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.

1 comment:

  1. My favorite serie ! I love Miya-chan !