Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Season 3 Overview

The Hidamari Yurilevels Project exists to provide a source of data from which interpretations can be drawn as to whether or not the series gets gayer with time. As part of this project, it is necessary to look not only at the overall series but at each individual season to examine how yuri is created and changes. So far, there have been two interludes at the end of each season to summarize the findings and trends of the season in isolation and to compare it to previous seasons, and as such xHoshimittsu will be examined in this manner as well. The analysis of Hidamari Sketch xHoshimittsu will observe patterns within the season for episodes and characters, determine an overall Aoki reading for the season, determine overall Ume readings for each character, provide explanations for these figures, and compare the figures with the overall readings of Season One and x365.

Analysis of Episode Readings
The episodes of Hidamari Sketch xHoshimittsu and xSP have been listed below, ranked from highest Aoki reading to lowest:
  1. SP 01: 2.2023A
  2. Episode 05: 1.9667A
  3. Episode 10: 1.8511A
  4. Episode 02: 1.6713A
  5. Episode 09: 1.5880A
  6. Episode 04: 1.5340A
  7. Episode 03: 1.5322A
  8. Episode 07: 1.4556A
  9. Episode 01: 1.3709A
  10. OVA 02: 1.3149A
  11. Episode 11: 1.2344A
  12. OVA 01: 1.0118A
  13. Episode 06: 0.9946A
  14. Episode 08: 0.9943A
  15. Episode 12: 0.9857A
  16. SP 02: 0.8231A

Figure 01: Aoki Readings per Episode - Season 3

The linear regression gives a slight decrease in Aoki levels over time, the first time this has occurred in a season. While disappointing, this is also to be expected, since the first episodes of the season would have been the ones focusing on Nori and Nazuna being inducted into the Hidamari circle and thus would have more scenes of bonding and friendliness that later episodes where they are already included.
Most episodes were in the mid- to high-1 Aoki range, tending between 1.2 and 1.6A, with the only significant outliers being SP 01 and the bottom four episodes. In contrast to the previous season, Season 3 has very clear and present lewdness, the most striking examples of which are xHoshimittsu 05 (lots of sexual imagery, a very erotic Arisawa) and 08 (suggestive touching throughout) and xSP 01 (hand-holding, the sequence at the pool). More than half* of the episodes in this season had some form of sexualization or erotic content, but they were split evenly between being having high Aoki readings, middling readings, and low readings, so no real correlation exists in xHoshimittsu between yuri and lewdness; the only real conclusion that can be derived is that Season 3 was lewder overall. It is worth noting that of the four gayest episodes, three fall under the blanket definition of lewd: the aforementioned xHoshimittsu 05 and xSP 01 as well as xHoshimittsu 02, though xHoshimittsu 02’s lewdness only occurs near the end and the majority of the episode is pure.
Episode readings as a whole are much higher than the last two seasons because, while characters continued to earn many of their yurilevels through close intimacies and other shows of affection, there was more romantic subtext to these displays than in previous seasons. The introduction of Nori and Nazuna made group dynamics more complex, and to accommodate them the show split the Hidamaris into pairs instead of keeping them together as one cohesive whole. Many episodes had segments featuring only one pair at a time, often Yuno and Miyako, and consequently the increased focus on the pair’s relationship led to increased yuri of both a friendly and a romantic nature for the involved parties. Despite this, the episodes with the highest yuri were still the episodes that included the whole group, with Episodes 05 and 10 giving every character equal time to interact and earn readings. Episode 02 and xSP 02 don’t follow this as neatly, and instead give heavy focus to romantic yuri, the first between Yuno and Arisawa and the second between Nori and Nazuna.
Like the previous two seasons, the least gay episodes were the ones that shifted focus away from the relationships between the Hidamaris and onto other characters or outside events. Episode 06 and xSP 02 both heavily feature a side character, Yoshinoya and the Landlady respectively, who the Hidamaris have little yuri interaction with (the Landlady had significant yuri from her interactions with them, though), Episode 08 deals with events at school, and in Episode 12 the Hidamaris spend much of their time harvesting tomatoes rather than being gay with each other. Overall, Hidamari Sketch continues to be at its gayest when dealing with the Hidamaris themselves.

Analysis of Character Readings
After x365’s heightened attention to minor characters, xHoshimittsu mostly returns focus to the tenants of Hidamari Apartments, seen in how there are less frequent data points for non-Hidamari characters:

Figure 02: Ume Readings per Episode - Season 3

Yurilevels for the characters as a whole are still mostly connected to the overall episode reading, but there is much more variance within the Hidamaris compared to previous seasons. Sae and Nazuna tend to have the strongest readings, while Yuno and Miyako tend to be near the bottom (though Miyako had the highest reading of any Hidamari in xSP 02). Hiro stays in the middle, but Nori is something of a wild card, occasionally falling to the bottom of the rankings and occasionally shooting to the top; her readings seem more dependant on how Nazuna does since except for Episode 11 the two are usually close together.

Season Yurilevel Readings
Overall readings for the season were determined by taking all the scenes in xHoshimittsu and xSP and treating them as one very long episode, adjusting the Methodology’s formulae accordingly. Season Three had 18,201 seconds of scene time across 432 scenes, with a total of 1,429 yurilevels recorded.

