Sunday, February 3, 2013

Hidamari Sketch x365 12

Hidamari Sketch x365 12 includes the four Hidamari residents, Yoshinoya, the Landlady, and Natsume. The episode primarily focuses on the effects of Sae and Hiro having a falling out, with much of the second half of the episode centered around the Hidamaris celebrating the holiday of  Tanabata.

Scene 1: 00:16 - 01:01
C: Yu
Yuno wakes up and eats toast. While she watches the morning weather report, the weatherwoman is attacked by an unknown man. This act of violence in the media (no doubt a ploy for ratings) fails to faze Yuno, who is apparently desensitized to the suffering of other women and thus gets a 0.

Scene 2: 02:48 - 03:24
C: Yu, Mi, Sa
Yuno and Miyako head off to school and find Sae to be behaving strangely. Miyako asks Yuno if she’ll be fine without an umbrella, showing a consideration for her comfort that helps her slightly. Seeing Sae, Yuno happily greets her, conveying a closeness that raises her yurilevels, and Miyako asks her why she isn’t with Hiro, showing that Sae and Hiro are together on the way to school often enough that Hiro’s absence is anomalous. Sae, however, negates the yurilevels she would have received by coldly brushing off questions about Hiro’s presence and displaying a lack of concern about her. Yuno and Miyako are shocked to find Sae can’t be bothered with Hiro, again showing that Sae and Hiro not being together is something unusual and alarming. They each end with 2, and Sae with 0.

Scene 3: 03:24 - 03:32
C: Yu, Mi, Sa
A shocked Yuno and Miyako follow Sae inside. Sae angrily reiterates that she doesn’t know where Hiro is, keeping her at 0, while Yuno and Miyako’s continued shock at Sae’s indifference to Hiro gets them each another 2.

Scene 4: 03:38 - 04:10
C: Yu, Mi, Yo
Yuno and Miyako speculate that Sae and Hiro are fighting. While Yuno speculates that Sae ate one of Hiro’s sweets, Miyako contends that it has to be more serious and wonders if it could be “a matter of passion” (痴情の縺れ, “chijou no motsure”). “A matter of passion,” while concise, is a touch awkward in English, so the phrase was investigated and it was determined that a more common meaning is “a fight between lovers.” It’s understandable that this was not the translation used, given that Sae and Hiro are not lovers (canonically, at any rate), but it still warranted special attention. Yuno is then used for a kanji pun, as is Yoshinoya, who thinks someone called her a “pervert” (痴女, “chijo”). While Yoshinoya is notably lewd and it shouldn’t be a surprise to her to hear this, it still affects her, suggesting that somewhere deep down she understands that her hyperthymia is unhealthy and wants help. For now she gets a 0, as does Yuno, while Miyako gets a 3 for implying implications.

Scene 5: 04:12 - 04:39
C: Yu, Mi
Miyako portends the end of Hidamari. Her statement that Hidamari Apartments is “falling apart” (バラバラ, “barabara”) is best described in terms of the motif of the Hidamari family unit: a fight between Sae and Hiro is like a fight between parents; reinforcing this, Yuno becomes decidedly more childlike in appearance as she imagines Hidamari tumbling down, tying in to Yuno and Miyako’s positions as the “children” of the family. Miyako’s commentary, then, is showing the centrality of their makeshift family to the stability and happiness of the Hidamari residents, and thus why a breakdown in one of six social dynamics between them threatens their entire social cohesion. Yuno’s fear of losing the Hidamari family unit shows a desire for continued closeness and emotional intimacy, giving her a 4, while Miyako expresses her sentiments casually and shows a concern but not a serious one, giving her a 2.

Scene 6: 04:39 - 04:58
C: La
The Landlady accidentally barters. Upon receiving some bamboo for Tanabata, she decides to leave it at Hidamari Apartments, displaying a warm benevolence, albeit one tempered by the practical matter of not needing bamboo, and ends with a 1.

Scene 7: 05:03 - 05:14
C: La
The Landlady drops off the bamboo. Nothing in this scene conveys meaningful yuri worth commenting on.

