Monday, February 18, 2013

Hidamari Sketch xHoshimittsu 01

Hidamari Sketch xHoshimittsu* 01 includes the four previous Hidamari residents, Yoshinoya, and the Landlady, and introduces the two new Hidamari residents, Nori and Nazuna, in their first speaking roles. Part A involves Yuno’s attempt to pass a supplementary English grammar exam, while Part B surrounds Yuno, Miyako, Sae, and Hiro preparing for Nori and Nazuna’s arrival.

Scene 1: 00:20 - 00:27
C: Yu
Yuno merrily wakes up. The hearts on her pillow are likely representative of innocence instead of anything yuri, so she gets a 0.

Scene 2: 00:32 - 00:37
C: Mi
Miyako eats fish. The symbolism is subtle but it gives her a 1.

Scene 3: 00:38 - 00:50
C: Hi
Hiro wavers between the worlds of the conscious and the sleeping. Nothing to note otherwise, so a 0.

Scene 4: 00:54 - 01:03
C: Sa
Sae wakes up at her desk. Hiro calls to her from the door, and Sae responds that she’ll be there in a minute, but her lack of overt emotional response to Hiro’s presence keeps her at 0 for the scene.

Scene 5: 01:07 - 01:33
C: Yu, Mi, Sa, Hi
Yuno breaks several dishes. Miyako is heading to Yuno’s room before they fall to the ground and shatter, so by wanting to see Yuno regardless of her safety she gets moderate readings for closeness, bringing her to a 2. Sae and Hiro head upstairs after hearing the loud sound, with Hiro asking if Yuno’s alright, giving them each readings for their concern with Hiro getting a larger boost than Sae, ending at 1 for Sae and 2 for Hiro. Yuno seems to want to push the others away from the situation, apologizing for no reason and telling Miyako to go to school without her, and her emotional distance keeps her at 0.

Scene 6: 01:36 - 02:04
C: Yu, Mi, Sa, Hi
Yuno, Miyako, Sae, and Hiro clean up the broken glass. The Hidamaris aside from Yuno all get moderate yurilevels for their willingness to help one of their own, while Yuno gets comparative readings for thanking them for their aid, ending everyone at 2.

Scene 7: 02:06 - 02:10
C: Yu, Mi, Sa, Hi
Yuno, Miyako, Sae, and Hiro rush to school. It’s hard to tell whether it’s Miyako or Sae shouting “we can make it” (いけるは, “ikeru ha”), but Miyako’s assurance that they’ll get to school on time makes it more likely to be Miyako, so she gets the 1 for the encouragement while the others stay at 0.

Scene 8: 03:49 - 05:13
C: Yu, Mi
Yuno and Miyako look forward to the upcoming spring break until Yuno receives her test results. While neither one shows an interest in joining the activity the other suggests, both convey a comfortable, easy-going feel toward each other that is indicative of their comfort toward each other, giving them each moderate friendly readings. When Yuno learns how she did, Miyako asks Yuno if something is wrong, though since it’s obvious from her appearance that something is, Miyako doesn’t get yurilevels for such a redundant question. Both end at 2.

Scene 9: 05:16 - 06:14
C: Yu, Mi, Sa, Hi
Miyako relates Yuno’s results to Sae and Hiro. She reenacts the previous scene as a spoken performance and draws attention to how Yuno’s X-shaped hairclips seem larger than normal, a very light response to Yuno’s dilemma that suggests she does not view it seriously, which will hold her back for the scene. Sae and Hiro each try to console Yuno, with Sae directly telling her to cheer up and Hiro saying that the other Hidamaris are there for her. Sae’s more direct and imperative attempt juxtaposed with Hiro’s group-based emotional attempt evokes a masculine-feminine dynamic that, though the parts are not especially gay, becomes more yuri since it suggests a pair between them, and both are significantly boosted by this. Each Hidamari then promises to help Yuno in some way: Sae promises to help her study, Hiro promises to make delicious meals while she studies, and Miyako promises to simulate the experience of an amusement park; all of these promises in some way show their desire to see Yuno do well and be happy, and all of them get increased readings for it. Throughout, Yuno is grateful to the others for their help, getting moderate side readings to end at 1 for the scene, while Sae and Hiro get 3 and Miyako gets 1.

