Monday, May 27, 2013

Hidamari Sketch xHoshimittsu OVA 01

Hidamari Sketch xHoshimittsu OVA 01 includes the six Hidamari residents, Yoshinoya, the Landlady, Natsume, Kuwahara, and a classmate of Natsume’s. Part A follows the Hidamari residents visiting a newly-opened family restaurant*, and Part B details Natsume’s backstory, primarily her entrance ceremony and meeting Sae.

Scene 01: 00:05 - 00:34
C: Yo
Yoshinoya misinterprets the school schedule. The actions she considers for her free afternoon are not explicitly said by her to include anybody else, least of all other women, so she gets a 0 for it.

Scene 02: 02:10 - 03:01
C: Yu, Mi, Sa, Hi, No, Na
The Hidamaris have radio exercises and check their mail. Miyako attempts to motivate Hiro to overcome her tiredness, which prompts Sae to reassure Miyako that getting her outside is progress. Both get minor readings here, Miyako for attempting to include Hiro and Sae for defending her, belying a protective instinct toward Hiro. Later, when reading a flyer for the new local restaurant, Sae turns to Hiro and looks at her for around two to three seconds, long enough to be noticeable but not quite long enough to convey that she is staring with intent at Hiro, giving her a slight increase that is subsumed by her earlier boost. Hiro suggests to the others that they all go to the restaurant after school, which, given that the episode is set on a half-day, makes it a short enough time frame to suggest that she has a strong desire to spend time with everyone and getting minor friendly yurilevels. She, Sae, and Miyako all end with 1, the others with 0.

Scene 03: 03:07 - 03:51
C: Yu, Mi
Yuno and Miyako discuss the diner. Yuno gets a 1 for showing curiosity toward Miyako by asking if she had any restaurants nearby growing up, but Miyako gets 0 since she doesn’t reciprocate Yuno’s interest, instead opting to hint more at her mysterious past.

Scene 04: 03:54 - 04:17
C: Yu, Mi, Yo
Yoshinoya talks to Yuno and Miyako. She teasingly asks if she’s interrupting a private conversation, conveying she believes Yuno and Miyako are speaking intimately and getting a moderate increase for her interpretation of their relationship. Yuno politely gives her flyer to Yoshinoya and Yoshinoya thanks her, but neither are affected since there seems to be no underlying yuri motivations on either side. Yoshinoya gets 2 and Yuno and Miyako end with 0.

Scene 05: 04:20 - 04:46
C: Yu, Mi, No, Na
Yuno, Miyako, Nori, and Nazuna wait for Sae and Hiro to join them. When asked why everyone still has their uniforms on, Yuno says that she wanted to go to the restaurant in the school uniform. She adds that they never get to do so, imagining two situations where she and other Hidamaris are in their school uniforms at a public venue, the first being her and Miyako at a cafe and the second being her, Miyako, Sae, and Hiro in a karaoke room. While her explanation that she wants to feel as if she’s dropping in somewhere isn’t especially yuri, the examples she gives are worth noting. The second is apparently derived from when the (at the time) four Hidamaris go to a karaoke box in Hidamari Sketch 04, but there isn’t a clear analogue for her and Miyako at a cafe, suggesting this is something she imagines or wants. This desire to spend time with Miyako gets her a 2, while everyone else stays at 0 for lack of yuri action.

Scene 06: 04:46 - 05:06
C: Yu, Mi, Sa, Hi, No, Na
The Hidamaris prepare to depart. Sae and Hiro enter by saying “we’re back” (ただいま, “tadaima”), to which the others respond “welcome back” (おかえりなさい, “okaeri nasai”). While these are usually indications that Hidamari Apartments is a home and that the Hidamaris are a family, these statements are given here knowing that everyone is about to leave; hence the translations of “we’re back” and “welcome back” instead of “we’re home” and “welcome home.” Nothing else of note occurs, so everyone ends with 0.

Scene 07: 05:07 - 06:02
C: Yo, Ku
Hidamari Sketch becomes self-aware. Yoshinoya enters Kuwahara’s office and asks her out to lunch, showing her the flyer Yuno gave her in Scene 04. While initially seeming to be a gesture of friendliness, it’s dampened by her insistence that they go soon to use the coupons since it implies she wants to use the coupons more than she wants to spend time with Kuwahara. Kuwahara for her part is confused by Yoshinoya’s presence, but says that they can go after the teachers’ inservice, getting a slight increase for being open to the idea of being with Yoshinoya. Each ends with 1.

Scene 08: 06:10 - 06:39
C: Yu, Mi, Sa, Hi, No, Na
The Hidamaris walk to the family restaurant. Yuno says she has fun going out with the others, raising her to 1, but other than that nothing of note occurs and everyone else stays at 0.

