Reviewed by: LittleWoodenBoy
Released by: Yen Press
Publishing Country: UK
Author: Ume Aoki
Age Rating: Teen
Page Count: 120
Sunshine Sketch follows the daily lives of four art students living in the dorms opposite the campus.
Sunshine Sketch (or Hidamari Sketch in Japan) starts by following Yuno and Miyako as they take the entrance test for Yamabuki High School, a school known for its speciality in the arts.
Both Yuno and Miyako pass the entrance exam and move into the Hidamari Apartments. This is a small dormitory that is the other side of the road to Yamabuki High School. Its here that Yuno meets another first year Miyako, and two second year students Hiro and Sae. Yuno is nervous about moving out and living on her own. This is slightly balanced out by Miyako who is rather energetic and just so slightly odd. Sae is a professional writer as well as a student and Hiro is good at housework, cooking but is constantly trying to lose weight.
Things aren't quite so normal at school either. The principal has a long face and is constantly shaking. The there is their teacher Yoshinoya, who loves to dress up far more than she is interested in school work.
This first volume focuses on Yuno and Miyako as they settle into their new lives in Hidamari Apartments and their new school routine. Its very much a slice of life manga looking at the people rather than events, though is may be more due to each chapter only being about eight pages.
The style of the manga is traditional 4-koma (four vertical panels like Azumanga Daioh) which suits it well. It also has two distinct styles. One is a more normal cute style, the other is more chibi-esque with the characters adopting a wide face and less detail. Its done to add to the comedy and once your used to it, it works.
There are several points Yen Press should be commended for. The introduction pages and first chapter have been printed in full colour. Rather than adjust the specific Japanese comments made to more Western friendly ones, Yen Press have opted to put translation notes in the back of the book. Another nice touch is all honorifics (-san, -chan, etc) and bizarre namings (Miyako refers to Yuno as Yunocchi after a while) have been left in. Though I didnt notice a explanation of any honorifics so people unaware of them might be a little confused by them.
With its interesting characters and cute artwork, its a good recommendation for fans of comedy and slice of life series. There has also been two anime series based upon it, though sadly neither have been licensed.
I'm not sure of the final volume count. Volume 4 was released in Japan at the end of 2008.