Scene 8: 05:23 - 06:21
C: Yu, Mi, Hi
Yuno and Miyako eat with Hiro. Hiro implicitly confirms that there are tensions between her and Sae, eliciting fear from both Yuno and Miyako, presumably for the well-being of the Hidamari family, and prompting Yuno to ask her directly if the issue is a fight of lovers. Hiro attempts to silence her and conveys that she objects to being considered Sae’s lover. Later she bitterly explains the source of her conflict with Sae: heading to Sae’s room expecting tea (suggesting a familiarity and routine that increases her yurilevels), she found Sae asleep, exhausted, then answered a phone call from her manager* so as to not wake her up (suggesting that she wants to see Sae comfortable and happy and that she considers herself an equal partner in Sae’s affairs). She complains that Sae is getting angry over nothing, refusing to assign herself responsibility in the situation, and repeatedly whines Sae’s name. Throughout, she gorges herself on everything in arm’s reach, including fried chicken, omelette rice, various foods with unidentified dishes, a large bowl of noodles, salad with tomatoes, and juice, eating more quickly as she gets more frustrated at Sae. Hiro has been shown to have an unhealthy relationship with her eating, often denying herself food in order to lose weight or indulging in snacks only to feel remorse, so this binge of comfort eating is a clear indication that she is deeply troubled by the conflict she is in (Miyako even notes that Hiro won’t be able to handle a prolonged fight). Unlike Sae, Hiro is very clearly showing that she wants to reconcile with Sae, getting her a 3. Yuno also gets a 3 for her dismay at Hiro and Sae’s fight and suggestions of impropriety, while Miyako ends with 1.

Scene 9: 06:22 - 07:28
C: Sa, Nt
Sae comes to lunch and eats with Natsume. Natsume watches with interest as Sae enters the room, but she only learns that Sae and Hiro are fighting after seeing Sae nonchalantly pass Hiro’s table, suggesting she would just be watching Sae anyways (and possibly that she does this a lot). Sae then asks Natsume if the seat next to her open, provoking a strong reaction of embarrassed surprise that leads Natsume to ask if she’s hearing things. While Sae eats, Natsume tries to help, first softly asking if she and Hiro had a fight, then, after that fails, haughtily telling her that she needs to cheer up, to which Sae distantly replies with a thank you; while it could be considered a “good cop, bad cop” attempt to help Sae, Natsume can also be said to be exhibiting both tsuntsun (つんつん, “irritable”) and deredere (でれでれ, “lovestruck”) tendencies in her efforts, and while it’s been suggested before this is the first scene in which she can definitively be called “tsundere” toward Sae. The harsh approach is the only one that elicits a noticeable reaction from Sae, showing she does not respond to Natsume’s kindness but still views her as someone trying to spar with her. Sae eats in silence and leaves before finishing, offering the remainder of her sandwich to Natsume, which Natsume interprets as an offer of an indirect kiss and responds to accordingly (she blushes and flowers grow out of her head, with someone at the table asking why she looks happy). Overall, Natsume is very clearly indicating an unrequited affection for Sae, getting a 4 for her second appearance in a row. Natsume’s character has always been defined in relation to Sae, as her rival and her admirer, and since her character is increasingly getting shifted from the former to the latter she will probably become one of the most consistently yuri characters in the series; this is her second appearance in a row in which she will end with the highest reading possible for only turning up in one scene. Sae, meanwhile, gets a 1 for having the indirect kiss tempered by her general aloofness.

Scene 10: 07:31 - 07:37
C: Yu, Mi, Hi
Hiro sees Sae and continues her feast. Yuno tells Hiro that Sae left, prompting further frustration from Hiro and a renewal of her binge, which has now moved on to dessert. Dessert foods are more traditional comfort foods, once again demonstrating that Hiro is attempting to work through the emotional issues resulting from a falling-out with Sae by eating five pieces of cake and five donuts in under two seconds (both of which are eaten whole, without stopping to chew or even bite). If we think of their fight as Hiro temporarily “losing” Sae, the binge eating could be indicative of an effort to fill her emotional void, and to reiterate, she eats five pieces of cake and five donuts in under two seconds without chewing and biting, so obviously Sae left a very large void. Hiro gets another 4 for very clearing showing her emotional reliance on Sae, while Yuno and Miyako remain at 0 for staying out of focus.

Scene 11: 07:39 - 08:20
C: Yu, Mi, Yo
Yuno and Miyako talk about the weather and Yoshinoya attempts to meddle in the conflict between Sae and Hiro. She recommends to Yuno and Miyako to force an apology between the two, saying it’s the best way to resolve conflict. The advice, while helpful, isn’t very yuri, and she doesn’t show a particular sentiment to want Sae and Hiro to make up more than she shows a love of meddling. Everyone ends with 0 for the scene.

