Sunday, July 21, 2013

Hidamari Sketch xHoneycomb 05

Hidamari Sketch xHoneycomb 05 includes the six Hidamari residents. Part A shows Nazuna attempting to cook for her parents, and Part B surrounds Sae and Nori having a late-night chat after Nori has a nightmare.

Scene 01: 00:10 - 00:35
C: Na
Nazuna wakes up and begins screaming*. The cause of her terror is at this point unknown, and the intended gender of the pillow she is straddling is unspecified, so there is nothing in this scene that can affect Nazuna’s yurilevels either negatively or positively. She stays at 0.

Scene 02: 02:14 - 04:06
C: Yu, Mi, Na
Nazuna tells Yuno and Miyako about the predicament she caused for herself. The scene opens by showing Yuno holding Miyako’s feet in her hands to help Miyako do sit-ups. In addition to the significant boost Yuno receives from her high degree of physical contact with Miyako, Miyako also earns masculinity readings for performing this exercise and both are helped by Miyako being in Yuno’s room so early in the morning (assuming Nazuna is not a heavy sleeper). Both are happy to see Nazuna once she appears, though Nazuna does not reciprocate any similar happiness, so while Yuno and Miyako are raised slightly by their affection for Nazuna, Nazuna earns no similar increase to her yurilevels. Yuno is able to tell quickly that Nazuna has something troubling her, a familiarity with Nazuna that further increases Yuno’s readings; Nazuna then reveals that she has to fake being competent at cooking to avoid disappointing her parents and wanted to turn to Yuno for help, receiving an increase for looking up to Yuno. Her confession surprises Miyako, who had believed Nazuna was a good cook, and Yuno, who believed Nazuna’s parents would appreciate anything their daughter made them. Both earn readings from their support of and confidence in Nazuna, but Nazuna again is unaffected since she rejecting their kindnesses by denying everything they say. Nazuna gratefully accepts Yuno’s plan for a dinner of fried chicken with traditional Japanese dishes, getting another slight increase to end at 2, with Yuno and Miyako at 3 each.

Scene 03: 04:06 - 04:59
C: Yu, Mi, No, Na
Nori enters Yuno’s room to chastise Nazuna. Yuno explains to Nazuna that she invited Nori over without explaining why she did it, implying that to Yuno it is self-evidently more natural to have Nori and Nazuna together than to have Nazuna by herself. Nori reinforces this impression by demanding Nazuna to tell her why she didn’t come to her first, suggesting she also believes it is expected that Nazuna would drift toward Nori instead of anybody else; she and Yuno each receive significant increases for their impressions of Nori and Nazuna’s relationship. Nazuna’s reason for not going to Nori first is that she worried Nori’s fried chicken would taste like food from the Kansai region of Japan, offending Nori and hurting Nazuna’s readings. Once Nori calms down, she says it was better for Nazuna to ask Yuno in any event since Nori has no experience with fried food, though she says so in a somewhat bitter tone, suggesting she is still hurt Nazuna didn’t go to her first and reinforcing her readings from earlier. Yuno suggests that Nazuna go to Hiro for help instead of her since Hiro is a better cook, earning a slight increase for her admiration of Hiro’s cooking, and Miyako cheerily exclaims that they can visit her now, also getting a slight raise for her excitement to see Hiro. Nori ends with 4, Yuno with 3, and Miyako and Nazuna with 1 each.

Scene 04: 05:01 - 05:02
C: Yu, Mi, No, Na
Yuno, Miyako, Nori, and Nazuna stand outside Hiro’s room. This being only the third scene in Hidamari Sketch to have a running time of only one second, it’s too short to provide anybody substantial readings.

