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In August 2010, the Hidamari King Showdown was announced on TBS’s official Hidamari website. This competition called for experts of Hidamari trivia to officially prove themselves. The questions covered absolutely everything related to Hidamari Sketch at that point in time: manga, anime, DVD/BDs, Hidamari Radio, all kinds of CDs, events, games, merchandise, you name it. The winner crowned Hidamari King at the end of this competition would receive:

  • An original illustration by the manga’s original author, Ume Aoki
  • An original illustration by the anime’s character designer, Yoshiaki Ito
  • An invitation to dinner with Ume Aoki, Yoshiaki Ito, and other anime staff
  • The privilege of having any Hidamari wish of their choosing (within reason) become true!

(When this news broke, the dinner prize was misinterpreted by some as being a one-on-one dinner date with Ume Aoki. A correction was later sent out.)

The first stage examination was a 100-question multiple choice test. There were two test sites: Hosei University Ichigaya Campus in Tokyo and Osaka University of Commerce. The registration fee was 1980 yen and examinees could register for a test site and time slot on a first-come-first-serve basis. In Tokyo, the exam was administered in 4 different time slots (Tokyo rounds 1-4 = groups A-D) on September 19th, 2010. The test site in Osaka had 2 available time slots (Osaka rounds 1-2 = groups E-F) and its exam was held a week later on September 26th. To prevent cheating, each group’s test had different questions, but the level of difficulty remained the same. There were approximately 1,600 participants. The 64* highest-scoring examinees would advance to the finals, held in the Yokohama Blitz on November 20th, 2010.

*65 passing examinee numbers were announced on the official website, but according to a short manga about the event by Kanikama, there were 56 finalists. I guess a few people declined or couldn’t come.

Tokyo Round 1 Questions

Wait, where did these come from? I recently discovered this page, where the questions from all 6 written tests are reproduced in full along with the answer keys. They are fully legitimate. So, I’ll be translating and posting them here to share with everyone else.

Unfortunately for us, this test is obviously geared toward native speakers of Japanese living in Japan who have much more Hidamari material available to them. There are many questions relating to material like drama CDs and Hidamari Radio that do not have any English translations. Also, because of the nature of some questions, they don’t translate well into English. Sometimes, translating the options actually makes it more difficult to answer (ex. song lyrics). I’ve marked questions that explicitly require some Japanese knowledge with a *. These questions may ask you to pick the correct kanji for a name when multiple options share the same pronunciation.

If you want to play along, I recommend that you copy and paste the questions into a word processor, bold/highlight your answers, and save it. I will post the answers Friday morning in this same format with the answers marked and any comments of mine included, if any.

Do your best, everyone! Now let’s begin!


001. Who is currently living in room 102 of Hidamari Apartments?
A. Yuno
B. Miyako
C. Hiro
D. Sae

002. Who is the youngest out of the following?
A. Yuno
B. Hiro
C. Misato
D. Chika

003. Masa no Yu is the bath house that Yuno and her friends often visit. What is depicted on the wall of the bath?
A. Mt. Fuji
B. Seven Lucky Gods
C. Bamboo grove
D. Koi

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Here’s the glossary included in the x365 BD Box booklet. I’ve changed the order of the terms from the Japanese system to alphabetical order for our purposes. Also, as I’ve said before, I barely know anything about the radio series, so there are a lot of references I didn’t get. Could someone lend a hand?


Hidamari Glossary

Here is a single collection of tons of explanations for the various terms that have appeared in Hidamari Sketch so far. With this, even you can become a master of Hidamari!!

____s(u): Derivatives of Kana Asumi’s nickname “Asumis”. “Mizuhasu” for Kaori Mizuhashi, “Shintasu” for Ryoko Shintani, “Gotos” for Yuko Goto, “Matsukis” for Miyu Matsuki, “Umesu” for Ume-sensei, etc. There are many variations.

Aomushi-kun: The larva that Yuno kept as a pet. It came with the vegetables sent from Yuno’s parents. As a result of being carefully raised, it grew into a splendid “moth” and flew into the sky.

