The central question that instigated the Hidamari Yurilevel Project was a number of anonymous members of /a/ asking during livewatch threads of xHoneycomb episodes if Hidamari Sketch had always had as much yuri content as it did in xHoneycomb*. This is the primary focus of research in the investigation, and with all necessary data now collected, the investigation can now put forward a possible answer.
Figure 01: Season Aoki Readings
The short answer is that yuri in Hidamari Sketch does increase over time, by approximately 63.5 percent over the run of the show.
Extra-diegetically, there was always some yuri content in Hidamari Sketch, much of which was centered on Sae and Hiro. However, the intended initial genre of the show as a healing series meant the series focused on daily interactions and small moments of friendliness, keeping stronger, more romantic subtext out of the picture for the most part. Over time these iyashikei elements were dropped as Hidamari Sketch moved toward becoming a slice-of-life comedy. As the show was built around character interactions, these new humorous elements tested the established relationships of the Hidamari residents by increasing their romantic tension. Seasons Three and Four then switch over entirely to an examination of the how characters relate to each other and romantic elements become increasingly prevalent. The addition of Nori and Nazuna also changed the structure of the show from group-based interaction to pair-based, allowing for greater intimacy between characters in scenes.Intra-diegetically, a simple answer to why yuri increases over time is that the Hidamari residents become closer to each other as time passes. There is evidence in-universe for this to be possible. Sae and Hiro as first-years, as shown in xHoshimittsu 09, are close but not as overtly a “married couple” as they are as second-years or third-years. Yuno and Miyako, similarly, are friendly to each other as first-years but become more intimate and more open about their feelings in xHoshimittsu and especially xHoneycomb. Nori and Nazuna bonded relatively quickly and don’t follow this pattern as closely, but in xHoneycomb compared to xHoshimittsu they are much more integrated into the Hidamari unit, supporting the theory on a larger scale.
*: It should be noted that, despite combing through the Foolz archive of /a/ posts from said threads, I have not found any posts actually asking this question, and this comes entirely from my own recollection of said threads. It is therefore possible nobody ever actually asked this, and the project was a massive exercise in futility. That said, no semi-scientific investigation is ever futile, as any and all research is a contribution to the sum total of human knowledge.
1/13/14: Incorporated data from Sae and Hiro Graduation OVAs.