Manga-ka: Ume Aoki
Publisher: Yen Press
Rating: All Ages
Released: June 2008
“Accepted to a high school specializing in the arts, Yuno moves into a nearby apartment complex to make her commute easier. Just a few days into her new routine, she quickly discovers that creativity doesn’t end with the art school bell! Will the quiet Yuno be able to handle this creatively kooky cast of characters?”
The Hidamari apartments are located next to the popular Yamabuki private high school, known for its specialty in arts. Many students, mostly girls, move into the small apartment complex to get closer to the school and attain further knowledge in everything from painting to film. Yuno is an underclassman (or freshmen, aka newbie) in this school and has just moved into Hidamari. We readers follow her through living alone and making new friends in this simple life as a high school student.
For the most part, this is a four panel straight down style manga: two columns per page and each has an entertainingly relevant title. The art is full of big-eyed, quasi-chibi goodness, as every character is drawn in a petite style. Cuteness comes by the truckload, but sadly plot is minimal. If you’re looking for complex twists, you’re in the wrong place. Yes, the story continues from one column to the next as the days go by, but there is no drama in this young girls life.
The characters aren’t so much characters as they are personalities. Not really touching on any kind of past for any of them, save Yuno, they hold their obvious traits through thick and thin, reusing some jokes several times to solidify this concept. Most entertaining is Miyako, who is very blunt and constantly hungry with no concept of personal space or self-preservation.
If you enjoy cute antic dotes about saying peoples names wrong, using the wrong word in a sentence, or just being plain foolish, then I recommend Sunshine Sketch. Though I do so with a word of caution: if you’re new to manga and anime, and/or don’t know much about Japanese culture, then this book will be completely foreign to you. Most of the jokes are strictly cultural, and they don’t explain anything at all to you. So take what you don’t understand with a grain of salt and enjoy those jokes, which I did laughing out loud.