Sunday, June 9, 2013

Hidamari Sketch xHoshimittsu OVA 02

Hidamari Sketch xHoshimittsu OVA 02 includes the six Hidamari residents, Yoshinoya, Natsume, Yuno’s former neighbor Miura, and a group of girls Yuno’s age. Part A follows Yuno visiting her parents, and Part B focuses on the Hidamaris cooking barbecue in their backyard.

Scene 01: 00:04 - 00:57
C: Yo
Yoshinoya makes the Principal an outfit. Her kindness toward a man holds her at 0; while the clothes are dashing on him and should keep her further fixed, the Principal would probably be able to make anything work, so that at least doesn't hurt her.

Scene 02: 02:35 - 03:03
C: Mi, Sa, Hi, No, Na
The Hidamaris sans Yuno do radio exercises. Yuno first came up with the idea to do the exercises each morning, but even in her absence the others are able to continue, showing they have ingrained this group activity as a continuous and desirable activity, giving each of them a slight increase for closeness. Hiro then comes out. Upon noticing Yuno’s absence, she immediately believes Yuno has abandoned them. Though this suggests a slight distrust of Yuno, any negative effect from this is made up for by her sorrow at thinking Yuno has left her life, which includes losing the strength in her legs and shouting plaintively out into the sky. She ends with 3, the others with 1.

Scene 03: 03:11 - 04:04
C: Yu
Yuno returns home. Her excitement to see her male cat keeps her at 0 for enjoying being with a male. On the whole, there will be very few opportunities for her to interact with other women in this segment, so expect low readings from her overall.

Scene 04: 04:07 - 04:37
C: Mi, No, Na
Miyako, Nori, and Nazuna discuss Yuno’s absence. Nazuna says Hidamari Apartments is lonely without Yuno, conveying an appreciation of and fondnesss toward Yuno that helps her yurilevels moderately. Miyako and Nori agree with Nazuna’s sentiment, saying it’s great to have Yuno around. While Nori is shown to believe this without qualifying motives, Miyako just wants Yuno for a source of convenient food rather than as a companion, and is negatively affected by it. She ends with only 1 compared to Nori and Nazuna’s 2s.

Scene 05: 04:39 - 06:14
C: Yu
Yuno has dinner. Her interactions with her mother in general don’t suggest romantic tendencies between the two, so throughout the episode they won’t affect her readings unless otherwise stated. Later, her mother comments that she expected Yuno would bring somebody home with her, which Yuno’s father interprets as being Miyako, Sae, or Hiro. This is mostly non-yuri since the father is saying it to deny the possibility of Yuno being in a romantic relationship, but still raises Yuno to a 1 for creating the impression that such a relationship could be possible with her neighbors.

Scene 06: 06:14 - 06:35
C: Yu, Miura
Yuno goes outside. Miura, a former neighbor, greets her as “Yuno-chan” (ゆのーちゃん), but the “-chan” honorific here merely denotes Miura’s higher societal position as Yuno’s elder and doesn’t convey special affection or closeness and doesn’t impact her yurilevels. She does, however, get a moderate increase for calling Yuno a beautiful young lady, and Yuno gets a corresponding increase for her happiness to hear Miura call her such, with both raised to 2.

Scene 07: 06:37 - 07:08
C: Yu, Street girls
Yuno catches up with old friends. Their first reaction after seeing each other in the street is to press their hands together and touch in other places, including the back and top of the head, and one of the girls refers to Yuno without using an honorific, an indication of very high intimacy, so Yuno was clearly very close to the girls. Their show of familiarity and affection gives each 3s.

Scene 08: 07:10 - 07:36
C: Yu
Yuno and her mother go to the market. She warmly relates how Miyako, Sae, and Hiro all help save money when the Hidamari residents shop, an affection for them that raises her to a 1.

Scene 09: 07:38 - 08:07
C: Yu
Yuno cooks with her mother. No yuri to note in this scene.

Scene 10: 08:10 - 09:14
C: Yu, Mi, Sa, Hi, No, Na
Yuno talks to the other Hidamaris over the phone. The phone call is primarily small talk with little inherent yuri value. Later on, though, Miyako asks Yuno when she’ll return to Hidamari Apartments, contradicting her earlier sentiments about Yuno’s absence to suggest she actually does miss Yuno’s presence, giving her a 2. While Miyako and Hiro quarrel about Miyako’s near discussion of an embarrassing incident at lunch, Yuno smiles blissfully while the background fades away and is replaced with bubbles, showing a tremendous comfort in their company that raises her to 3. The rest stay at 0.

