The second half of Hidamari Sketch Honeycomb episode 7 (whew!) is about Yuno going off to meet a friend in art college. Apart from being a Hidamari story in top form, it made me realize how much I’ve grown alongside the show.
The first time I encountered Hidamari Sketch back in 2007, I knew it as “that new goddamn Shinbo show”, without knowing who Shinbo is. I did some looking up, and concluded that the show was nowhere near my interests. It was a few years later when I decided to try out the 2nd season and see what the fuss was about. I found the show inoffensive, but notoriously hard to slog through, because there weren’t really any explosions or giant robots to look forward to.
Another year or so passed. I watched slice-of-life shows like Aria, and gained a further appreciation for such things. Though when I returned to Hidamari Sketch, I couldn’t connect with any of the characters except for Sae, who was a writer and often stayed up late to meet deadlines. Sae was easy to relate to, since we shared similar lifestyles. The glasses helped, too.
A year passed. A third season came and went, heralding new characters. I decided to give the show another try, blazing through the first and second seasons. My perseverance was rewarded when I met Nazuna and Nori. To the uninitiated, Nazuna is the first-year with zero confidence, lacking rudimentary art skills like drawing, while Nori is the self-assured one, the most “normal” out of the entire cast with a knack for computers.
I immediately latched onto these characters. I had just gotten into my third job, thankfully still my current one, and I extremely felt like Nazuna, having to talk to seasoned software engineers overseas on a daily basis. I felt inadequate, but my seniors are kind people to encourage and support me along the way. I felt like Nori, because I’ve experienced life in a way that has seen me eager to help people who aren’t getting by as well as I do. We kept hiring and I soon found myself in a position where I had to act like Yuno or Miyako to another generation of Nazunas and Noris.
With Nazuna and Nori, I conquered the third season with less difficulty than the first two. I felt that they rounded out the cast really well, and helped Yuno find her place in the Hidamari Apartments. Now I can identify with Yuno properly! The OVA came (Hidamari Sketch SP) and I enjoyed it with ease. Hidamari Sketch is no longer a hurdle for me. I get slice-of-life, and I get Hidamari Sketch. Most importantly, I get these characters.
It was only during the fourth season (Honeycomb) when I could fully embrace the show as one of my favorites. I have two close friends, both of whom are living alone. Over our daily conversations, I’ve come to learn about the difficulties of living by yourself involved: you have to do all your chores, and you have no one else to talk to in your abode. Filipino families are tight-knit, and my conservative parents disapprove of living alone because they won’t be able to look after their own children, not to mention the cost involved. Why live far away from home when you have your parents to provide for your housing, and split the chores with you?
Thanks to my friends’ examples, I’m seriously considering a place of my own. By Western standards, it’s about time, as I am 24 and would be a laughingstock if I did not live in this country, but it’s not easy. Having been raised in relative comfort all my life, can I really survive having to clean the toilet and cooking for myself? It’s when I realize that I’m far beneath Nazuna, who is living on her own, despite the companionship of her dormmates.
Watching Hidamari Sketch inspires me to learn how to fend for myself. That I won’t fully mature if I keep on living with my folks, and that I’ll never fully develop character if I have to keep on relying on other people to cook or clean for me. I realize these things, even as I laugh and smile through Yuno’s “date” with Arisawa. How I wish to be the Arisawa in someone’s life!
Well, I’ll have to live on my own first. And thanks to this show, I’m no longer afraid.