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 Post subject: Minami-ke + Okawari + Okaeri
PostPosted: April 8th, 2008, 7:00 pm 
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"Minami-ke" ("The Minami Family") is a pure slice-of-life comedy Anime about the daily lives of the Minami sisters Haruka (17), Kana (14) and Chiaki (11). "Minami-ke Okawari" is the second season that, besides one new character, doesn't add anything new.
It's pretty hard to say anything concrete about the contents since there is no storyline at all, that's why I said "pure slice of life". What you need to know is that for some reason unknown to the audience the sisters live without parents. The only older relative who appears is Takeru, a cousin whom they call "Oji-san" ("uncle").

The three sisters are standard characters, Haruka being the benevolent and warm-hearted o-Nee-san, Kana the ever-genki bubblebrain and Chiaki the sharp and introverted realist who suffers from a lack of life experience. The stories include, among others, said relative, Takeru, who's steadily without a girlfriend and acts protectively, and a number of mostly female classmates of the three girls.

I'd like to say that the series is pretty moe. You have a bunch of cute girls, scenes of undressing, fooling around, and other sexy occasions, although you never get to see anything explicit. Add good voice acting and a really convincing character design and overall artwork and you know what I'm talking about.

The comedy elements are mostly slapstick and humor created by exaggeration, although there is often a high degree of domestic violence involved (compare "Crayon Shin-chan"), like when Kana eats Chiaki's cake or something like that. There are also subtle parodies involved, like puns at Japanese news and TV dramas in general.

As I said, the second season doesn't add anything really new, if it wasn't for the bespectacled, quiet 11yo neighbor who becomes Chiaki's classmate. I guess the producers felt a certain inbalance of genders and wanted to add something close to a romantic element.
But on second thought, there are many new things in the second season - but they're hard to explain (to the audience) and completely unnecessary. It's like they left the characters and their social network in but changed everything else. The schools that the girls attend look completely different, like Haruka's highschool was a mere standard building in the first season and in the second season it suddenly looks like an elite institution with state-of-the-art architecture.
The house that the girls live in looks different, like in the first season the stairs/elevator was right of the apartment door, and in the second season their door is the rightmost with stairs/elevator being to the left.
The interior of the apartment looks different; in the first season the kitchen was separated from the living room by a plastic curtain, now there's a big kitchen with a table in the middle. First, every girl had her individual room, now Kana and Chiaki share a room, and the furniture of the rooms has totally changed.

The "Okawari" ("Refill") season has very nice moments, but overall it's not as good as the first one. It's not really necessary to watch it, because since it's slice-of-life there's no conclusion or climax, so all you'd miss was another round of girls for every taste.

But there is one thing that remains interesting from beginning to the end: gender roles.
Chiaki has aclassmate named Makoto (m) who is a bit clumsy and therefore makes a few mistakes whereupon Chiaki more or less bans him from visiting her house (for group homework). But he likes Haruka and is eager to return, so Kana comes up with the idea making him cross-dress and introduces him as her Kôhai Mako-chan. Upcoming situations and Kana's pressure virtually force him to keep this double-life up, being Makoto in school and Mako-chan whenever he visits the Minami sisters.
Then enter Tôma. Tôma is actually a girl, but due to living with three brothers and no parents (i.e. no female role model) she is the most hardcore tomboy I have ever encountered. She is a girl in public, at home and in school, but for some reason Chiaki decides to make her her younger brother, thus, when visiting the Minami sisters, Tôma slips into the role of a boy.

Conflicts ensue, as expected, in beach, onsen and swimming pool episodes, as Mako-chan hides "her" real identity from Chiaki and Haruka, and for whatever reason Tôma hides her being a girl from Fujioka, a boy who has a crush on Kana. It's interesting to watch these conflicts and how the characters behave when displaying a different gender. On a side note, I like the fact very much that Tôma, the tomboy, has a deeper voice than Makoto, the cross-dresser (both Seiyû are female though).

