Sunshine Sketch, Vol. 1 ペーパーバック – 2008/6/17
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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! Her neighbors - Sae, Hiro, and Miya -are all fellow students, and each has her own hilarious quirks. And eccentricity clearly rules this school; Yuno's homeroom teach is a cosplay otaku and the principal is just...weird. Will the quiet Yuno be able to handle this creatively kooky cast of characters?
Ume Aoki is a Japanese manga artist from Hyougo Prefecture in Japan. She is best known for the manga series Sunshine Sketch, which has been adapted into numerous animated series. She is also the character designer for the hit anime Puella Magi Madoka Magica, the manga of which is available in English from Yen Press.
Humorous and lighthearted, it's a definite recommendation for fans of Azumanga Daioh and S.S. Astro.
The story is about a group of girls attending a prestigious art school in Japan. This is a specialized high school devoted to art as the primary focus, so there are not dorms really. Instead, the girls in question stay at a building called the Hidamari Apartments. The word "hidamari" has to do with the sun, and the students are at art school, hence the title. Translated into English, this is "Hidamari Sketch".
Our story essentially follows via the pov of our main protagonist, Yuno, who immediately meets her ecelctic mix of new friends at her apartment building. No surprise, really, since the Hidamari Apartments are known for the wierd tenants that live there.
The second main weakness to this manga was that it is mainly a series of gags with no real overarching story so far. At least in K-On or Is The Order a Rabbit, there is a general narrative. Here not so much. At least not as of the first volume. I'll read it again sometime, but definitely prefer the other two.