Apple Rabbit: The work of art Miyako created for Yuno when she caught a cold. For more details, see season 1 episode 5, “Heart and Body”.

Asumis: An affectionate nickname for Yuno’s voice actress, Kana Asumi. Other new nicknames “Asumin” and “Asumittsu” originated in the Hidamari Radio x ☆☆☆ program. Afterwards, it has been used in the titles of many radio CDs. It was also called “National Therapy Poison” because of the abusive language on the radio. [What?]

Aya Tachibana: The pen name of the active high schooler author Sae. The origin of this name is….. Maybe it will become clear later on.

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The two continuities are carefully maintained, so the manga is perfectly understandable to anyone who didn’t watch the anime. It is a common misconception that some aspects of the manga were influenced the anime, but the order of events is actually the opposite. Whenever the manga “copies” the anime, it’s because Ume gives the anime staff plans to work with in advance.

Misconception: Origin of Dream Glider

In chapter 2010-11, when Yuno is left alone at Hidamari Apartments for a few hours, she starts singing “Dream Glider” which is heard twice in the anime: the karaoke episode S1EP04 and later in the bathhouse in S2EP05. Some people took this as the manga borrowing something original to the anime, but that’s not true. Although you couldn’t hear it, the song was in the manga first!

At karaoke.

Singing alone. The lyrics are rendered in just kana this time.

Chika

Chika was never an “anime-original” character. Before her appearance in chapter 2012-06 of the manga, she was referenced on V2P028 (below) and V3P101. According to the TV Animation Guidebook, Ume designed sent the anime staff Chika’s character design and included notes on what should happen during her first appearance, S1EP12. Basically, Ume let the anime staff know about Chika far in advance and let them use her designs and ideas long before they would have a chance to show up in the original work. Although Yoshiaki Ito is credited for the anime’s character design adaptations in general, he himself was not responsible for Chika’s original character design because he was simply working from the references Ume supplied.

Chika’s relationships with the other residents of Hidamari Apartments are completely different between the anime and manga. In the manga chapter, no one (except Sae, of course) has seen her before, and when she does arrive, none of the five get to meet her. The only similarity between her first appearance in both the anime and manga is that she leaves Hidamari to go visit a friend.

 The Japanese text specifies “younger sister”.

Natsume

Natsume has more than twice as many appearances in the anime as she does in the manga. I think the anime crew really liked her.

Interestingly, Sae mentioned first meeting her at the shoe lockers in S2EP07, which aired on TV on August 15, 2008. The “Until Natsume Became Natsume” extra chapter was released as part of volume 4 that came out on December 25th, 2008. Ume’s author’s note at the end of volume 4 says the following:

And Natsume. The episode where she meets Sae was planned way in advance and I wanted to release it […]

In part 2 of her Hidamari Sketchbook interview, she expressed interest in writing about the history behind Natsume’s attitude towards Sae. As with Chika, it seems that Ume gave the anime staff her plans for Natsume far in advance and let the anime reference them shortly before the original story was released.

Sae “invites” Natsume to Hidamari Apartments in S4EP02. Within the anime’s timeline, that means Natsume made her first visit about two months later at S3SP02b’s barbeque. But in the manga, Natsume does not visit Hidamari Apartments for the first time until Sae invites her to a Christmas Eve party [2012-07]. At the time the chapter came out, it was previously only known in the anime that Natsume was a fan of Sae’s writing, and Sae herself was unaware of this. In the chapter, though, Natsume names one of Sae’s stories right in front of her. Also, like in the anime, Sae gets Natsume’s phone number. Now that the anime adapted that story as S4EP11, Natsume and Sae’s relationship is once again “even” in both the anime and manga.

I’m working on several posts about the differences between the anime and manga, so here’s an easy place to start. The following 11 segments were entirely original to the anime and do not have a manga equivalent.

