It was inevitable that the traditional culture festival was going to roll around again at some point, and so it goes that this week's Hidamari Sketch begins with a lead-in to the forthcoming Yamabuki festival.
In particular, the first half of this latest instalment sees Miyako and Yuno's class working on pieces to be judged and potentially selected as the cover of the pamphlet for the festival's brochure - an exciting opportunity, albeit not quite the "international debut" Yuno seems to think it is despite the winner getting their work featured on the Yamabuki High web site. Although she frets about not having time to finish her work (bringing about memories of her unfinished piece for her first festival), not only does Yuno get the job done but she actually wins her place on the cover of the booklet, much to the delight of both her and her friends.
In the second half of this episode, Yuno again features prominently as she heads off for a day out with her old (and older, college-aged) friend Arisawa - aside from the inevitable misunderstanding by some of her friends as they assume she's going on a date on account of her dress, Yuno gets to enjoy an afternoon of chatter about college life, trash, her recent successes, trash and trash. Beyond the fact that trash features prominently, it's also a reminder that friendships can endure even after high school life is over provided you make an effort to ensure that they do so - an important and welcome counterpoint to Hiro's malaise in last week's episode.
Having brought me to tears last week (albeit in a good way), it was actually rather enjoyable to get back to more traditional Hidamari Sketch fare, with a number of laugh out loud moments to punctuate a fun episode that didn't do anything spectacular but continued to hit most of the right notes while being gorgeously produced; the latter point still makes this particular a standout even in the midst of Hidamari Sketch's oeuvre - as a fan of the series, it thrills me to see this simple show given so much love and attention, to add some sheen to an already greatly enjoyable work.