Scene 12: 08:26 - 08:45
C: Yu, Mi
Yuno and Miyako run home through the rain and spot the Tanabata bamboo. Yuno resolves for the two to look at it together later, showing a desire to incorporate Miyako into any extraordinary events involving Hidamari Apartments that Miyako shows a reciprocation for, giving them each 1.

Scene 13: 08:57 - 10:16
C: Yu, Mi, Sa
Yuno, Miyako, and Sae work out a plan to deal with the situation. Sae finally acknowledges the situation openly, but says she won’t budge on the issue, since she believes Hiro violated a separation of personal life and work life she feels to exist. This leads Miyako to declare that the fight is all Sae’s fault, claiming that Sae relies on Hiro so heavily that Hiro was likely uncertain if any such separation existed; indeed, Hiro earlier claimed that Sae didn’t have a good reason for getting angry, showing she was unaware that Sae had established such restrictions. Hearing this, Sae finally relents, and, after some dithering and assurances from Yuno and Miyako that Hiro will accept, goes to Hiro’s apartment to apologize and repair their relationship. Sae gets a 4 for her total dependence on Hiro, Miyako gets a 2 for noticing, and Yuno gets 1 for being supportive in a minimal role.

Scene 14: 10:16 - 10:42
C: Yu, Mi
Miyako tries to provoke Yuno. Yuno cheerfully comments that she and Miyako haven’t ever fought like Sae and Hiro currently are, and Miyako even says that she doesn’t know what would make Yuno angry. She manages to think of one thing: embarrassing her by bringing up a “to my future self” letter from elementary school that she keeps in her cabinet. It’s unclear why Miyako knows this letter exists or why she was going through her belongings, but presumably Yuno was fine with it at the time, suggesting a trust and intimacy between them that raises both of their readings. To stop Miyako from talking about the letter, Yuno commits battery with a sketchbook, and her rage at Miyako and the resilience of their relationship suggested by there being no repercussions for this more or less cancel out, leaving them both with 2.

Scene 15: 10:49 - 11:14
C: Yu, Mi, Sa
Sae rings for Hiro. Yuno and Miyako are standing nearby to watch, suggesting Sae has been standing immobile and unable to approach Hiro for some time (at least 26 seconds, probably longer than a minute). The ringing of Hiro’s bell causes the world around them to turn black and white, indicative of the emotional significance of the action to Sae, particularly since Hiro’s appearance as she opens the door in the next scene marks the return of color. Sae ends with 3, while Yuno and Miyako each get 1 for their interest in Sae and Hiro’s reconciliation.

Scene 16: 11:14 - 12:21
C: Yu, Mi, Sa, Hi
Sae apologizes to Hiro. When Hiro opens the door, Sae looks very serious and determined while Hiro seems sad and somewhat surprised to see her; Hiro’s sadness might just be a holdover from a depressive state she was in before Sae arrived. Inside, Yuno watches on with concern and anticipation, and Miyako merrily stares ahead, showing she’s less emotionally involved in the situation than Yuno is (which makes sense, since, again going back to the Hidamari family unit motif, Yuno is more commonly associated with being Sae and Hiro’s child than Miyako is, conveying that she has a deeper attachment). Sae’s apology consists of letting Hiro know that she takes her work seriously but acknowledging that she overreacted to Hiro’s actions, placing the blame on herself and taking responsibility. As soon as she finishes, Hiro begins to cry, grabbing Sae’s hand and making a brief apology as well**, showing that she also feels partly responsible and wants to reconcile with Sae. She loses control over her sobbing as time passes, and leans into Sae’s chest so she can cry against her, which Sae has difficulty reacting to aside from being yuri-embarrassed (i.e., non-shamefully). Miyako intervenes by giving Sae a pillow, and Sae places the pillow between herself and Hiro. As the scene ends, Sae is embracing Hiro and also leaning into the pillow so that their heads are separated only by a scant few inches of down. There isn’t much commentary I can add to this scene, other than to point out the remarkable closeness Sae and Hiro each express towards each other and the strong emotions they feel at coming back together. They each have 4s, Miyako gets 2 for wanting to help, and Yuno gets 1 for again wanting Sae and Hiro to reconcile but doing nothing to this end.

