I had just finished watching the Hidamari Sketch: Sae and Hiro Graduation OVA. As a slice-of-life show, Hidamari Sketch is unique in that it takes into account the passage of time: in the first two seasons, protagonist Yuno is a first year, and in the third they move up a year, heralding the arrival of new first years Nazuna and Nori. The OVA depicts the logical progression that the third season set up: at the end of the school year, Sae and Hiro must graduate high school, and move on to college.
And so here we are. The entire affair was more sweet than bitter; the girls continue on doing fun things together, but there’s a slight, melancholy undercurrent brought by Yuno, as she asks herself alone in the bath–after their entrance exams, surely Sae and Hiro would have to graduate? Life in the Hidamari Apartments doesn’t last forever–its inhabitants will have to leave, to pave the way for new girls to take their place. Change is real, affecting everyone. This is the paradox of school that few works address, and Hidamari Sketch handles it with grace, and lightness that occasionally becomes unbearable, as was what Yuno felt in her bathtub, pondering the unmentioned truth that Sae and Hiro are on the cusp of leaving her daily life.
This is what Hidamari Sketch is about. It is Yuno’s growth and maturation, stemming from a myriad of wonderful experiences she shares with her friends in school. Time ticks, and now two of her seniors–mentors–must move on. This is loss–not a final loss, yet a void that cannot be denied. But it is also a happy one, for graduation is primarily an achievement in itself. Something to look forward to, when Yuno’s time comes.
Soon, Yuno must fulfill the same role to new blood coming into the Hidamari Apartments. Can she do it? We’ve been with her for four seasons. She can handle it, in her own way. Nazuna will have to be more confident, Nori will have to be more reliable, and Miyako… well. Miyako could remain Miyako. She’s more mature than she looks.
That said, I don’t have any news of new material, but I do hope that Aoki Ume continues her manga, and introduce two more characters! It would be a shame not to follow through.