Hidamari Sketch is a series that I won’t hide my enjoyment of, especially when it comes to spiting Scamp for his apathy toward Yuno and co. doing cute things with a gradual increase in homoerotic subtext. But as much as Honeycomb has warmed the shriveled, crusted-over raisin that is my heart, it’s difficult to pinpoint one moment that stands against all else that anime has offered us this year, which speaks more for the strength of HidaSketch’s competition than for any weaknesses on its part. And so, since I want to use the “Suck it Scamp” tag at least once while sticking to anime that I’ve watched this year, there’s one moment of Hoshimittsu that proved that the series is sometimes capable of more than painting an idyllic picture of saccharine happiness, contrary to what Bossman Scamp might think. I mean he’s right most of the time in that regard, but not necessarily here.
Up until the last few episodes of Hoshimittsu, Hidamari Sketch adhered pretty strictly to the “cute girls doing cute things” genre of non-storytelling. It was a slice of life show made distinctive by its cast of relatable characters and unique art style courtesy of SHAFT, but otherwise did little to break the mold of serving up pure glee in 23 minute increments. Once it finally focused on schoolwork and how shitty Yuno’s day was up to the point that she had to sketch a drawing to be judged like a piece of meat, it managed to become halfway somber in its own way.
From what Hidamari Sketch has shown us before, you’d expect that despite the bad luck that Yuno had during that day, her final result would be good nonetheless and all of her worrying would have been for naught. But it’s the first time in the show where a character puts their best effort into something, and a combination of outside circumstances and a creativity block sabotage them to the point that their work is relegated toward the bottom of the class rankings. It was the only instance in the show up to that point that Yuno’s life wasn’t portrayed as completely charmed, and no amount of positivity and wideface could’ve saved her from utter disaster. Yet, it also wasn’t portrayed in an overly-negative light. After the initial disappointment, her failure only strengthened her drive to improve, and she returned to the side of positivity a changed person in the next episode.
This episode makes the 12 Days list because it cements the fact that Hidamari Sketch isn’t just about cute girls doing cute things; it’s about cute girls doing cute things, learning both from them and decidedly non-cute events that happen in their lives. It’s nowhere near the best or most substantial show, but it’s sure as hell one of the most consistently satisfying to watch when it occasionally nudges at the fact that the good times can’t last forever. And the part of me that likes seeing fun ruined can’t help but smile at that.