - Season 1

Generally the individual yurilevels rose and fell with the overall episode reading, while occasionally (as in Episode 09) one character would significantly raise the readings by being especially gay. No characters seemed to substantially increase in yurilevels over the season.

Season Yurilevel Readings
To determine the readings for the season as a whole and for the characters across the season, rather than take the averages of the individual episodes I treated the entire season like one very large episode and modified the equations in the Methodology accordingly. Season One had 16575 seconds of scene time across 296 scenes, with a combined 570 yurilevels.

Season 1: 1.0585A
Overall Season 1 was somewhat gay but not especially. Most yurilevels came from the aforementioned displays of close friendship, rather than overt romantic gestures. On the season level, the lengths of individual scenes was much less important than on the episode level, which is why the final reading is fairly close to the simple mean of the individual episode readings (which was 1.0595A).


  1. Chika: 1.735U
  2. Sae: 1.577U
  3. Hiro: 1.274U
  4. Miyako: 1.040U
  5. Natsume: 0.818U
  6. Yuno: 0.745U
  7. Landlady: 0.692U
  8. Yoshinoya: 0.198U
  9. Kawahara: 0.000U
Chika’s final readings were heavily weighted since she only appeared twice and had one episode with strong readings. Second place went to Sae and third place to Hiro, both of whom had substantial and consistent yurilevels throughout the season. Miyako stayed just above 1 Ume while Yuno fell below, mostly because Yuno was weighed down by having more scene time in general (over 2000 more seconds of it than the runner-up, Miyako, and almost 6000 more seconds than Sae). From the portion of the show that has already been finished, I've noticed that Sae and Hiro are usually presented together and their characters are more often than not defined by their relationship, with most of their yurilevels coming from interactions with each other. Yuno and Miyako get significant readings from each other, but their relationship is additional to their characters. As such, it's reasonable that Sae and Hiro would get the highest readings of the Hidamaris. Like Chika, Natsume only appeared twice and had a modest reading once, so she still landed above Yuno. The Landlady was somewhat uneven with her yurilevels, but got increasingly gay as the season continued and ended at seventh. Yoshinoya, who appeared in every episode of the season, did not even reach 0.2U, since much of her scene time was devoted to her cosplay obsession and she only interacted with the other characters sparingly. She’s also by far the lewdest character on the show, so it could be further evidence for the tentative hypothesis above that lewdness decreases yurilevels. Finally, Kawahara only appeared twice and didn’t get yurilevels either time, ending with a firm 0.000. She is still included in the investigation since she will continue to appear throughout the other seasons.

Figure 3: Yurilevels of All Characters - Season 1

The U readings of the Hidamari residents will be tracked from season to season to determine which is the gayest Hidamari. It currently stands at Sae, but there are still three seasons of data to analyze.

Figure 4: Yurilevels of Hidamari Residents - Season 1

Expectations for Season Two
Hidamari Sketch x365 will probably have more consistent yurilevel readings since the show will have a better-established identity and mood. Yurilevels may go up slightly, but for most characters I don’t expect significant increases (with Natsume as an exception).

Season Two analysis will begin tomorrow, but will likely not be finished until late January as I’ll be away and unable to continue the investigation for the first half of the month. The expected timeframe for the completion of the investigation is currently late February to early March.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Hidamari Sketch OVA 02

Hidamari Sketch OVA 02 includes the four Hidamari residents, Yoshinoya, Natsume, and Kuwahara. The episode deals with Hiro receiving a love letter and the reactions of the other characters, especially Sae.

Scene 1: 00:08 - 00:29
C: Yu
Yuno comments on the winter weather. She has a clock with herself and Miyako on it, but the minute hand covers up whether or not Miyako is holding her hand (a tasteful and commendable display of censorship on the part of SHAFT). Since it’s possible but not confirmed, she only gets a 1.

Scene 2: 00:29 - 00:34
C: Yu, Mi

Miyako apologizes to Yuno for being late. It’s no different from their usual routine and there’s nothing to really suggest deeper, more yuri feelings, so neither of them get yurilevels from it.

Scene 3: 00:35 - 00:46
C: Yu, Mi
Yuno and Miyako leave the apartment building. Again, no yuri to comment on. 0s for both.

Scene 4: 02:23 - 02:46
C: Sa, Hi, Yo
Hiro finds a letter in her shoe closet, shocking Sae and intriguing Yoshinoya. Hiro is initially bashful to say she received the love letter, but since it’s from a boy she gets no yurilevels from it. Sae responds by temporarily dying, which starts an episode-long suggestion that Sae couldn’t bear to see Hiro date a boy, which is both uncomfortably possessive bordering on abusive and very gay of her. It’s only implied here, but becomes more explicit later on, so for now Sae just gets a 2. Yoshinoya’s excitement doesn’t suggest yuri, since she’s interested in seeing a heterosexual relationship. She and Hiro each end with 0.