Scene 10: 06:20 - 06:41
C: Yu, Sa
Sae tries to help Yuno study. She fails, being unable to do anything vaguely helpful for Yuno and blithely hurting her morale. Both end with 0.

Scene 11: 06:45 - 06:56
C: Yu, Mi, Hi
Yuno and Miyako head to Hiro’s room. Miyako wants to have Yuno eat; an affection for food is close to the core of Miyako’s character, and probably stems from the impoverished background that has been alluded to a few times**, so she probably very highly values food. As such, wanting another person to eat is likely the best thing she can wish for someone, and thus her desire to see Yuno eat gives her a 4, with Yuno getting a 1 for going along. Upon inviting them in, Hiro insists that it’s not a problem for Yuno to come over, a welcomeness that gives her a 1 for the scene.

Scene 12: 06:59 - 07:32
C: Yu, Mi, Hi
Hiro serves stew. She doesn’t usually get yurilevels for serving food, but here it’s a result of her promise to help Yuno, so she does get a slight increase in this scene for it. Miyako attempts to withhold food from Yuno, contradicting her wishes from the previous scene, but her attempt to encourage Yuno when she can’t think of the English equivalent for “kamaboko” (蒲鉾, fish cake) cancels this out, bringing her to 0 overall. Yuno also stays at 0, while Hiro gets another 1.

Scene 13: 07:41 - 08:12
C: Yu, Mi, Yo
Yoshinoya sees Yuno and Miyako studying. Miyako is walking alongside Yuno as she reads a book, displaying a patience for Yuno’s sake that shows her desire to see Yuno do well, lifting her moderately. Yoshinoya joins in out of curiosity, which is likely a result of the school being on break and thus any student’s presence being anomalous, so her questioning probably isn’t yuri. She then attempts to show off her English skills by calling out “I love you” (アイラブユウ, “ai rabu yuu”); this phrase is a common string of English among Japanese women and again isn’t particularly directed at Yuno or Miyako, so Yoshinoya ends with 0. Miyako’s response, to call her glamorous, shows an appreciation of Yoshinoya that is quickly counteracted by actually seeing her English skills in action; enough residual yuri remains to raise her to 2 overall, while Yuno stays at 0, as she is primarily focused on her studies.

Scene 14: 08:14 - 08:43
C: Yu, Mi, Sa, Hi
Yuno, Miyako, Sae, and Hiro eat lunch. Yuno credits any improvement she has made in the subject to everyone’s help, a gratitude that leaves Yuno at 2 for the scene. Sae is pleased to think that Yuno did well on the math test, only to be disappointed when it turns out she had misremembered, showing a direct emotional involvement with Yuno’s success and failure that suggests a strong connection to Yuno, but not necessarily a romantic one, so gives her a 3. The other stay at 0.

Scene 15: 08:49 - 09:17
C: Yu
Yuno studies at home. She initially feels that she can do well on the make-up exam thanks to everyone’s help, showing a gratitude to them that raises her readings at first, but her subsequent insecurity has a counteracting effect to give her 1 overall.

Scene 16: 09:23 - 10:07
C: Yu, Mi, Sa, Hi
Miyako, Sae, and Hiro wait for Yuno in the library. Hiro wonders aloud if Yuno is doing well, and Sae assures her that she probably is. Hiro’s desire for Yuno to succeed and Sae’s faith that she will gives them both comparable readings. Sae then shows a concern for Yuno similar to Hiro’s by calling out to the first person she sees enter the library, assuming it’s Yuno; upon realizing it’s not she quickly tries to save face, causing Hiro to laugh, a gesture of . When Yuno enters, Miyako is the first to ask how the test went, suggesting that she is the most involved in Yuno’s success and earning yurilevels for this emotional connection to her. Yuno then accidentally rips the test, prompting Hiro to pat her shoulder to console her, a show of physical intimacy and a suggestion that Hiro’s touch is a form of consolation for Yuno, while Sae and Miyako attempt to tape the paper back together, an attempt to help Yuno that earns them slight increases. Hiro and Sae end with 3, Miyako with 2, and Yuno with 1.

