Saturday, January 26, 2013

Hidamari Sketch x365 09

Hidamari Sketch x365 09 includes the four Hidamari residents, Yoshinoya, the Landlady, Natsume, Kuwahara, and Kishi Maiko. Part A focuses on Yoshinoya during a summer day working at school, and Part B surrounds the Hidamari residents seeing a movie by Kishi and responding to it.

Scene 1: 00:17 - 00:38
C: Yo
Yoshinoya’s mother desperately tries to wake Yoshinoya up. Yoshinoya’s deafness to her female parent’s pleas gets her a 0.

Scene 2: 02:14 - 02:26
C: Yo
Yoshinoya waters the school plants. Nothing to suggest yuri.

Scene 3: 02:28 - 02:56
C: Yo
The principal tells Yoshinoya to work. Again, no yuri to write about.

Scene 4: 02:57 - 03:02
C: Yo
Yoshinoya walks down a hallway. Not even opportunities for yuri here.

Scene 5: 03:04 - 03:21
C: Yo
Yoshinoya works on midsummer greetings cards. The cards are an excuse for her to do cosplay, but since they go out to both men and women it only reinforces the indiscriminate nature of her libido, keeping her at 0. (I believe there might be a trend forming.)

Scene 6: 03:21 - 03:33
C: Yu, Mi, Sa, Hi, Yo
Yoshinoya sees the Hidamaris walking to school. She comments on how nicely they get along, presumably meaning all of them as a group. She gets 1 for reading a (not necessarily romantic) bond between them, and they all get a 1 for projecting this bond.

Scene 7: 03:33 - 04:24
C: Yu, Mi, Sa, Hi, Yo
Yoshinoya greets the Hidamaris, dressed as a race queen. Her decision to wear a particularly revealing outfit, especially one emphasizing her bust and midriff, may indicate a desire for the Hidamaris to view her as a sexual being, though none of them seem to be swayed. The Hidamaris tell her that they are at school to work on summer projects. Since they’re all going as a group, it’s likely a friendly outing instead of a romantic one, but it still shows a shared desire to spend time together outside of school. They each get 1, while Yoshinoya gets 4. (How Yoshinoya managed to change and position herself behind the bushes is assumed to be a result of magic* and not any yuri-related methods.)

Scene 8: 04:26 - 05:24
C: Yo
Yoshinoya abandons her work and cosplays. The narrative voice that has been running for a few scenes now directly addresses her here, showing Yoshinoya is experiencing auditory hallucinations and possibly suggesting they are the cause of her cosplay obsession. As the Hearing Voices Movement contends, such hallucinations aren’t necessarily indicative of psychosis, so the voice isn’t mutually exclusive with hyperthymia, but it does clear any doubt that Yoshinoya’s cosplay in general could be influenced by yuri tendencies. In this scene, though, there isn’t any yuri to note anyways, so Yoshinoya gets a 0.

Scene 9: 05:24 - 05:33
C: Yo
Yoshinoya climbs some stairs. No yuri to speak of.

Scene 10: 05:34 - 05:41
C: Yo
Yoshinoya cosplays as a schoolgirl. While it’s been established that she cannot control her cosplaying, she may have influence over what she cosplays as (this affected her readings in Scene 7). If she does, her choice to present a schoolgirl uniform in an eroticized fashion could display a genuine, non hyperthymia-related attraction to her female students (which, pornography assures me, Japanese culture does not pass judgment on). However, the choice could have also been made for the simpler reason that Yoshinoya is in a school and thus a school uniform would be a more logical choice for an outfit than, say, cat ears, in which case it would not be seen as yuri. Because of the ambiguity, the precedent of splitting the difference is applied, and Yoshinoya ends with 2.

Scene 11: 05:43 - 06:08
C: Yo, Ka
Yoshinoya’s cosplay in the sick bay is interrupted by Kuwahara. Her cosplay here doesn’t convey yuri, so she gets no yurilevels. Kuwahara’s implicit disapproval keeps her at 0 as well.