Scene 09: 06:45 - 08:00
C: Yu, Mi, Sa, Hi, No, Na, La
The Hidamaris enter the family restaurant and see the Landlady working as a waitress. Before the Landlady is first shown, a small group of other waitresses are shown (they are left out of the investigation, but one appears to be holding another’s hair). Compared to them, the Landlady is significantly more sexualized, being introduced in a provocative pose and having the top buttons of her shirt undone to reveal more of her chest. It’s unclear who this lewdness is supposed to appeal to, but since the clientele of the restaurant seems to be mixed-gender, it doesn’t help her yurilevels. The Hidamaris are alarmed to see her, but most of them eventually return to their normal states, an unnerved Hiro being the exception. Yuno calms down enough to agree with the Landlady’s self-aggrandizing remark that she fits in well as a waitress, giving Yuno an increase for appreciating her appearance. The Landlady then seats and waits on the Hidamaris, despite there being a number of other available waitresses. The possibilities for this are that the Landlady wanted to be the one to serve them, which would significantly boost her readings, or that the other waitresses let her wait on the Hidamaris since she was talking to them familiarly, which still gives her a moderate increase. The Landlady ends with 3, Yuno with 2, and the others with 0.

Scene 10: 08:00 - 08:51
C: Yu, Mi, Sa, Hi, No, Na
Meal options are considered. The three menus on the table are split according to standard Hidamari duos, raising everyone slightly for the suggestion of pairings. Hiro expresses concern about her caloric intake, prompting Sae and Nori to reassure her that she doesn’t have to worry and helping them both. Sae upsets Yuno by pressing the order button for reasons that were never said out loud but that Miyako somehow knew already, giving Yuno and Miyako moderate increases for this intimacy. They end with 2, while everyone else gets 1.

Scene 11: 08:53 - 09:30
C: Yu, Mi, Sa, Hi, No, Na, La
Everyone gives the Landlady their orders. Most of the orders are benign, though Sae gets a slight increase for eating fish. Sae gets another boost for ordering a drink bar for everyone, thus assuming a leadership role among the group that fits her usual role as the paterfamilias of the Hidamaris. She ends with 2, everyone else stays at 0.

Scene 12: 09:30 - 10:39
C: Yu, Mi, Sa, Hi, No, Na
The Hidamaris drink. Yuno and Miyako get drinks for everyone, slightly raising their readings for this friendly gesture. When they return, the Hidamaris talk about the usefulness of the diner. Nori says to Nazuna that they could come with friends to study, increasing Nori’s yurilevels for her desire to spend time with a group of women, and Hiro suggests that Sae could go to the diner for a change of pace, giving her a moderate boost for showing concern for Sae. Sae goes to get a drink for Miyako, getting similar readings to what Yuno and Miyako received earlier. Hiro ends with 2, Yuno, Miyako, Sae, and Nori with 1, and Nazuna with 0.

Scene 13: 10:41 - 11:25
C: Sa, Nt
Sae and Natsume have an encounter at the drink bar. Natsume is surprised to see Sae but regains her composure and insists to her that she came to the restaurant with a friend. Sae shows no care about this, and asks Natsume for sugar and milk. Natsume, despite her defensiveness, complies with Sae’s requests, getting an increase for wanting to give Sae everything she wants. She loses this gain by mocking Sae for her tastes in drinks, which is enough to make Sae get angry at her, so both end with 0.

Scene 14: 11:25 - 11:49
C: Yu, Mi, Sa, Hi, No, Na
A miffed Sae returns to the table. Miyako is excited to see Sae return, but it’s more likely she’s excited to get her drink so it doesn’t affect her readings. Sae tersely shoves the coffee toward Miyako, then bitterly drinks the cola before being informed by Miyako that she mixed up the drinks. Her actions here suggest that Natsume’s comments significantly affected her, possibly because she considers Natsume a friend (see x365 10) and consequently feels hurt. She gets an increase for this, rising to 2, while the others stay at 0.

Scene 15: 11:49 - 12:11
C: Yu, Mi, Sa, Hi, No, Na, La
The Landlady brings food. She gives Miyako an extra serving of rice, showing a special consideration for her appetite that raises her readings. Miyako is similarly boosted by her strong gratitude, conveyed through a pink circle-filled background, and both end at 2. Everyone else stays at 0.

Scene 16: 12:12 - 13:03
C: Yu, Mi, Sa, Hi, No, Na
Food is consumed. Nori and Nazuna share their meals with each other, a display of closeness and comfort that gives them each 3s. Sae shows friendly concern for Miyako when she asks her to eat more slowly, raising her to 1. The rest end at 0.

Scene 17: 13:03 - 13:37
C: Yu, Mi, Sa, Hi, No, Na, La
The Landlady brings ice cream. She explains that the ice cream is a special offer for the opening of the restaurant, so since it’s not an extra show of kindness toward the Hidamaris the Landlady stays at 0. Hiro feels guilt over having eaten the sundae earlier upon receiving the ice cream. Miyako tries to take advantage of this guilt to eat her ice cream, and Sae shames her for wanting to keep the dessert; both stay at 0 for their lack of sympathy. Their comments don’t seem to affect Hiro, who continues to smile throughout the scene, suggesting a comfort with them that gives her a 2. The others have no notable yuri moments and get 0.

Scene 18: 13:39 - 14:16
C: Yu, Mi, Sa, Hi, No, Na
Miyako’s skirt drops. As the Hidamaris prepare to leave, Sae and Hiro stand up simultaneously, as do Nori and Nazuna; both pairs are helped by this since their synchronization belies a deep connection. When Miyako tries to stand up, a clip on her skirt pops off, making Yuno, Sae, and Hiro blush strongly out of embarrassment from nearly seeing her unclothed. Those three get moderate increases since it’s equally possible their embarrassment could be on Miyako’s behalf or for their own for associating Miyako’s nudity with embarrassing thoughts. Sae and Hiro end with 3, Yuno with 2, Nori and Nazuna with 1, and Miyako with 0.

