Thursday, December 20, 2012

Hidamari Sketch 01

Hidamari Sketch 01, the first episode of the Hidamari Sketch franchise, includes all four Hidamari residents and Yoshinoya. The first half is centered around Yuno scrambling to turn in a collage project, and the second half shows events in the same day’s afternoon, including playing in the snow and gathering around a kotatsu in Hiro’s room.

Scene 1: 00:17 - 01:25
C: Yu
Yuno wakes up and prepares for the school day, missing her horoscope in the process. A short scene that primarily serves to introduce Yuno, so understandably there’s no yuri here.

Scene 2: 01:27 - 02:09
C: Yu, Mi
Miyako greets Yuno and watches a bit of television before the two head out to school. Their brief conversation introduces that they are familiar with each other, but nothing to suggest deeper feelings. (Don’t worry, that comes later.)

Scene 3: 03:45 - 04:03
C: Yu, Mi
Yuno and Miyako wait for Sae and Hiro outside the apartments and reminisce about making the Hidamari signs out front. Ordinarily I wouldn’t have thought anything of it, but there’s a scene later also centered around fond nostalgic walks, and I didn’t think it was fair to deny yurilevels to some characters for doing the same thing other characters do. Since it’s a short and not very in-depth reminiscing about the times they’ve had together, Yuno and Miyako still only get 1 each.

Scene 4: 04:03 - 04:49
C: Yu, Mi, Sa, Hi
Sae and Hiro join Yuno and Miyako and dump exposition on the audience concerning their recent New Year’s trip to the temple. This scene mostly exists to present Sae and Hiro as levelheaded sempai for Yuno and Miyako, so they’re not given a chance yet to display their yurilevels. Miyako and Yuno do, though, when Miyako grabs Yuno in a sudden half-hug. Yuno doesn’t reciprocate, but she seems pleased. Miyako gets 2 for giving, Yuno gets 2 for taking.

Scene 5: 04:53 - 05:09
C: Yu, Mi, Sa, Hi
The Hidamaris get to school and part ways, and Yuno is surprised to find there was a collage project due that day. Seven lines of dialogue, sixteen seconds: what is there to say here? 0s all around.

Scene 6: 05:12 - 05:46
C: Yo
Yoshinoya-sensei recounts her winter break to her increasingly unnerved students. This really only counts as a scene because of the initial guidelines dictating scene limits in terms of physical location and characters included; I didn’t catch it was supposed to be separate until the second viewing for this investigation, and on first viewing scenes 6 through 9 were all parts of one scene. I included these guidelines because the Shaft artistic style prohibited a direct analysis of yurilevel per second of screentime, since “screentime” would have been impossible to figure out without spending three hours analyzing transcripts, but even so Shaft’s propensity for quick cuts and short, choppy scenes is strong. Moving to Yoshinoya, the only two things that could be considered eligible for investigation in her scene are her long phone calls to friends and her frequenting of karaoke establishments, assuming both are done with other women. Though it’s not obvious yet since she’s only been introduced in this scene, in the series as a whole Yoshinoya is portrayed as desperate for affection and emotionally needy (not to say she’s a bad character or that I don’t like her, this is just my interpretation of her portrayal), so her actions are likely not out of her romantic affections for her friends but out of her constant need for the validation of others. She gets a 0.

Scene 7: 05:46 - 06:39
C: Yu, Mi
Yuno frets over forgetting her project and Miyako attempts to cheer her up with a reminder of the fortune she got for New Year’s. Miyako’s attempts to cheer Yuno up are indicative of the close bond the two have, netting her a 1, but any yurilevels Yuno might have gained are invalidated when she imagines marrying a man, even for just a moment, and she gets a 0.

Scene 8: 06:39 - 07:12
C: Yu, Yo

Yuno admits to Yoshinoya that she doesn’t have her project and asks for an extension, which Yoshinoya rejects. Nothing worth mentioning in this scene, other than that it’s been a while since I’ve noticed Yoshinoya’s squeaky slippers. 0 for both.

Scene 9: 07:15 - 07:28
C: Yu, Mi
Miyako asks Yuno to go to lunch, but Yuno declines and heads to Hidamari to put her project together. I debated whether Miyako asking Yuno to eat together should qualify as a yurilevel, until I said it out loud and it seemed obvious that it should. For this investigation, I’m attempting to be a bit more lenient with yurilevels than I was in the pilot study, so I gave the 1Y to Miyako.

Scene 10: 07:38 - 08:20
C: Yu
Yuno puts her collage together. Her final product doesn’t have anything particularly yuri, other than her inclusion of Yoshinoya’s cosplay photos, but that's by necessity. Another 0.

Scene 11: 08:24 - 08:52
C: Yu, Mi
Miyako encourages Yuno as she rushes back to school, and snow begins to fall. The enthusiasm Miyako puts into egging Yuno on gives her at least a 1, but I didn’t think it was enough for a 2 since there wasn’t anything too special about what specifically she was saying. Yuno’s embarrassment seems fairly platonic, but shows of embarrassment can also be subtle code that a character is trying to hide lesbian feelings (it happens a lot in the Sono Hanabira games, at least), so Yuno also gets a 1.

