Time to sidetrack into a review for a moment!

So, Honeycomb is pretty special to me in a number of ways. First, since I didn’t get into Hidamari until several weeks after Hoshimittsu ended, it’s the first full-length season I’ve been able to enjoy while it was airing. Second, even though I don’t actually keep a list of what my top 10 chapters are or anything, at least 5 of what may be my all-time favorites were adapted. And third, 10 of Honeycomb’s 20 segments were based on chapters I “tried my hardest to interpret” so I’ve grown quite attached to them.

Opening

are-we-even-real

Not my favorite but it grew on me, and at least Nori and Nazuna finally get to sing. The only thing I wish were different about the animation is the part at the end where Yuno looks onto the minor characters. It’s kind of creepy and unsettling how they don’t move at all, as if they’re only some delusion of Yuno’s. Some small movements like Arisawa waving her hand or Chika moving her head a bit would have been a really nice touch. Is this too much to hope for as a Blu-ray improvement? I know that’s a lot of characters to animate but it looks so jarring as it is.

I hope I’ll be able to get the OST, since I like a lot of the new tracks, particularly what seems to serve as the season’s main theme (it first plays when Sae finds Yuno and Miyako spying on her in the first episode).

Animation

put-on-a-happy-face

Hahahaha. The only full season where I’ve watched both the original TV broadcast version and retail version was Hoshimittsu, so I expected at least some of these problems. All I can say is that I look forward to the Blu-rays.

Chapter selection

notebook

Ah yes, probably the most controversial aspect of this season: the so-called “Skipped Summer”. It makes me wish xSP were 4 or 6 episodes long instead of just 2. Here’s what I have to say:

  • I think the biggest loss was the homesick Nazuna chapter, which definitely fleshes out her and Nori’s characters and relationship with each other significantly.
  • By not adapting the essay practice chapter before the Hiro-centric chapter, the foreshadowing of Sae’s unfilled career options sheet is lost.
  • Poor Ikezawa. She doesn’t get to properly introduce herself and can’t even tell what class she teaches just from watching the anime. We also miss out on seeing her artistic cooperation with Yoshinoya.
  • Nakayama’s tendency to have “indecent thoughts” was first introduced in the nude model chapter (No appearance in the OP means this might be a special later on…?). By adapting the swim meet chapter before that, it gives the impression she only gets flustered by boys, when it’s more like frontal nudity in general that triggers this reaction. Though it’s still pretty funny this is her most defining characteristic.
  • The Lamool and Destiny Land chapters feel overdue. They’ve been teased for so long.
  • The dogsitting and third-year summer study session chapters are two of my personal favorites so it was sad to see them excluded.

I don’t mean to complain or say this makes Honeycomb a bad season at all. I love what Shaft did with it. The truth is, there was just too much summer to handle in 12 episodes while keeping the content balanced. I feel that skipping most of it was a fair sacrifice in exchange for giving more recent chapters the spotlight. After all, the manga’s turning point is imminent and Honeycomb’s timing couldn’t be better. Even though Honeycomb is in chronological order this time (well, the date of the Yoshinoya room cleaning episode was changed to accommodate), the variety in the times of year it covered was reminiscent of the first two seasons.

As I saw someone on 2ch joke: perhaps the summer chapters will at last be adapted in a season of their own, titled Hidamari Sketch x SV (Summer Vacation).

Shaft original content

redefining-romance

I enjoyed the scenes Shaft added, no problems there. Episodes 8 and 9 were fantastic in that regard. Having Yuno invite Arisawa to the culture festival was an interesting choice, though I can’t help but be bothered by the fact that she reverted to calling her “Arisawa-san” for a second. The Chika and Natsume chapters were adapted the way I thought they would (as I expected, Shaft used the loophole that Natsume had never been inside the apartments), so both had their beginnings altered.

There were no entirely original episodes this season, which could be a good or bad thing depending on who you ask. This allowed Shaft to cover more manga material at the cost of giving minor characters like the landlady, Natsume, and Kuwahara some extra spotlight like what x365 and Hoshimittsu did. I personally didn’t mind the lack of Shaft originals this season, but it makes me wonder what they would have come up with if given the opportunity.

Also, it was odd that they assigned the date of episode 8b to November 3rd, which is Sae’s (18th) birthday. A little sad how no one mentions it, since a birthday has yet to be celebrated in the series itself…

Dialogue changes

loanshark-chika

These aren’t really important, but since I’m able to recognize the original Japanese lines when spoken now, I happened to notice a few places where Shaft altered the script slightly.

  • On the opening page of the board game chapter of the manga, the landlady says 私こういうのやんないもん lit. “I don’t play things like this.” In episode 9, this line was expanded to 私年的にももうこういうのやんないしさ, where she gives the reason as being too old to play them.
  • Changes were made to the Natsume and Chika chapters for obvious reasons. Ex. Natsume’s これだけ引っ張ってあいてそれ!? was replaced with いきなり!? しかも今?
  • At the start of the New Year’s chapter, Nazuna begins a sentence with “学校で直接…” before making the mistake on her card. I thought this line was pretty confusing because I couldn’t tell what the following words were implied to be. Episode 12 had her say something different: 新学期が始まるまでには

Some lines had a shift in tone, too. For example, Nori asking Nazuna how Destiny Land could possibly be an educational field trip comes off differently in the manga, where she’s accompanied by a gloomy backdrop. Chika telling Sae she has to pay back her tuition and rent to their parents eventually isn’t presented as comically in the anime.

In conclusion

It's been a while since I've cried for an anime, and this scene ruined me.

It’s been a while since I’ve cried for an anime, and this scene absolutely ruined me.

It’s Hidamari, so of course I loved it. It’s too soon to say if I can call it my favorite season, if I can even choose one, since they all have their merits. Season 1 had the collage art, half my favorite episodes happen to be from x365, Hoshimittsu had Year 0, etc.

Though I wasn’t able to watch every episode live, I had a blast reading the livewatch reactions both in English and Japanese. Thanks everyone for making these past 12 weeks so fun. And of course, special thanks to the Hidamari King who helped make this happen in the first place.

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