Final Review: Hidamari Sketch x Honeycomb

DISCLAIMER: Anime reviews on this blog will attempt minimal to no spoilers unless otherwise noted. If a review seems dull or shallow, it’s because I’m trying to make sure not to go into too detail for those who are actually interested in the show before or after reading the review or those who have yet to finish the title. If you want further details, there are usually tons of reviews that can be found elsewhere on the internet. Furthermore, anime reviews in general are the sole opinion of the author writing it and thus differ across the users. There is no such thing as a “right answer” only a majority agreement. You are free to have your own opinions and thereby free to state and/or argue/debate in the comments section below or on the Fansub TV Forums. The review is not necessarily meant to serve as a recommendation but rather a personal opinion of having completed the series.

Hidamari Sketch x Honeycomb is the 4th anime series adaptation of Ume Aoki’s Hidamari Sketch manga. The series continue to tell the “life” of the characters living in the Hidamari Apartments. As this is one of the many direct sequels this season, I will keep the review short mostly for fans who continue to enjoy the franchise. The series premiered during the Fall 2012 anime season, was simulcasted on The Anime Network and licensed by Sentai Filmworks.

Continuing straight off Hoshimittsu in 2010 and the SP TV special in 2011, Honeycomb returns with the original Hidamari members: Yuno, Miyako, Hiro, and Sae, as well as the two new members Nori and Nazuna. The biggest change to the fourth season of Hidamari Sketch is how linear it has become. In the previous seasons, we saw episodes that took place all over the map/year. However, in Honeycomb, the episodes are all sequential. Does this mean that there’s finally a plot? Well, the answer is sort of. Honeycomb focuses primarily on the element that Hiro and Sae are graduating soon and therefore will cause the Hidamari numbers to shrink from six back to four again. That said, Hidamari Sketch is still Hidamari Sketch. Same old, same old but it just seemingly never gets old *yet*. Unfortunately, I did notice one major drawback this season and that is the comedy seems to be dwindling. The series took a far more “serious” and gloomy tone that before and I think that’s a relatively big turn off given how sudden the transition is.

Art and animation remains the same usual style. There have been incremental improvements over each season and special, and Honeycomb is no exception. Designs are sharper every season, and symbolism remains as fun as ever.

OP is cute as usual and this time with all six members. ED is still continued by marble and it’s quite the pretty one. Personally, I prefer the one from Hoshimittsu, but this is still a decent song. Background music and sound effects have not changed but remain as strong as ever. Seiyuu is where this show’s key lies. Yuko Goto (Hiro’s seiyuu) was rumored to not be in the show due to health problems earlier in the year, but the fact that she managed to make a recovery and pull through for this show is what really makes me continue to appreciate all the seiyuu’s work on this title.

Enjoyment? Hidamari Sketch continues to be what you could call “the moe show.” It’s keeps everything down to Earth, funny, and interesting at the same time. There’s not much wackiness going on so it continues to a nice laid back title that you can watch anywhere at any moment.

Overall, Hidamari Sketch x Honeycomb is not as an strong as some of its predecessors due to lack of jumpiness and more “random” moments and topics but remains a cute show that one can really just sit back and enjoy. The 15-minute halves in most episode also make it easy to stop and break when needed as it knows when to not over stretch a particular topic.

 

Story and Character:

  • Premise (0/1): Not unique and setup is obvious.
  • Character Personalities (1/1): Awesome
  • Character Development (1.5/2): Far stronger emphasis on Hiro and Sae this time. Less on everyone else
  • Character Usefulness/Presence (2/2): Small cast and easy to remember.
  • Pacing: (1/1): Usually episodic but the linear attempt this time also flowed well.
  • Reasonable/Plausible (2/2): Completely down to Earth.
  • Conclusion (0.5/1): Typical Hidamari-like ending with no head or tail.
  • Total: 8/10

Art and Animation:

  • Backgrounds (1.5/2): Still detailed but basic design.
  • Character Designs (1.5/2): Crisp
  • Fluidity (1/2): Mostly still shots, which is typical of SHAFT titles
  • Visuals/Special Effects/Flashiness (2/2): Makes up for lack of actual motion and again typical of SHAFT
  • Art and Animation “Expectation” (1/2): Same old, same old.
  • Total: 7/10

Sound and Music:

  • OP/ED/Insert Themes (2/3): Cute OP theme fitting for the series. ED theme is decent.
  • Background Music (2/2): Same old, same old.
  • Sound Effects (2/2): Same old, same old.
  • Seiyuu (3/3): Same seiyuu. Nice to see Yuko Goto recover for the series
  • Total: 9/10

Enjoyment:

  • Amusement (1.5/2): Hidamari is still Hidamari. Some jokes fell flat.
  • Weekly/Next Episode Anticipation (2/2): A dead season means Hidamari easily becomes more enjoyable.
  • Presentation (1.5/2): Still mostly episodic but more episodes have begun to build on previous ones.
  • Re-watchable (0.5/1): None
  • Recommendation (1.5/2): Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei is more dark humor and less moe. Lucky Star, Azumanga Daioh, ARIA, K-ON! The list goes on and on but Hidamari manages to keep pace with the cream of the crop.
  • Value (0.5/1): None.
  • Total: 7.5/10

Preliminary Score: 8/10

Final Score: 8/10

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