Sunshine Sketch 4 by Ume Aoki: C

sunshinesketch4I’m not a particular fan of moe, but Sunshine Sketch, a 4-koma series about a group of girls living in an apartment building across from the art high school they all attend, is actually better than I thought it would be.

It wasn’t a good sign when the character introduction page summed up each girl in three sentences, including facts like “She is always on a budget and hungry,” but the strips within seldom rely on these traits for punchlines, so it turned out not to be so bad. Instead, most of the chapters are about everyday things like failing an exam, greeting some new first years, or looking forward to trying a new dish at the cafeteria only to find it sold out. Nothing objectionable occurs and there aren’t any obviously pervy elements (aside from an exhibitionist teacher, the one character I actively disliked) to remind one that this series runs in a seinen magazine.

The main problem is that Sunshine Sketch is boring. Here’s the plot of one chapter for an example: Yuno fails her grammar exam and must take a make-up test. She studies. She passes. The end.

The best chapter in the volume is one in which the gang takes a trip to a home improvement store because one of the new first years wants some curtains. Mangaka Ume Aoki perfectly captures the feeling of vague creative inspiration that such places can induce. If only the whole volume had been the girls checking out doorknobs and dish towels, I probably would’ve liked it more.

Review copy provided by the publisher. Review originally published at Manga Recon.

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