Scene 19: 14:19 - 15:04
C: Yu, Mi, Sa, Hi, No, Na, Yo, Ku
The Hidamaris encounter Yoshinoya and Kuwahara. Yuno encourages Miyako to keep going despite her overfilled stomach, earning her a 1. Nazuna jokes that Miyako looks pregnant, keeping her steadfast at 0 for associating Miyako with a (typically**) heterosexual act; Yoshinoya gets a 0 as well for making the same connection later on. Nori is raised to 1 for complimenting the staff at the restaurant since the only staff they interacted with was the Landlady. Nobody else does anything worth mentioning.

Scene 20: 15:08 - 15:22
C: Yu, Mi, Sa, Hi, No, Na
The Hidamaris return to Hidamari. Nazuna asks Nori to come to her apartment to study, which Nori agrees to; both receive a 2 for their desire to spend time alone with each other. Miyako gets a 1 for thanking Hiro for her safety pin, and the rest get 0s.

Scene 21: 15:24 - 15:31
C: Yu, Mi, Na
Nazuna departs. She thanks Yuno and Miyako for the time they spent together, which they happily accept. Everyone is raised to 1.

Scene 22: 15:31 - 15:52
C: Yu, Mi
Miyako apologizes to Yuno for not trying every drink at the restaurant. Her belief that she somehow let Yuno down conveys she tries to meet Yuno’s expectations of her, a desire for her approval that raises her to 2. Yuno’s assurance that she wasn’t disappointed by Miyako gives her a 2 as well for her acceptance of Miyako’s faults.

Scene 23: 15:59 - 16:14
C: Yu, Mi
Yuno sings in the bath. Her joining in with Miyako’s song shows a fondness for her that raises her to 2; Miyako doesn’t respond, so she stays at 0.

Scene 24: 16:22 - 16:40
C: Nt
Natsume eats dinner with her mother. Her reaction to hearing that her mother can’t go to the Yamabuki entrance ceremony is alarm that she will be going along, heavily suggesting that her father is not present or does not live with her and her mother. It doesn’t notably affect this particular scene, leaving Natsume with a 0, but it could be important in understanding Natsume as a character. If there really is an absence of a paternal figure in Natsume’s life, she may be more inclined to approach more masculine people as a surrogate father, but would additionally have greater difficulty interacting with such people due to a lifetime of being around women. Continuing this line of logic, it’s been mentioned elsewhere throughout this investigation that Sae comes across as masculine. If Natsume wants a masculine person in her life but is only accustomed to dealing with more feminine people, it would explain both her attraction toward Sae and her inability to properly convey whatever feelings she may have for her.

Scene 25: 16:55 - 18:10
C: Nt
The world conspires against Natsume. Again there’s nothing in this scene affecting Natsume’s yurilevels, but for future reference the scene is primarily grayscale and faded with dim lighting, creating a melancholy atmosphere.

Scene 26: 18:15 - 18:26
C: Nt
Natsume arrives at school. The coloring system from the previous scene continues. Nothing else to note.

Scene 27: 18:26 - 18:55
C: Nt
Natsume continues to be spat upon by life. The coloring system from the previous two scenes continue. Nothing else to note.

Scene 28: 18:55 - 19:35
C: Sa, Nt
Sae and Natsume meet. Their connection begins when Sae tells Natsume she might be at the wrong locker. Her impetus for doing so is never stated, but it’s likely that Sae is simply the kind of person that would help a stranger (see x365 07, where she tries to comfort Yuno seconds after meeting her). While this dampens her yurilevel boost from helping Natsume, she still gets a healthy increase for this show of kindness. Natsume’s reaction to Sae’s help is unmistakably yuri: upon first setting eyes on her and hearing her voice, color and light return to the scene, metaphorically making Sae the color and light in Natsume’s life. She moves through the rest of the scene in a daze, wonderstruck, while Sae continues to talk with her more pleasantly than would be expected between newly-acquainted persons, suggesting Sae has already warmed to Natsume. She ends with 3, while Natsume gets 4.

Scene 29: 19:35 - 20:10
C: Sa, Nt
Sae walks Natsume to the auditorium. Through the majority of the scene, all other students and much of the background are completely blanked to leave only Sae and Natsume. Since the viewpoint in this segment is assumed to be Natsume’s, this conveys that meeting Sae has caused everything else to be irrelevant, suggesting a singular focus on her. The idea of Natsume forgetting about everything except herself and Sae is also supported by how they each receive individual shots with little to no background, where both, especially Sae, are depicted in bright pastels. As they walk together, cherry blossom petals are shown to fall around them, a purely artistic image seeing as they are inside. Cherry blossoms have been mentioned previously to have important significance in Japan, commonly indicating spring or love; while the episode does take place in spring, the use of the image in an indoor scene suggests it is indicating love, which can be read as an outright confirmation that what Natsume is feeling in the scene is romantic in nature. Sae, meanwhile, continues to talk about her writing and living circumstances, apologizing at one point for talking so much. Her actions come across more as friendly in nature with little overt romance, but she gets a minor boost near the end for the particularly warm smile she gives Natsume as she tells Natsume her name; Natsume is further helped afterwards, when Sae fades away into a brilliant white light after Natsume learns her name, again suggesting a quickly-developed infatuation with her. Sae ends with 2, and Natsume with 4.

