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Hidamari Sketch Picture Perfect Collection Blu-ray Anime Review

20 min read
Life for girls at an art-based high school is full of little ups and downs and a whole lot of friendship across the years.
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Hidamari Sketch Honeycomb

This final season starts off with the new school year in May and has the kids getting back into the swing of things while setting the stage a bit. For the older kids in the mix we get them getting ready for a school trip to Hokkaido, which takes them out of the picture briefly. We do get some fun with them on the trip and it’s just nice to see them in a completely different environment even if it’s just a bit more than a montage sequence really. What this allows is for the younger group to get to do things. While we see the cuteness of the older kids going and seeing glassmaking, Yuno is left to struggle with her upcoming role as an upperclassman for the younger ones and that she has to start taking things more seriously. That’s a hard thing for her because she wants to do it and does actively try but she’s not able to really do it well, which makes for plenty of silliness.

Beyond that a lot of the season is just more of the usual kinds of light silliness and events. It gets things back underway in August as everyone is returning for the fall semester and bonding amid a typhoon, digging into summer homework material and all the usual. It’s not surprising or radical but it’s a welcome kind of return because it fits the realistic tone of the show, albeit one with far too adorable characters. The school semester is the same in that it doesn’t offer anything radically new, though Hiro now has to figure out more of what she really wants to do since senior year is different and they have to start thinking about preparing for college entrance exams. The teachers are fun to watch in all of this as well as they’re eager to see what the new round of students will be bringing to the table as you never know from year to year. Small humanizing elements like that from the teachers always wins me over, as does a brief bit toward the end where with our favorite teacher we discover she has a younger brother that already has a child.

One-off stories are definitely some of the better highlight moments here, though the ending as things work through the end of the year has its moments as well. This season has the arts side of the school getting the swim meet slot and that means nothing in the way of new characters but rather the existing ones having fun at school with it, and some adorable material with the principal swimming. The Yamabuki festival with its costuming, stalls, and overall theme is also one that while familiar plays well as it leans into the tropes but does it with the charm of the cast at hand. My favorite, however, is the ninth episode here that has the kids playing the Game of Life together. They rework a bit as a Hidamari Apartments version and just run with it and the silliness that it can create. Though the show has a great visual design to it in general this episode notches the vibrancy up a good bit, something that’s even more striking with the generally softer color palette that we get for the show.

In Summary:
While watching the show, it’s hard to really pin down my feelings about it. I consciously watch it and think that this really is a show about nothing in a way, but it’s one that makes me smile often as they go through their days. But at the same time I’m very aware that it’s all light, it’s the kind of things that makes up a lot of most people’s days where it’s simple events that often have little real impact. But they’re good events because it’s with friends, smiling, talking and enjoying life. The bonds of friendship and a few people that enter their lives is what it sticks to. The school side is still somewhat minimal though it does focus on there a bit, especially when it plays up the fun angle of the seven mysteries of the school and we see how the girls get caught up in it. But even though it’s a big part of the show, the school itself never feels like a dominating part.

I skipped around a bunch with this set having seen it all before and wanted to do the reconnect in different places. What I like about the show is that it does keep things simple because the kids aren’t coping with major issues or harboring dark secrets. They’re going to school, doing their work, enjoying their time off and learning how to live on their own. And Shaft manages to make it worth watching, where you want to see what comes next because of their stylistic approach to it. While I do hope that they can get more out there someday, I’m expecting this to be a largely dormant property for the foreseeable future. That makes this a really solid complete “perfect” collection. It’s a lot of material at a great price that you can space out easily and just savor the low-key humor and character growth.

Japanese DTS-HD MA 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Clean Opening, Clean Closing

Content Grade: B+
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: A-
Packaging Grade: B
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: B-

Released By: Sentai Filmworks
Release Date: November 19th, 2019
MSRP: $99.98
Running Time: 1450 Minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen

Review Equipment:
Sony KDL70R550A 70″ LED 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.

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