Scene 12: 06:11 - 07:17
C: Yo, La, Ka
The Landlady delivers wonton noodles. She acts mostly as a plot device and doesn’t do anything aside from merely being the vessel by which the noodles are delivered, so ends with a 0. Kuwahara offers her barley tea which appears to have been made before she arrived, so it’s likely a polite gesture and not worthy of yurilevels, but she also shows an effort to try to include her in the conversation, displaying an openness to knowing more about her that gives her a 1 overall. Yoshinoya continues to focus on her irresponsibility and doesn’t get a chance to earn yurilevels, and also gets a 0.

Scene 13: 07:17 - 07:25
C: La
The Landlady assures herself that she’ll be able to quit smoking one day. Considering there have been episodes set after this one where we have seen her smoking, she probably cannot. Smoking doesn’t convey homosexuality by itself, so she stays at 0.

Scene 14: 07:25 - 07:42
C: Yo
Yoshinoya prints her greeting cards. Her actual greetings are fairly generic, reinforcing that they’re transparent excuses to satisfy the voice’s commands, and she doesn’t get any yurilevels.

Scene 15: 07:42 - 08:12
C: Yo, Nt
Yoshinoya ropes Natsume into mailing her greeting cards. Upon finding Yoshinoya, Natsume is surprised and subsequently made uncomfortable by Yoshinoya’s forcefulness in including her in her scheme, displaying a strong urge to not be associated with the plan and leave Yoshinoya alone as quickly as possible, keeping her at 0. Yoshinoya, meanwhile, does not attempt to appeal to Natsume with kindness or lewdness, essentially wielding her authority as a teacher to force her to deliver the cards, which gives her a 0 as well.

Scene 16: 08:12 - 08:25
C: Nt
Natsume delivers Yoshinoya’s cards to Hidamari Apartments. She expresses a concern that Sae could see her, and then runs away in terror at the first sign of noise. Her countenance in the scene suggests that these are because she would be flustered to see Sae and would result in her trying to keep up her one-sided and increasingly transparent rivalry. Consequently, her desire to avoid this may be a desire to avoid a confrontation with Sae that would further distance them. The fear Natsume has of Sae disliking her shows a desire to be close to her and not be rejected, which could be indicative of a desire for close friendship or of yuri, so she gets a 3**.

Scene 17: 08:27 - 08:34
C: Yu
Yuno finds her midsummer greeting card. While she responds with a laugh and assurance that Yoshinoya is great, they both seem very forced, suggesting she doesn’t really appreciate the card. She stays at 0.

Scene 18: 08:36 - 08:51
C: Yo
Yoshinoya completes her cards and the principal tells her to go back to work. Nothing worth noting here.

Scene 19: 08:53 - 09:32
C: Yo, Ka
Kuwahara observes Yoshinoya working. While Kuwahara tries to appear supportive and doesn’t seem to mind staying late with Yoshinoya, she is probably motivated by the desire to see Yoshinoya finish her work rather than to be with her. It still raises her yurilevels slightly, especially in conjunction with her warm smile at seeing Yoshinoya’s motivation renewed by the promise of fireworks. Yoshinoya, meanwhile, shows a lack of trust in Kuwahara by accusing her of being a tool of the principal (though to be fair, she basically is here), and stays at 0 while Kuwahara gets a 1.

Scene 20: 09:35 - 10:15
C: Yo, Ka
Yoshinoya, Kuwahara, and the principal light fireworks. Yoshinoya attempts to impress the others by drawing a heart with her sparkler, which is a fitting symbol for her character though one that doesn’t necessarily suggest yuri on its own, particularly since she’s drawing it for both the male principal and the female Kuwahara, so Yoshinoya gets another 0. Kuwahara responds by non-judgmentally calling Yoshinoya a handful, conveying a mixture of amusement and affection that raises her to a 1.

Scene 21: 10:05 - 10:19
C: Yo
Yoshinoya takes a bath. Her wish that her greetings cards cheer everyone up is presumably referring to both genders of students, so it doesn’t get her yurilevels. She stays at 0.

Scene 22: 12:37 - 12:54
C: Yu
Yuno wakes up and prepares to leave. She grabs an unspecified letter, which is either the tickets to Kishi’s movie or the letter Miyako sent her. Either way, her desire to have it gives her a 2 (explanations for the yurilevel readings on both are elaborated below in Scene 24).

