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Hidamari Sketch DVD Collection (S) (Season 1)

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Reviews of this title:

Warren Woodgate - Jan 30 2010
Rating: "Okay."
Translation errors and the use of the wrong visuals mar an otherwise good series
The series itself is a nice light comedy with cute girls doing cute things, but without being too sugary about it. Azumanga Daioh would be a series to compare it with. A bunch of high school girls living in the same apartment building attend school together and become good friends. Nice and happy. Good stuff.

The problem lies in the details of the release. They obviously chose the cheapest option when releasing this title to the Western world. Not having a dub is all well and good for a niche title like this, however not including one puts an onus on providing good subtitles. The subtitles contain a number of typographical errors such as referring to "Rroom 202" and the like, as well as some frankly bizarre translations, such as a line, translated by fansubs as "Basically, he's invincible", being translated in this release as "Not even when you have to use your time deposits prematurely". These sorts of errors have no place in a professional release. Furthermore, the lack of translator notes make some jokes inaccessible, as the subtitle will just put a Japanese phrase up with nothing to point out what it means or why it's part of the joke.

Another problem is that in several episodes (Episode 6 for instance), the visual track used is that of the broadcast version of the anime, not the retouched DVD versions (Shaft did a LOT of retouching for the DVDs). Other episodes are indeed the DVD versions (Episode 9). This random jumbling of TV and DVD versions is inexplicable and, again, has no place in a professional release.

Honestly, I love Hidamari Sketch, but I can't really recommend spending money on such a sub-standard release. I can only hope the DVD release of the sequel series, Hidamari Sketch x365, doesn't suffer from such problems.

Luna L. Luna - Mar 21 2010
Rating: "Okay."
Hidamari Sketch, SHAFT, & Sentai
Thanks to Warren for the in depth review about the contents: I was wondering why the audio quality was inconsistent for certain episodes, and now I know why. Other minor complaints for the content would have to be the lack of scene access and the incapability to turn off the subtitles off (hard subs?). Yes, these are minor complaints but is it asking too much? Other wise, the price is amazing for an entire cour set.. plus the two OVAs! I guess it justifies the lack of certain contents.

Now, for the actual series itself: I'll be completely honest and say this would be a hard title to recommend, even to slice-of-life fans. It's basically a bunch of talking heads discussing random topics ranging from weather to Japanese food. Even for a huge slice-of-life fan like myself, I still have a difficult time getting absorbed by Hidamari Sketch at times unless I'm really in the mood.. unlike other titles of this genre where I can enjoy it practically any time.

What I find odd is that while this series revolves around art students, the most entertaining moments, at least for me, are of topics not relating to art. For example, my favorite episodes from season 1: the karaoke episode and the onsen (public bath) episode. Your enjoyment factor might differ from mine but I really think the series' weakest topic is art. Sounds strange, right? I know.

What makes this series special, in my opinion, are the character's personality and the animation studio SHAFT. I personally think the combination of Akiyuki Shinbo and Hidamari Sketch is a perfect match and can't see it any other way. Characters wise, it might take a few episodes to get familiarized with them but you will be rewarded for it in the long run. Plus, the voice actors do a really great job here.

I'll just end this by saying: it might be worth a shot if you're a slice-of-life fan or are familiar with SHAFT, especially since the price is extremely cheap. Looking forward to x365!