Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Hidamari Sketch xHoneycomb 06

Hidamari Sketch xHoneycomb 06 includes the six Hidamari residents, Yoshinoya, and Kuwahara, as well as Mami and Nakayama and a classmate of Yuno and Miyako. Part A follows Yuno and Miyako spending time together both at school and Hidamari Apartments, and Part B surrounds Hiro’s worries about her future.

Scene 01: 00:10 - 00:30
C: Yu, Mi
Yuno wakes up and is greeted by Miyako. Scenes of this nature have occurred so many times throughout the show that its existence here serves mainly to reinforce the routine of daily life at Hidamari Apartments. Yuno and Miyako are therefore including each other in their daily lives, but to a small enough degree that it only gives them 1.

Scene 02: 00:30 - 00:50
C: Yu, Mi
Yuno and Miyako walk to the front of the apartment building. The brief shot of them standing together against a light pink background conveys they are both happy to see each other, giving them 1s again.

Scene 03: 00:50 - 01:30
C: Yu, Mi, Sa, Hi, No, Na
The Hidamaris walk to school. Yuno notices that Hiro looks unwell and asks how she is doing, a concern that elevates her to another 1. Miyako also talks to Hiro, but only to inform her that her hair is messy, which doesn’t help her readings. Nazuna says the same thing to Nori in an unusually light-hearted manner, possibly conveying a greater degree of comfort with her than normal and giving her a 2. As they reach the gate, Sae looks back on the others fondly, a warmth that earns her a 2. Everyone else stays at 0.

Scene 04: 03:04 - 03:33
C: Yu, Mi, Yo
Yoshinoya begins class. Yuno’s embarrassment to have Miyako see her make faces in her mirror isn’t a shame that conveys yuri, so neither one of them earns readings. Yoshinoya’s briefing to her students has no yuri in it either, so everybody ends at 0.

Scene 05: 03:33 - 03:44
C: Yo, Yuno and Miyako’s classmate
Yoshinoya draws Mashiko. The classmate prompting her to do so was likely in the chorus at the end of the previous scene praising Yoshinoya’s artistic skill, but wanting to see that skill used to portray a man holds her at 0. Yoshinoya’s unflattering portrait of Mashiko isn’t clearly enough a disdain for men in general, and consequently doesn’t affect her readings to keep her at 0 as well.

Scene 06: 03:44 - 06:12
C: Yu, Mi
Yuno and Miyako talk as they draw themselves. The scene essentially revolves around how much Yuno and Miyako know about each other. Yuno realizes there are things they haven’t talked about after hearing Miyako talking freely about her experiences with drawing prior to coming to Yamabuki, leading Miyako to ask Yuno to make a face she hasn’t shown her before. Yuno’s attempt to sneer sends Miyako into a fit of laughter as she exclaims that Yuno has the expression completely wrong. Miyako’s happiness for Yuno to fail at sneering implies that Miyako didn’t want to see Yuno actually make such a face, preferring Yuno to have her regular, happier expressions, a fondness for her that significantly helps her readings so that Miyako ends with 3 and Yuno with 1.

Scene 07: 06:14 - 06:16
C: Yu, Mi
Yuno eats. The scene exists for the sake of a kanji pun, and because Yuno and Miyako don’t appear to be looking at each other nothing affects anybody’s yurilevels.

Scene 08: 06:18 - 06:53
C: Yu, Mi, Yo
Yoshinoya ends class. Miyako compliments Yuno by saying her portrait is bold, but Yuno doesn’t reciprocate since she only comments on the hands Miyako included in her portrait. Miyako’s joke about the hands scares Yuno and prompts her to very hastily apologize, a somewhat out-of-character moment since Miyako has in the past been an unrepentant trickster. This suggests she values Yuno’s feelings more than those of the other Hidamaris, raising her to 2. Yuno and Yoshinoya stay at 0.