Scene 05: 05:03 - 08:43
C: Yu, Mi, Sa, Hi, No, Na
Yuno and Hiro attempt to teach Nazuna how to cook. When Hiro opens the door, Sae is shown standing behind her inside, giving both Sae and Hiro increases similar to Yuno and Miyako’s in Scene 02 since again they are together very early in the morning. Like Yuno in that scene, Sae is able to discern that Nazuna has a problem with which she needs help, again receiving readings similar to when Yuno did the same. Nazuna is unable to relate her own issue due to weakness, so Nori relates the situation to Sae and Hiro, demonstrating a responsibility for her that gives Nori a moderate increase and Nazuna slight side readings for allowing it. Sae and Hiro both respond warmly, with Sae saying Nazuna is good to want to cook for her parents and Hiro saying she will be happy to help; Nazuna is hesitant to involve them since she believes they were drawing earlier, but Hiro giggles and says she and Sae have already finished while Sae blushes. The camera pans out to a large, disorganized heap of papers, all of which are images of Sae sleeping in Hiro’s bed (there are at least 23, with others possible since the pile may extend past the area the camera shows). Again, this scene is happening early in the morning, so to have Sae sleep in Hiro’s bed strongly suggests Sae spent the night with Hiro, showing an intimacy between them that raises Sae’s and Hiro’s yurilevels considerably; Hiro’s yurilevels are strengthened further by her monomaniacal desire to draw Sae’s sleeping image (which, incidentally, finally reciprocates Sae’s creepy obsession with Hiro from Hidamari Sketch x365 11). A lengthy cooking sequence follows showing Hiro preparing fried chicken, after which Nazuna is shown to have attentively written down everything Hiro had told her, suggesting she is treating everything Hiro told her as the correct, infallible way to make the meal and giving Nazuna a boost for looking up to Hiro. Nazuna then cooks her own chicken, which Hiro eats and compliments her for, earning slight readings for her praise of Nazuna. Hiro turns to Yuno and tells Nazuna that Yuno will teach her to make miso soup, referring to Yuno as a teacher (ゆのー先生, “Yuno-sensei”), showing that Hiro believes Yuno has great skill at cooking miso soup; she then confirms this belief to Yuno, which stuns her because Hiro is presented in Hidamari Sketch as the best cook of the Hidamaris and Yuno is awestruck to hear her cooking being praised over Hiro’s. Hiro’s compliment invigorates Yuno help Nazuna, an excitement that represents Yuno’s happiness to be praised by Hiro and thus earns her further increases. Yuno also gives Nazuna praise once they finish cooking, but her praise is too faint to significantly impact her readings. While all of this is occurring, Miyako, Sae, and Nori were eating Nazuna’s multiple batches of fried chicken, which is shown to hurt Sae and Nori but made Miyako happy, giving Miyako a slight increase for implicitly approving Nazuna’s food. Sae and Hiro end with 4, Yuno, Nori, and Nazuna receive 2s, and Miyako gets a 1.

Scene 06: 08:53 - 09:17
C: Yu, Mi, Sa, Hi, No, Na
The Hidamaris greet Nazuna’s parents. Nazuna almost immediately finds herself in trouble, prompting the others to think words of encouragement for her. Since they don’t actually say them out loud, the encouraging effect is lost, and none of them receive readings. Nazuna also stays at 0 since all of her interactions in this scene are with her parents.

Scene 07: 09:18 - 09:43
C: Na
Nazuna begins cooking. Her interactions with her mother consist mainly of denying her mother’s compliments, preventing her from receiving any readings.

Scene 08: 09:44 - 10:42
C: Yu, Mi, Sa, Hi, No
Yuno, Miyako, Sae, Hiro, and Nori wait on hand for Nazuna. Everyone gets initial readings for choosing to gather in Miyako’s room because her room is the one closest to Nazuna’s, so they are implicitly staying close to Nazuna for support and encouragement. Yuno and Hiro add to this by expressing a concern for Nazuna as she cooks, while Miyako gets slight readings for conveying a trust of Nori by allowing her to get her own drink from Miyako’s refrigerator. The Hidamaris are all shocked to hear Nazuna failed to cook the rice, though it doesn’t negatively affect them since dismay is an acceptable reaction to hearing that she ruined a dish as simple to prepare as rice. Yuno, Miyako, and Hiro all get 2, with Sae and Nori earning 1s.

Scene 09: 10:43 - 11:47
C: Yu, Mi, Sa, Hi, No, Na
The Hidamaris salvage Nazuna’s failure of a meal. Nazuna apologizes to Hiro as she enters, suggesting she believes she failed Hiro in some way or regrets inconveniencing her; the first is moderately yuri since it conveys that Nazuna wants to be respected by Hiro and the second conveys very little yuri at all, so Nazuna receives a slight net raise to her yurilevels from the average of these possibilities. Hiro’s calm and positive response to the situation resembles a mother cleaning up a child’s mess, earning maternal readings for her, and elicits looks of admiration and praise from Yuno, Sae, and Nori, who all get slight increases. Nazuna’s increase from earlier is canceled out by her happiness to be petted by her father, so that she ends with 0, Yuno, Sae, Hiro, and Nori all receive 1, and Miyako stays at 0.

Scene 10: 11:48 - 12:32
C: Na
Nazuna’s parents leave her again. Nazuna shows a strong enthusiasm about the other Hidamaris, telling her mother she has a great time with them and responding excitedly to her mother’s suggestion to thank them for helping her cook. Her unrestrained joy at being close to the others raises Nazuna to 2.