Scene 17: 12:21 - 12:58
C: Yu, Mi
Yuno and Miyako step out and look at the stars. They’re both pleased that Sae and Hiro have reconciled, and their conversation about decorating the bamboo conveys an easy-going, open mood that gives them each a 1.

Scene 18: 13:02 - 13:13
C: Yo
Yoshinoya is reprimanded for saying arguments can be resolved by communication. The principal seems to think this is inexcusable and refuses to hear Yoshinoya’s attempts to apologize, which is unusually severe and probably just means the principal believes an argument can only be solved by fisticuffs. Yoshinoya ends with 0.

Scene 19: 13:17 - 15:05
C: Yu, Mi, Sa, Hi
The Hidamaris cut out paper strips. Sae and Hiro enter together, and Miyako asks if they are all made up now. Sae responds with yuri-embarrassment and a demand for her to stop talking, but Hiro calms her down by holding her hand, showing that her touch has a very strong stabilizing effect on Sae. They both then thank Yuno and Miyako for prompting them to make up, both of whom show great happiness at seeing them happy again. By the time Sae and Hiro have come to Yuno’s room, the sun has already set, while it was still early evening when Sae went over to Hiro’s room; why Sae and Hiro took so long to reconcile and how they did so is left to the viewer’s imagination. Later, Hiro complains to Sae that if she gains weight it will be her fault, referring to her extraordinary feats of consumption in earlier scenes, and Sae instantly relents, displaying a desire to not fight with her anymore. Overall, Sae and Hiro each get 4, and Yuno and Miyako get 2.

Scene 20: 15:15 - 15:50
C: Yu, Mi, Sa, Hi
The Hidamaris read the Landlady’s Tanabata strip. Since they don’t know who wrote it, no yuri can be read into their response to it, so everyone ends with 0.

Scene 21: 15:50 - 16:00
C: La
The Landlady smokes on her porch. She muses to herself that her tenants must have noticed the bamboo by now, smiling at her own largesse. Her smugness at her benevolence suggests that she believes the Hidamaris will appreciate the gift, and by extension her, giving her a 1.

Scene 22: 16:01 - 17:36
C: Yu, Mi, Sa, Hi
The Hidamaris make their Tanabata strips. Yuno made a wish for her male caterpillar to hatch, exhibiting a desire to see a male shed its outer covering that keeps her yurilevels down, while Miyako makes the yuri-lacking wish to gorge herself in the coming year. While they recount the tragic romance of Orihime and Hikoboshi (from which the holiday of Tanabata arises) and noting how nice it is that they can meet again each July 7th, Sae and Hiro end up holding hands spontaneously. This shows that the positive feelings toward romance they have are being linked with closeness and physical contact between each other, significantly raising their yurilevels and leaving them with 3 each. Yuno and Miyako stay at 0 each.

Scene 23: 17:37 - 17:57
C: Yo
Yoshinoya hears a ruckus at Hidamari Apartments. The principal suggests that he and she visit, something Yoshinoya didn’t think of before he said it and making it confusing as to who she wants to spend time with, the Hidamaris or the principal (which, regrettably, are both feasible). She gets a rather tenuous 1.

Scene 24: 18:01 - 19:19
C: Yu, Mi, Sa, Hi, Yo
Yoshinoya and the principal join the Hidamaris in their backyard. She determines that Sae and Hiro are back on friendly terms, showing a nominal capacity for interpreting a good relationship between the others that slightly increases her yurilevels. Yoshinoya then makes a Tanabata strip after Yuno offers her a paper, more out of politeness than yuri, but the subtitles I have do not translate her wish, and the most that I can make out is roughly along the lines of “that I am always me,” so it’s likely not a particularly yuri wish to begin with. She ends with 1, the others stay at 0.