Scene 11: 09:15 - 10:06
C: Yu
Yuno sleeps with her parents. Before falling asleep, she laughs warmly and smiles at the thought of touching Yoshinoya’s breasts, a show of fondness that earns her a 4.

Scene 12: 10:08 - 10:25
C: Yu
Yuno leaves for Hidamari. The scene is spent focusing on her saying goodbye to her parents rather than on her feelings about returning, so nothing impacts her readings here and she stays at 0.

Scene 13: 10:27 - 10:39
C: Yu, Mi, Sa, Hi
Yuno re-enters Hidamari Apartments. She says “I’m home” (ただいま, “tadaima”) upon returning in exactly the same way she did when returning to her actual home and family at the beginning of the episode, making concrete the parallel between the Hidamari group and a family and raising Yuno’s readings. As she passes Miyako’s door, indistinct excited sounds are coming from Miyako, Sae, and Hiro, all of which seem somewhat lewd but are too vague to pin any specific action to at this point. Consequently, none of them are affected, so Yuno is the only one to end with yurilevels in this scene; she gets a 2.

Scene 14: 10:40 - 10:50
C: Yu, Mi, Sa, Hi, No, Na
Yuno observes headstands. She enters Miyako’s room repeating “I’m home.” Since she’s already said it for her own sake upon arriving outside, Yuno is probably saying it because she wants the others to hear it, thus bringing to their mind the implications of the phrase’s use outlined in the previous scene. Yuno earns a modest increase for wanting the Hidamaris to be aware she considers them a family since this suggests she wants approval or reciprocation of these feelings. Inside, Sae and Hiro are against the wall, Miyako is nonchalantly exposing her stomach, and Nori is holding Nazuna’s hips. Sae and Hiro don’t seem noticeably gay here and Miyako’s innocent exposure doesn’t suggest yuri intent, so none of their readings are affected and they end with 0. Nori and Nazuna get increases for Nori’s contact with Nazuna’s hips; they and Yuno all end with 2 each.

Scene 15: 10:51 - 11:25
C: Yu, Mi, Sa, Hi, No, Na
Yuno catches up with her neighbors. As the scene begins, Yuno’s television is turned to a woman in full nekomimi mode* hosting a show called “Pet Problem Talk” (ペットお悩み相談所, “petto oyanami soudanshou”). There are no pets at Hidamari Apartments, so Yuno is watching this program either because she wants to admire the hostess or because the television was already on that channel when Yuno left and she is too apathetic to change it. The second explanation is more likely, so although the effect on Yuno is not a straight average of the two’s potentials, Yuno still has a slight increase from the show. The corkboard next to the television displays a picture of Miyako eating a tomato (see xHoshimittsu 12), also raising Yuno’s yurilevels for her desire to see Miyako and remember a pleasant shared memory. However, Yuno’s readings are hurt by saying she wanted to stay at her house longer, which is detrimental since that would preclude returning to Hidamari Apartments and seeing the other residents sooner, suggesting she does not want this. Sae and Hiro each get slight increases for coming off as somewhat parental when they respectively tell Miyako to study over the summer and enjoy a vacation. At the end of the scene, Nazuna says she wants to do something together with the others over the summer break, which Yuno, Miyako, and Nori agree to; all get increases for wanting to spend more time with each other. Yuno ends with 2, the rest with 1.

Scene 16: 11:34 - 11:44
C: Yu
Yuno is woken up. The source of the loud noise is as yet unknown to Yuno, so she does not receive yurilevels for reacting to it.

Scene 17: 11:45 - 13:23
C: Yu, Mi, Sa, Hi, No, Na
Miyako proposes a barbecue. Nori and Nazuna show concern for Miyako’s safety when they are alarmed to hear Yuno explain that Miyako had burned her hair attempting to barbecue indoors (see xHoshimittsu 02), netting slight increases for both. Nazuna gets another increase later for believing Miyako when Miyako jokes about charcoal; even though she would have no reason to not believe Miyako since the charcoal in question is an art tool Nazuna would have no experience with, her shock at hearing that Miyako is lying still suggests she puts great trust in her. Nazuna ends with 2, Nori with 1, and the others with 0.

Scene 18: 13:26 - 14:03
C: Yu, Mi, No, Na
Meat is sought. Miyako leaves Yuno, Nori, and Nazuna as soon as possible, and Nazuna does the same thing later on; both are held back by their readiness to abandon the others, with Yuno and Nori also hurt since they allow the others to leave with little resistance. Nori gets a slight increase for knowing Sae and Hiro well enough to correctly predict that they will be confused by Miyako’s suggestion of dried fish and ends with 1, while the rest stay at 0.

