The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

Sketchbook ~full color’S~

Title: Sketchbook ~full color’S~
Genre: Comedy
Company: Hal Film Maker
Format: 13 Episodes
Dates: 2 Oct 2007 – 25 Dec 2007

Synopsis: Kajiwara Sora is an extremely quiet high school freshman with an intense love for art, going so far as to carry a sketchbook around with her everywhere. She joins the school’s art club and makes new friends while sharpening her skills as an artist along the way.

The Highlights
Comedy: Highly situational and pun-based, but charming nonetheless.
Cats: Hilarious and adorable.
Cast: Diverse and memorable.
Canadians: Have never been and never will be this amazing.
Sora’s voice: Can I marry it?

Some have called Sketchbook a hybrid of Hidamari Sketch and Aria. What this implies is that it’s Aria with artists. Fans of the Aria series will find much to love here, but Sketchbook is decisively unique.

As an anime without plot, Sketchbook, naturally, revolves around the various characters and their lives. Luckily for viewers, Sketchbook‘s cast is as diverse as ever. From Sora, the spacey, extremely quiet (most of her dialogue consists of either single-word phrases or nods) main character, to her weird seniors in the club, each with their own different area of specialty (bugs, music, stand-up comedy, etc…), to Kate, arguably the most hilarious rendition of a gaijin in anime history (courtesy of actual English speaker Goto Yuko), each character brings something different to the palette in order to paint a rainbow of personalities that is the main cast (pardon the puns).

Not only is each character inherently interesting, but the voice acting of each character is absolutely stellar. Sora’s VA, Hanazawa Kana, in particular, stands out amongst others. As she is both the main character and extremely quiet, most of the story is told through Sora’s inner monologues with herself. Hanazawa manages to make Sora’s outward character appear very shy, aloof, almost awkward, while maintaining the vitality and intelligence of the character in her conversations with herself. None of these monologues seem talkative or uncharacteristic; the subtleties within the voice acting make these inner musings understated, almost muted, quiet yet powerful at the same time. Other seiyuu deserve just as much credit, each bringing their respective characters to life, whether it be a childish, bug-loving high school junior, a crazy Canadian with little knowledge of Japanese life, or the cool and calm club president, always the straight man within the absolute madhouse that is Sketchbook‘s art club.

While the pace of the show is very slow and relaxing, the show itself isn’t lacking in comedic value at all. However, the humor in Sketchbook usually employs puns and word games, literally untranslatable into another language, posing a slight problem for viewers from overseas. There is however, much situational comedy within the show, seen most evidently within the interactions of the various cats in the show. While minor characters, the cats are given human-level intelligence, and hearing them interact and argue over their own problems only adds to the comedic value of Sketchbook.

What else is there to say about this great anime? The mood is lovely, the characters unforgettable, the comedy satisfying. Whether coming home from a long day’s school or work, or feeling down in the dumps, or in need of motivation, or simply feeling bored, make sure to give Sketchbook a spin. It’ll definitely brighten up your day.

The Rating: 8

Reviewed by: Akira

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