Story: Ume Aoki
Art: Ume Aoki
Genre: Comedy / Slice Of Life
Volume Count: 4+ (still in production)
Version reviewed: English Translated
Date of Review: 22 Feb 2010
The original title of this series is Hidamari Sketch. As of February 2010, four volumes have been released in North America, which mirrors the current availability in Japan.
Another 4-koma gem about art students.
Yuno has always wanted to be an artist, so she’s enrolled at a high school with a specialty program in art. It’s far from her home though, so she will be living in the adjacent Hidamari Apartments. There she meets classmate Miyako and upperclassmen Hiro and Sae, who also live at the apartments. Sunshine Sketch follows the girls through their day-to-day lives at school and at home in the Hidamari Apartments.
Character-based 4-koma are always tricky to review. They typically rely more on character interaction than story, so the best way to explain them is to describe the characters. In the picture above, from left to right they are Hiro, Yuno, Sae (top), and Miyako (bottom).
Yuno is the main character. She’s an earnest and hardworking girl. Miyako is straightforward and fun-loving. She lives on a very tight budget, so always takes advantage of the food and hospitality of others. Hiro is the group’s onee-san, and is always worried about her weight. Sae is the cool upperclassman who has an aura of experience about her. Unlike the others, she’s a novelist, and most of her pearls of wisdom come from the books she has read rather than actual experience. Also not to be overlooked is Yuno and Miyako’s teacher Yoshinoya. She is addicted to cosplay and is always threatening to pose for the students sans vêtements for their figure drawing class to show off her girlish figure.
While Sunshine Sketch takes place at an art school, the focus is more on the day-to-day lives of the students rather than the art itself. This is in contrast to other art school series, such as GA which uses the art process as the base for much of its comedy. In Sunshine Sketch, we occasionally see Yuno and her friends in class taking art lessons, but it’s not the focus of the series.
The art style of Sunshine Sketch is unique as well. Like GA, even though these are high school students, their appearance is very youthful and cute, making the characters look younger than they actually are. It’s not so much a distraction as a part of the convention for these types of manga, where cute characters are the main draw.
Sunshine Sketch is a fun character-based manga which is a very easy read. The 4-koma format is perfect for the slice of life format, and even though it is about art students, knowledge of the field is not at all necessary to enjoy it. Definitely recommended for 4-koma fans.