Scene 09: 06:54 - 07:26
C: Yu, Mi, Mami and Nakayama
Yuno and Miyako admire each other. Miyako merrily comments that she could tell Yuno’s drawing was a self-portrait because it was “cute” (可愛い, “kawaii”). Yuno gets embarrassed to hear this and asks Miyako to clarify, at which point a confused Miyako again says Yuno is “adorable” (she uses “kawaii” again), asking Yuno if she had never told her she thought so. The implication is that Miyako has always considered Yuno cute or adorable, a very fond opinion of her, but for some reason has never told her or never been able to tell her. A possible explanation for her reluctance to say this could be that Miyako is reflecting Yuno’s sentiment from xHoneycomb 02, where Yuno was afraid to have intimacy with Miyako to prevent their relationship from moving from a close friendship to a romantic partnership. In line with the carefree attitude she has expressed throughout Hidamari Sketch, Miyako seems here to be rejecting this concern and revealing her feelings about Yuno anyways. Yuno’s response is even stronger yuri-embarrassment, and she unsteadily says that Miyako is “way cuter” (ほうが断然可愛い, “houga danzen kawaii”), then that she’s “beautiful” (美しんだ), showing a similar near-amorous affection to Miyako if not a stronger one. There is a close-up of Miyako’s eyes as she stares on (presumably at Yuno), then Miyako calmly says she’s leaving to turn in her picture; as she turns to leave, the background turns a light yellow and is decorated by flowers, conveying a strong cheerfulness in Miyako. While she walks away, Mami and Nakayama note that Miyako is making a face they’ve never seen on her before. The audience doesn’t see this face, but the aforementioned visual cue of flowers suggests joy in Miyako, which is reinforced by the closing shot being Miyako walking away against a pink backdrop decorated with bubbles and doilies (both of which have been used as visual cues in previous episodes to denote happiness), the centerpiece of which is a rainbow arching over Miyako. Leaving aside the symbolism between rainbows and homosexuality, Hidamari Sketch has incorporated rainbows three other times (Hidamari Sketch 06, Hidamari Sketch OVA 01, and xHoshimittsu 02), each time using the image during a moment of calmness. While Miyako walks under her rainbow, a stringed instrument is playing a gentle tune, further suggesting that Miyako is calm here. The combination of calm and happy symbols leads to the best possibility being that the face Miyako is making is relief, likely from hearing her feelings for Yuno reciprocated. She and Yuno both end with 4, while Mami and Nakayama focusing on Miyako’s face earns a 1.

Scene 10: 07:27 - 07:47
C: Yu, Mi
Yuno asks Miyako to sleep with her. Miyako is shown happily waiting for Yuno while she finishes packing her bag, a loyalty that earns her a moderate increase. Yuno then asks her to spend the night together, saying that she wants to talk with Miyako more than usual today. Both of these are strongly yuri in themselves, but convey a romantic subtext more than they normally would because, in context of the previous scene, Yuno’s desire to be with Miyako is likely related to their admissions that they think the other is attractive. Miyako enthusiastically agrees and the two briefly touch hands, solidifying Yuno’s reading of 4 and Miyako’s of 3.

Scene 11: 07:49 - 07:56
C: Yu, Mi
Yuno and Miyako walk home. Their actions in the scene don’t especially suggest yuri, but the warm and gentle feel of the scene conveys a closeness between them that gives each 2.

Scene 12: 08:00 - 09:06
C: Yu, Mi
Yuno and Miyako spend time naked together and sit by Yuno’s bed. The first half of the scene depicts Yuno and Miyako squeezed together intimately in Yuno’s bath, earning both significant initial readings for being comfortable around each other’s nudity. Yuno fondly reminisces about Miyako bathing with her the first night Yuno spent at Hidamari Apartments (see x365 01); her attitude at the time was one of shock and dismay, so Yuno gets further readings for showing how she has warmed to Miyako in the time since then. In the second half of the scene, Yuno and MIyako drowsily talk about curry until they fall asleep together, the implication being that they so wanted to talk to each other they did so until they physically could no longer do so. This desire to spend time together raises Miyako to 3 and Yuno to another 4.