Scene 23: 12:54 - 12:57
C: Yu, Mi
Miyako calls for Yuno. There are exactly two words in this scene. We will be examining both of them in detail. First, Miyako calls out “Yunocchi” (ゆのっち) from outside. The history behind her use of “Yunocchi” was outlined in Hidamari Sketch x365 01 Scene 17, where it was a mutually agreed-upon replacement for the more common “-chan” honorific. This honorific, though generally used between two people who are familiar with each other, is typically friendly when used between two girls of their age and does not by itself suggest homosexuality; indeed, using an honorific at all displays some pretense of formality or politeness, while not using one would display an even greater familiarity or closer bond (not using an honorific is a practice referred to as “yobisute” [呼び捨て], an example of which in Hidamari Sketch would be Hiro occasionally referring to Sae without an honorific). Miyako calling from outside is likely an invitation for her and Yuno to walk to school together. This again is friendly without being overtly yuri, so it doesn’t affect yurilevels either, which leaves Miyako with a 0 for the scene. After Miyako speaks, Yuno responds, “yes” (はい, “hai”). Her statement is probably an affirmation for Miyako that she heard her call and is ready to go. She sounds happy when she says it, but aside from occasional moments of despondency and self-loathing Yuno tends to be positive on the whole, so it would be a stretch to say that her happiness is specifically a result of Miyako’s presence. In fact, she doesn’t seem to become any happier when Miyako calls for her, instead showing a brief moment of surprise before outwardly returning to her previous level of happiness. As such, Yuno doesn’t get yurilevels for the scene either and also gets a 0.

Scene 24: 14:31 - 15:24
C: Yu, Mi, Sa, Hi
The Hidamaris wait for the bus. Yuno is shown here to be the one who has the tickets for Kishi’s movie (and later confirmed that she was the only one who got the tickets), but since the other Hidamaris show up Yuno must have invited them. This could be a friendly gesture, but it also could convey a desire to share a new experience with them and/or to spend time with them in the dark. These possibilities average to about neutralize each other, but the base yurilevels from inviting them still raise Yuno noticeably. She and Miyako get further yurilevels for the letter Miyako sent her, a whimsical and spontaneous gesture of close friendship. Though we don’t see what’s in the letter, Miyako notes that a letter gives her more to say (likely referring to the length of its format, and not a suggestion that the letter includes things she is uncomfortable with saying out loud). Miyako asks if she should claim their seats when they arrive, and Yuno adds that she would prefer four seats next to each other so they can sit together, further increasing her yurilevels from her request for physical closeness. Overall, Yuno gets 3 while Miyako gets 2. Hiro and Sae, meanwhile, don’t do much in the scene since the main focus here is Yuno, and neither gets yurilevels.

Scene 25: 15:51 - 16:03
C: Yu, Mi, Sa, Hi, Yo
Kishi’s movie plays. The movie depicts a heterosexual romance which ends tragically. Yuno, Miyako, Hiro, and particularly Yoshinoya are affected by the depiction, all displaying some emotional involvement in the movie. Only Sae continues to smile through the story of the doomed lovers, possibly out of schadenfreude at watching inferior straights get their comeuppance and at the very least showing it doesn’t upset her. She gets a 2, the rest stay at 0.

Scene 26: 16:11 - 17:36
C: Yu, Mi, Sa, Hi
The Hidamaris drink around Hiro’s kotatsu. Miyako asks Yuno what she daydreamed about on the ride home, showing an interest in her inner mental/emotional state, and Yuno replies that she thought of “this and that” (なんかいるよ, “nanka iru yo”), using a different phrasing from the Japanese euphemism for sexual activity with the same translation (あんなことやそんなこと, “anna koto ya sonna koto”), so it doesn’t affect her yurilevels. Hiro confirms that she was emotionally affected by the representation of heterosexual romance, while Sae analyzes it to determine how the emotional effects of the story are constructed, showing an emotional detachment from the heterosexual romance. Yuno and Miyako are impressed, with Yuno calling her cool while Miyako ties it to her writing career, which Sae embarrassedly tries to downplay. Yuno wraps up the scene by complimenting Kishi for her abilities as an art direction, displaying an admiration for her, though it’s probably professionally as a fellow artist. Overall, Yuno and Sae end with 2, Miyako ends with 1, and Hiro ends with 0.