Scene 5: 02:50 - 03:18
C: Yu, Mi
Yuno and Miyako discuss their test and the weather outside. The conversation itself doesn’t show particular yuri, but it’s relaxed and open enough that they each get low-level yurilevels from the familiarity they display. Each get 1.

Scene 6: 03:18 - 03:58
C: Yu, Mi, Sa
Sae tells Yuno and Miyako about Hiro’s love letter. She describes it as shocking and says the blood in her face disappeared, again showing the major emotional impact the letter and its associated threat of Hiro in a relationship with a boy has on her. The way she phrases it makes Yuno and Miyako think Hiro was the one who sent her the letter, raising Yuno and Miyako’s yurilevels for showing that they assume there is a deeper dynamic at play in Sae and Hiro’s relationship. Everyone gets 3.

Scene 7: 04:19 - 05:09
C: Yu, Mi
While the principal teaches their history class, Yuno and Miyako speculate about Hiro’s letter. Miyako wonders if a love triangle is present; while this would usually mean she thinks Sae and Hiro both like the same boy, in context with the previous scene it’s more likely she again thinks Sae loves Hiro. It’s a very brief thought and the theory that Miyako’s triangle had Hiro rather than the boy at the at the junction is only one interpretation, even if it’s the most likely one, so Miyako just gets a 2. Yuno’s reluctance to speculate keeps her at a 0.

Scene 8: 05:09 - 05:31
C: Yu, Mi, Sa
Sae returns to Yuno and Miyako’s classroom. She continues to be upset, but not as much as in other scenes, so she only ends up with 2. Yuno and Miyako don’t get a lot of speaking time and get more 0s.

Scene 9: 05:31 - 05:59
C: Sa, Yo
Yoshinoya enters the classroom and tries to wring information about the letter from Sae. Like in Scene 4, her interest isn’t yuri and she gets another 0. Sae continues to be flustered about the letter and storms off in a huff when Yoshinoya tries to get her to talk about it, but it’s even less clearly yuri than in the previous scene and she only gets a 1.

Scene 10: 06:01 - 06:06
C: Yu
Yuno wonders what it would feel like to get a letter. She doesn’t specify whether it would be from a boy or girl, so it doesn’t impact her yurilevels.

Scene 11: 06:11 - 06:36
C: Yu, Mi
Yuno and Miyako continue to wonder about the letter and how Hiro will react. Sae has by this point confirmed that a boy sent it, but the two seem as excited as they did before it was clarified, suggesting they would be okay with a defiled Hiro and freezing their yurilevels at 0.

Scene 12: 06:36 - 06:53
C: Yu, Mi, Sa
Sae returns once more. At this point, she appears to be in the anger stage of the grieving process, furiously denying that Hiro will accept and raging at the letter-sender’s invitation to meet on the roof. This scene is the clearest indication thus far that Sae is very deeply affected by the thought of “losing” Hiro, and she handily gets a 4. Since Sae’s panic takes up most of the scene, Yuno and Miyako barely get to talk and get 0s.

Scene 13: 06:54 - 07:29
C: Hi, Yo
Yoshinoya again tries to get involved. Hiro gets little screen time here, and Yoshinoya continues to be unconcerned about whether the letter is yuri or not. Both get 0s.

Scene 14: 07:31 - 08:22
C: Yu
Yuno thinks more about the love letter situation and imagines an encounter between the letter-sender and Hiro. She gets some yurilevels for wondering about Sae’s reaction, but doesn’t connect it to any romantic feelings she interprets Sae as having so it’s only a minor increase. Her imagined meeting on the roof doesn’t involve Hiro, who only passively stands while the boy compares her to Fauvism, so there’s nothing to interpret concerning her mental image of Hiro. Yuno ends with a 1.

Scene 15: 08:22 - 08:35
C: Yu, Mi
Miyako asks Yuno to go. Yuno initially thinks Miyako is asking her to go to the roof, either to watch for Hiro or for Miyako to make her own confession (admittedly, the second interpretation is because I forgot Yuno was thinking about watching Hiro). She gets a 1 for implying, and Miyako gets a 1 for asking her to lunch.