Scene 30: 20:11 - 20:27
C: Nt
Natsume contemplates Sae. Her review of everything she knows about Sae includes the facts that she lives alone, is in the arts department but writes, and is tall. All of these point to an admiration of Sae, the first for her self-sufficiency, the second for her varied talents, and the third for her physical appearance. After thinking of Sae’s character details, Natsume remembers the smile Sae gave her, which, in her memory, goes on for longer than it did in the original scene, suggesting Natsume is retroactively changing her memory to make Sae fonder toward her. Her desire for Sae to admire her is also seen when Natsume breathlessly considers the possibility of her and Sae becoming “close friends” (親友, “shinyuu”). “Close friends” is an incomplete translation for the term “shinyuu” given its connotations. “Shinyuu,” according to studies*** into Japanese ideas of friendship and interpersonal relationships, indicates an intensely intimate relationship that would be closer to “best friends” or something even stronger. As Natsume imagines being “shinyuu” with Sae, the image cuts to a field of light pink pastel with bubbles and doilies, all strongly indicating overwhelming joy at the thought****. Natsume’s infatuation with Sae gets her another 4.

Scene 31: 20:47 - 20:53
C: Nt, Natsume’s classmate
Natsume asks about Class A’s schedule. Her desire to know if Class A (Sae’s class) is on homeroom or not can be inferred to convey Natsume’s desire to see Sae, but the scene is too brief and nothing is made explicit enough for Natsume to get above a 2. Her classmate, with a total of one line and one toothy grin, gets 0.

Scene 32: 20:54 - 21:14
C: Nt
Natsume goes to visit Sae. The scene is again filled with cherry blossom petals and light colors as she thinks about Sae, continuing the images from previous scenes relating to her affection toward Sae. She assures herself that, since she has plenty of friends in her class, she will be able to talk to Sae instead of just staring fondly at her like she did previously. It’s curious that she notes that she’s made other friends, since her meeting and befriending them is totally skipped. If Natsume had latched onto Sae merely because she wanted a friend, she would have done the same with the other girls in her class and we would have seen this, but because she did not, Sae must be especially important to her, reinforcing the idea that Natsume has a romantic affection for Sae. Natsume easily gets another 4.

Scene 33: 21:14 - 21:47
C: Sa, Hi, Nt
Suffering is confirmed to exist. After Natsume runs excitedly into Sae’s class, eager to talk to her again, she is immediately depressed by seeing Sae talking to Hiro, who have apparently bonded by this time. Hiro tells Sae that she was going to make stew and asks if she wants some, which Sae accepts with some degree of embarrassment. While they appear to have formed some degree of closeness by this time, they are not yet as intimate as they are in the main timeline of the series: Hiro is not directly offering to make Sae dinner, and Sae is not yet fully comfortable accepting Hiro’s gestures. Nonetheless, Natsume is horrified that Sae is talking to a “cute” (可愛い, “kawaii”) person so casually, and further dismayed as she realizes Hiro likely lives in Sae’s apartment building. When Sae greets Natsume, Natsume rejects her angrily and runs, seeming to believe that talking to a cute girl is the same as denying Natsume, an irrational assumption that makes sense if she thinks Hiro is a romantic rival that Sae has chosen over her. This is a blatant projection of her feelings onto Sae and Hiro, earning her another 4. Sae and Hiro’s friendliness gets them each 2.

Scene 34: 21:53 - 22:05
C: Nt
Natsume suffers further. The opening shot of a dripping faucet implies Natsume is crying due to her experience with Sae in the previous scene. She is shown alone in her room, where everything is once again dark and faded. The main color in the shot is a green closely resembling Natsume’s hair color, with most non-dark objects holding this color. The main exception to this is Natsume’s curtain, decorated with a pattern of hearts and colored blue like Sae’s hair, associating the symbolism of hearts (i.e., romance and love) with Sae. Natsume is depressed about Sae becoming friends with somebody other than her and about being cold toward Sae, and oscillates between being upset at Sae and blaming herself. Her ultimate conclusion is that Sae didn’t pay attention to her feelings, which is immediately followed by a shot of three cherry blossom petals in the shapes of hearts, conveying that these feelings are romantic. Seeing as this is the definition of homosexuality, she gets another 4.

Final Yurilevel Readings: (both Aokis and Umes are out of 4)
Episode: 1.0118A
  1. Natsume: 1.925U
  2. Landlady: 1.601U
  3. Sae: 1.153U
  4. Yuno: 0.926U
  5. Hiro: 0.845U
  6. Yoshinoya: 0.664U
  7. Nori: 0.654U
  8. Kuwahara: 0.550U
  9. Miyako: 0.471U
  10. Nazuna: 0.466U
  11. Natsume’s classmate: 0.000U

Another relatively low-yuri episode, mostly owing to a lackluster romance-light performance in Part A. Part B somewhat made up for it, taking only a third of the total scene time but contributing half the overall Aokis, but even there Natsume only met Sae about halfway into the segment. Natsume’s obvious limerence propelled her to the top of the character rankings, but she was still kept down by the half of the segment that followed her going to school. The Landlady did surprisingly well, getting high readings in her longer scenes for her kindness toward the Hidamaris outside of their usual landlady-tenant relationship. Nori and Nazuna’s readings were lower than usual since they were out of focus for much of the episode and had little opportunity for advancement.
With the segment focusing on her in this episode, Natsume has moved to at most an inch from canonically being a lesbian. If this investigation were about determining whether or not the characters in Hidamari Sketch were gay, this would raise some significant issues with the core of the project; fortunately, yurilevels measure how much a character exhibits homosexuality in a scene, rather than the probability of homosexuality, so even a canon lesbian would still not receive constant 4s by merit of being a canon lesbian. The investigation thus continues with reasonable confidence. That said, Natsume has always been something of an outlier who disproportionately raises Aoki readings, but it’s always assumed that such increased yurilevels are intentional on the part of Ume Aoki and Studio Shaft.

