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Manga / Sketchbook

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Kajiwara Sora and her friends in the art club sketch what they see and make observations on life. That's really all there is to it. Sketchbook features beautiful scenery, plenty of feel-good moments, and cats. Can't forget the cats. It's just the kind of show that puts a smile on your face.

Sketchbook is a Slice of Life manga written by Totan Kobako, which originally ran in the Shonen anthology Monthy Comic Blade from 2003 to 2014, and resumed serialization in Monthly Comic Garden 2014 onwards. An anime, titled Sketchbook ~full color'S~, aired in 2007.

After 17 years of serialization, Sketchbook ended its 208 chapter run in 2019.


Sketchbook contains examples of:

  • Adaptation Distillation: The manga consists largely of Japanese word jokes, but only some surrounding Kate found their way into the anime.
  • A Day in the Limelight
  • All in a Row
  • Anime Accent Absence: Averted with Kate, also combined with Surprisingly Good English.
  • Author Appeal: The mangaka seems to be quite fond of cats and apparently knows quite a bit about animals in general—especially bugs and fish.
  • Balloon Belly: Natsumi in episode 12.
  • Beautiful All Along: When Tsukiyo puts up her hair in the manga, nobody recognizes the girl with the pretty face.
    • Also Asaka when she untied her hair.
  • Blinding Bangs: Tsukiyo.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Ryou and Fuu, they are talking to the audience, which only confuses the other characters a little, as they are known as "eccentric".
  • Canada, Eh?: Kate
  • Canon Immigrant: Minamo, Daichi's little sister, first appeared in the anime adaptation, but was re-introduced into the manga about two years later, in chapter 97.
  • Advertisement:
  • Catchphrase: Sora's "uh huh".
  • Cat Smile: Kurihara Nagisa is never seen without one
  • Character Development: EVERY single character goes through this, but it applies most to Sora. Compare to how she introduces herself to Natsumi, Hazuki, and Kate to how she introduces herself to the waitress at the diner in the last episode.
  • Charm Point: Mentioned in Kuma's first scene
  • Cherry Blossoms: One of the funniest scenes involves a cherry blossom viewing party.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Ryou and Fuu, although most of the cast is a bit wacky.
    • Arguably Sora fits just as well.
      • The big difference is that Ryou and Fuu seem to do it on purpose, for fun. Sora doesn't notice there's something off with herself.
    • Kokage has her moments as well.
    • In fact, it'd probably be faster to list the characters who aren't Cloudcuckoolanders.
  • Clucking Funny: P-chan, Kasugano-sensei's pet, which goes everywhere with her, even school.
  • Cute and Psycho: Played for laughs when Kurihara introduces a kind of planarian and mentions that it can regenerate parts of it that get cut off. Kate promptly pulls out a box cutter knife while smiling happily.
    Narration box: Kate had a very angelic smile.
  • Cute Kitten: A Five Cat Cast by episode 11—Mike, Haa, Grey, Kuma, and Buchi. There's a few other cats in the manga too.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Kokage.
  • Demoted to Extra: Tsukiyo Ooba's role, already not that big in the manga, has been assigned only a few seconds of spoken dialogue in the anime—which is a shame, since she is a genuinely funny character.
  • Evolving Credits: Changes slightly depending on the cast.
  • Eyes Always Shut: The club president and Juju. Also Asakura-sensei, who appears in the manga from time to time and does magic tricks.
    • Lampshaded—when the art club goes to see fireworks, they all decide to squint at the fireworks and see what that looks like. No one can tell if these two are squinting or not.
  • Fear of Thunder: Natsumi
  • Festival Episode
  • First Name Surname First Name: In the final episode, this is how Sora introduces herself to the waitress.
    • Well, Asou was gonna introduce her to the waiter before she interrupts and says this trope because of it.
  • Friend to All Living Things: Subverted in that the cats don't view Sora as such. Double subverted at the end of episode 11. Played straight with Kurihara's love for all things living.
  • Fukuoka Regional Accent: Natsumi. Strange enough, nobody else talks this way, even though the series takes place in Fukuoka.
  • Funny Foreigner: Kate
  • Generic Cuteness: Many of the female characters can be hard to tell apart other than hairstyle in the yonkoma, especially since they tend to make blob-faces a lot.