S1EP12 – “December 25: Goodbye, Ume-sensei” (The manga had its own Christmas chapter in volume 3.)

S2EP05 -“March 25: Congratulations, Chika”

S2EP06a -“July 30: Saeta”

S2EP09a -“August 5: No Summer Vacation”

S2EP09b – “December 3: The Wolf of Inner Shinjuku: Part II”

S3EP06a – “November 15: Height of the Sky, Shade of the Grove”

S3EP07 – “May 3~4: A Day in Seven Parts”

S3EP09a – “November 22: Seniors and Freshmen”

S3EP12 – “July 12: Three Stars x Lycopene”

S3SP01a – “June 11: Yay, Family Restaurant!”

S3SP02b -“July 30: Barbecue”

Geographic Location in Japan

Hidamari Sketch takes place in a fictional area of Japan’s Kanto region, near Tokyo and Yokohama. Specifically, the city of Midori (meaning “green”). The Hidamari Apartments themselves are located in a subdivision of Midori called Asagi (meaning “light blue”). The -chou (also spelled cho or chō) suffix designates a district about the size of a town. In Hidamari’s case, it’s hard to tell exactly how much land this covers. As for the high school, Yamabuki (which can mean “golden yellow” like the flower that shares its name) appears to be the name of the institution itself, unrelated to its location. Many proper nouns in the series are based on a color theme.

There is a real Midori City located in the Gunma Prefecture, but the name is only coincidental because is too far inland compared to what we’re shown. The chapter starting at V6P075 was the first concrete evidence stating the region as Kanto thanks to the map and weather report.

Reporting from in front of ___原 Station.

According to Miyako [S2EP13], her address is as follows, in the Japanese order of increasing location specificity:

Midori-shi
Asagi-chou 4-16
Hidamari-sou
Room 202

Japanese:
緑市浅葱町4-16
ひだまり荘202号

The Yen Press English translation Americanized the address as 4-16 Asagi Street, Midori City. As noted above, Asagi’s size would be more comparable to a town rather than a residential street.

This address is missing the highest level of hierarchy, the metropolis or prefecture, so we can’t pin it on a map without that. Asagi is named a second time in the manga, as seen below [V6P88, Japanese edition only]. For unknown reasons, the official English language editions chose to edit out references to Hidamari’s fictional localities and insert references to Tokyo in place of phrases like “this area”. I find this not only unnecessary but pretty dishonest. Do they change these details to make it “easier to understand”?

That translation as well as many fans assume that Midori is a suburb of Tokyo, but contrary to popular belief, this has never been explicitly stated within the series. There are a few hints to its relative location, however.

V3P106 reveals that Miyako’s home is 1126.7km from Hidamari Apartments (prefecture unspecified in the manga but confirmed in the anime as Fukuoka), and Yuno’s mother says that it’s a three-hour train ride from Yamanashi to Yamabuki High School [S2EP01]. The city of Yokohama is in its proximity, as Yuno’s parents were there the day before they came to visit her in the afternoon [S2EP10].

In spring, Yuno and Miyako watch a report on television about the cherry blossom viewing season [2013-10]. A graphic on the screen says “Kanagawa”. It is not clear whether they were watching local news or not, but Kanagawa prefecture would also match the hints we’ve been given. In fact, Yokohama has a ward named Midori-ku, which neighbors the ward of Aoba-ku. Hidamari seems to have parodied this ward’s Aobadai Station as Aobano Station [2014-04].

There’s also the matter of Chika’s friend. In the anime [S1EP12] when she leaves to meet her friend, she asks how close she is to Maihama Station, the one in real life being right near Tokyo DisneySea. In the manga [2012-06], she leaves for a similar reason: to go stay overnight with a friend in Tokyo. In any case, it seems pretty easy for the girls to travel across the region from Midori.

Time

The setting can be simply presumed as “present day” and not restricted to one particular calendar year. Approximately 2 years have passed in the story since the manga’s launch in 2004. It is currently April of Yuno’s third school year, which will end when the story reaches March again.