When I found out about this show, which was apparently a slice-of-life comedy set in an art school, I was interested, but wondered if it would end up as a ripoff of Hidamari Sketch. Doing a little bit of research on the background of this title (as I suspected, a yonkoma manga), it turns out that Geijutsuka only came out a few months after Hidamari. Not being overly familiar with Hidamari besides the 3 or so chapters I’ve read I cant say for sure if they are too similar, but at current, it doesnt really seem so.
I really like slice of life anime, but lately, I was getting a little tired of the same thing over and over. Geijutsuka Art Design Class seems like it could be a nice solution for me.
When the episode started, it took me a while, admittedly, to get used to the way the characters were drawn. They have a semi-chibi kind of look, and huge eyes, with rather chunky, cutesy bodies. They almost seem more like plushies than people. The good thing was that I got used to it rather quickly and was soon quite charmed by it; also due to the rather nice colour palette being used. Everything seems to be awash in gentle pastells, so its a show that’s quite easy on the eyes. We meet what seems to be our main character, Kisaragi, a rather absent-minded girl with huge glasses that seem to be falling off her face all the time. It’s a very cartoonish character design, but it’s very distinctive and I quite like it.
The other characters are also pretty distinctive and easy to tell apart. Some have quite nice designs, like the smallest, Noda, but some other designs seem a little boring to me at this point in time. (for example the dark-haired girl looks and acts the same as nearly every other dark-haired girl in nearly every other school comedy series).The series establishes to us that Kisaragi is the main character, but as for the others, it doesnt really let us get to know them, because Kisaragi seems to already know them well. This means that they’re not really ‘introduced’ to the viewer (by having Kisaragi meet them for the first time, for example), but they’re personality’s are made pretty clear in the first episode. It’s not a major issue though; Lucky Star did the same thing. We do, however, get the impression that Kisaragi may be relatively new; as her knowledge of alot of things about art arent up to scratch.
Speaking of Lucky Star, this show reminds me of it very much, although it feels overall much more ‘gentle’ in tone. Whilst the girls in Lucky Star have endless conversations about absolutley anything, the girls in Geijutsuka will talk about art. Which I think is absolutely awesome. This also reminds me of Yakitate!! Japan due to the random instructional know-how, except about colour and design and not baking. Kisaragi learns from the others things about paints, such as what kinds to use in different situations and why her paints became mouldy. I can imagine this kind of thing being rather polarizing, it’s either cute and informative or just plain boring. I found it the former, however.
One thing we learn about Kisaragi is that she seems to have some kind of ‘moe love’ for what is referred to as ‘suneko’, which was translated as ‘natural cat’. Exactly what this means I’m still not sure of. Is it the cutesy style of drawing those overly-simplified yet incredibly cute cats that you often see in anime? Or is it describing a cat’s nature? Either way, thinking about them seems to send her into a happy little trance, which made me smile a lot.
There’s then a mini-lesson about pictograms, and various examples of such, like the types used on signs to indicate meaning. It’s a fun little segment in which the girls try inventing their own pictograms to mean various other things of rather ridiculous specificity. At this point, I’m a bit confused about that aforementioned dark-haired girl. She explains a lot of things to the students, as though she is a teacher, although she’s a student like them. But there’s no teacher in the classroom with them, although he’s referred to and seen at the end.
After the eyecatch (a photo of a real life recreation of the ‘paint pudding’ – this seems like it’s something that will change with each episode, I hope) there’s a scene played out like a manga, which may or may not happen in every episode. Quite an interesting stylistic decision, anyway.
After that is something a little more random; the cast as some kind of super-hero team (dressed as cats, naturally) helping out nameless student A with her art assingment. This part was really just a whole load of silly parody fun, and although it turned out to be something of a random daydream of Noda’s, it does appear in the opening theme so perhaps it will appear in every episode, or at least more than once.
The episode manages to squeeze in one more style of creating, a CG lesson. Although en-route, it shows off the kind of randomness I love in slice-of-life shows. Noda goes and stands in a corner, commenting “Dont you feel the urge to stand in a space like this when you see it?”, quite out of the blue. That’s the type of show this is, like Lucky Star, random observations that I never really considered before, but thanks to Noda, I am going to think of it every time I walk past a little corner like that. Thankyou, Noda.
If I could describe this show in a word, that word would be ‘charming’. This is simply a very, very charming little show that made me feel happy inside. It’s the sort of feel-good anime I’d like to unwind with at the end of a long day, or when I’m feeling a little down. The characters are all likeable enough, even if they arent entirely original, and the conservations and observations make me smile. It’s clearly not for everyone, but I enjoyed it alot, and I think I’ll be blogging this one, too. Out of 5, the first episode gets it