Scene 16: 08:36 - 09:44
C: Yu, Mi, Sa
Yuno and Miyako join Sae at lunch. Sae has by this point reached the despair stage, staring blankly into space and failing to assure herself that the boy is nice. She also vehemently and repeatedly denies that Hiro would ever agree, but it comes off as her projecting her emotions onto Hiro rather than a thoughtful analysis of what Hiro would do. Yuno and Miyako further this by using the same word to refer to Sae’s panic, “childish,” that Sae used to explain why Hiro would say no. Yuno compares the situation to a girl’s manga and has a subsequent positive thought about the boy, invalidating any yurilevels she could have had for the scene. Miyako wonders what would happen if Hiro said yes, also keeping her yurilevels down. Sae gets another 4, Yuno and Miyako each have 0.

Scene 17: 09:44 - 10:13
C: Yu, Mi, Sa, Nt
Natsume taunts Sae. Surprisingly, she doesn’t come off as very gay, a marked contrast to later appearances, instead seeming here to be just kind of a bitch. There’s one very quick suggestion when Natsume says “romance doesn’t always turn out the way you predict” and then is shown blushing, with a sweat drop and a slight frown, that she may have feelings for Sae, but I noticed this on the third rewatching of the scene and I can’t tell if my own personal interpretations of her character are affecting her readings and forcing me to try to find something that could suggest yurilevels. I’ll instead defer to my original interpretation of the scene and give Natsume a 0. Sae’s response to her is to insist that she has nothing to apologize for in relation to her denial that Hiro is flirting with heterosexuality, giving her a 1. Yuno and Miyako only appear briefly at the end to make another “Miyako is an insatiable one-man swarm of locusts that devours everything in her sight” joke and get 0s.

Scene 18: 10:15 - 10:59
C: Yu, Mi
The principal dismisses the class early on account of the sudden disappearance of Yoshinoya. Yuno interprets his comment to not do anything “inappropriate” as being somehow connected to Hiro’s love letter, conveying that she considers heterosexuality as something that should not be done, or at least not done in public. If a boy-girl romance is shameful in her mind, it stands to reason that other alternatives, particularly girl-girl, would be more acceptable. Since it’s not spelled out, Yuno only gets a 3. Miyako’s action in the scene is to ask Yuno to go the second-year’s classroom, showing an interest in the outcome of the letter that isn’t noticeably yuri. She gets a 0.

Scene 19: 11:01 - 11:39
C: Yu, Mi
Yuno and Miyako talk about kissing and find Hiro’s classroom empty. When Miyako jokes that Hiro and the letter-sender could have kissed at lunch, Yuno’s response is to cling to Miyako’s arm, suggesting that she sees Miyako as a source of comfort during times of confusion and expressing this comfort physically. Rather than respond with equivalent physical contact, Miyako opts to keep teasing Yuno by saying Hiro had “mouth-to-mouth.” Whatever reason Miyako has for enjoying seeing Yuno embarrassed, it displays a very close friendship between them. After seeing the empty classroom, they both imagine Hiro walking away with a generic faceless male while Sae lies prostrate on the ground, one arm stretched out desperately towards her. This interpretation of the day’s events increases their yurilevels further by very clearly indicating what they think Sae’s reaction means about her*. Yuno gets 4, Miyako gets 3.

Scene 20: 11:40 - 13:38
C: Yu, Mi, Sa, Hi
Hiro reveals that she turned down the letter-writer during the morning. Yuno and Miyako each call her action mature, get slight yurilevels for their appreciation of their sempai. After they have their turn, Sae’s response takes up a large portion of the scene, first showing surprise, then relief that “it’s over.” Hiro gives her reason as wanting to live freely and without romantic attachments, but very soon after places a hand on Sae’s wrist and asks if she was worried during the affair, possibly suggesting her excuse is just a cover for the real reason that she can’t separate from Sae. Sae soon after launches into a montage (a literal film montage, at that) of scenes depicting Hiro caring for Sae, reinforcing that she is a nurturing figure for her and bolstering the interpretation that Hiro chose Sae over the boy. They both get 4, while Yuno and Miyako get 1.

Scene 21: 13:39 - 14:33
C: Hi, Yo, Ku
Hiro sees Kuwahara tending to Yoshinoya on a stretcher. Yoshinoya dreams of being confessed to by a boy, keeping her yurilevels at 0. Kuwahara seems to only be acting in her role as nurse, so doesn’t get any yurilevels. Hiro, as the observer, stays at 0 as well.

Scene 22: 14:33 - 15:07
C: Yu, Mi, Sa, Hi
Yuno explains the previous scene. No yuri to discuss here. Everyone has 0s.

Scene 23: 15:07 - 15:21
C: Mi, Sa
In a series of flashbacks, Sae repeatedly visits Yuno and Miyako throughout the school day. Miyako eventually asks why she keeps coming to their classroom and Sae responds that she doesn’t know what to say to Hiro. It gets her about a 2 since it’s not as obviously yuri as other scenes, while Miyako stays at 0 since her question doesn’t appear to be rhetorical.

