Thursday, December 20, 2012

Pilot Study: Hidamari Sketch xSP 01

(Note: in scientific investigations, a pilot study is frequently conducted to apply the planned methodology in a small real-world test to ensure the model will be effective during the actual investigation.)

Hidamari Sketch xSP 01 includes all six Hidamari residents, as well as Yoshinoya and Natsume. Part A is about the Hidamari residents visiting an art museum, and Part B is about Yuno, Miyako, Nori, and Nazuna going to a local indoor swimming pool and then joining Sae and Hiro for a sleepover.

Scene 1: 00:13 - 00:51
C: Yu, Mi, Yo
In the first “tracked” scene (a scene where characters followed in the investigation are present and active), Yoshinoya gives her students mixed messages over their responsibilities during the upcoming school break, and Yuno and Miyako briefly discuss what they plan to do. The scene is very short and does not appear to convey any yuri context on the part of any character. Each character has a 0 for the scene.

Scene 2: 02:31 - 03:03
C: Yu
The second scene shows Yuno waking up early. Again, a short scene with no yuri subtext, or even acknowledgement of other characters.

Scene 3: 03:04 - 03:21
C: Na, No
Nazuna happily drinks tea before Nori enters and tells her to get ready to go. Their interaction is brief and nothing really suggests yuri. Both get 0s for this scene.

Scene 4: 03:27 - 03:49
C: Yu, Mi, Sa, Hi, No, Na
All six Hidamaris ride a train to the art museum, and it is revealed that Nazuna does not know where they are heading. No character does anything in this scene that would really be considered as yuri, but Miyako gives off an air of a rather masculine lesbian in this scene (especially parting her legs in front of everyone as wide as she can), so I gave her a 1 for this scene. Everyone else gets more 0s.

Scene 5: 03:55 - 07:23
C: Yu, Mi, Sa, Hi, No, Na
They arrive at the art museum and explore the sculptures in the open-air grounds. The main moments of yuri subtext come when Yuno, Miyako, Sae, and Hiro all attempt to replicate some of the statues. Yuno and Miyako holding hands and dancing seemed on par with Sae resting her hands on Hiro’s chest to support her in the air, so they get 1s. I also decided that Miyako should get a 2 for her enthusiasm in getting Yuno to join in.

Scene 6: 07:26 - 08:36
C: Yu, Mi, Sa, Hi
Sae and Hiro stare at a painting and fawn over each other. Nori and Nazuna are visible at the beginning of this scene, but do not say anything or add to the scene, so they aren’t included to prevent unfair reductions in their measured yurilevel. For Sae and Hiro, this is a scene that is often included in circumstantial arguments for the two as lesbians, and for good reason: their open, blushing admiration of each other’s talents and abilities and the immediate lampshading of showing everyone around them backing away to give them space to be alone gives both Sae and Hiro a 4 for the scene. Yuno and Miyako do very little and the focus in this scene is not on them at all, so they have 0s.

Scene 7: 08:36 - 08:38
C: Nt
Natsume’s Sae-sense tingles in a restaurant. I debated whether this should be included, and it ultimately resulted in a change to the rules governing a scene to allow situations such as this one (where a character is doing something gay and is not a part of a surrounding scene) to be included. This is also obviously yuri, but not as intensely as Sae and Hiro were in the previous scene. Natsume gets a 3.

Scene 8: 08:38 - 09:45
C: Yu, Mi, Sa, Hi, Na, No
The Hidamaris eat at a restaurant in the museum. Aside from some complimenting of Nazuna, nothing noticeably yuri occurs. 0s all around.

Scene 9: 09:47 - 10:26
C: Yu
Yuno takes a bath and makes a sculpture out of bathroom items. Other characters get only a passing mention and no lesbian actions are undertaken. 0.

Scene 10: 10:52 - 11:26
C: Yu, Mi, Sa, Hi, Na, No
Sae and Hiro see the others off before they go to study, and Yuno, Miyako, Nazuna, and Nori start toward the pool. Nazuna and Nori are shown holding hands as they descend the stairs; this lewd action sticks in the mind and gives them 1s. Sae and Hiro were initially given 2s because “we’re going to go study” is a really lame excuse, but, since it can be taken at face-value and is likely true, I thought it would unfairly increase their yurilevel reading to give them extra points just because I “knew” they were going to go off and hold hands. In the interest of fairness, they get 1s as well.