Scene 11: 12:34 - 13:39
C: Yu, Mi, Sa, Hi, No, Na
Nazuna thanks the others for their help. She effusively shows gratitude for Hiro, who she says is amazing and who responds by showing a happiness that Nazuna worked hard to cook, then Yuno, who instigates a feedback loop of praise for the miso soup Nazuna made, and finally Miyako, Sae, and Nori for taste-testing the fried chicken; Sae says she was happy to help, Miyako implies she only helped to eat food and not for Nazuna’s sake, and Nori doesn’t respond at all. Nazuna’s fawning over the others earns her signfiicant readings, and Yuno receives the strongest side readings for equalling it with her own praise for Nazuna, with Sae and Hiro getting moderate side readings. Nazuna then tries to share her parents’ gift with the others, only to find it is more fried chicken. She still receives a boost for the attempt, and Miyako gets a slight increase for still being excited despite its redundancy. Overall, Nazuna receives a 4, Yuno earns 3, Sae and Hiro receive 2, Miyako ends with 1, and Nori remains at 0.

Scene 12: 13:42 - 14:13
C: Na
Nazuna bathes in mead. She expresses happiness with having satisifed her parents, referring to them both by focusing on the mother (お母さんーたち, “okaa-san-tachi”; “-tachi” extends a name to represent a group of people, such as in Hidamari Sketch xHoshimittsu 04 when Miyako refers to Sae and Hiro collectively as “Sae-tachi”). Nazuna’s usage of the phrase shows a preference for her mother, and while it doesn’t necessarily suggest a romantic affection for her mother it can still show a preference for women overall, raising Nazuna to a 2.

Scene 13: 14:23 - 14:25
C: Yu
Yuno sleeps. Nothing to note.

Scene 14: 14:27 - 14:29
C: Mi
Miyako sleeps. Nothing to note.

Scene 15: 14:30 - 14:33
C: Na
Nazuna sleeps. The scene of her sleeping is longer than any of the other sleeping scenes, suggesting Studio Shaft likes her more, but other than that nothing to note.

Scene 16: 14:34 - 14:36
C: Hi
Hiro sleeps. Nothing to note.

Scene 17: 14:38 - 15:15
C: No
Nori wakes up from a nightmare. The dream leaves her nervous and unsettled, especially after hearing her phone ring, but she settles down upon seeing Sae was the person to send her a message. The calming effect Sae has on her conveys a relationship of comfort that earns Nori a 1.

Scene 18: 15:15 - 15:51
C: Sa, No
Sae and Nori exchange text messages. Sae first asks if Nori is okay, earning slight readings for her concern. Nori then apologizes for waking Sae, earning similar readings to Sae for her own concern. Sae then offers Nori tea, presumably to calm her down; if so (and it’s the most likely reason), Sae receives further eradings for this friendly gesture. Nori begins to turn down Sae’s offer, but reconsiders; the two cancel out and there ends up being no effect from either on her yurilevels. Sae ends with 2, Nori with 1.

Scene 19: 15:59 - 20:56
C: Sa, No
Sae and Nori spend the night together. Nori apologizes again for waking Sae up, again showing regret for impacting Sae. Sae offers her bottled tea and asks her to relate her dream so it won’t come true, both of which lead Nori to call Sae a “granny” (お婆ちゃん, “obaa-chan”), using the familiar “-chan” honorific to show that she is affectionately teasing Sae rather than mocking her behavior and receiving a slight increase. In Nori’s dream, she was drawing a picture on her computer that had dull colors and a creepy feel, and when she finished it the computer froze without her saving it or backing it up and she lost her image. The primary images of her dream are a computer, drawing, anxiety (which sounds the most like what Nori was experiencing in the dream), and a crashing computer. A computer can represent technology, a lack of individuality, or a lessened sense of superiority, with the third interpretation making the most sense in relation to the others; drawing represents drawing and isn’t particularly important for this dream analysis; anxiety can represent repressed resentment or hostility; and a crashing computer can indicate that something in the dreamer’s life is out of control (that is, “crashing”)**. Together, Nori’s dream symbolically represents that Nori fears losing a position of dominance or has lost this position already and resents whoever took it from her, though what she is dominant over and who she is angry at are unclear, so the dream doesn’t affect her yurilevels. Sae is disappointed to hear Nori had such a simple dream since she thought Nori waking up from a scary dream was cute, receiving an increase to her readings; Nori gets embarrassed by this and retaliates by trying to show Sae fear, with her embarrassment and attempt to scare Sae cancelling out to leave her yurilevels unchanged. Afterwards, Nori apologizes yet again for waking Sae, earning elevated readings compared to earlier because reiterating her apology conveys a strong sense of regret for harming Sae by keeping her from sleeping. Sae insists she doesn’t need to apologize since she was already awake, which leads from one conversation thread to another until Sae and Nori begin arguing furiously about the respective merits of paper dictionaries versus electronic netbooks, with Sae being the principal instigator of the conflict. The decrease they receive from this attack is slightly offset once they calm down and admit the other makes good points, but then they begin arguing over who is more mature and undo their modest recovery again. Once they settle again, Nori asks to see Sae’s dictionary and is impressed by her dense note-taking and highlighting as well as her flipbook drawing, regaining readings again for warming back up to Sae. Sae reciprocates by complimenting Nori’s maturity and favorably comparing her to her sister Chika, prompting Nori to comment that Sae cares about Chika a lot; Nori earns additional readings for implying through this that she believes Sae cares about her as well. Sae then offers to let Chika sleep with Nori the next time she visits, and while Nori does tells Sae that Chika should sleep with her instead, she ends the scene laughing blissfully, suggesting she appreciates the thought. Nori ends with 4 and Sae ends with 3.

