June 10, 2011

Sunshine Sketch, by Ume Aoki

I’ve been posting a lot of four panel comic series lately. I blame it on this past winter: when you have a record snowfall from December on, it makes you want to read something that’ll make you laugh.

Sunshine Sketch is a slice-of-life comedy set in modern Japan. It’s about six girls who live in the Hidamari (Sunshine) apartment complex and go to Yamabuki High School across the street. The main characters are Yuno and Miyako, their upperclassmates Hiro and Sae, and their underclassmates Nazuna and Nori; but the central character is Yuno.

Yuno moves into Hidamari apartments when she’s accepted to the art department of Yamabuki H.S. In fact, the majority of the people in the apartments are artists: Miyako, Hiro, and Nori all are, and Sae is a writer attending the art department in order to learn how to draw her own illustrations. Only Nazuna attends the "normal" department--a Hidamari first!

The story mainly follows Yuno’s life as she interacts with her friends in the apartments and improves her art--unlike some of the other characters (like Miyako, who despite being a flighty sort of girl is a super impressive artist), Yuno’s drawing skills are a little below par. But she works hard to make up for it, and improves over the course of the series.

Sunshine Sketch is another Yen Press translation. (Can you tell I have a favorite company? Okay, not really, but their wide genre range means there’s a lot to like.) It’s currently ongoing with 5 collected volumes, 4 of which are currently available (volume 5 will be out this month!). There’s also a two volume light novel, and three anime series: the original Sunshine Sketch that ran for 12 episodes in 2007, x365 that went for 14 episodes in 2008, and xHoshimittsu that had 12 episodes in 2010; and there’s also a two episode OAV for each series! Only the original series and x365 are currently available; they’re both licensed by Sendai Filmworks and are English subtitles only--no dubs. The light novels, as usual, have not been translated.


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