Scene 13: 09:18 - 09:55
C: Hi
Hiro recounts her life as an artist. Her desire to go into art was spurred by the praise of her parents and teachers, with the representative figure being a female teacher. This could suggest Hiro went into art for the respect and admiration of other women, an implication that raises her to 2.

Scene 14: 09:58 - 10:22
C: Sa
Sae agonizes over her choices for further education. Her rationalizations for her options only involve herself and don’t incorporate other women, so she stays at 0.

Scene 15: 10:22 - 10:40
C: Sa, Hi
Hiro comforts Sae. Hiro enters yelling at Sae to calm down (likely having heard Sae’s shouts in the previous scene), a desire to not see her stressed that, through her desperate shout, is strong enough to earn Hiro a moderate increase. Hiro then places both of her hands on Sae’s wrist when Sae begins to despair over the upcoming future planning counseling, conveying that Sae and Hiro have a close enough physical intimacy that Hiro’s touch is a relaxing action, giving each strong readings. Sae asks Hiro for sweet food to settle her mood, subtly conveying their husband-wife dynamic since food preparation is a task traditionally assigned to wives; Hiro agrees and pulls Sae toward her room by holding her hand, an even more intimate physical activity that pushes Hiro up to 4 and Sae to 3.

Scene 16: 10:42 - 10:58
C: Sa, Hi
Sae discusses her plans for college with Hiro. Hearing that Sae is considering going to a humanities college instead of an art college like Hiro stops Hiro in the middle of bringing Sae her drink, conveying a fear of being separated from Sae that’s too undeveloped at this point to provide Hiro with anything higher than a 2. Sae’s general aloofness in this scene keeps her at 0.

Scene 17: 11:08 - 11:31
C: Yu, Mi, Sa, Hi
Yuno, Miyako, and Sae have lunch. Hiro declines to eat and leaves the rest of her meal to Miyako. Decreased appetite is a common symptom of depression*, so this is likely what Hiro is experiencing at this point in the segment. Her depression has two equally probable causes: considering this segment of the episode overall, it could be due to Hiro’s uneasiness to graduate and leave Hidamari Apartments, but the previous scene, showing Hiro shocked to hear Sae wouldn’t be going to an art college like she will be, suggests it could be more specifically due to Hiro’s fear to lose Sae; Scene 22 eventually confirms that both of these are the case, and since both convey strongly yuri attachments to the other Hidamaris, Hiro receives a considerable increase. Instead of accepting Hiro’s lunch, Miyako only looks at Hiro in confusion, displaying that she is aware something is wrong with Hiro and getting a slight raise for her ability to read Hiro’s mood. Yuno and Sae get similar increases for looking concerned, with Yuno’s being stronger for noting that Hiro similarly gave Miyako her lunch the day before. Miyako decides to bring Hiro to the nurse’s office, showing a genuine concern for her that is slightly betrayed by the joke about Hiro’s weight she makes immediately afterwards. The method of delivery used is a forced hand-holding, which elevates Miyako’s readings slightly but does not affect Hiro’s since it is non-consensual. Miyako and Hiro end with 3, Yuno with 2, and Sae with 1.

Scene 18: 11:33 - 11:37
C: Mi, Hi, Ku
Miyako drops Hiro off with Kuwahara. Kuwahara is shown to touch Hiro’s back, but because Hiro is visibly weak Kuwahara’s touch is probably just to support her and falls under her job as a nurse, preventing her from earning readings for it, keeping her at 0. Miyako again shows that she cares about Hiro’s well-being by telling Kuwahara to take care of her, raising her to 2. The silent Hiro remains at 0.

Scene 19: 11:38 - 11:39
C: Mi
Miyako walks away from Kuwahara’s office. Nothing to note in this scene.