Scene 20: 21:01 - 21:39
C: Sa, Hi, No
Hiro discovers that Nori slept with Sae the previous night. She opens the scene by sleepily calling for Sae outside Sae’s door in a tone conveying a longing for her, helping her readings for her unconscious desire to be with Sae. Inside, Sae and Nori are shown to be sleeping together in an arrangement very similar to the “69” sexual position (frequently used by lesbians for its efficiency***), though both are clothed so it’s unlikely that there was actual erotic engagement. Once Sae realizes Hiro is outside, she hastily tries to get Nori out of her room as fast as she can, possibly to avoid having Hiro discover Nori spent the night with her. Two main possibilities for Sae’s pushiness are that Sae is either afraid to let Hiro see her and Nori together in an intimate situation or that Sae herself feels guilty about said intimacy and wants Nori to leave to appease her own remorse. Sae’s reaction could be a mix of both of these, but either option conveys an intensely close relationship with Hiro that Sae does not want to risk through a misunderstanding with her, significantly lifting her readings. Nori also panics once she learns Hiro is outside, but her alarm is just from oversleeping and not about being caught in a tryst, so her yurilevels aren’t affected. Sae’s door opens, showing Hiro with a half-asleep expression that changes to one of surprise and confusion once she sees Sae and Nori together, evidently misreading Nori’s presence as indicative of impropriety, which itself earns Hiro strong yuri in addition to how it represents an element of jealousy in her relationship with Sae. Both Sae and Hiro earn 4, while Nori gets 2.

Scene 21: 21:40 - 22:08
C: No
Nori hastily gets ready for school. No yuri to note; she says “I’m home” (ただいま, “tadaima”) as she returns to her room, but it’s not indicative of any feelings for the others since it’s only being used toward her own room specifically.

Final Yurilevel Readings: (both Aokis and Umes are out of 4)
Episode: 2.2899A
  1. Hiro: 2.873U
  2. Sae: 2.815U
  3. Nori: 2.302U
  4. Yuno: 2.274U
  5. Nazuna: 1.724U
  6. Miyako: 1.480U

For unclear reasons, in every season of Hidamari Sketch so far the fifth episode has had unusually high yurilevels compared to the rest of the series. Season One and xHoshimittsu both had their fifth episode as the second gayest of the season, and x365’s fifth episode (following Chika visiting Hidamari Apartments) had the highest Aoki reading ever recorded for an episode of Hidamari Sketch at 2.24A. This episode not only continued the trend, but topped that record at just barely under 2.29A to become the new most yuri-heavy episode ever. Content-wise, xHoneycomb 06 was helped by strictly keeping the focus on the Hidamaris themselves, being the first episode in the investigation to feature no characters other than the Hidamari residents. Mathematically, the focus on the Hidamaris also kept N values low, which strengthened everyone’s strong scene readings throughout, and combined with very long and notably scenes such as Scenes 02, 05, and 19, the math certainly worked in this episode’s favor. Within the Hidamaris themselves, the center of this episode was Nori and Nazuna, who each had one segment of the episode built entirely around them. Their segments also heavily featured Sae and Hiro respectively, so in a sense xHoneycomb 06 was about drawing parallels from Nazuna to Hiro and from Nori to Sae. Nori and Nazuna as well as Sae and Hiro are often presented as a pair in the show, with Sae and Nori being the dominant members to Hiro and Nazuna’s submissive members. Nazuna’s segment thus documents Hiro training Nazuna to cook, an uxorial activity, while Nori’s segment features her and Sae shouting at and defending the superiority of their research method to each other. Sae and Hiro were used in the first two seasons any time Studio Shaft wanted to include romantic teasing and consequently became the gold standard of a subtextual yuri relationship for Hidamari Sketch, so it’s reasonable that an episode about bringing Nori and Nazuna to this level of yuri should have such high readings. This said, the exclusion of all non-Hidamaris and intense spotlight on the main characters is unique in the show, and thus these exceptional results may remain just that, an exception.

Further analysis will continue with Hidamari Sketch xHoneycomb 06.

*: Though since Nazuna has been shown before to have some depressive qualities, this might just be a normal morning for her.

**: Symbol meanings again provided by
***: My source on this information is scores of “Puella Magi Madoka Magica” doujins.

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