I really need to start this entry with a confession - I haven't watched any of Hidamari Sketch prior to this. I'm normally not one to jump into a show without watching it from the off, but given my penchant for most 'slice of life' series (as anyone whose seen me wandering around wearing a Lucky Star t-shirt will attest to) I felt that it would be remiss of me not to jump in at the deep end with Hidamari Sketch x365.
Perhaps the first thing that struck me about this opening episode was the visuals - A quite odd blend of techniques from really rather simple animation to the use of CG. It's the kind of thing that takes a bit of getting used to, but actually ended up feeling just right for this series, given the artistic bent of its main characters. There also seemed to be more than a little Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei influence in the visual department, with this opening episode enjoying flashing up various quotations as if to ensure that you're paying attention.
Being a slice of life series as it is, plot is to all intents and purposes irrelevant, and little more than a vehicle to carry the humour and observations of the show, but anyway, this opening episode follows a fifteen year-old girl named Yuno, starting out the day before her entrance exam to Yamabuki high school - An exam she passes, which shes her moving out to live alone at Hidamari apartments, and so the whole adventure begins....
There are plenty of things that it's important for any slice of life series to get right, and probably top of that list is creating likeable characters who can make you smile even when they aren't doing anything amusing or otherwise out of the ordinary. Judging by this opening episode Hidamari Sketch x365 has achieved this, introducing a suitably interesting yet loveable bunch to the viewer. Of course, humour and astute observation are also very high up the list, and this first episode did manage to get a few laughs out of me, which isn't bad going as I would imagine there are probably some in-jokes that I'm missing, and first episodes always struggle to really lay on the good stuff with all that scene setting and character introduction taking place.
So, this seems like a pretty successful start to the series, and while it's way too soon to judge whether this will become any kind of slice of life classic in mind, I'm certainly looking forward to seeing more.