  • Goldfish Scooping Game: Sora decides to think of it as "goldfish saving" (the same in Japanese). She then decides it sounds better without the "goldfish" part.
  • Gratuitous... Japanese?: It's hard to tell, because Kate speaks accented Japanese even though her voice actress is Japanese.
  • Greek Chorus: Fuu and Ryou
  • High School Rocks: Sora's fellow club members and teachers may be eccentric, but they're also absolute sweethearts.
  • Hive Mind: Ryou and Fuu, elevated to sometimes creepy levels in the anime.
  • Huge Schoolgirl: Juju, although it doesn't particularly bother her or the others.
  • Inner Monologue: The main reason Sora even needs a voice actor.
  • Iyashikei
  • Kewpie Doll Surprise
  • Kindhearted Cat Lover: Sora doesn't have a cat, though a few of her friends do, but is your typical Friend to All Living Things... but the kid keeps giving them expired food, which her brother calls her out on, so this might be subverted in the cats' eyes until she realizes her error.
  • Large Ham: Tsukiyo tends to be... rather melodramatic.
  • Last Episode, New Character: Tsukiyo and Soyogi-sensei.
  • Lost in Translation: A lot of the early scans of the series translate many Japanese puns literally. They have notes explaining the joke, at the very least.
  • Luminescent Blush: In the final episode, the shy Sora's entire face turns a luminescent red as her teacher compliments her artwork.
  • Meaningful Name: "Sora" means "sky". Sora's brother is called "Ao", which means "blue". Do the math...
  • Mega Neko: Kuma
  • No Cartoon Fish: see episode 2's crayfish
  • No Communities Were Harmed: Although never mentioned explicitly, the series appears to take place in Shime, Fukuoka.
  • No Hugging, No Kissing
  • No Mouth: Kokage
  • Noodle People: Appear commonly in manga. Especially when characters are in shock or disbelief.
  • No True Scotsman: Joked about in Chapter 11; Sora looks at the stray cats who don't respond to the toy she presents them with, and ponders if they "aren't really cats" since it's such a popular cat toy.
  • Otaku: Kurihara Nagisa, one of the rare examples of an otaku about something other than anime. She likes nature, especially insects.
  • Phenotype Stereotype: Kate
  • Picture Drama
  • Precious Puppies: Inuo
  • The Quiet One: Sora, who's actually the protagonist. Though she does Inner Monologue to the audience quite often.
    • In the manga, there's no confirmation as to whether or not she ever speaks at all. None of her dialogue (if it is that) is conveyed with speech bubbles.
  • Real Place Background: The anime contains locations from the city of Fukuoka, but the show proper takes place in Shime, a nearby former mining town. Shime's old coal mine winding tower is often used as a backdrop.
  • Scenery Porn
  • Schoolgirl Series: There are a few male characters, but both adaptions, especially the TV one, focus on Sora, Hazuki, and Natsumi. Kasugano's Manchild personality and the focus on the wackiness of the art room cement this series as a Schoolgirl one.
  • Sensei-chan: Kasugano-sensei.
  • Shout-Out:
    • To ARIA, with the "president" of the Aria Company as the mascot of a bowling center. Also, at the very end of the last episode, there's a picture of President Aria and Akari meeting Mike and Sora.
    • A discussion about Paracerura tattaka turns into a shoutout to Hamtaro in the manga.
    • Sensei is shown singing Yuki Nagori's "Iruka" in order to pass the time away waiting for her instant ramen to cook.
  • Shown Their Work: Some of the insects seen later are discussed in the notes.
  • Shy Blue-Haired Girl: In the anime, Sora plays this trope completely straight. (In the manga, her hair is just drawn black, but it's still blue in colored pages and covers.)
  • Something Completely Different: episode 5, done from the cats' point of view.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: Played with. Sora's classmates were surprised that her brother Ao does speak.
  • Surprisingly Good English: Kate: and her cat Buchi. Good job for the creators for picking someone who can speak very good English to voice her, unlike Ai Yori Aoshi. Since when Americans speak bad English?
  • Token Mini-Moe: Minamo.
  • Thirteen Episode Anime
  • Those Two Guys: Ryou and Fuu are rarely seen without each other; which is rather a good thing, considering their very different style of humor from the rest of the cast.
  • True Companions
  • Two-Teacher School
  • The Unintelligible: Gure (or Grey), who can only meow (probably because he's the youngest).
  • Visible Sigh
  • Wacky Homeroom: Wacky Art Club, same thing.
  • Yonkoma

Alternative Title(s): Sketchbook Full Colors


Example of: