Hidamari Sketch (ひだまりスケッチ Hidamari Suketchi?, also known as Sunshine Sketch), is a Japanese four-panel comic strip by Ume Aoki revolving around the daily lives of a group of young girls all living in the same apartment where artists gather. It was first serialized in the seinen manga magazine Manga Time Kirara Carat in April 2004, published by Houbunsha. Yen Press licensed the manga for English language distribution, and released the first volume on May 27, 2008. A 12-episode anime based on the manga under the original title Hidamari Sketch aired in Japan between January and March 2007. Two more special episodes were aired on October 18, 2007. A 13-episode second season entitled Hidamari Sketch × 365 aired in Japan between July and September 2008. An original video animation episode for 365 was released in March 2009. Two special episodes for the second season were aired in October 2009. A third season, titled Hidamari Sketch × Hoshimittsu (ひだまりスケッチ×☆☆☆?, lit. Hidamari Sketch × Three Stars), aired between January and March 2010. Two special episodes for the third season will air in October 2010. Two light novels were written by Chabō Higurashi, with illustrations by Aoki, which drew its story directly from the manga. The Hidamari Sketch and 365 anime series, as well as their specials, are licensed by Sentai Filmworks and are distributed in North America.
Hidamari Sketch centers around a young girl named Yuno who finally is able to get accepted into Yamabuki Art High School, which she has longed for. To attend the school, Yuno moves and starts to live in a small apartment building named the Hidamari Apartments (ひだまり荘 Hidamari-sō?) located across the street from the school. Once there, she quickly becomes friends with three other occupants at the apartments, including her classmate Miyako and two second-year students: Hiro and Sae. The events of the characters' everyday lives are shown as they attend the school together and get to know each other better. As the story progresses, the characters move up a year in school as the new school year comes, and two first-year girls enter to live at Hidamari Apartments: Nazuna and Nori.
- Yuno (ゆの?)
- Voiced by: Kana Asumi
- Yuno, sometimes called "Yuno-tchi" by Miyako, is a young girl and main character in the story. She has fairly short hair, slightly above shoulder length that is light-brown. She is also the shortest of the six girls, and her stature is the subject of many jokes in the series. She lives in the Hidamari Apartments, along with her close friends and neighbors Miyako, Hiro, and Sae. Her friends think of her as a very nice person. Yuno dreams of being a great artist someday. Although she is a skilled artist overall, she considers painting and drawing her specialties. She rarely takes off a pair of X-shaped black hairpins.
- Miyako (宮子?)
- Voiced by: Kaori Mizuhashi
- Miyako is Yuno's close friend, classmate, and next door neighbor in the apartment building where they live. She has very blonde, yellow hair and eyes. Her hair is especially beautiful and "mature", but only right after she washes it. She has an older brother who is a gardener, who is responsible for cutting Miyako's hair before she starts going to Olive, a beauty salon. Yuno refers to her as Miya-chan. She has an active personality and is always trying to have fun with her friends. Her exuberance frequently borders on the childlike, but she is undeniably creative. She is very spontaneous and claims the word "plan" does not exist in her dictionary. She loves to eat and has frequently asked for Hiro's leftovers when she is on one of her diets. She sometimes points out that Hiro may be gaining weight, which earns her a punch on the head by Hiro. Miyako's energy is frequently excessive and misplaced. Her rent is 5,000 yen cheaper than that of the other girls because her apartment is in poor repair, which is fortunate because she has less money than the other girls most of the time.
- Hiro (ヒロ?)
- Voiced by: Yuko Goto
- Hiro is a year older than Yuno and Miyako, living directly under Yuno's apartment. Although she tries to be a supportive senior to the girls, she tends to worry excessively about her weight, causing her to go on diets for periods while occasionally binging on sweets. A close friend of Sae, she is one of her neighbor's principal sources of support when she is involved with a deadline or other crisis. Hiro is a great cook. The girls frequently get together at her apartment, where Hiro will cook for all of them. She is left handed. She has curly, salmon colored hair that she wears in a double bun, odango style. Her hair moves on its own in the anime.
- Sae (沙英?)
- Voiced by: Ryoko Shintani
- Sae is an upperclassman and good friends with Hiro. In the anime version, she has a younger sister, Chika. Her artistic specialties are photography and fiction writing; she writes fiction professionally under the pseudonym "Aya Tachibana" (橘 文 Tachibana Aya?) and enrolled at the school specifically so she could learn how to illustrate her own work. Sae, who is tall, athletic, and generally mature, has a playful side that can be at the same time enigmatic and cunning; she has a habit of giving Yuno just enough warning about potential problems for the younger girl to fail to avoid them. She also has a fondness for playing detective when faced with such anomalies as Miyako's apartment. She tends to get upset when Miyako refers to her as having masculine qualities. She also gets very uncomfortable when asked about her love life, frequently inventing a history for herself that even cursory examination would show to be absurd, while blushing furiously. Sae is also very shy about her feelings towards her friends and especially her sister. She is much more comfortable chiding and scolding her little sister whenever Chika comes to visit. However, on the oft occasion that she expresses genuine concern for her sister, her face will turn beet-red.