Further analysis will continue with Hidamari Sketch xHoshimittsu OVA 02.

*: The translation used by Nutbladder is “diner,” but the term used in the show is “famiresu” (ファミレス), the Japanese transliteration of “family restaurant.” Since this is a perfectly valid phrase in English, I went with “family restaurant” for greater accuracy.
**: There are ways women can become pregnant without engaging in heterosexuality, such as in vitro fertilization or intrauterine insemination. However, Nazuna is suggested to be fairly naive, and would likely not know about these options.
***: Works cited:
Namba, K. “Seinen ni totte nakama towa nanika: Taijin kankei ni okeru ichizuke to  tomodachi–shinyuu tono hikakukara [The concept of “nakama” (peer groups) in Japanese adolescence: Its position within personal relationships compared with friends and best friends].” The Japanese Journal of Developmental Psychology, 16.3 (2005): 276-285.
McHugh, Charles, Koji Uenishi, and Liping Li. "Nakama Consciousness and Social Behavior Reported by Adult Japanese Males and Females." Intercultural Communication Studies XIX.2 (2010): 173-83.
****: Natsume’s happiness has previously been associated with such imagery in x365 OVA 02, where she was again close to Sae.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Hidamari Sketch xHoshimittsu 12

Hidamari Sketch xHoshimittsu 12 includes the six Hidamari residents, Yoshinoya, the Landlady, and Kuwahara. The episode focuses on the Hidamaris harvesting and then eating tomatoes.

Scene 01: 00:06 - 00:43

C: Yo
Yoshinoya talks on the phone. Identifying who she is talking to was especially difficult since there are few specific indications who it might be (the likely possibility being her mother, given her voice), but because we know nothing about any possible friends of hers, her conversation partner can be assumed to be inconsequential. Yoshinoya seems attached to whoever she’s talking to, asking to keep talking after her partner says she will go to sleep, so she gets a 1.

Scene 02: 02:24 - 05:27
C: Yu, Mi, Sa, Hi, No, Na
Tomatoes are harvested. The scene opens with everyone but Hiro pleasantly doing morning radio exercises that start them with slightly elevated readings for enjoying activities together. Hiro then appears, to the surprise of the others, since she’s been established to be a very late sleeper; Nazuna still invites her to join them, helping her for her desire to include Hiro. During exercise, Hiro is lethargy and slow-moving from her residual tiredness, but is then shown acting normally once Sae talks to her. Hiro gets moderate readings from this change of mood because, though she attributes it to the exercises themselves, the way the shots are set up and the contrast between them suggest to the viewer that talking to Sae is what made Hiro excited/happy enough to overcome her fatigue. Sae invites her to do it every day (referring to radio exercises), which Hiro agrees to; both get another increase for wanting to do the exercises together. After finishing exercises, Sae asks the others what they will be doing today, implying an unstated assumption among everyone that they would have a group activity. Miyako says the time has come to pick tomatoes, which is delayed slightly on Nazuna’s request to get her phone to take pictures. Shortly after she asks to do so, Yuno and Nori also decide to go and get their phones. This is noteworthy since Yuno and Nori are shown to be the closest to Nazuna of the other five Hidamaris, which is conveyed again here by their heightened suggestibility to her and nets them both minor increases; Miyako, who opts for her sketchbook, displays independent thought and thus does not benefit. While harvesting, the Hidamaris split into their usual groups of two, reinforcing the increased emphasis this season on the characters as pairs rather than the cohesive whole seen in previous seasons. Yuno takes a picture of Miyako, getting a slight increase for the friendly action of wanting to remember a moment with her. Sae and Hiro warmly talk about the hard work everyone put into the tomatoes, which can’t readily be called indicative of a parent-type position for them but does convey they are in some sense overseeing the other Hidamaris and hold a dominant position. Everyone is helped by this, since the unspoken nature of this power hierarchy suggests everyone is familiar enough with each other to know their place in the order. Nazuna and Nori reminisce about Nazuna’s attempts to tie stakes around the tomato stalks, receiving slight increases for thinking warmly of a shared memory. Everyone ends with a 2.

Scene 03: 05:27 - 06:07
C: Yu, Mi, Sa, Hi, No, Na, La
The Hidamaris encounter the Landlady outside. Hiro thanks her for the idea to grow tomatoes and invites her to a tomato-based dinner, to which she agrees. The gesture of friendliness gives Hiro a 1 for offering and the Landlady a 1 as well for accepting, and everyone else gets 0 for their inaction.