Scene 24: 15:21 - 21:26
C: Yu, Mi, Sa, Hi
The Hidamaris discuss relationships. Nearly the entire six-minute scene is centered on the increasingly less ambiguous dynamic between Sae and Hiro. It opens with Hiro saying she thought Sae was angry at her through the day and asking Sae why she got “frantic” when Hiro received the letter, to which Sae responds by hastily saying the letter was just sudden. Sae keeps up her blatant lies when Miyako asks if she had ever received a love letter, claiming she received innumerable confessions in another allusion to her obviously false middle school romances. Later, Hiro expresses regret for turning the boy down, but only because it could have given Sae material for her novel, displaying either that she views her romantic life not in terms of her own well-being but in terms of how it can help Sae or that she is constantly trying to think of ways to aid Sae. When Sae calls this an “impure” reason to love, Hiro asks if pure love would be more preferable, to which Sae hesitates. Consider that yuri is often assigned the description of “the purest form of love.” Either this is a liberty taken by the subtitle group (though that is always a possibility and it’s hard to invalidate yurilevels for it without bringing the entire investigation into question), or this is the single most blatant moment of teasing in the first season of Hidamari Sketch. If the scene stopped there, they would both more than qualify for 4s already, but it just keeps going: Sae goes on to claim that all artistic boys (i.e., all boys at Yamabuki High School) are weird or stupid, in an attempt to invalidate all potential romantic interests for Hiro, and towards the end of the scene, in rapid succession Miyako says she would want a wife like Hiro and Sae says she can’t imagine doing housework, setting up a functional pairing between the two as husband and wife. If there was anything higher than a 4 in the investigation Hiro and Sae would both get it. The strong focus on Sae and Hiro pushes Yuno and Miyako to the periphery most of the time. Yuno mentions that her first love was her father, which doesn’t detract from her yurilevels since it’s portrayed as adorable instead of romantic, and that she has never received a confession. The lack of confessions doesn’t affect her yurilevels either, since it means she has been overlooked by both men and women. Miyako says she would want food instead of a letter and spends most of the scene generally being a gourmand rather than a lesbian. Final yurilevel readings are Yuno with 0, Miyako with 1 (for the wife comment), and Sae and Hiro with the strongest 4s that ever 4ed.

Scene 25: 21:28 - 21:40
C: Yu
Yuno reflects on the drama of the day. There’s no specific references to the preceding episode and no indications of yuri, so she gets a 0.

Scene 26: 21:42 - 22:09
C: Yu, Mi, Sa, Hi
Yuno and Miyako greet Sae and Hiro at the shoe lockers a few days after the main episode. Sae overreacts to the thought of Yuno and Miyako getting love letters, but in terms of feeling left out instead of being possessive. Yuno and Miyako frame their giving of letters as being a popular trend, so the yurilevels they receive for it are reduced. They get 1, while Sae and Hiro stay at 0.

Final Yurilevel Readings: (both Aokis and Umes are out of 4):
Episode: 1.5116A

  1. Sae: 3.270U
  2. Hiro: 3.209U
  3. Miyako: 0.919U
  4. Yuno: 0.614U
  5. Yoshinoya: 0.000U
    Natsume: 0.000U
    Kuwahara: 0.000U

In the write-up for the last episode I wondered whether very long scenes were artificially raising the episode yurilevels. Here I wondered if they were decreasing the yurilevels: Scene 24 is a six-minute behemoth oozing yuri out of every frame; mathematically, though, several short high-yuri scenes will contribute as much as one long high-yuri scene if the characters are consistently gay for extended periods, which Sae and Hiro definitely were. It’s unprecedented in the investigation for two characters to get above 3 Umes in one episode (Hiro broke 3 all the way back in Hidamari Sketch 01 for, among other reasons, getting a 4 in a six-minute scene), but it’s reasonable since the entire focus of the episode is Sae and Hiro’s relationship and the deep desire Sae has to never let anything take Hiro from her, no matter how unsettling that desire is to anybody looking at it from the outside. Miyako and Yuno each got low readings since they were pushed to the side, commenting on the main action like a Greek chorus, and the supporting characters all got 0 for about the same reason.

Further analysis will continue with Hidamari Sketch x365 01.

*Namely, that she is gay.

Corrections: 1/6/13: Kawahara's name was misspelled three times as "Kuwahara," which has now been fixed. 1/27/13: Kuwahara's name was misspelled four times as "Kawahara," which has now been fixed.
8/24/13: Yamabuki High School was initially mislabed as "Yamabuki Academy." The name has been corrected.