Archive for the ‘Sketchbook ~full color’S~’ Category

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To the end of Sketchbook ~full color’S~

February 24, 2008

Shift changeover

And so ends a very nice series after short 13 episodes. Granted, while being very good in the art of emitting a atmosphere of calmness and tranquillity it never reaches its spiritual precursor ARIA. This might be because the characters and setting of ARIA, funnily despite being settled in a rebuild Venice on a terraformed mars, are in some ways more believable than the ones of Sketchbook. Thus the serenity in Sketchbook felt somehow forced at times, which is seldom the case with ARIA. None the less Sketchbook has its own points to shine with its way to discover small miracles in things more near to our daily lives, its beautiful landscapes and its fine set of characters, humans as well as cats. Especially its cats I’ve to say. ARIA’s cats might rule their city more or less from the shadows, but the interaction of the Sketchbook cats is just more fun (maybe being granted to understand them might have help here, too). The few cat-centred episodes became easily my favourites, I hope Sora and the other humans can forgive me for this.

An interesting fact by the way is that Mike, being tri-coloured, has most certainly got to be a female cat (genetic fact). Don’t know if this is really intended, because of the name I always thought of him/her as a male cat until Sora mentioned the number of his/her colours in this last episode.

In the end, while it greatly helped to bypass the time between the second and the third season of ARIA, Sketchbook was surely more than just a merely placeholder and succeeded to transfer some of the Aqua-feeling back onto good old Manhome.
I surely wouldn’t mind to be welcomed by Sora & co again some day.

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Halftime for Sketchbook ~full color’S~

December 16, 2007

Tea is the answer

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.

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Blue Drop & Sketchbook ~full color’S~

October 25, 2007

Blue Drop

Blue Drop

Blue Drop is the story of two girls and, uh, one large alien space-battleship. Mari is an orphan, the only survivor of some mysterious disaster that wiped out a whole island. After being raised by her grandmother she is transferred to a girl’s dormitory. Here she meets Hagino, a calm and popular girl. Their first meeting ends in a pretty strange way and from this point forward Mari isn’t on good terms with Hagino, while Hagino tries to get as close as possible with Mari. It should be noted that Hagino is also the captain of said alien spaceship, which at the moment lies at the bottom of the ocean being under repair. And somehow Mari seems to be related to both of them.

The animation looks a bit blurry at times, but is not bad altogether. So far I don’t know in which direction the story will develop, it’s obvious that the aliens and the island disaster are somehow connected, but if it was some kind of accident or a first attempt of an invasion has yet to be told. A quite interesting series.

Sketchbook ~full color’S~

Sketchbook ~full color's~

Another slice-of-life series, this time a comedy called Sketchbook ~full color’S~ with alot of ARIA-feeling to it, not only because of the loose appearances of some special cat, but for the way the characters discover interesting and beautiful aspects of daily things. Additionally all the characters of Sketchbook seems to be a little bit nuts (around the normal amount for comedies). Together with the given setting this reminds slightly of Azumanga Daioh, especially Sora resembles Osaka at many points. Altogether not a bad combination which results in a calm, laid-back and very enjoyable (and well drawn) anime.