Scene 11: 11:31 - 18:05
C: Yu, Mi, Na, No
The longest scene by far in the episode, taking up a third of the total scene time, this scene is about Yuno, Miyako, Nazuna, and Nori at the indoor pool. Yuno and Miyako’s subplot here is that Yuno tries to learn how to swim and Miyako agrees to help her. In any other context it would probably be ignored, but in the context of the pool and their wearing of swimsuits they were bumped up a bit. The yuri in this scene isn’t focused on Yuno and Miyako anyways, because Nazuna and Nori get very high levels here. Nazuna’s main moment is when she gets embarrassed that the others are staring at her swimsuit body, which gives a strong vibe of “if you look at me like that...” romantic-style embarrassment instead of her usual defenseless moe style. She also expresses admiration for Nori’s swimming abilities, which, in the context of her established relationship with Nori, suggests something stronger than friendship. Nori, meanwhile, goes above and beyond in the yurilevel readings, skipping subtext and teases and instead outright flirting with Nazuna, openly admitting to staring at her crotch and cheekily wondering aloud if Nazuna will take her swimsuit off in the bathroom. Nori gets a 4, Nazuna gets a 3, Yuno and Miyako get 1s.

Scene 12: 18:07 - 18:37
C: Yu, Mi, No, Na
The four walk back home and get a message from Hiro telling them to come to a slumber party. Hiro wasn’t included in this scene because, as the Methodology section of the Project Overview states, “characters whose role could be replaced with a Post-It note with two sentences on it are not included,” and that’s what literally happened with Hiro’s role in the scene. The scene is too short to give anybody a significant yurilevel reading anyway, so all 0s.

Scene 13: 18:42 - 22:07
C: Yu, Mi, Sa, Hi, No, Na
The Hidamaris have a slumber party and fall asleep, with Yuno waking later on to find everyone had drawn pictures of her. Slumber parties by themselves suggest yuri subtext, but breaking it down individually: Yuno changes in front of everyone, Miyako shows caring and fondness to Yuno and holds her head against her chest as she falls asleep, Nazuna reacts warmly to Hiro’s compliments on her pajamas, Nori displays warmness toward Yuno in praising her swimming improvements and suggesting her as a drawing subject, and Sae and Hiro sleep in the same bed. Slumber parties, it seems, are hotbeds for yuri. 1s for Yuno, Nori, and Nazuna, and 2s for Miyako, Sae, and Hiro.

Final Yurilevel Readings: (both A and U are out of maximum of 4)
Episode: 1.330 A


  1. Natsume: 3.000 U
  2. Nori: 1.926 U
  3. Sae: 1.537 U
    Hiro: 1.537 U
  4. Nazuna: 1.523 U
  5. Miyako: 0.775 U
  6. Yuno: 0.708 U
  7. Yoshinoya: 0.000 U

The pilot study confirms some of my initial hypotheses toward yurilevel rankings of the characters: Natsume, for having very few, very gay scenes, would be the clear winner, Sae and Hiro would be the gayest couple, Yuno and Miyako would have the lowest yurilevel (partly for having more screentime), and Yoshinoya would be at the bottom since her main gag (flirtatious cosplaying teacher) doesn’t lend itself well to yuri. I was surprised to see Nori as the gayest Hidamari in the episode, but nearly half of her screentime was in the very yuri-heavy pool scene, so it’s likely an aberration.
This episode is considered a high-yuri episode by the general Hidamari Sketch fandom. However, it only has a yurilevel of just under 1.5 Aokis. Taking into account the expected rise in yuri with Season 4, it would make sense to assume a maximum of 2.0A for the yurilevel of episodes. With this in mind, I created the following ratings of episode yurilevels:
  • <0.500A: 1/4, no yuri
  • 0.500 - 0.999A: 2/4, some yuri
  • 1.000 - 1.499A: 3/4, significant yuri
  • >1.500A: 4/4, strong yuri
This episode would receive a 3/4 under this scale. I’ll see how the scale works in other episodes.

Further analysis will begin with Hidamari Sketch episode 1 hopefully by the end of tomorrow.

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