Scene 19: 14:03 - 14:58
C: Sa, Hi, Nt
Sae and Hiro return from the homeware store. Natsume sees them and reacts with shock. Hiro is fairly polite with her, while Sae greets her informally and gets slight readings from closeness for it. Natsume immediately goes on the defensive, insisting she’s visiting a friend. Ordinarily this would be a benign explanation. However, Natsume has previously invoked the presence of off-screen friends to explain being near Sae (see x365 13 and xHoshimittsu OVA 01). Part B of the previous episode showed that Natsume wanted to be friends with Sae, as well as that it upset her that Sae had friends other than her. In this context, Natsume saying she has other friends seems designed more to provoke jealousy in Sae and make her want to be with Natsume more (something along the lines of “I don’t have time for you either”), and as such her excuse earns her a significant increase in yurilevels. Deliberately provoking Sae into an argument shortly after about the proper use of time dampens this slightly. Hiro defuses the situation by suggesting to Sae that she invite Natsume to their barbecue, getting readings both for attempting to settle a peace between the two and for knowing Natsume well enough to interpret that she would want to join them. The decrease Sae had from quarreling is offset by her readiness to follow Hiro’s suggestion by inviting Natsume. Natsume initially responds with confusion toward this offer of peace, but is later shown to be overjoyed at getting to attend. Since this is likely because she looks forward to spending time with Sae, her yurilevels are again substantially raised. She ends with 3, Sae and Hiro with 2.

Scene 20: 15:01 - 17:13
C: Yu, Mi, Sa, Hi, No, Na
The Hidamaris barbecue. Upon successfully completing their skewers, all six toast while standing next to the other Hidamari they are generally associated with, running from left to right Sae and Hiro, Yuno and Miyako, and Nazuna and Nori, and everyone gets slight increases for the invocation of the idea of each having one fixed “partner” Hidamari. The rest of the notable yuri in this scene centers on Nori and Nazuna. Nori tells Nazuna they can toast the marshmallows now, taking preeminence over an idea that was Nazuna’s to begin with. This is essentially Nori asserting an authority over Nazuna, one which allows her to take over and control her own plans and with which Nazuna happily complies. Nori’s later remark to Nazuna that grilling marshmallows does not significantly enhance their flavor only reinforces this power structure; Nori is keeping Nazuna in check by proving she knows better. While the dominant-submissive dynamic Nori and Nazuna display is not inherently romantic, the degree of closeness and intimacy that would be required to allow such a comfort for it to develop still raises both of them to 4. The others get 1.

Scene 21: 17:13 - 17:41
C: Yo, Nt
Yoshinoya encounters Natsume outside Yamabuki High School. Natsume is jumping repeatedly outside Hidamari Apartments trying to look over the wall, even though she says to Yoshinoya that she knows the Hidamaris are present. Her hesitance to go inside is probably therefore anxiety over being near them (most likely Sae specifically), lowering her readings since she cannot bring herself to join their company. After the puff of smoke from the previous scene appears, Yoshinoya and Natsume run into the lawn in concern, with Natsume shouting Sae’s name in fear. Yoshinoya gets a 1 for her concern, while Natsume’s desire to protect Sae specifically brings her back up to a 3 overall.