Season 3: 1.4083A
xHoshimittsu increased over x365 by around 12.1 percent, a comparable but smaller rise than x365’s increase of 18.6 percent over Season One. Aside from two episodes under 1100 seconds, most of the season stayed between 1120 and 1180 seconds, so there was little variance in how each episode affected the overall reading.

  1. Natsume: 2.556U
  2. Nazuna: 1.711U
  3. Hiro: 1.565U
  4. Nori: 1.552U
  5. Sae: 1.520U
  6. Yuno: 1.382U
  7. Miyako: 1.275U
  8. Landlady: 1.165U
  9. Chika: 0.833U
  10. Yoshinoya: 0.679U
  11. Kuwahara: 0.415U
For the second season running Natsume tops the overall character ranking as the only character to earn over 2.0U for the entire season, primarily for her high-yuri appearances in the OVA episodes which contributed over two-thirds of her total scene time in the season of 887 seconds. The rankings within the Hidamaris changed considerably compared to the previous two seasons, with Sae supplanted as gayest Hidamari and newcomers Nazuna and Nori taking two of the top three spots. Nazuna somehow ends as the highest-ranked Hidamari, which is possibly a result of her dependence on the other characters which would lead to increased intimacy and closeness. Hiro, Nori, and Sae all end with similar readings; Hiro’s yurilevels come from her strong readings in the first half of the season, mostly a result of her growing role as supporter and caretaker for the others and a decreasing focus on her unhealthy obsession with food, Nori’s yurilevels come from her intensely yuri and often flirtatious relationship with Nazuna, and Sae’s yurilevels continue to be mostly affected by her relationship with Hiro and her role as paterfamilias of Hidamari Apartments. Yuno and Miyako had the most scene time of any characters (14,824 seconds and 12,412 seconds respectively), and as a result their readings were dampened enough to keep them at the bottom of the Hidamari rankings, slightly above the Landlady, whose modest readings came from her approachability and friendliness toward her tenants. The most dramatic change is in Chika’s reading, which tumbled from over 2.0U to under 1.0 since she only had one major appearance in xHoshimittsu and it wasn’t especially gay. Yoshinoya’s readings were significantly affected since much of her time came from having a scene at the beginning of nearly every episode showing her engaging in some generally non-yuri action, and as a result her readings declined compared to x365. Finally, Kuwahara’s devotion to her position as nurse over yuri keeps her at the bottom of the rankings for the third season running, though it does make her respectable if nothing else.

Figure 03: Yurilevels of Tracked Characters - Season 3

The readings of the Hidamari residents specifically are also being tracked from season to season, since the data lends itself well to determining who the gayest Hidamari is. The order for this season is Nazuna, Hiro, Nori, Sae, Yuno, and Miyako.

Figure 04: Yurilevels of Hidamari Residents - Season 3

Comparisons with Seasons One and Two
Season Three of Hidamari Sketch represents an entirely new approach to the series in terms of character dynamics and episode format. While the previous two seasons generally only had one storyline per episode and leaned toward evoking an iyashikei mood through routine structure and repetition of elements such as waking up and bathing, the episodes in xHoshimittsu usually featured two storylines arranged as a comedy, leaving behind most of the “healing anime” elements and drawing focus away from Yuno onto all the Hidamari residents. The introduction of Nori and Nazuna also massively changed the structure of the show, and as stated earlier prompted a switch to pair-based interactions instead of the interactions between all the Hidamaris that were seen in the first two seasons.
xHoshimittsu and xSP together had the same number of episodes as x365 and around five minutes less scene time, but recorded over 300 more yurilevels, leading to increases for the heavily-featured Yuno and Miyako. Curiously, Sae and Hiro fell slightly over last season. A possible reason for this is that in x365, the two were used for most moments of yuri subtext that the creators wanted to add. The addition of the similarly-gay Nori and Nazuna and an increase of yuri throughout the show led to this role of theirs being downplayed in favor of their role as “parents” to the Hidamari family, which gave them slightly less yurilevels than their romantic interactions did.

Figure 05: Yurilevels of Hidamari Residents - Seasons 1, 2, & 3

Evaluation of Expectations for Season Three
The Season Two Analysis predicted that Hidamari Sketch xHoshimittsu would have many more scenes due to the addition of Nori and Nazuna, with yurilevels seeing “across the board increases in the next season (except maybe for Natsume, since it’s hard to think of how she could get much gayer)”. There were exactly four fewer scenes in Season Three than in x365, so the first prediction is outright rejected. As for the “across the board increases”, while yurilevels rose generally, almost half of tracked characters declined compared to last season (Sae, Hiro, Yoshinoya, Natsume, and Chika), so these increases are far from general and are more an effect of having two new and very gay characters featured prominently.

Expectations for Season Four
Hidamari Sketch xHoneycomb will likely continue many of the trends seen in xHoshimittsu and build on them, so there will probably be further yurilevel increases in general. Now that Nori and Nazuna have settled into the Hidamari dynamic, their readings will probably not increase very dramatically, but I expect the other Hidamaris will increase significantly over their xHoshimittsu readings. If the next season is to xHoshimittsu as x365 was to Season One, the side characters will return to similar levels of focus they received in x365, which will likely have the same minimal but positive effect it had in that season.

Season Four analysis will begin within the week. The estimated completion of the investigation is sometime in late summer or early fall, but I would like to have it done sometime in August.

*: xHoshimittsu episodes 02, 05, 08, 09, 11, OVA 01, and OVA 02, and both xSP episodes.

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