Scene 25: 19:21 - 20:43
C: Yu, Mi, Sa, Hi
The Hidamaris reveal their Tanabata wishes. Hiro shows that she wished for Sae to have success and progress in her writing work and promises Sae that she’ll try to help however she can, showing a desire to support Sae and keep her happy which Sae accepts bashfully. Sae, meanwhile, wished for Hiro’s diets to succeed, which Hiro thanks her for. As Yuno finds out, all of the Hidamaris made a wish for harmony among themselves, but in slightly different wordings: Yuno wished for everyone to get along, Hiro wished for everyone to laugh together, Sae wished for everyone to stay as they are, and Miyako wished for everyone to be happy together; reworded, Yuno wants stability, Hiro wants closeness, Sae wants the maintenance of the status quo, and Miyako wants good cheer. Yuno, Sae, and Hiro all make wishes that fit neatly into their roles in the Hidamari family dynamic: Sae, as the father, desires order since she is the head of the family, Hiro, as the mother, desires warmth and intimacy since she is the emotional center of the family, and Yuno, as the daughter, desires peace since it hurts her to have her parents fight, seen in her distress from seeing Sae and Hiro in a conflict this episode. Since Miyako’s role in the dynamic is redundant with Yuno’s and she is included less often than Yuno, Miyako’s wish is more a reflection of her carefree character, but expresses the same yuri sentiment nonetheless. The last shot of the scene shows the Hidamaris together; Sae and Hiro are standing over Yuno and Miyako, with Sae holding Hiro’s shoulder with one hand and supporting Miyako with another while Miyako has an arm behind Yuno’s back. This picture also ties into the Hidamari family unit motif: the parents, Sae and Hiro, stand above and behind the children, Yuno and Miyako, and Sae keeps an arm on both the wife and children to symbolize the father holding the family together. The use of this motif shows a very strong bond of closeness between the Hidamaris, elevating them from neighbors or friends to a family with all the intimacy and affection such a bond implies, and final readings give Sae and Hiro 4s and Yuno and Miyako 3s.

Scene 26: 20:52 - 21:27
C: Yu
Yuno takes a bath and contemplates how a conflict with Miyako would unfold. Her upset reaction to even imagining Miyako saying she hates her shows a desire to stay on good terms with Miyako, giving her a 2.
As a side note, the water in her bathtub is becoming increasingly transparent in recent episodes, a troublingly lewd development.

Scene 27: 21:44 - 22:09
C: Yu, Mi, Sa, Hi
In an additional epilogue scene, Yuno and Miyako greet Sae and Hiro as they go to school. Hiro made her and Sae lunch as an apology for the fight, and as far as we know only her and Sae, suggesting they wouldn’t be eating with Yuno and Miyako and would instead be alone to make out up together in peace, giving them significant readings. Miyako says that the two are just going to fight again, suggesting she doesn’t believe their honeymoon phase will last very long. The joke makes Sae quite angry, showing she strongly wants to not fight with Hiro again. As Sae chases Miyako to deliver a bento beating, Yuno cheerily says that things are back to normal, showing a fondness for the Hidamaris’ close status quo. Sae and Hiro end with 4, Yuno with 1, and Miyako with 0.

Final Yurilevel Readings: (both Aokis and Umes are out of 4):
Episode: 1.7643A

  1. Natsume: 4.000U
  2. Hiro: 2.907U
  3. Sae: 2.656U
  4. Miyako: 1.338U
  5. Yuno: 1.251U
  6. Landlady: 0.700U
  7. Yoshinoya: 0.538U

The focus on Sae and Hiro’s relationship and the effects of its absence led to very high yuri readings for everyone involved. For Hiro and Sae, the fight and subsequent reconciliation led to an affirmation of their interdependent dynamic that gave them especially strong readings, while for Yuno and Miyako, their dismay at seeing their “parents” fight and their attempts to resolve the situation gave them healthy readings such that no Hidamari ended below 1 Ume. Curiously, Yuno actually received the same number of yurilevels throughout the episode that Hiro did (each got a total of 26), but, like in nearly every episode, was brought down by her high scene time, a side effect of being the viewpoint character. Natsume got a 4.0, as mentioned in the one scene she appeared in, while the Landlady and Yoshinoya did moderately well but weren’t especially gay.

Further analysis will continue with Hidamari Sketch x365 13.

*: This is probably her editor, since generally Sae has been shown to be responsible to her and not to a manager, but this is how it was translated.
**: It’s glossed over in the show, but it’s worth asking: is Hiro at any fault here? Sae’s anger is mostly caused by Hiro overstepping boundaries she did not know existed. While the limits Sae imposed were arbitrary and ill-defined, Japanese criminal law is clear that being unaware of a wrongdoing is not valid in a defense (a principle known as “ignorantia juris non excusat” [Latin for “ignorance of the law does not excuse”]), so Hiro must shoulder some responsibility.

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