Scene 17: 10:09 - 10:46
C: Yu, Mi, Sa, Hi
Yuno serves stew. Miyako and Sae both express how they’re impressed at Yuno’s perfect score, giving them each a slight increase for their happiness at Yuno’s success. Miyako gets an additional increase for the hearts that appear near her when Yuno announces that she has made stew, an image of happiness at receiving food that has obvious romantic symbolism which isn’t employed here but is recognizable nonetheless. She ends with 2, Sae with 1, and the others with 0.

Scene 18: 10:56 - 11:15
C: Yu, Mi
Yuno and Miyako chat late at night. Yuno eventually notices that it’s past midnight, suggesting she and Miyako have been lost in each other’s company deeply enough to lose track of the time, a strong indication of a yuri dynamic between them. She comments that the lateness brings back memories; these memories are not specified, but whatever memories Yuno and Miyako have of being together late at night seem to be happy ones, and Yuno gets yurilevels for this fond reminiscing. Miyako compliments the stew Yuno made in the previous scene, earning a slight increase, and Yuno promises to make it again, displaying a desire to make Miyako happy. After Yuno brings up the amusement park again, Miyako says they should visit it at some point, making Yuno somehow even happier than she previously was. This scene overall is very explicitly showcasing Yuno and Miyako’s strong relationship, and their bond of intimacy and affection for each other leave both at 4.

Scene 19: 11:20 - 11:35
C: La
The Landlady beholds the power of the almighty dollar. Her greed crowds out possible yuri, keeping her at 0.

Scene 20: 11:40 - 12:08
C: Yu, La
The Landlady tells Yuno that new tenants are coming. Her emotions at having them move in have already been established to be motivated by financial interests, so she gets a 0. Yuno doesn’t respond with anything positive upon hearing the news, so she stays at 0 as well.

Scene 21: 12:12 - 12:23
C: Yu, Mi
Yuno rushes to tell Miyako the news. Her instinct to tell Miyako rather than Sae or Hiro conveys that Yuno most values Miyako for sharing important knowledge, showing a larger care for Miyako
that gives her a 2. Miyako gets a 1 for listening and for responding favorably.

Scene 22: 12:26 - 12:30
C: Mi, Hi
Miyako rushes to tell Hiro a version of the news. Miyako’s instinct to tell Hiro instead of Sae again shows a preference for Hiro, but since the choice is only between two people it’s not as strong, so she only gets 1. Since Hiro is more passive here than Miyako was in the previous scene, she doesn’t get any readings.

Scene 23: 12:32 - 12:38
C: Sa, Hi
Hiro tells Sae something vaguely connected to the news. Again, Hiro is choosing to tell Sae rather than Yuno, but here she might be assuming that Yuno already knows since Miyako told her, an interpretation of Miyako as close to Yuno that gives her a 2. Sae’s confusion doesn’t suggest yuri, and she gets a 0.

Scene 24: 12:44 - 13:10
C: Yu, Mi, Sa, Hi, La
The Landlady clarifies the situation for the current Hidamaris. Sae and Hiro seem interested in having new neighbors, and considering Yuno and Miyako are aware that Hidamari Apartments does not allow boys it’s likely Sae and Hiro do as well, so their interest is more specifically in having new female neighbors, giving them each 2. The rest of the scene is further reinforcement of the Landlady’s lust for money, so nobody else receives yurilevels.

Scene 25: 13:13 - 13:34
C: Yu, Mi
Yuno and Miyako clean up Room 203. Yuno jokes that the new tenants will be taller than her, only to respond with surprise when Miyako agrees. Miyako’s inability to avoid commenting on Yuno’s height gets her a 0, while Yuno also ends at 0 for not especially conveying yuri.