Again, I like the voice acting very much, and I chose to watch the series because Inoue Marina has a lead role, being Kana's voice. She does a good job, but, to be honest, I think that Higuchi Chieko (who did Tomo in "Azumanga Daiô") would have been an even better choice.
Another good part is Chihara Minori being Chiaki's voice. After being rather quiet in "Suzumiya Haruhi" she showed talent for this determined and often agitated character's voice.

Adding up, the first season is a very good product. It has cute girls, good graphics, character designs, animation and voice acting, it's funny, and it at least mentions deeper topics. The second season is pretty nice and equal in terms of graphics, character designs, animation and voice acting, but it shows serious inconsistencies, besides gender construction there is nothing deeper and the humor has become tamer in a sense.


Edit: This post has been edited for experimental reasons. Don't worry, everything's fine. :D

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Last edited by 42317 on February 8th, 2009, 8:39 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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PostPosted: April 9th, 2008, 12:27 am 
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I already saw first two episodes and it was safe to say that Okawari is less entertaining than its first season. Don't get me wrong, it just the jokes wasn't as funny as the first one. While I do like its character designs better than the first season(I don't like the triangle-mouth thing) but the jokes and production quality was not as good. Another thing I dislike about it is it had more fanservice. I have no desire to see underage girls almost naked. I hope this show getting better with rest of the episodes.

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Last edited by Amex_Yohko on April 9th, 2008, 7:50 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: April 9th, 2008, 12:31 am 
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Amex_Yohko wrote:
I already saw first two episodes and it was safe to say that Okawari is less entertaining than its first season. Don't get me wrong, it just the jokes wasn't as funny as the first one. While I do like its character designs better than the first season(I don't like the triangle-mouth thing) but the jokes and production quality was not as good. Another thing I dislike about it is it had more fanservice. I have no desire to see underage girls almost naked. I hope this show getting better with rest of the episodes.

You don't like the triangular shaped mouths? I thought that was epic, especially Haruka's. :lol:

I also agree that Okawari is inferior both in terms of the animation quality and in terms of enjoyment. Also the Doumu version had the hilarious Hosaka fantasies, which alone make it preferable to the Asread version.

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PostPosted: April 9th, 2008, 5:27 pm 
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spazmaster666 wrote:
You don't like the triangular shaped mouths?

They reminded me of onions... I didn't mind that.

spazmaster666 wrote:
Doumu version - Asread version.

What's that? :?:

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PostPosted: April 11th, 2008, 6:55 am 
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42317 wrote:
What's that? :?:

Doumu produced the first series; Asread produced the second series.

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 Post subject: Re: Minami-ke + Okawari
PostPosted: January 9th, 2009, 7:32 pm 
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I have just watched the first episode if the third season - "Minami-ke Okaeri" ("Okaeri" means "welcome home"). I don't really know what to say about it because in terms of plot it looks like just another episode from the middle of the series. Isn't it usual to make the first episode conspicious in some sorta way? I found it pretty plain. Well, it's supposed to be perfectly normal days in the lives of the Minami sisters after all.

They didn't show much of the apartment's interiors, but I think they stuck to the "Okawari" design. I'd have to see more of the kitchen to decide.

Technically the level has decreased. Graphic design has deteriorated, and so has animation. Some angles and movements look just aweful. The design, the outer appearance, of the support characters is very similar, but it's not really the same. Hosoka e.g. still has the tendency to open his shirt, but he looks different somehow... I think he looks slimmer and younger.

The soundtrack is okay imho. New opening and ending songs, sung by the voice actresses, in the same style as their predecessors. Not as good, but not bad either.

I am waiting to see more (it's being aired right these days, with, according to ANN, 13 episodes to come), but I am not too confident whether this new season will reach the entertainment quality of even the second, already weaker, "Okawari" season. To say the least, I have hopes that "Okaeri" will not be saturated with unnecessary fan service. Apart from Haruka's sexy dress in the end titles there hasn't been any so far.