- Nazuna (なずな?)
- Voiced by: Chiaki Omigawa
- Nazuna is a freshman introduced in the July 2008 issue of Manga Time Kirara Carat and the third series of the anime. In the manga's timeline, a whole year has passed. She lives in room 203. She has sandy blonde hair, braids, and long side bangs. She used to live in the neighborhood, but after entering Yamabuki Art High School her father was transferred somewhere for work and her mother followed with him. She appears very quiet and reserved, but has an inferiority complex. She is not in the art department, but she shows interest in it.
- Nori (乃莉?)
- Voiced by: Hitomi Harada
- Nori is another freshman introduced with Nazuna. She is called "Norippe" by Miyako. She lives in room 103. She has lighter blue hair with pigtails. She is in the art department and likes to play with computers. Nori has said that her hobbies are Computer Graphics, HTML, and flash. She is honest and straightforward. She is generally the most level-headed one out of the main characters and is usually pointing out the others' weird ways. She frequently has some sort of outburst if Nazuna is being too timid, and has been known to lecture and even violently shake Nazuna when Nazuna refuses to speak what is on her mind. She can speak in a Kansai dialect.
- Yoshinoya (吉野屋?)
- Voiced by: Miyu Matsuki
- Yoshinoya is Yuno and Miyako's homeroom teacher and art instructor. She is buxom, exuberant, and a cosplay maniac. So much so, in fact, that she will frequently wear incredibly complicated things that are at times truly inappropriate. She has a fondness for modeling for her class, displaying her latest outfits whenever she can, and showing off in general. Moreover, she is shown wearing a pair of squeaking sandals in the anime series. It is later revealed that Yoshinoya still resides with her parents, and would often be criticized by them for not being mature. When asked her age, she will answer "eternally seventeen".
- The Principal (校長 Kōchō?)
- Voiced by: Yūichi Nagashima
- The Principal is a thin, aging and balding man whose teeth are almost always chattering. Although he sometimes exhibits inexplicable behavior, when he appears it is most frequently to chastise Yoshinoya over her latest excess. Miyako can do a frightening effective imitation of him. His name is unknown, but in one episode of the anime, Yuno was writing the names of people on pictures on a paper. When she got to the Principal, the whole class thought his name was "Moai".
- The Landlady (大家 Ōya?)
- Voiced by: Miyuki Sawashiro
- The Landlady is the female owner of Hidamari Apartments. She has quite a few masculine characteristics as she often wears baseball cap, goes out for a fishing in her spare time, and is a heavy smoker. Although she has a very laid-back personality, she is often seen very busy doing various part-time jobs.
- Natsume (夏目?)
- Voiced by: Misato Fukuen
- Natsume is a rival of Sae's from class D. She later develops feelings for Sae while still maintaining her generally antagonistic attitude. In a bonus chapter in volume four of the manga, Natsume goes through various misfortunes on her first day arriving to school. Unable to find her shoebox and ready to break down, Sae shows up to help her, in which she develops strong feelings for her. At the end, as weeks pass, Natsume manages to bump into Sae only to find her already close to Hiro, in which she reacts crudely to Sae. Ever since, she has been trying to hide her feelings especially while in the presence of Sae (but ironically attempting to communicate with her at the same time), by acting nonchalantly.
- Chika (智花?)
- Voiced by: Rie Kugimiya
- Chika is Sae's 13-year-old younger sister, and is an anime-original character. She is more spontaneous and energetic than her older sister. She enjoys cooking and has an infatuation with a kabuki actor. She has no artistic talent and prefers music and home economics to art.
The four-panel comic strip manga is written and illustrated by Ume Aoki, and was first serialized in the seinen manga magazine Manga Time Kirara Carat in April 2004, published by Houbunsha. As of March 27, 2010, five bound volumes of the manga have been published in Japan by Houbunsha under their Manga Time KR Comics imprint. The second volume was released in a regular edition, and a limited edition which included a calendar. The manga is licensed in English by Yen Press under the title Sunshine Sketch, and four volumes have been released as of January 2010.
A 12-episode anime was produced by the animation studio Shaft and aired in Japan between January 11 and March 29, 2007. A two-episode addition aired on television on October 18, 2007. The first 12 episodes were released on six DVD compilation volumes containing two episodes each between March 28 and August 22, 2007. A DVD containing the two special episodes was released on October 24, 2007. The anime is not presented in a chronological sequence though episodes do build upon each other thematically, with details shown in earlier episodes becoming important in later ones. The first season of Hidamari Sketch was licensed in North America by Sentai Filmworks and distributed by Section23 Films; the first season collection was released on DVD with English subtitles on January 12, 2010.