Scene 22: 17:43 - 20:04
C: Yu, Mi, Sa, Hi, No, Na, Yo, Nt
Yoshinoya and Natsume join the Hidamaris for their barbecue. This scene focuses primarily on Yoshinoya and Natsume and their respective dynamics with the Hidamari residents. Natsume will be examined first since she provides more notable events. As she runs in, Natsume again shouts Sae’s name to see if she’s alright. Her visible relief that a fire hadn’t broken out, together with her repeated worried shouts of Sae’s name, convey a desire to see Sae safe and positively affect her readings. An amused Sae tells Natsume that she is overreacting about the smoke, meriting a slight increase for wanting to assure Natsume that she’s safe, but Natsume rejects this gesture and overreacts by insisting she wasn’t worried, hurting her for denying that she is concerned for Sae. Miyako then offers a barbecue skewer to Natsume, confusing her. A wary Sae asks Natsume why she came to the apartments if not for barbecue, though Hiro shows no such uneasiness in talking to her. Sae has not recognized that Natsume is present primarily to be with her. Though she continues to remain oblivious about Natsume’s complex emotions toward her, Hiro does seem to be aware, both in asking Sae to invite Natsume and in reacting calm in the face of her sudden turns of mood. In this state, Sae’s readings are kept down, while Hiro’s are moderately elevated for her ability to perceive the situation and manipulate it toward greater harmony between Sae and Natsume. Nori then draws Sae’s attention by tapping her on the shoulder, a physical contact that is too brief to earn significant readings but still boosts both slightly, and asks who Natsume is. Sae then introduces Natsume to Nori and Nazuna as a third-year in class B, a description too laconic to suggest any sort of warmness of Sae’s part toward Natsume and thus does not affect her. Natsume is embarrassed to be introduced by Sae and then to meet Nori and Nazuna; in general, she is embarrassed to be at Hidamari Apartments at all. Her discomfort to be present, and particularly to be close to Sae, could be both fear of lowering Sae’s opinion of her and an alarm to be near Sae at all, possibilities whose effects balance out so that Natsume ends with a 3 overall. Yoshinoya shows weaker yuri but still has a number of notable events. On entering, rather than shout for a specific character like Natsume did, Yoshinoya uses a general term for “everybody” (みんな, “minna”), showing an overall concern for all the Hidamaris and still gaining a moderate increase. She interacts primarily with Yuno, who acknowledges her when she joins at the beginning and then gives Yoshinoya her barbecue; both get a slight increase for this comfort toward each other. Later, Yoshinoya attempts to garner the sympathy of the other characters by describing her plight as a teacher and fails to do so (the Hidamaris and Natsume are all slightly hurt by this); she changes tactics to tell them to have a wonderful summer and not grow up quickly, finding somewhat more success. Her need for approval from the Hidamaris raises her to a 2. For the Hidamaris themselves, Hiro ends with 3, Nori with 2, Yuno and Sae with 1, and Miyako and Nazuna with 0.

Scene 23: 20:06 - 21:16
C: Yu, Mi, Sa, Hi, No, Na, Nt
The barbecue continues. The first half of the scene concerns the characters taking pictures of each other. Nazuna begins by taking a picture of Nori, getting a moderate increase for prioritizing Nori in how she wants to remember the barbecue. She then takes a picture of Yuno, who draws Hiro into her picture; Nazuna is helped to a less significant degree for wanting to remember Yuno, while Yuno is helped substantially by wanting to include Hiro. Hiro is then boosted by asking Nazuna to send the image to her phone, conveying that she wants to remember herself with Yuno. In both of these pictures, Miyako is either accidentally included or inserts herself near the edge of the image; it appears that Miyako is doing so intentionally, and her attempts to be included in the others’ memories shows that she wants to be thought of fondly by the others, helping her readings. Inspired by Nazuna, Miyako asks to borrow Sae’s camera and pretends to take a picture of herself. This is revealed to be a ruse by Miyako, whose true intention was to take a picture of Sae and Natsume together, additionally helping her for wanting to include the two in the record of the barbecue. Sae’s offer to send the image to Natsume embarrasses her, though she’s then shown to be happy to have it, raising Natsume’s readings for appreciating the thought of being included with Sae. The second half of the scene shows the immediate aftermath of the barbecue. Their arrangement from left to right is: Natsume, Hiro, and Sae standing in a triangle, Yuno seated beside Hiro and Sae next to Miyako, Miyako lying between Yuno and Nori, and Nori and Nazuna sitting at the end. The arrangement is in line with the general relations between all the characters showing who is closest to each other and slightly lifts everyone’s readings, but the third-year triangle is particularly noteworthy. Sae and Hiro are both looking at Natsume, but Natsume appears to be looking between Sae and Hiro, symbolically representing a desire to come between the two. This reinforces the implications made in the previous episode that she believes Sae and Hiro have a romantic relationship and that Natsume wants to be closer to Sae, considerably raising Natsume’s yurilevels. Natsume thanks Sae for inviting her while looking away in embarrassment, prompting Sae to ask her why she is in a rush to leave, implying that Sae wants Natsume to stay longer. Natsume then tells Sae she had fun, making Hiro happy (again suggesting that this was her plan all along and continuing her previous increases). Miyako ends the scene by complaining that she has not yet made any precious memories, conveying that she found nothing about barbecuing with the others worth remembering and significantly hurting her. Yuno assures Miyako that there is still time for her to do so and earns a moderate increase for attempting to salvage Miyako’s impression of the day. She and Miyako end with 2, as do Sae and Hiro; Nori and Nazuna get 1, and Natsume gets a 4.

Scene 24: 21:20 - 21:46
C: Yu
Yuno bathes in green water. She mentions having had fun that day and enjoying eating outside, but the degree of relation between the two is unclear. If the latter is the entire cause of the former (a hypothetical scenario since it’s almost certainly not), Yuno would get a 0 since she would be making no relation between having had fun and spending the day with the others. If the latter is entirely unrelated to the former (again, a hypothetical), her enjoyment of the day would have been most likely spending time with the others, which would net her a 1 for appreciating their company. It’s a weak 1 to begin with, so any averaging would cancel it out. She stays at 0.