Scene 04: 06:10 - 07:18
C: Yu, Mi, Sa, Hi, No, Na
The Hidamaris taste their tomatoes. Miyako at one point refers to Yuno as “Yuno-uebu” (ゆのーうえぶ)*, an honorific possibly related to the archaic “ue” (上) which denotes a high level of respect. She gets 1 for this quick show of reverence toward Yuno, while the others stay at 0.

Scene 05: 07:20 - 07:40
C: Yu, No, Na
Yuno, Nori, and Nazuna buy materials for dinner. Yuno’s surprise at Nori’s perceived Italian styles of eating don’t strongly convey yuri, and since there is nothing else in the scene worth commenting on, everyone ends with 0.

Scene 06: 07:41 - 08:12
C: Yu, No, Na, Yo
Yoshinoya encounters Yuno, Nori, and Nazuna. Yoshinoya, being in a depressive state from having to work, is unable to deliver significant yuri, but Yuno, Nori, and Nazuna each get slight increases from their appreciation of her work. They get 1s, Yoshinoya gets 0.

Scene 07: 08:15 - 08:47
C: Yu, No, Na
Yuno, Nori, and Nazuna walk home. Nazuna expresses concern about one of her test grades, and Nori assures her that she did well because they studied together. Nori giving herself credit for Nazuna’s success tempers the boost she received from trying to cheer her up, so she only ends with 1. Nazuna, who is unaffected by Nori’s words, stays at 0, while Yuno, who stays out of their conversation except to express her own worries about the tests, also gets a 0.

Scene 08: 08:54 - 09:39
C: Mi, Sa, Hi
Miyako, Sae, and Hiro work on pasta. Miyako asks Sae about how long she spends each day working on writing, which she says varies. Hiro comments that on days when she can’t work, she gets tense, displaying a knowledge of Sae’s emotional states that Sae finds embarrassing. Her embarrassment is odd, given Hiro makes this out to be a recurring event and Sae is presumably fine with her knowing, so it’s likely that she’s more concerned with Hiro saying it out loud while someone else is nearby. This suggests she considers this type of knowledge private and that, by letting Hiro know it as well, she has a high degree of emotional intimacy with her, substantially increasing both their readings. Sae redirects the conversation by asking Miyako what she does in her room when she isn’t working on anything, which, while raising the question of what she expected Miyako to say, doesn’t show a similar curiosity about Miyako that she showed about her, so it doesn’t impact Sae. Sae and Hiro each end with 3, and Miyako with 1.

Scene 09: 09:39 - 09:52
C: Yu, No, Na
Yuno notices a sign outside Hiro’s room. She assumes it was made by Miyako, but her befuddlement as she proposes this does not suggest that it is a statement on the image’s quality or on Miyako’s skill, so it doesn’t impact Yuno. As a short, mostly expositive, scene, nobody else has a possibility to earn yurilevels and everyone ends with 0.

Scene 10: 09:52 - 10:42
C: Yu, Mi, Sa, Hi, No, Na
Yuno, Nori, and Nazuna return to Hiro’s room. They enter with an “I’m back” (ただいま, “tadaima”) and are greeted with “welcome back” (おかえり, “okaeri”), which generally denotes a connection between Hidamari Apartments and a home but which here seems to be used more to tell the others they have returned. Nori offers to prepare a menu and research possible desserts, leading to Nazuna asking to help, which Nori agrees to. Nazuna gets 1 for asking to spend time with Nori, Nori gets 1 for welcoming this, and everyone else ends with 0.

Scene 11: 10:45 - 11:09
C: No, Na
Nori and Nazuna plan a dessert. Nazuna occupies herself in fawning over Nori and her ability to do anything, particularly admiring her ability to use a computer, which she believes is difficult. When Nori offers her the use of her computer, she does all she can to encourage her and offer her help, raising her to a 1 in comparison to Nazuna’s 4.

Scene 12: 11:10 - 11:34
C: Yu, Hi
Yuno and Hiro work on making pasta sauce. This scene primarily serves as exposition as to why everyone is working separately, and Yuno and Hiro have little in the way of yuri-heavy interaction, so both end with 0.

Scene 13: 11:35 - 12:01
C: Mi, Sa
Miyako and Sae chop onions. When Miyako takes off the goggles she wore to protect herself from the onions’ syn-Propanethial-S-oxide, Sae begins laughing derisively, a mockery that keeps her at 0. Miyako doesn’t express notable yuri either, also ending with 0.

Scene 14: 12:02 - 12:06
C: Hi
Hiro finishes making soup. No other character is present and she does not direct her speaking toward anyone, so she ends with 0.

Scene 15: 12:09 - 13:04
C: Yu, Ku
Yoshinoya and Kuwahara send each other text messages. While Yoshinoya is messaging Kuwahara to relieve her boredom at grading tests, Kuwahara appears to be messaging Yoshinoya because she enjoys her company, encouraging and even joking with her in a departure from her standard role as the straight-man to Yoshinoya. Consequently, Yoshinoya gets 0 since she does not seem to have a motivation to message Kuwahara specifically, and Kuwahara gets 1 for her unusual warmth.

