Sometimes you gotta kick back and watch something nice and slow. There are so many loud and exciting anime but underneath all the flashy shows are a special brand of slice of life some call “healing shows”. Aria, Non Non Biyori are such titles as is the one I’ll be discussing in this article, Sketchbook: Full Colour’s. Read on to see what I thought of this title!
Sketchbook: Full Colour’s is a slice of life anime about Sora, a shy highschool girl who is a member of her school’s art club. That is about it for the set-up, it mainly follow Sora and her friends as they explore the world around them, grow as artists and meet new people. It’s focus is on Sora’s little discoveries and ventures. She does things like switching up her daily routine, going to the mountains to find a new drawing spot, and meeting new friends. Over the course of the show she gains more confidence in herself and becomes less shy with the people around her. It’s only 13 episodes longs and light on character development so don’t go in expecting something that goes anywhere. Sketchbook is not an anime about plot or development, it’s really about slowing down and taking the time to admire the beauty in the little things around us.
Sora is a good character, a young girl with a passion for life and new adventures who’s a little shy but always tries her best. Natsumi, one of her friends, is a loud girl who plays with puppets. Right away you’ll see how strange this cast is. You have Kate, a Canadian transfer student who talks in the most adorably bad Japanese ever. Fuu and Ryou, these two girls who are in perfect sync with each other. Kuga a girl who feels comfort in wrapping herself up in curtains and a crazy teacher who’s depressed her youth is over. The cast is quite unique, I found it void of many cliches, I suppose the weirdness of everyone was to balance with Sora, one of the only normal characters in the show. The quirkiness of the cast adds to the overall tone however and gives some very light comedic relief at times.
This show is not laugh out loud funny and in fact the overall humour is tame. More then anything it’s a quiet show with great ambience and feel. It’s true to the healing slice of life genre. One major issue however is the cats. There are talking cats in this show. They are like Garfield where they talk to each other using magic brainwaves so humans don’t hear them. The inclusion of cats almost did the show in for me, while the big bag cat Kuma is funny, Michael is irritating with a voice equivalent to grinding a chalkboard with a cheese grator. The cats made sense as they are neighbour strays that Sora will sometimes interact with but I feel making them talk was a bad idea and overall it adds a weird element to the show that I think could’ve been taken out without missing anything.
Art wise the style is certainly of it’s time (crazy to think 2007 was 9 years ago, it doesn’t feel like it). The art works and while not overly detailed the watercolour backgrounds are a nice touch to the overall simple but warm look and feel of the show. For sound, the voice acting is good. Fricking KanaHana voices Sora, I didn’t even know it was her until I typed this review. The soundtrack is composed mostly of curious piano pieces which do the show well as a sonic representation of Sora’s curiosity and sense of adventure.
Musically the opening song “Kaze Sagashi” sounds like it’s reaching or reflecting on a time long pasted. It’s driven by finger picked acoustic guitar and a power string section over the chorus which rises it to a dreamlike state. It sounds like a song for a lost summer, a time that you can never get back. Combined with the animation for the OP sequence and it’s a beautiful way to open each episode, it truly gets you into the mood for Sketchbook. “Kaze Sagashi” makes me feel relaxed and also very sad. It’s a perfect blend of many different feelings but the overall tone is that of sentiment.
The ending song “Sketchbook wo Motta Mama” is also very relaxing but a little more lively then the opening. It begins with a nice melody into some horns leading to a chilled out verse. It sinks you into it’s world, I think it’s a nice song and certain a good complement to the opening number. While “Kaze Sagashi” features a more adult sounding singer “Sketchbook wo Motta Mama” is sang in a cutesty high voice, like Sora.
Sketchbook: Full Colour’s says something and that’s “slow down”. It’s a nice relaxing watch and something to take at a casual pace rather then marathon. If you go in expecting a big plot and character development you will be disappointed. Know what you’re in for and relax because this is a light watch and it’ll make you feel good if you let it in. This show really had a great effect for me and I’m happy I started it when I did. I watched it here and there before bed over the course of a couple weeks.
Get comfortable and let Sketchbook take you into it’s world. It’s a fun journey and while the pay off isn’t much it should leave you smiling by the end.