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 Post subject: Re: Minami-ke + Okawari
PostPosted: January 25th, 2009, 12:34 pm 
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I have seen episode two yesterday and three today.
Fanservice is non-existent so far, which I find relaxing.
Tôma and her brothers have appeared, also Haruka's highschool friends (Hosaka, Maki, Atsuko, Hayami), Kana's friends Uchita and Fujioka, and "uncle" Takeru. The one I haven't seen so far is Makoto (the more or less willing crossdresser).
The humor has a decent level, it's entertaining without being dull imho. That's promising.

As far as I can tell the apartment's interior has changed again.
In the original series, the kitchen was virtually a part of the vestibule/corridor, separated from the living room by a plastic curtain.
In "Okawari" the kitchen was a separate room big enough to contain a table.
In "Okaeri" it's the middle thing: It's a separate room, but it's to narrow to contain anything but the barest necessities, like a fridge, shelves, a sink of course, and the oven.

So far, graphic design and animation seem to be the only clear deficiencies.

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 Post subject: Re: Minami-ke + Okawari
PostPosted: February 7th, 2009, 7:41 pm 
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Update on the apartment's interior:
Chiaki and Kana share a room, their beds being separated by a curtain of sorts, so "Okaeri" follows "Okawari" on that behalf.

Further news:
The voice of Honey-kun returns - Saitô Ayaka. Pitched a little deeper and in a female role named Hitomi... guys, I find this voice so sexy I could spray my DNA all over the place.

Well, okay, I'm exaggerating, forget the DNA part. But I'll stick to the rest of the statement.
Aaarrrgh! I need to hear more of that voice! But after appearing in ep. 04 she didn't show up in ep. 05 and I already feel deprived...
Ayaka, speak to me! Anything will do... read the phone book if you will!

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 Post subject: Re: Minami-ke + Okawari + Okaeri
PostPosted: February 25th, 2009, 8:00 pm 
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Seen episode 7 of Okaeri.
Still a good series, although Ayaka/Hitomi hasn't had another scene so far, just perfectly normal days in the lives of the Minami sisters. Still better than Okawari. But Okaeri kinda misses the memorable and lovely moments of the original season. This third season is a tad too normal I think.
At least Makoto had his appearance, constantly in danger of being found out being a crossdresser.

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 Post subject: Re: Minami-ke + Okawari + Okaeri
PostPosted: April 5th, 2009, 5:28 pm 
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The Okaeri season has come to an end with episode 13.
In my opinion, Okaeri comes close to the original series and is a lot better than Okawari, the first sequel. I especially liked the last two episodes. They were very cute, although I also found them a tad too dramatic at times. In fact, Kana's "Goodbye note" makes much more sense if you know Japanese grammar and word order possibilities.

Oh well... I enjoyed this very much. Next I'm going to watch "Senjô no Valkyria", along with the episodes of "Skip Beat!" that I have missed after there was a kind of break after Crunchyroll licensed it for streaming... but there's no way in hell that I'm gonna watch it there and abstain from taking further screen shots due to their hard subs and low resolution. Even HQ sucks on full screen. Good enough to watch, no doubt, but not good for screen shots.

Oh yes, and I still have "Blassreiter" to search for more funny German. :D

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 Post subject: Re: Minami-ke + Okawari + Okaeri
PostPosted: September 17th, 2009, 6:31 pm 
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I watched the "Minami-ke Betsubara" special yesterday evening after finding it rather coincidentally.
It is a 25 minute episode and I am not so sure what makes it so special. It's nice, like all episodes, but it's not not one of the best, in fact I find it disturbing that they show the same panty shot three times and even more disturbing so because panty shots were actually not the trade of this series...
Animation quality is the usual post-first-season deal, i.e. a little better than mediocre.
The opening is rather disappointing because they used scenes of the existing episodes, which makes it look like an AMV with an original song somehow.
Anyways, the only special thing about this Betsubara episode might be that Kana completely forgets that it's Valentine's Day and presents Fujioka with a bar of chocolate because she believes he was tired from sports club training ("If you're tired you need to eat something sweet!")
On all other accounts it's a perfectly normal episode of the perfectly normal lives of the Minami sisters.

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