Sketchbook ~full color’S~ – 13
With a lot of slice of life series, there really is no ending, and the same applies to Sketchbook. With everyone gathering together to enjoy the sakura trees, and with the introduction of Ooba Tsukiyo, it was a nice way to start off the last episode, and as the episode progressed, we see each of the characters in the way that Sora perceives them through her painting of the photograph. By doing this, I feel that it’s taken a step back and we think back to the episodes of when Sora was interactig with all the different characters and portraying to us the bonds they share.
I find it strange how Tsukiyo was introduced this late into the series, and when I first saw her small appearance in the ending sequence of the last episode, I swore that it was a guy. But one thing for sure, I was certainly surprised to hear Mamiko Noto’s voice as the seiyuu for Tsukiyo and I’m glad I recognised her voice as this time around it sounded rather flat and deep compared to other roles. Though I would’ve preferred if she was introduced a little earlier as I would’ve liked to see her bonds with Sora and the rest of the art club.
If there is one thing I enjoyed about Sora’s painting, it represents not just the bonds she has within the club, but also outside since she added in the cats, Minamo, and even Ao. By having sketched them into the painting, it feels very natural for them all to be there. Sora’s comparison to the “my pace” sakura tree I thought was rather nice as it shows at the end of the episode. Sora is a shy type of person, but we’ve seen her gradually become more open with the people around her and that was probably the first time she ever called out to Hazuki and Natsumi. But I think that one event was also made Sora take that one step forward in introducing herself to the waitress, much to the surprise of Hazuki and Natsumi.
As a final episode, it was also good to see they wrap up everything with scenery of everyone going about their daily lives and it all comes back to Sora, Hazuki and Natsumi. This episode again they went and played Kaze Sagashi whilst moving the story along, and I prefer this style, but the opening sequence is still good as well.
When I first did my research on Sketchbook, I realised that it was produced by HAL Film Maker, the same producers as the ARIA series, so I had some pretty high expectations. Well I’m glad to say that this certainly has exceeded my expectations. Although with a lot of slice of life series, there really isn’t much to talk about, and the same applies to Sketchbook, but I don’t see it as just a continuous storyline, I see them as episodic and each have their underlying themes. The underlying themes throughout Sketchbook have always been about friends, the perspective of other, as well as family. ARIA has themes that it expresses as well, but so far I find Sketchbook being able to express those rather well through the characters and their participation in the art club.
Now I wouldn’t say that I’m much of an artist, as I really have no skill in drawing, but I can appreciate the style that we see in this series, but I would have to say that the parallelism between drawing and photography was one of the best themes that was brought up. I myself as a photographer would be able to appreciate the art of sketch drawing if I give it a try, much like how Sora appreciates the art form of photography. Sora’s gradual growth throughout the series has indeed been a wonderful experience from spending time with friends and family, meeting new people, and experiencing new art forms and we can all relate to that as it’s something we all go through in life.
All the characters in the show were unique and wonderful. Kate by far is definitely my favourite as she came as an foreign exchange student, but she adapted into the circle of friends so quickly and it’s as if she was there from the start. Plus her use of kanji to spell out things is hilarious. Even with Natsumi and Hazuki we get a variety of characters as Natsumi is the energetic and cheerful type, where Hazuki is more of the polite and formal person, but she has that cute side of loving the Tukonosuke thing. All of the seniors had their unique personalities and they all compliment each other in various ways. Even the cats were unique on their own, and the episodes of the NekoNeko Days brought about a uniqueness to the cats, but also to the series overall.
Much like ARIA, Sketchbook has a very soothing and calm feel to things, but also has it’s doses of humour that are not overly done. The mixture of the soundtrack and with Makino Yui as the singer for the ED and the seiyuu for Hazuki, it’s definitely one of my favourite series for 2007. Although I wouldn’t compare this to ARIA in terms of enjoyability as each series have their own merits and explores their own themes, but both in the are something that you will never forget. Thus with the end of Sketchbook, I look forward to ARIA The ORIGINATION. Plus the eyecatch below I thought was brilliant.