Scene 27: 17:37 - 18:13
C: Yu, Kishi Maiko
Yuno talks to Kishi after the movie. It’s unclear whether Kishi remembers Yuno specifically; she suggests a vague recollection with her statement “You’re...” (あなた, “anata”) and asking if she was in Yoshinoya’s class, but since she presumably only visited Yoshinoya’s class it’s not an especially narrowing qualifier. Yuno displays a great respect for Kishi, making a polite introduction and complimenting her movie as pretty and wonderful, and together with seeking out Kishi at all she gets significant yurilevels. Kishi is receptive to her remarks and extends her hand for a handshake, which becomes a 15-second prolonged hand-holding session (in public and surrounded by throngs of moviegoers, no less). For at least two of those seconds (possibly three or more), they just stand in the lobby holding hands and smiling at each other, the lewdness of which greatly raises both of their readings for the scene. Yuno ends with 4, and Kishi with 3.

Scene 28: 18:13 - 18:58
C: Yu, Mi, Sa, Hi
The Hidamaris talk about displaying their work. Everyone agrees that Kishi is bound for nationwide success, showing a respect for her talents that could translate into an admiration for her personally, but the topic is quickly switched to Miyako’s bizarre (though compelling) ideas for a movie. They all get 1 each.

Scene 29: 19:00 - 19:23
C: Yu
Yuno lies curled on her bed and sighs deeply while thinking about Kishi. Her initial fawning over Kishi’s greatness becomes another session of self-loathing about her lack of direction in life. She gets over it quickly and begins working on a project of her own, the implication being that Yuno is inspired by Kishi’s film. In total, she gets a 3.

Scene 30: 19:25 - 22:28
C: Yu, Mi, Sa, Hi
The Hidamaris eat Hiro’s spectacularly complex meal. Yuno calls the food’s arrangement beautiful, getting her slight yurilevels for appreciating Hiro’s creation. Yuno, Miyako, and Sae all compliment the taste of the meal, and Miyako’s especially effusive praise gets her elevated yurilevels compared to what Yuno and Sae get for the act. They make up this gap with their strong praise for Miyako’s flipbook movie, leaving them with 2 each. Hiro ends with 0, mostly for being kept to the side here.

Scene 31: 22:28 - 23:09
C: Yu, Mi, Sa
Yuno and Miyako spot Sae taking a call outside. As they walk outside at the beginning, Yuno is shown to be staring silently at Miyako’s face, a likely indication of fond sentiment toward her that would easily be identifiable as yuri-based, but no such reciprocation can be determined from Miyako. When they see Sae has a letter (in reality a fan letter praising her piece in a recent magazine [see Hidamari Sketch x365 06]), they both assume it’s a love letter, but when they ask who it’s from they don’t suggest any assumption that it’s from a girl. At this point, the gender of the fan who wrote the letter is unknown, so Sae can’t receive or lose yurilevels from her reaction to it. She seems embarrassed to have it, but in an uncomfortable manner as opposed to a yuri-type embarrassment***, so she doesn’t receive yurilevels from this either. Upon learning that it’s a fan letter, Yuno and Miyako immediately call for Hiro in unison, conveying a close like-mindedness and an assumption that Hiro will want to know about the letter, itself suggesting they think of events that affect either Sae or Hiro as events that affect both and reinforcing the suggestion in Hidamari Sketch x365 04 Scene 10 that Sae and Hiro are viewed as being one unit. Sae, who appears to resent the inclusion of Hiro in the situation, ends with 0, while Yuno gets 3 and Miyako gets 2.

Scene 32: 23:10 - 23:55
C: Yu, Mi, Sa, Hi
Yuno, Miyako, and Hiro watch Sae read her fan letter. Again, the sender’s gender is not specified, probably meaning it can’t be derived from the contents of the letter; Sae’s embarrassment therefore exists in a state of quantum uncertainty that, pending a yuriwave function collapse****, does not affect her yurilevels. Yuno cautiously congratulates Sae, showing a happiness for her even if Yuno is uncertain how to convey it, and Miyako roots through her drawers for the magazine, showing a trust between the two that lets Sae allow Miyako’s snooping up to a point, both of which get them slight yurilevels. Hiro appears to know that the letter is Sae’s first piece of fan mail and comments that it makes her happy as well, which not only gets her yurilevels for her desire to share in Sae’s happiness but could also be seen as justifying the notion that Sae and Hiro really do think and feel as a unified item. Sae responds by smiling contentedly before becoming yuri-embarrassed; it could be a response to Hiro or to the overall situation, but in context is probably a result of Hiro’s comment. Yuno and Miyako each get 1, while Sae and Hiro end with 4.

