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Sketchbook ~full color's~
Sketchbook ~full color's~
Sketchbook ~full color's~
Anime Review

Sketchbook: full colors might just be the most relaxing anime ever made. The pacing is languid-something that will no doubt bore some viewers before it even really gets started- and very little of consequence actually happens in it. However, for viewers with more than a little patience in the mood for a slice of life show, it can be not only charming, but enchanting. Viewers who draw in particular may find themselves wanting to fly into the screen and accompany quiet little Sora on her ongoing quest to recreate the world in her humble sketchbook.

Recently, there have been a lot of shows about high-school aged girls just hanging out, and the misadventures they can have- however, most of them put humor front and center. Azumanga Daioh, perhaps the most celebrated example of this genre-within-a-genre, is one of the funniest shows around. While Sketchbook is sometimes funny, more often than not it's like a slowed-down, chilled out Azumanga Daioh; as if, instead of bouncing off the walls, Osaka and Chiyo and the crew just brewed some delicious green tea and chatted about sketching flowers for a while.

Sketchbook ~full color's~A lot of the show's appeal comes from it's visual style; a lot of attention is paid to the backgrounds, and much of the show features Sora, a shy and perceptive girl who is never seen without her sketchbook, traversing beautiful countryside. Instead of being dull, somehow watching Sora and her friends in the art club skip off into nature to find something to draw is consistently refreshing- almost as though it's cleansing you of all that angst-filled '90s anime you used to watch back in the day.

For all its merits though, Sketchbook does have its limitations. Other than the adorable Sora and Kate, the typical foreigner who speaks Japanese with a funny accent (and that particular running gag is about as amusing in Sketchbook as we've ever seen it), the characters aren't particularly memorable; we had trouble remembering who was who soon after seeing the show. Furthermore, there's an ongoing subplot about a bunch of cats that can be amusing, but some may find the cats take away too much character time that would be better spent on some of the kids in the art club.

Sketchbook ~full color's~Also, it's debatable how well the show actually does humor in general; many jokes aren't particularly funny. Sometimes it seems as though the jokes are there more to give the characters something to do in between bouts of sketching of than anything else.

As a major plus, there's virtually nothing objectionable about this anime, even if you were trying to find things to complain about: for once, the school uniforms look realistic, not like sexy Halloween costumes, and there are no "adult themes" to speak of. However, that doesn't mean the show is immature; in fact, it's the opposite. It's the kind of thing that wouldn't be inappropriate for a child, but takes the perspective of someone older to truly appreciate.

Furthermore, just as sports anime are often more enjoyable for people who play sports, Sketchbook is bound to be more enjoyable for people who draw; in fact, people who've spent plenty of time with their own sketchbook in hand are likely to find themselves inspired to do some more drawing after spending some time with Sora and company.

In terms of the feeling of calm it inspires and the introspection it can provoke, Sketchbook is kind of like the In Search of Lost Time of anime. However, at a breezy thirteen episodes, it's a much smaller investment of time than Marcel Proust's magnum opus, yet there's still plenty of pleasant chatting and tea-drinking to be had.

Reviewed by Karen Gellender, August 2011

Below: Scenes from Sketchbook ~full color's~.

a screen capture from Sketchbook ~full color's~

a screen capture from Sketchbook ~full color's~

a screen capture from Sketchbook ~full color's~

a screen capture from Sketchbook ~full color's~

a screen capture from Sketchbook ~full color's~

a screen capture from Sketchbook ~full color's~

a screen capture from Sketchbook ~full color's~

a screen capture from Sketchbook ~full color's~

a screen capture from Sketchbook ~full color's~

Sketchbook ~full color's~

Sketchbook ~full color's~ Website Links:

Sketchbook ~full color's~ anime official website (Japanese)

Sketchbook ~full color's~ anime at TV Tokyo (Japanese)

Sketchbook ~full color's~ (TV) at Anime News Network's Encyclopedia

Sketchbook (manga) at Anime News Network's Encyclopedia

Sketchbook ~full color's~ at THEM Anime Reviews

Wikipedia Entry for Sketchbook (manga)

Below: Cover artwork and illustrations for Sketchbook ~full color's~.

Sketchbook ~full color's~ Japanese DVD cover for volume 1

Sketchbook ~full color's~ manga cover

Sketchbook ~full color's~ manga cover

Sketchbook ~full color's~ illustration

Sketchbook ~full color's~ manga mangazine cover

Sketchbook ~full color's~ illustration from a magazine

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