A second season entitled Hidamari Sketch × 365 aired in Japan between July 3 and September 25, 2008 and contained 13 episodes with the 14th episode being bundled with the final DVD volume. Two special episodes for the second season were broadcast on October 17 and October 24, 2009. The second season has also been picked up by Sentai Fimworks, with Section23 Films as distributor. The complete collection will be released on DVD, April 6, 2010. A third season, titled Hidamari Sketch × Hoshimittsu (ひだまりスケッチ×☆☆☆?), aired between January 8 and March 26, 2010 and contained 12 episodes. Two special episodes for the third season will air in October 2010.
The first season anime, along with the two-episode addition, used two pieces of theme music, one opening theme, and one ending theme. The opening theme is "Sketch Switch" by Kana Asumi, Kaori Mizuhashi, Ryoko Shintani, and Yuko Goto; the single containing the opening theme was released on January 24, 2007. The ending theme is "Mebae Drive" by Marble; the single containing the ending theme was released on February 21, 2007. The first season's original soundtrack was released on April 25, 2007. A character song mini-album named Hida Chara was released on September 5, 2007 containing songs sung by voice actors from the anime. A maxi single entitled "Yume Delivery" (ゆめデリバリー Yume Deribarī?) was released on June 4, 2008, featuring the opening theme to the Hidamari web radio show sung by Kana Asumi.
For the second season, the opening theme is "Hatena de Wasshoi" by Asumi, Mizuhashi, Shintani, and Goto; the ending theme is "Ryūsei Record" by Marble. The opening theme single was released on July 23, 2008, and the ending theme was released on August 6, 2008. The second season's original soundtrack was released on October 8, 2008. Four character song singles were released on September 10, 2008 for the four main female characters. An image song collection by Marble entitled Hidamarble was released on September 26, 2008. Two more character songs for the character Yoshinoya (voiced by Miyu Matsuki) and The Principal (voiced by Yūichi Nagashima) was released on November 5, 2008, and the character song single for Ume (voiced by Ume Aoki) was released on January 21, 2009. All albums were released by Lantis.
In the third season, the opening theme is "Dekiru Kanatte Hoshimittsu" (できるかなって☆☆☆?) by Asumi, Mizuhashi, Shintani and Goto; the ending theme is "Sakura Sakura Saku: Ano Hi Kimi o Matsu, Sora to Onaji de" (さくらさくら咲く ～あの日君を待つ 空と同じで～?) by Marble.
Two light novels written by Chabō Higurashi and illustrated by Ume Aoki were released by Houbunsha under their Houbunsha KR Bunko label. The first novel was released on March 31, 2007 entitled Hidamari Sketch Novel: Yōkoso Hidamari-sō e (ひだまりスケッチノベル ようこそひだまり荘へ?), and the second followed on September 30, 2007 with the title Hidamari Sketch Novel: Hidamari School Life (ひだまりスケッチノベル ひだまりSchool Life?). The novels are not a new adaptation of the manga series, but instead draw directly from the manga's material.
A Nintendo DS video game entitled Hidamari Sketch Dokodemo Sugoroku × 365 (ひだまりスケッチ どこでもすごろく×365?) was released on February 12, 2009. The game primarily plays like a normal board game with consecutive boards, each representing a month during Yuno's first school year. Depending on the square landed upon, characters may play one of numerous mini-games, experience mini-events—dialogue and sometimes imagery relating to minor occurrences around Hidamari apartments or the school, or encounter major events which play out similarly to the episode of the anime on which they are based. Points are accrued throughout the year to determine a winning character, and the points can then be used to unlock items in the extras menu.
- "Sunshine Sketch by Ume Aoki". Yen Press. Retrieved 2010-02-05.
- "Hidamari Sketch (TV)". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2007-12-17.
- "Hidamari Sketch × 365 official website". TBS. Retrieved 2008-03-11.
- "Sentai Adds Hidamari Sketch, Glass Mask, Neo Angelique Abyss". Anime News Network. 2009-10-29. Retrieved 2009-10-29.
- "Hidamari Sketch's Second Season Announced". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2007-11-19.
- "New Hidamari Sketch Special Reportedly Announced". Anime News Network. 2009-04-05. Retrieved 2009-04-05.
- "Section23 Films Announces April Slate". Anime News Network. 2010-01-21. Retrieved 2010-01-21.
- "Hidamari Sketch's 3rd Season Green-Lit". Anime News Network. 2009-08-22. Retrieved 2009-08-22.
- "Hidamari Sketch's 3rd Special Edition Dated for October". Anime News Network. August 7, 2010. Retrieved August 7, 2010.
- Sunshine Sketch at Yen Press
- Hidamari Sketch anime official website (Japanese)
- Hidamari Sketch×365 anime official website (Japanese)
- Hidamari Sketch×Hoshimittsu anime official website (Japanese)
- Hidamari Sketch (manga) at Anime News Network's Encyclopedia