Scene 20: 11:39 - 12:31
C: Hi, Yo, Ku
Hiro is instructed to rest and runs into Yoshinoya. Kuwahara’s concern for Hiro’s health is explainable as being part of her role as a nurse, so she doesn’t receive any readings for it. When Hiro gets into one of the infirmary’s bed, Yoshinoya crawls out and asks her to be gentle (優しくして, “yasashikushite”), suggesting she expected sexual activity (yuri sexual activity since Yoshinoya most likely heard Hiro as she talked to Kuwahara and would be able to discern it was Hiro entering her bed), giving her a very strong increase to her readings. Yoshinoya goes on to complain that she wanted to talk with Kuwahara during lunch but was forced to wait until she finished working, indicating a friendly closeness to Kuwahara. Kuwahara doesn’t return this friendliness and hits Yoshinoya for embellishing her story, a non-yuri physical contact that negatively impacts her readings, keeping her at 0 along with Hiro while Yoshinoya gets 4.

Scene 21: 12:31 - 14:25
C: Hi, Yo
Yoshinoya helps Hiro plan what she wants to do in life. Though the setting hasn’t technically changed, Kuwahara drew a blind around Hiro and Yoshinoya to give them privacy, which made the infirmary area of her office separate enough to count as a new location and thus start a new scene. Yoshinoya tells Hiro that she can talk to her about whatever is troubling her and delights to hear Hiro say she wants to be an art teacher, conveying warmth toward Hiro. Hiro’s desire to be an art teacher is primarily because she cannot imagine herself anywhere but Yamabuki High School, implicitly with the other Hidamaris. Yoshinoya picks up on this suggestion and warns Hiro that, even if she is assigned to teach at Yamabuki, “Sae and your underclassmen” (沙英ーさん と ゆのーさん-たち, “Sae-san to Yuno-san-tachi”) won’t be at Yamabuki as well, deeply affecting Hiro. Yoshinoya’s choice of using Sae and Yuno as her examples is a conscious usage of the Hidamaris shown to be closest to Hiro, earning Yoshinoya moderate readings for picking up on this and Hiro similar readings for being afraid to lose these relationships. Hiro ends at 3, Yoshinoya at 2.

Scene 22: 14:29 - 14:58
C: Hi
Hiro mulls over Yoshinoya’s words. She admits to herself that she doesn’t want anything to change and as emphasis pictures the other Hidamaris assembled with Sae in the center and Miyako draping her arms around Yuno, which both places the focus on Sae and conveys that her interpretation of interpersonal relationships among the Hidamaris are highly intimate, a possible projection that significantly raises her readings. She also says she likes living at Hidamari more than she likes drawing, specifying that she likes being with “Sae and the others” (沙英とみんな, “Sae to minna”), elevating Sae above the others to suggest Hiro is worried most about leaving Sae than about anybody else. This desire to be with Sae further helps her so that she ends with a 4.

Scene 23: 14:58 - 15:32
C: Yo, Ku
Yoshinoya talks to Kuwahara. Yoshinoya tearfully voices her concern that she spoke too harshly to Hiro and says she was upset that Hiro was afraid of change, showing a desire for Hiro to be happy. Kuwahara replies her that Hiro will be fine, displaying more a confidence in Hiro than an attempt to reassure Yoshinoya and thus only getting a slight increase in readings. She then compliments Yoshinoya by saying that she can be a good teacher sometimes, which is probably the highest praise that has come out of Kuwahara so far in Hidamari Sketch and thus raises her to 2, where Yoshinoya also ends.

Scene 24: 15:34 - 15:57
C: Yu, Mi, Sa
Yuno and Miyako walk back to Hidamari Apartments with Sae. Miyako once again shows actual concern for Hiro by asking Sae where she is and then if they should go visit her. Yuno shows similar concern and offers to make porridge, which Sae says they can give her when they visit Hiro later in the day, conveying she intends to take care of Hiro. Yuno and Miyako both get 2, and Sae receives a 1.

Scene 25: 15:58 - 16:19
C: Yu, Mi
Yuno and Miyako talk about what they can do for Hiro. Miyako offers to help Yuno make porridge for Hiro, though Yuno doesn’t require her help; she then comes up with something for Miyako to do, probably to make her feel like she’s helping Hiro, a consideration for her which helps both of them. They each end with 2.

