As outlined in the Project Overview, the Hidamari Yurilevels Project is designed to provide data which can be used toward answering the twin questions of whether or not Hidamari Sketch becomes gayer over time and which Hidamari is the gayest. Approaching these questions requires the investigation to examine individual seasons of the show in addition to the series as a whole to examine the data and trends particular to each season. The analysis of Hidamari Sketch xHoneycomb 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 for the season, provide explanations for these figures, and compare the figures with the overall readings of Season One, x365, and xHoshimittsu.
Analysis of Episode Readings
The episodes of Hidamari Sketch xHoneycomb and Sae and Hiro Graduation have been listed below, ranked from highest Aoki reading to lowest:
- Sae and Hiro Graduation 02: 2.5517A
- Episode 05: 2.2899A
- Episode 06: 2.1334A
- Episode 02: 1.9007A
- Episode 07: 1.8994A
- Sae and Hiro Graduation 01: 1.8836A
- Episode 12: 1.7965A
- Episode 09: 1.6684A
- Episode 01: 1.5968A
- Episode 10: 1.5519A
- Episode 08: 1.5285A
- Episode 03: 1.3773A
- Episode 11: 1.2993A
- Episode 12: 0.8582A
Figure 01: Aoki Readings per Episode - Season 4
The linear regression gives a steady but small increase in yuri as the season goes on, mostly prompted by the increase from the Sae and Hiro Graduation episodes. Readings generally stayed within 0.5 Aokis of 1.5A, the only outliers being 04, 05, 06, and Sae and Hiro Graduation 02.
Like the previous season, nearly every episode this season (other than 08 and 12) had at least some degree of lewdness. There were some episodes, however, with especially significant or notable lewd content, which were 01 (shots of Sae and Hiro bathing together, hand-holding), 02 (Nori and Nazuna touching Miyako’s erogenous zones), 04 (swimsuit episode, Yuno asks Nori to strip), 05 (Sae and Nori’s 69 position, shots of Nori washing herself), 06 (Yuno and Miyako bathing together, Sae and Hiro hugging), and 09 (the Landlady rubbing herself on Nazuna). These are nearly half the season in total, which, though a troubling figure, is about identical to the proportion of lewd episodes to total episodes in Season One. However, xHoneycomb is distinct from Season One (and any other, for that matter) in that of the six gayest episodes of the season, four were significantly lewd, including two of the three episodes above 2.0A. This is a total reversal of the relationship yuri and purity have had throughout Hidamari Sketch: in xHoneycomb, lewd content correlates to stronger yuri overall. The most likely reason for this result is that, where lewdness in other seasons consisted of things like swimsuit episodes and Yoshinoya’s antics, lewdness in xHoneycomb tends to come from physical contact and intimacy that sometimes becomes outright erotic (such as in Episodes 02 and 04). This particular form of lewdness conveys closeness between the involved parties and tends to raise their readings, and because it came across more in this season it affected yurilevels more than usual.
The higher-yuri episodes in this season, like in other seasons, focused on the relationships between the Hidamaris. Episodes 09 and 12 surround how the Hidamaris interact with each other and the close relationships they share with each other, 09 through a litany of nostalgic continuity references and 12 through displaying the affection the younger Hidamaris have for Sae and Hiro, and consequently they earned moderate Aoki readings. The gayest episodes in xHoneycomb, however, extended these relationships to show the romantic or sexual angles in them. Episodes 06 and 07 have the strongest elements of romance in the season, particularly Episode 06 with its storylines of Yuno and Miyako admitting mutual attraction and Sae and Hiro comforting each other about their impending separation, while 02 features outright erotic contact centered on Miyako. Sae and Hiro Graduation 02 ended as the gayest episode of the season in large part from the examination of Sae and Hiro's first meeting and the start of their eventual romance. Episode 05 played on already-established yuri subtext by paralleling Nori and Nazuna’s relationship to Sae and Hiro’s.
The only notably low-yuri episodes were Episodes 03, 04, and 11. 03 and 04, in contrast to the high-yuri episodes, had a focus outside of the Hidamaris’ relationships, being the beginning of the school year and the Yamabuki swim meet respectively. 11 also had less focus on the Hidamaris with its Part A plot of Yuno, Miyako, Mami, and Nakayama cleaning out Yoshinoya’s house, but the second half should have made up for it by following the Hidamari Christmas Eve party. The yuri derived from 11’s Part B was mostly friendly in nature and little romantic subtext, so curiously, the episode’s weak reading could be because the Hidamaris were too friendly to each other.
Analysis of Character Readings
Like xHoshimittsu, xHoneycomb kept a focus on the central cast and used secondary characters sparingly, though often to considerable effect:
Figure 02: Ume Readings per Episode - Season 4
The Hidamaris’ readings stay close to the episode reading, though again they have considerable variance within episodes with one character often standing out compared to the others. Yuno, Miyako, and Nori all had fairly consistent readings, though Yuno’s yuri generally declined as the season went on and Miyako’s generally increased. Sae had several low-yuri episodes at the beginning of the season but got higher readings later on, while Hiro had the opposite trend happen to her, earning slightly lower Ume readings in the second half of the season. Nazuna’s Ume readings were entirely unpredictable; she earned the highest Ume reading of any Hidamari this season in Episode 02 (3.350U) but ended at or near the bottom of intra-Hidamari character rankings in other episodes, though in general she too rose and fell with the episode’s general Aoki reading. The only consistently-gay side characters were the Landlady and Natsume, while Yoshinoya and Kuwahara continued to earn low readings if they earned any at all. Chika was almost absent this season, only receiving readings once in Episode 10.