Scene 16: 13:05 - 13:44
C: Yu, Mi, Sa, Hi
Yuno, Miyako, and Sae prepare pasta. Hiro thanks Sae for the work she has put into the tomato sauce after Sae expresses her regret that Hiro has to season it. Moderately blushing, Sae continues her apology, saying that Hiro cooks so much for her that she feels bad about it. The underlying condition of the scene is that Sae is reliant on Hiro for cooking, which has come up in previous episodes, and here Sae and Hiro’s feelings about this situation are elaborated: Sae feels guilt over making Hiro prepare food for her, but Hiro is more than happy to do so, showing a greater measure of acceptance about their close relationship than Sae has. The effect of this exchange on both of their yurilevels will thus be stronger for Hiro than Sae. Miyako asks Hiro to praise her as well, and after Hiro does so Miyako puts on a contented smile. Possible explanations for Miyako’s requests are that Miyako seeks Hiro’s approval/affection or that Miyako wants Hiro to treat her the saw way she treats Sae. The first explanation is somewhat straightforward, but any possibly yuri in the second would depend on whether Miyako sees Sae and Hiro’s relationship as friendly or romantic. The answer to this comes from two comments by Miyako, in Hidamari Sketch OVA 02 and xHoshimittsu 02, where she has compared Hiro to a wife shortly after Sae has been mentioned, implicitly making Hiro out to be “married” to Sae. Therefore, the second interpretation would argue she does want a similar romantic connection to Hiro, which significantly raises the average reading of the two explanations. Overall, Hiro ends with 4, Miyako with 3, Sae with 2, and a mostly-quiet Yuno with 0.

Scene 17: 13:46 - 14:07
C: No, Na
Nori and Nazuna ready their dessert. Nori spends the whole scene talking about herself without involving Nazuna in any meaningful way, and gets a 0 for her self-centeredness. Nazuna, like in their last scene alone, listens to Nori talk about herself in rapt attention, laughing at appropriate times and smiling throughout, and her eagerness to be engaged with Nori, even despite Nori’s callousness toward her, gives her another 4.

Scene 18: 14:12 - 14:58
C: Yu, Mi, Sa, Hi, No, Na
The Hidamaris congregate and continue to prepare for their meal. Hiro’s refrigerator is found to be stocked full of shame pudding, which is then eaten by the whole group. As they eat, most of the Hidamaris close their eyes and point their heads off into space, but Nori and Nazuna are turned towards each other, showing warmth toward each other and giving them each a slight increase. Later, Nori teaches Yuno and Nazuna to arrange Caprese salads. Yuno injects her own commentary into the lesson, which shows engagement if nothing else, while Nazuna nods and obeys, continuing the total submission to Nori shown previously in the episode. Nori and Nazuna end with 2, Yuno with 1, the others with 0.

Scene 19: 14:59 - 15:20
C: Yu, Sa, Hi, La
Yuno, Sae, and Hiro call the Landlady for their tomato dinner. The Landlady is happy to receive her invitation, but is also happy before they call and just as happy while she is being invited, so it doesn’t appear that their offer of dinner had any effect on her mood, keeping her at 0. She tells Yuno, Sae, and Hiro that they can start eating before she arrives, which makes them smile, a somewhat impolite reaction that also holds them at 0.

Scene 20: 15:20 - 15:22
C: La
The Landlady stands up. She seems to look forward to visiting Hidamari Apartments at least somewhat, which gives her a 1.

Scene 21: 15:25 - 17:04
C: Yu, Mi, Sa, Hi, No, Na
Tomatoes are eaten. Miyako tries to start her meal immediately, but is stopped by Yuno. While Yuno’s readings are unaffected since she just wanted to take pictures of the food, Miyako gets a moderate increase for putting her respect for Yuno’s wishes over her love of eating. While Nazuna and Nori survey the dishes, Nazuna says she is impressed with Yuno, Miyako, Sae, and Hiro, while Nori focuses her admiration toward Hiro specifically; they are equally affected since Nazuna is impressed in a friendly manner toward multiple people while Nori is complimenting Hiro in particular, singling her out. Miyako ends with 2, Nori and Nazuna with 1, everyone else with 0.

Scene 22: 17:04 - 18:50
C: Yu, Mi, Sa, Hi, No, Na, La
The Landlady joins the Hidamaris for dinner. She gives Hiro a store-bought cake as a present and compliments the display of food. While these are friendly actions on their own, the Landlady seems to take a genial, friendly approach toward her tenants in general (she has in the past used the informal “-chan” honorific toward prior inhabitants), so most of the time any niceties such as gifts is not a notable instance of yuri being specifically focused toward her tenants. Her consequent drop in readings is still made up for, however, since this theory for her actions suggests the Landlady tries to be close with any women who happen to live in Hidamari Apartments, which is no less indicative of yuri. The dessert prepared by Nori and Nazuna, tomato sherbet, is then presented to the delight of the other Hidamaris. Upon being complimented for it, Nori insists that Nazuna helped her and that the other dishes were also tasty. Nazuna then apologizes to Nori suddenly, which is possibly because she feels she didn’t work hard enough but comes across as inexplicable, so it will be left out of consideration for her overall reading. The Landlady turns to Nori and Nazuna and says she’s glad they get along well, making Nori and Nazuna extremely defensive with both trying to downplay the extent of their friendship. The other Hidamaris note their tension, and their comments suggest Nori and Nazuna are only nervous because they are treating the Landlady as an authority figure, dampening their readings for this non-yuri explanation. Both of them, as well as the Landlady, get a 1 while the rest stay at 0.