Scene 26: 16:21 - 16:52
C: No, Na
Nori and Nazuna learn that Hiro is sick. Nazuna is horrified and begins to panic, prompting Nori to calm her by leaning over and placing her hand on Nazuna’s cheek, mirroring Hiro’s similar action toward Sae in Scene 15. Nori reasons that since Yuno sent them the message informing them of Hiro’s condition, Sae and Miyako are already also aware and thus she and Nazuna only need to think about what they can do for Hiro, representing the Hidamari residents as a tightly-knit group and conveying her own fondness for them. She ends with a 4, while Nazuna’s relaxation at Nori’s touch raises her to a 3.

Scene 27: 16:53 - 17:27
C: Sa, Na
Nazuna gives Sae cooling pads for Hiro. Her tone of voice is more upset than normal, conveying her distress at Hiro’s illness. Sae thanks her for the pads and assures her Hiro will receive them, a politeness that doesn’t by itself convey strong yuri. Sae stays at 0 and Nazuna earns 1.

Scene 28: 17:29 - 17:55
C: Yu, Mi, Sa
Yuno, Miyako, and Sae visit Hiro’s room. Yuno and Miyako deliver the porridge they made, though they already received readings for it and nothing in this scene adds to their gesture, so neither is affected by it. Miyako says she’ll leave the rest to Sae as she exits, to which Sae whispers back “okay” (オーケー, “oke”); Miyako earns 1 for leaving Hiro in Sae’s care, and Sae earns 1 for accepting. Yuno stays at 0.

Scene 29: 17:56 - 17:57
C: Yu, Mi
Yuno and Miyako walk away from Hiro’s room. They don’t interact with each other, so there are no opportunities for yuri here.

Scene 30: 17:59 - 20:27
C: Sa, Hi
Sae comforts Hiro. Hiro wakes up an unspecified length of time after the previous scene, but Sae is still reading over Hiro’s future planning worksheet, so it was likely less than an hour. She is upset to see that Sae read her plans, a non-yuri embarrassment, but Sae stops her by happily saying that becoming an art teacher is a perfect choice for her, citing that Hiro is great at explaining concepts from another person’s perspective, kind, considerate, and open-minded. Sae’s high praise and admiration of Hiro’s qualities is bolstered by her exceptionally complimentary claim that if Hiro had been her art teacher, she would never have been discouraged from drawing animals (see Hidamari Sketch 10). Hearing Sae speak so affectionately about her causes Hiro to begin crying, representing a break in Hiro’s gloom now that Sae has encouraged her and conveying that she strongly values Sae’s opinions of her. Though Sae is initially alarmed to see Hiro cry, she calms her by patting her head, an intimate contact that Hiro reciprocates by tugging on Sae’s shirt and which ultimately escalates into a full, close-contact hug with Hiro's head against Sae's chest. Both express their sorrow that they won’t be able to see each other after graduation, but Sae reassuringly tells her that everything will be okay so long as they want to be together. The two hug for sixteen seconds in total, possibly the longest uninterrupted contact in Hidamari Sketch so far; in comparison with their previous hug in x365 12, neither is embarrassed to hold the other and Sae does not need to be separated from Hiro by a pillow, representing that Sae has grown much closer to Hiro and become much more comfortable with her since then. After they separate again when Hiro becomes hungry, Sae tells her about the porridge and cooling pads the others sent her, which Hiro warmly says is nice of them. The emotional intimacy and reliance both share in this scene convey an incredibly strong, nearly romantic bond between them, giving each 4s.

Scene 31: 20:31 - 20:55
C: Yu, Mi, Hi, No, Na
Hiro greets Yuno, Miyako, Nori, and Nazuna outside Hidamari. Miyako is seen to be holding onto Yuno’s shoulder, earning both of them an initial moderate increase; Yuno gets another slight raise from asking if Hiro is feeling better. Hiro then thanks Yuno, Nazuna, and Nori for the aid each of them gave her while ill, a gratitude that earns her a 2 overall. While Hiro is thanking Yuno, Miyako interrupts and insists she also helped, a tactlessness that cancels out the increase she receives from wanting Hiro to praise her so that her yurilevels are unaffected. Yuno and Nazuna both express relief that Nazuna’s cooling pads worked, helping both slightly, and Nori blushes to be thanked for her text message, a yuri-embarrassment that increases her moderately. Everyone ends with 2 except for Nazuna, who earns only 1.