Scene 25: 21:49 - 22:08
C: Yu, Mi, Sa, Hi, No, Na
Hiro hosts a late-night dinner. She tells Yuno that she couldn’t help putting the meal together for everybody, showing a sense of nurturing obligation to the others that raises her to 2. Everybody else gets a 1 for their shared happiness at eating together for a second time.

Final Yurilevel Readings: (both Aokis and Umes are out of 4)
Episode: 1.3149A
  1. Natsume: 3.238U
  2. Street girls: 3.000U
  3. Miura: 2.000U
  4. Nori: 1.878U
  5. Nazuna: 1.525U
  6. Hiro: 1.420U
  7. Yoshinoya: 1.396U
  8. Yuno: 1.225U
  9. Sae: 0.939U
  10. Miyako: 0.757U

Standard readings for the last episode of xHoshimittsu proper, aided significantly by long, high-yuri scenes in Part B. Though Part A was expected to perform below average since Yuno was by herself, the segment ended up being less about Yuno’s visit home and more an examination of how her character relates to the other Hidamaris in their absence and consequently she did rather well, ending with higher than normal readings and keeping Part A at around 0.5 Aokis. Nori received the highest reading of the Hidamaris, mostly as a result of her 2 from touching Sae’s shoulder in Scene 22, and Nazuna was close behind with consistent yuri throughout that was directed at multiple targets. Sae and Miyako ended at the bottom of the character rankings, Sae for her tensions with Natsume and Miyako for her self-centeredness.
The xHoshimittsu episodes have given much more focus to Natsume than she usually receives, creating a different impression of the character than previously existed and establishing a new context for her yuri actions. Previously, Natsume was shown to have a vague, indistinct appreciation for Sae that she covered up with a front of rivalry or harshness, generally resulting in weakened readings for her. In light of these OVAs and the confirmation that Natsume has something approaching love for Sae, her contrary responses now indicate a simpler explanation: Natsume has borderline personality disorder. As described by psychiatrist Marsha Linehan, BPD is a disorder of emotional regulation and requires that a person meet five of the nine criteria in the link; the relevant symptoms are listed below with examples:
1. Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment - Natsume’s hostile reaction to seeing Sae make other friends in Scene 33 of xHoshimittsu OVA 01
2. Pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterized by alternating between extremes of idealization [attributing exaggeratedly positive qualities] and devaluation [the opposite of idealization] - Natsume focusing exclusively on Sae’s positive points in Scene 30 of xHoshimittsu OVA 01 and then blaming Sae for hurting her in Scene 34 of the same episode
4. Self-damaging impulsivity - Natsume’s reckless ease in getting into arguments with Sae; notable examples are Scene 13 of xHoshimittsu OVA 01 and Scene 19 of xHoshimittsu OVA 02
6. Marked instability of mood - Natsume’s swings between hostility and elation in x365 10 and x365 OVA 02
8. Inappropriate, intense anger - see symptom 4
Going ahead with the assumption that Natsume has BPD, her contrary reactions toward Sae make much more sense. Rather than being annoyed at Sae for “leaving” her, feeling mild embarrassment when Sae is kind to her, and becoming nervous in Sae’s presence, Natsume’s disorder intensifies these emotions so that she rages at Sae, feels humiliated to be in yuri situations with her, and panics and runs when Sae gets too close. Consequently, her anger and frustration at Sae should not reduce her readings in the future if accompanied by hints of affection for Sae; any sign of genuine rivalry, such as x365 08, will still not be considered indicative of yuri.

Further analysis will continue with Hidamari Sketch xSP 01. For analysis purposes, the xSP episodes will be included with xHoshimittsu and the xHoshimittsu OVAs as part of Season 3, as they are closer in artistic direction and mood to xHoshimittsu than the following season, xHoneycomb.

*: “Nekomimi” (猫耳) means “cat ears” and usually refers to a headband used primarily by women to simulate being a cat. The term can also more generally refer to a more complete cat costume, such as what the woman on the television is wearing in this scene; she has cat paws and a collar with a bell in addition to cat ears.
As a side note, “nekomimi” is also the name of a retail direct neural interface where two devices shaped like cat ears move up or down depending on the user’s thoughts.

8/24/13: Yamabuki High School was initially mislabed as "Yamabuki Academy." The name has been corrected.

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