Something came in the mail today. (Please excuse the quality of these pictures, I don’t have a very good camera.)

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It’s the “Hidamari Sketch x Honeycomb Production Note”! A full-color, 288-page collection of reference artwork used during the production of Hidamari’s 4th season. It was first released at Comiket 83 and reprinted for general sale on February 28th.

The book comes in a colorful cardboard case designed like the apartments themselves. The Hi-da-ma-ri-sou signboards are embossed on the front. The case fits really tight, though. It’s a challenge to put the book back inside once you take it out, but maybe it will loosen up with time.

The first section of the book contains character design pointers for animators’ reference. The pictures show the correct way to draw the eye details, hair highlights, wideface mouths, and Hiro’s odangos. There’s a height chart but unfortunately, no exact numbers are given.

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Mashiko > Landlady > Sae (167cm) > Miyako (165cm) > Natsume > Yoshinoya (158cm) > Nori > Hiro (155cm) > Chika > Nazuna > Principal > Yuno (144cm)

The next section consists of references of the Hidamari Apartments themselves and how they should look depending on the time of year. After that are the individual character sections. Each one has diagrams of everyone’s rooms, full-body pictures, facial expressions, and whatever outfits they were wearing in a particular episode. Some of the reference pictures are copied from manga chapters that weren’t adapted, like the summer chapters, the beach chapter, and the second sports festival. The Hoshimittsu production notes also included art based on some summer chapters, but now you’d be hard pressed to find that book on Yahoo Auctions for less than 15,000 yen.

The following section is for Yamabuki High and includes detailed maps of every area of the school we’ve seen so far, as well as references for teachers and other students. The last section of the book contains references for other characters like the Landlady, Arisawa, Yoshinoya’s brother and nephew, Yuno’s parents, and Nazuna’s parents. Design pointers for the ED costumes appear at the end of the section.

Finally, there are three pages at the end where Yoshiaki Ito, Tatsuya Oishi, and Akiyuki Shinbo (but mostly Ito) make some short comments on the characters. I’ll get around to them eventually…

Pictures under the cut!

Also, apparently Mami is 155 cm? She’s the only one with a number in the whole book. The line at left is comparing her height to Yuno.

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The Honeycomb Production Note is a wonderful book that belongs in every Hidamari fan’s collection and I highly recommend you buy it before supplies run out and you’ll have to deal with the terribly-inflated second-hand market prices. You can still buy it directly from CDJapan (can’t link to it for some reason, just search for it), HMV.co.jp (ships overseas via EMS only), and Amazon.co.jp (if you don’t mind paying an exorbitant shipping fee). I made the mistake of pre-ordering it through a Japanese shop using a proxy service and ended up paying more than it would have cost at HMV. Lesson learned, I suppose. But it really is worth every penny.

If there is a character, place, or something else you would like to see more of, I would be glad to take a picture for you (offer limited to only this week).

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