Halftime for Sketchbook ~full color’S~December 16, 2007
I really like Sketchbook. Beside of the usual good points a show should have (likeable set of characters, decent animation quality, fitting background music) this one offers an interesting different way of looking on daily things. A good example for this is how Sora in one episode question everything she does on a daily routine and tries to do it in a different way. Of course in the end she falls back in her old pattern, but I think the idea itself is a pretty good one because by always being able to revert back to the old behavior one can only win by trying things a bit different every now and then. Carried to the extreme is this aspect of Sketchbook of course when the cats become the protagonists for a while, another idea I like very much.
The slow pace is quite enjoyable as well because it creates a very special atmosphere that I just can’t describe better than Jaalin from Random Curiosity already did in his review of the second episode:
“I believe it’s because this show is able to fill me with something entirely different – not plot, not action, not anything readily identifiable, but rather a sort of emptiness. It’s not that kind of retarded emptiness or that ignorant emptiness, but rather the kind you wish for after a hectic day at work. The kind of calm and quiet mind after the noise of the looming biochem test or the English essay has finally blown over. That sense of relief you get when you wipe the last item off your to-do list. Then again, that list probably never ends for some people, but to watch an episode of Sketchbook can definitely make you feel that moment of calm.”
It’s a similar calm feeling I always had when I watched Aria, but in contrary to Aria the calmness feels a little bit forced. Maybe it’s because Aria takes place in a world which natural pace is unknown to us and thus it’s believable that Akari & co can live, learn and work the way they do. Sora and her friends however live in an ambience very well known to all of us: The school life. We know that this part of life can be rather relaxing at times, but also holds many days when it’s mostly the opposite. In Sketchbook even the time when they have to study for the next test is presented in a calm and slow pace. So I guess the feeling of “forced calmess” comes from the contrast of my own experiences. But as I said, this is only a little tarnishing of an otherwise great atmosphere.