Season Yurilevel Readings
Overall readings for the season were determined by taking all the scenes in xHoneycomb and treating them as one very long episode, adjusting the Methodology’s formulae accordingly. Season Four had 16,214 seconds of scene time across 348 scenes, with a total of 1,444 yurilevels recorded.
Season Four: 1.7309A
xHoneycomb increased over xHoshimittsu by approximately 22.9 percent, the largest increase between any two seasons. The only outliers in terms of episode length were xHoneycomb 08 at an unusually low 1102 seconds and Sae and Hiro Graduation 02 at a very low 1025 seconds, but otherwise no particular episode had significantly greater weight on the season average than another.
- Natsume: 3.124U
- Landlady: 2.776U
- Hiro: 1.984U
- Sae: 1.843U
- Nazuna: 1.718U
- Yuno: 1.680U
- Miyako: 1.469U
- Nori: 1.419U
- Chika: 1.325U
- Yoshinoya: 0.676U
- Kuwahara: 0.620U
Natsume tops the overall character rankings for the third season running, which isn’t a surprise since her characterization is centered around her affection for Sae. Second place goes to, of all characters, the Landlady, whose minor 1113 seconds of scene time in the season were mostly in her very high-yuri appearance in Episode 09, significantly skewing her overall reading. Among the Hidamaris, Sae and Hiro return to preeminence with Hiro’s maternal role and good relations with all the other residents securing her as the gayest against Sae’s total dependence on and deep care for Hiro. Nazuna’s especially strong readings in episodes like Episode 02 and 08 and overall need to be cared for by the others put her slightly above Yuno, though compared to the previous season she fell about 0.2U. Yuno and Miyako’s increasingly romantic relationship raised both of their readings significantly over xHoshimittsu, and Nori’s blunt nature and role as straight man in xHoneycomb’s comedy scenes held her at the bottom of the Hidamari rankings. Chika’s reading, like the Landlady’s, is mostly the result of just one episode (Episode 10), which itself wasn’t notably gay. Finally, as in every single season so far, the two least gay characters are professional, straight-laced Kuwahara and hyperthymic Yoshinoya respectively.
Figure 03: Yurilevels of Tracked Characters - Season 4
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 Hiro, Sae, Nazuna, Yuno, Miyako, and Nori.
Figure 04: Yurilevels of Hidamari Residents - Season 4
Comparisons with Previous Seasons
Season Four of Hidamari Sketch is quantitatively the gayest, with overall Aoki readings and most characters’ Ume readings being higher than any other season. Season Three’s trend away from iyashikei toward comedy continued in this season, with all but a few episodes having more than one storyline and rarely including moments where some event was not happening. Other seasons had a very tight focus on Yuno as a main character, following her daily life and reactions to events, but xHoneycomb again continues xHoshimittsu’s move away from this attention and devotes considerable time to every Hidamari resident. Much of the season was structured to focus on one pair of Hidamaris at a time, which could possibly be part of the reason there was more romantic subtext in xHoneycomb than other seasons.
xHoneycomb recorded more yurilevels than Season One or x365 and is just barely above xHoshimittsu’s 1,429. Much of this high concentration of yuri went to Yuno and Miyako, both of whom saw their Ume readings increase for the third season running. Sae and Hiro’s return to a more romantic dynamic helped their yurilevels significantly, while Nori and Nazuna both declined as a result of more scene time and slight changes in their character roles which separated them to a greater degree than any other pair received.
Figure 05: Yurilevels of Hidamari Residents - Seasons 1, 2, 3, & 4
Evaluation of Expectations for Season Four
The Season Three Analysis predicted that Hidamari Sketch xHoneycomb would “likely continue many of the trends seen in xHoshimittsu and build on them, so there will probably be further yurilevel increases in general” and that “[Nori and Nazuna’s] readings will probably not increase very dramatically, but I expect the other Hidamaris will increase significantly over their xHoshimittsu readings.” xHoneycomb did build on xHoshimittsu’s trends of more evenly-split focus, comedic stylings, and increased romantic subtext, all of which raised yurilevels on the whole. It was also correct to predict that Nori and Nazuna’s readings would not increase significantly, though slightly wrong to assume there would still be an increase, and to predict that the other four Hidamaris would see significant increases. It was also predicted that xHoneycomb would feature side characters to a greater degree than xHoshimittsu, but this was not the case and the two seasons had the secondary characters at a similar, somewhat low level of attention.
Expectations for Future Seasons
Beyond Hidamari Sketch Sae and Hiro Graduation, there is little to speculate about the direction Hidamari Sketch will take, or if Hidamari Sketch will continue at all. If the series does continue, it will either focus solely on Yuno, Miyako, Nori, and Nazuna, in which case the trends in their relationships and respective group roles from xHoneycomb will continue, or new characters will move in, in which case there will be a similar effect to Nori and Nazuna’s arrival in xHoshimittsu of elevated readings as the new tenant(s) are gradually incorporated into the group’s dynamic. In both cases, I would expect yurilevel increases, but whether they will be minor or significant is unclear.
Final analysis and interpretation will begin within the week.
8/28/13: Updated information about Hidamari Sketch Sae Hiro Sotsugyou-hen.
12/10/13: Updated name of graduation episodes to reflect the translation used by Nutbladder.
1/13/14: Incorporated data from Sae and Hiro Graduation OVA episodes.