Scene 23: 18:50 - 19:06
C: Yu, Mi, Sa, Hi, No, Na, La
The Landlady leaves Hidamari Apartments. Sae says she can come back anytime, which, while pleasant, is essentially meaningless since the Landlady owns the building, so Sae gets no aid from it. The Landlady genuinely compliments the dinner, earning a 1 for her appreciation of their efforts; the Hidamaris get little opportunity to express yuri beyond saying goodbye and all end with 0.

Scene 24: 19:06 - 19:50
C: Yu, Mi, Sa, Hi, No, Na, Yo
Yoshinoya receives tribute.  Though the Hidamaris are surprised to see her emerge exhausted from the school (bordering on alarmed), they rapidly warm up to her and give her a jar of their extra tomato sauce. Yoshinoya expresses gratitude and asks Hiro if she was the one that made it, suggesting an assumption of Yoshinoya’s that Hiro has the most skill of the six (while this is accurate, it is still a valid observation since Yoshinoya would have little reason to be aware of this). Hiro and Sae hastily attempt to inflate the role of each other in preparing it, showing they both respect the other’s work and help, and when Yoshinoya decides to believe that everyone helped make it, all six Hidamaris smile proudly toward their usual partner (i.e., Yuno and Miyako, Sae and Hiro, and Nori and Nazuna). Yoshinoya leaves considerably happier than she entered and her exhaustion is shown to be gone by her skip as she leaves, so for her pleasure to see the Hidamaris she earns a 3; meanwhile, Sae and Hiro each get 2 and the others get 1.

Scene 25: 19:51 - 20:46
C: Yu, Mi, Sa, Hi, No, Na
The Hidamaris depart for the night. Hiro and Nori both express that they enjoyed preparing and eating a meal with their neighbors, a sentiment which leans more on the friendly side of yuri. Nori additionally prompts Nazuna to agree, getting a moderate boost since she’s trying either to involve her out of a desire for her to be incorporated in her fun or to talk more with Nazuna. Nazuna similarly shows that she enjoyed the tomato meal by remarking on her desire for memories of the menu (which, though tangential, is linked closely to the events of the day); Nori invites Nazuna to her room to print a reproduction of the menu, which would warrant strong yurilevels if it were later at night, but as it is presumably just after sunset, the time is not late enough to suggest ulterior motives. Nori ends with 2, as does Nazuna, while Hiro gets 1 and the others get 0.

Scene 26: 20:47 - 21:12
C: Yu, Mi
Yuno notices a star in the sky. Both Yuno and Miyako display mild yuri, but in different ways: while Yuno’s first reaction to the sight of the star is to show it to Miyako, showing an affection for her specifically, Miyako’s reaction is to show it to the other Hidamaris collectively, showing an appreciation for them as a whole. They each get 2.

Scene 27: 21:14 - 21:36
C: Yu, Mi, Sa, Hi, No, Na
The Hidamaris stare at the viewer. The camera pans up each resident’s body individually while they talk about the star, but their interaction is so minimal and shallow that nobody deserves yurilevels here.

Scene 28: 21:40 - 22:05
C: Yu
Yuno bathes. The happiness she expresses at spending time with and living next to the other Hidamaris shows a strong enough appreciation of them to warrant a 2.

Final Yurilevel Readings: (both Aokis and Umes are out of 4)
Episode: 0.9857A
  1. Nazuna: 1.207U
  2. Nori: 1.092U
  3. Miyako: 1.032U
  4. Yoshinoya: 1.011U
  5. Kuwahara: 1.000U
  6. Hiro: 0.979U
  7. Landlady: 0.886U
  8. Sae: 0.779U
  9. Yuno: 0.610U

Very low readings throughout by xHoshimittsu standards, which is odd given the episode was centered on the Hidamaris spending an entire day together. The reason is that, in addition to spending a large portion of its time solely on the preparation and consumption of tomatoes, this episode focused more on platonic and friendly yuri, making it more similar to a Season One or x365 episode. In contrast to many other xHoshimittsu episodes, there was no physical contact between characters and, aside from Sae and Hiro in Scenes 8 and 16, almost no romantic teasing. Since many of Sae and Hiro’s yurilevels come from such teasing, they fared especially poorly here; in contrast, Miyako rated comparatively highly because her readings are mostly derived from platonic interactions with Yuno, giving her a reading that is not far off from her usual one. An additional, more specific factor in the generally low readings may have been the unusual pairing of characters when they made dinner: instead of the expected Yuno/Miyako and Sae/Hiro pairs, Yuno went with Hiro and Miyako with Sae, and neither duo received any yurilevels in their respective scenes. Nori and Nazuna, who did pair together, each received some readings when they had scenes during food preparation, with Nazuna’s idolatry of Nori giving her the strongest Ume reading of the episode. Yoshinoya did surprisingly well, mostly from getting a 3 in one of her four scenes in the episode, while the Landlady and Kuwahara rated low but were consistent with their results from other episodes.

Further analysis will continue with Hidamari Sketch xHoshimittsu OVA 01.

*: Miyako speaks quickly and as such it is difficult to make out precisely what she says. Nutbladder translates it as “Signor Yuno”, using an Italian word equivalent to “mister” that, according to Merriam-Webster, is used toward men of “rank or gentility”, seeming to support the transliteration and interpretation of “uebu” (上ぶ) used here.