Scene 32: 20:55 - 21:33
C: Yu, Mi, Sa, Hi, No, Na
Sae joins the others. Instead of thanking her like she did for the others, Hiro only turns to face Sae and looks at her for a moment before softly saying “good morning” (おはよう, “ohayou”); Sae returns the greeting in a similarly gentle manner. Their relative silence toward each other conveys a sense that neither needs to say anything, an intimacy that significantly raises both of their yurilevels. Miyako interrupts again to tell Hiro that the school is preparing foie gras, and Nori then worries that Hiro won’t be able to eat it yet, a concern that raises Nori’s readings slightly. Hiro’s enthusiasm to have the meal is commented on innocuously by Miyako, but Hiro interprets it as a slight against her weight and becomes upset, conveying that Hiro believes that anything Miyako says is likely to be insulting and hurting Hiro’s readings for her distrust. Yuno smiles to see that Hiro has recovered, raising her to 1, while Sae gets 3, Hiro gets 2, Nori also receives 1, and Miyako and Nazuna stay at 0.

Scene 33: 21:33 - 21:35
C: Hi
Hiro walks alone in a hallway. No yuri in this scene.

Scene 34: 21:37 - 22:07
C: Hi, Yo
Hiro tells Yoshinoya she’s decided to be an art teacher. Both apologize for the abrupt end to their conversation the day before, conveying they each regret not talking to each other more and giving both a slight increase. Hiro informs Yoshinoya of her decision and says she was able to make up her mind because she was reassured by “someone who knows me better than I do” (私よりの私のこと知ってきれて, “watashi yori no watashi no koto shittekirete”); this is confirmed to be referring to Sae by the image of Sae resting a hand on Hiro’s back as the two stand together on the edge of a sunny body of water. The notion that Sae knows Hiro better than Hiro does conveys that Hiro trusts Sae completely, even more than she trusts her own judgment, a closeness to her that earns Hiro a very strong 4. Yoshinoya’s response to Hiro’s declaration is notably muted and prevents her from earning yurilevels for it, keeping her at 1.

Final Yurilevel Readings: (both Aokis and Umes are out of 4)
Episode: 2.1334A
  1. Hiro: 2.632U
  2. Sae: 2.248U
  3. Miyako: 2.085U
  4. Yoshinoya: 1.652U
  5. Yuno: 1.647U
  6. Nori: 1.578U
  7. Nazuna: 1.383U
  8. Mami and Nakayama: 1.000U
  9. Kuwahara: 0.755U
  10. Yuno and Miyako’s classmate: 0.000U

xHoneycomb 06 is the second episode in a row to read above 2.0 Aokis, the first time this has ever occurred in the investigation. Like the previous episode, the focus is foremost on the relationships between the Hidamaris, and with this episode specifically focusing on how much they admire each other it’s small wonder readings were so high throughout. Hiro spent the majority of Part B bemoaning her imminent separation from the others, particularly Sae, and ended with the highest character reading; Sae’s kind, warm, and caring response to her melancholy pushed her to second place, though at some distance behind. Similarly, Yuno and Miyako performed well due to their confessions to each other, with Yuno’s 1 in Scene 06 being the main reason she didn’t have an Ume reading over 2.0. Nori and Nazuna, being almost invisible in this episode (with a combined 300 seconds of scene time compared to 305 seconds from Yoshinoya alone), received readings that were relatively low but still fairly strong, pushed mostly by their concern for Hiro in the second half. Again, it is rare to have an episode entirely revolve around character interactions and relationship development, and the next few episodes will return to events occurring at Yamabuki High School, so while these readings are exceptional they still show that Honeycomb as a whole is giving more focus to yuri subtext than previous seasons.

Further analysis will continue with Hidamari Sketch xHoneycomb 07.

*: See the Mayo Clinic’s page on depression.

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

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