Scene 12: 08:53 - 09:21
C: Yu, Yo
Yoshinoya dismisses her students and Yuno hands in her project. No subtext to see here, 0s for both.

Scene 13: 09:21 - 10:10
C: Yu, Mi
Miyako gives Yuno an onigiri. Halfway through the scene, she pats Yuno on the head, but Yuno doesn’t seem to respond with any major change in demeanor or mood, still being happy from getting the onigiri. She gets a 1 for receiving, while Miyako gets a 2 for initiating.

Scene 14: 10:14 - 11:25
C: Yu, Mi, Sa, Hi
Miyako writes “Love & Piece” in the new-fallen snow. The characters don’t get major yurilevels from the scene, since everyone acts independently of each other and barely interacts, but Sae and Hiro get some for constantly sticking together even when Sae rushes off to go inside and take a picture (why is Sae portrayed as more of a photographer instead of a writer in this episode?) and for the after-scene bumper that shows them sitting together in a kotatsu. I gave them both a 2, while Yuno and Miyako get 0s.

Scene 15: 11:26 - 12:58
C: Yu, Mi, Sa, Hi
Yuno and Miyako have a snowball fight while Sae and Hiro watch and talk about their pasts. This is the reminiscing scene I mentioned here, and listening to Sae and Hiro speak so warmly of each other in such a comfortable open way strongly implies a deeper connection between the two, the first time in the series this really happens. It’s still left somewhat ambiguous, so they only get 3s. Meanwhile, Yuno and Miyako get minor yurilevels for their carefree play, which I set at 1 for each.

Scene 16: 12:58 - 13:30
C: Yu, Mi, Hi
Hiro lets Yuno and Miyako into her room. Nothing to add there, everyone gets a 0.

Scene 17: 13:30 - 21:04
C: Yu, Mi, Sa, Hi
The Hidamaris chat about Yuno’s project, Miyako’s “Love & Piece” writing, and a mysterious text to Yuno. Miyako and Hiro do more head patting to Yuno, elevating their yurilevels, and Sae and Hiro do some light teasing and Hiro-on-Sae chest grabbing, elevating their yurilevels moreso. Sae also gets yurilevels for her reaction to the text, assuming it was sent by who I think it was (it’s been some time since I’ve rewatched the series). After putting everything together, I came up with 1 for Yuno, 2 for Miyako, 3 for Sae, and 4 for Hiro, though I’m a little wary of giving such high yurilevels in a scene that will take up such a large portion of the total time.

Scene 18: 21:04 - 21:17
C: Yu, Mi
Yuno and Miyako say good night. Yuno has a strangely obtuse way of doing it (admittedly I don’t know if it’s an awkward translation or just a common saying in Japan, but with my limited Japanese I have little choice except to rely on the subtitles), which I interpreted as trying to hold up the two’s parting for the night for a few seconds. Desire to spend a little extra time with a friend, or desire to not let go of a romantic interest? Since it could go either way, Yuno gets a 2. Miyako doesn’t do anything in response, so she stays at 0.

Scenes 19-20: 21:19 - 21:37
C: Yu, Mi
Yuno and Miyako get ready to go to sleep. I put these two together since they were so short and neither one had any yuri in it.

Scene 21: 21:37 - 22:07
C: Yu
Yuno takes her nightly bath and recalls the day’s events. Her remembering was represented with a few stills and photos from the episode, all of which featured Miyako in some way. Probably yuri, it gets a 1.

Final Yurilevel Rankings: (both Umes and Aokis are out of 4):
Episode: 1.384A

  1. Hiro: 3.142U
  2. Sae: 2.621U
  3. Miyako: 1.353U
  4. Yuno: 0.695U
  5. Yoshinoya: 0.000U

I had assumed the pilot study would represent a fairly high yurilevel episode, but this actually exceeded that episode by 0.054 Aokis! I think there are two main reasons for this unexpected result: in the investigation, my standards for awarding yurilevels were lowered slightly after multiple pieces of feedback from the pilot study (which I greatly appreciated, thank you to all those that responded) argued that certain actions weren’t being rated high enough, and in the show itself, there seems to be more of a low-level, diffuse yuri gleaned from subtle hints and strong friendships rather than the concentrated, more obviously romantic lewdness of the episode in the pilot study. In addition, having one scene with rather high yurilevels take up much of the total scene time did have an effect on the final overall readings, pushing Hiro over the 3 Ume threshold. It will be interesting to see whether or not the gradual shift between friendly and lewd yuri will result in a fairly stable yurilevel or if this was simply an exceptional case. Under the system created in the pilot study, this episode would receive a 3/4 (significant yuri), but I don’t think I’ll continue taking that additional value.

Further analysis will continue with Hidamari Sketch episode 2, which will probably be tomorrow or the day after.

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