Scene 26: 13:35 - 14:22
C: Sa, Hi, La
Sae and Hiro talk about their first impressions of each other. Hiro laughs at remembering that she thought they would have a hard time getting along well, and the slight decrease from her initial hostility is balanced by her capacity to recognize her fault so it doesn’t significantly affect her. Sae pretends for a time that she didn’t have a first impression of Hiro, blushing as she does, before confessing that Hiro reminded her of a sweet young child (女の子だな, “onnanoko da na,” translated by the subtitle group as “sugar and spice” but carrying the same connotations), causing Hiro to join her in blushing deeply. The situation becomes personal and intimate enough that the Landlady becomes distressed at invading their privacy, and she ends at 2 for recognizing the dynamics at play in this scene, while Hiro gets 3 and Sae gets 4.

Scene 27: 14:24 - 15:20
C: Yu, Mi, Sa, Hi, La
The current Hidamaris and the Landlady eat takeout for lunch. The Landlady offers the Hidamaris their choice of five lunches, and they proceed to leave her with the worst offering, a mixed vegetable dish, so while they’re willing to take advantage of the Landlady’s generosity, nobody is noble enough to actually let her have a meal with in it, keeping their yurilevels down. After the Landlady mentions having installed an Internet connection, Sae asks Miyako if she knows what the acronym IT stands for as if she’s talking to a child, a possible evocation of the Hidamari family motif that’s too subtle to give her anything other than a 1. The Landlady also gets 1, and the rest stay at 0.

Scene 28: 15:24 - 15:52
C: Yu, Mi, Yo
Yuno and Miyako tell Yoshinoya about the new Hidamaris. Their desire to inform her, and Yoshinoya’s interest, both likely relate to the fact that new Hidamari residents mean new students and thus something that Yoshinoya should know from a professional standpoint, so it’s probably not yuri. Yoshinoya shows Yuno and Miyako sets of napkins that she plans to give the new tenants. These napkins are frilly enough that they can be considered at least moderately gay, so Yoshinoya gets a 1.

Scene 29: 15:53 - 16:16
C: Yu, Mi, La
Yuno, Miyako, and the Landlady finish cleaning Room 203. Miyako suggests that for the day in between then and their arrival, everyone draws what they think the new tenants will look like, displaying a curiosity about the new students that gets her a 2. Yuno doesn’t show a similar interest, so stays at 0, while the Landlady gets 0 as well since she acts mostly as a source of information rather than an active participant in the scene.

Scene 30: 16:25 - 17:08
C: Yu, Mi
Yuno and Miyako remember their first day together. Miyako is able to intuit that Yuno is stressed about getting new neighbors; unlike earlier, her mood is more ambiguous here, so Miyako gets yurilevels for it in this scene. She then recalls the day Yuno moved into Hidamari Apartments (see Hidamari Sketch x365 01), specifically bringing up, of all scenes, when they took a bath together. Both seem to greatly enjoy thinking about this memory, and their warm memories of being naked together in an enclosed space leave Yuno with 3 and Miyako with 4.

Scene 31: 17:08 - 17:11
C: Yu, Mi
Yuno and Miyako look outside. No yuri to comment on.

Scene 32: 17:15 - 18:02
C: Yu, Mi, Sa, Hi
The Hidamaris gather in anticipation of incorporating new members. Miyako tugs on Sae’s arm for a full 6 seconds, an act of physical intimacy that brings her to a 3 for the scene, with Sae receiving a 1 for vaguely but impotently resisting. Yuno and Hiro don’t convey significant yuri and end at 0 each.

Scene 33: 18:07 - 18:22
C: Na
Nazuna is introduced. Her general expression and countenance suggests apprehension about entering Hidamari Apartments, and she’s too feminine in appearance (pink frilly dress, stockings and heels, soft like a little plush doll) to convey overt yuri. She enters the investigation with a 0.

Scene 34: 18:24 - 18:54
C: Na
Nazuna is introduced to the despair of solitude. Her terror at being alone is likely a general inability to deal with isolation rather than a need to be close to the other Hidamaris, so here and in the future her autophobia will not affect her yurilevels and she receives a 0.

Scene 35: 19:03 - 19:17
C: No
Nori is introduced. Her vivacity and more casual dress suggests a livelier personality than Nazuna, but these qualities are not necessarily associated with yuri, so she gets a 0.

Scene 36: 19:17 - 19:25
C: No
Nori attempts to greet her neighbors. It’s uncertain whether she’s aware that Hidamari Apartments only houses girls, so her attempts to meet them don’t get her yurilevels.