Scene 33: 23:56 - 24:50
C: Yu, Mi
Yuno and Miyako chat on the balcony outside. Both talk about their hopes for their future, showing a predominantly friendly intimacy that raises both of their yurilevels. Additionally, Miyako asks Yuno if she’s cold, conveying a concern for her comfort. She ends with 2, and Yuno ends with 1.

Scene 34: 24:53 - 25:39
C: Yu
Yuno takes a bath and writes a letter to Miyako. Her letter essentially entrusts herself to Miyako, asking her to take care of the things she forgets, conveying an enormous trust in her. Additionally, as mentioned earlier, it is just adorable to see her writing a letter to her friend next door. Really, just adorable. So adorable*****. While not by itself yuri, adorableness is generally between very close friends, and in the context of Yuno and Miyako’s friendship it counts here. She ends with 3.

Final Yurilevel Readings: (both Aokis and Umes are out of 4):
Episode: 1.1768A

  1. Kishi Maiko: 3.000U
  2. Yuno: 1.977U
  3. Sae: 1.586U
  4. Miyako: 1.541U
  5. Natsume: 0.906U
  6. Kuwahara: 0.843U
  7. Hiro: 0.592U
  8. Yoshinoya: 0.491U
  9. Landlady: 0.000U

The first half of the episode focused on one of the least consistently yuri characters of the series, Yoshinoya. Despite this, the episode managed to achieve slightly higher than average readings since the second half was especially gay and more than able to make up for the deficiencies of Part A. Yuno secures an easy hold on the character rankings thanks to a few high-yuri scenes in which only she was a part of, with Sae settled in below her and just above Miyako. There was a greater focus on Yuno and Miyako in the second part, which explains the high yuri readings they both had for this episode and the comparatively low readings Sae and especially Hiro got. Hiro had the misfortune to be mostly sidelined for the episode, with a significant portion coming from one reading, the 4 in Scene 32, and ended up behind even Kuwahara, who appeared sparsely and had enough low-level yuri to end with a, for her, quite strong reading. Finally, something worth noting is that, if Part A of this episode had been as gay as Part B, this would have become only the second episode ever to have an Aoki reading greater than 2.0 (the first being Hidamari Sketch x365 05). I’m optimistic such readings will become commonplace from xHoshimittsu onward.

Further analysis will continue with Hidamari Sketch x365 10.

*: With Ume-tentei as her familiar, I suppose? ”Dear Studio SHAFT...”
**: Natsume is very frustrating to assign yurilevels for right now. In later seasons it becomes more obvious that she has yuri feelings toward Sae, but her use of the tsundere archetype and the occasional evidence of an actual rivalry between her and Sae will often blur the lines between Natsume having a genuine dislike of Sae and using her rivalry as something to hide behind. It’s essentially a coin toss whether or not Natsume is gay for a given episode, but hopefully this will get better with time.

***: English typically uses "embarrassment" to refer to both the type of embarrassment where is one is bashful or disappointed and embarrassment in a romantic setting, which I described in the Pilot Study as "if you look at me like that, I'll...". In the absence of a clear word for the second state, the awkward distinguishing of "shameful embarassment" and "yuri embarrassment" continues.
****: A yuriwave function is a probability amplitude describing the yuri state of a character at a given point in time. This scene is an example of a situation where genders are not elaborated on, meaning a character will approach a state where, until the unknown genders are observed, the character is simultaneously gay and straight, a situation known in popular parlance as “Schrödinger’s Koneko.”

Also, there appears to be no moe anthropomorphism of quantum mechanics, which is disappointing.
*****: So adorable.

1/27/13: Corrected misspellings of Kuwahara's name as "Kawahara."

No comments:

Post a Comment