Scene 37: 19:26 - 19:38
C: No, Na
Nazuna closes herself off from Nori. Nori doesn’t seem to notice anyone is inside and gets another 0, while Nazuna also gets 0 for failing to answer the door, opting to cry instead.

Scene 38: 19:44 - 20:06
C: Yu, Mi, Sa, Hi
Yuno, Miyako, Sae, and Hiro return to Hidamari. Miyako and Yuno each continue to be curious about their new residents. Hiro proposes they drink tea together and wait, a group activity that suggests she wants to spend time with the others. She, Yuno, and Miyako each get 2, while Sae doesn’t notably show yuri and stays at 0.

Scene 39: 20:12 - 20:27
C: Yu, Mi, Sa, Hi, No, Na
The Hidamaris assemble. Nobody seems especially happy to see each other, so everyone stays at 0.

Scene 40: 20:36 - 20:55
C: Yu
Yuno bathes in orange juice***. She expresses her hope that she can get along with Nori and Nazuna, using the “-chan” honorific for both. Her use of this generally informal honorific can be attributed to her being older than them, and not to a very rapid warming to them, but she still gets a 1 for desiring friendly relations.

Scene 41: 20:55 - 22:07
C: Yu, Mi, Sa, Hi, No, Na
The Hidamaris acquaint themselves with each other. The scene is conveyed through Polaroid images, presumably taken mostly by Yuno, so the proliferation of portrait shots of Nori and Nazuna signals a quick warming to them that will help Yuno significantly. Other images include Hiro with a box of chocolates, which are probably a welcoming present for Nori and Nazuna that gives her slight benefits since it’s more likely a polite gesture than a yuri one, and Miyako eating from this box of chocolates, displaying an avarice that reduces her yurilevels. Two other images show Hiro wiping Sae’s mouth and Miyako holding Yuno’s shoulder, both of which give the involved parties increases for their physical intimacy. The final image shown has Miyako holding both Nori and Nazuna’s shoulders, while Hiro rests her hand on Nazuna’s upper arm; since everyone seems to be touching Nazuna, she must have been especially quick to make good relations with the others and receives yurilevels for this rapid bonding. While the pictures are being shown, the dialogue gives Nori significant readings for her excitement at having a neighbor her age and at being invited by Hiro for tea. She, Sae, and Hiro end with 2, while the others end with 3.

Final Yurilevel Readings: (both Aokis and Umes are out of 4)
Episode: 1.3709A

  1. Sae: 1.836U
  2. Miyako: 1.693U
  3. Nazuna: 1.500U
  4. Hiro: 1.482U
  5. Nori: 1.190U
  6. Yuno: 1.062U
  7. Landlady: 0.482U
  8. Yoshinoya: 0.474U

The third season begins with a strong opening episode filled with consistent, low-level friendly yuri. A remarkably high number of scenes (this is the first episode to exceed 40) did not prevent a low score, as other episodes with lots of scenes have, so it’s likely that the more pervasive atmosphere of yuri will lead to large increases in readings over the previous two seasons.
Nori and Nazuna only appeared briefly near the end, appearing less than even the Landlady, so their readings are skewed by Scene 41, the only scene either of them received yurilevels in. I address this primarily because Nazuna got such a high ranking from her 3 in the aforementioned scene, and in future episodes when she and Nori have more time and scenes their readings will be more balanced and more indicative of their characters. As for the others, there are no major surprises in how they did, though Miyako performed particularly well in this episode due to her drive to help Yuno pass her exam.

Further analysis will continue with Hidamari Sketch xHoshimittsu 02.

*: “Hoshimittsu” is the English transliteration of the Japanese “ほしみっつ” (“three stars”), itself the pronunciation of the actual subtitle used in the series, “☆☆☆.” All three subtitles are commonly used.
**: This is similar to the characterization of Sakura Kyouko in “Puella Magi Madoka Magica,” another series Ume Aoki worked on. The series employ varying levels of seriousness in how they treat this topic. ***: Oranges are somewhat gay, but in general yuri fruits tend to be melons.

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