Minami-ke Okawari 12

みなみけ~おかわり~ Ep. 12

SPOILER Summary: Chiaki’s feeling a bit warm and pays a visit to the school nurse, Kumada-sensei. Kumada-sensei is happy to see Chiaki because she wants to talk about Chiaki’s homeroom teacher, Tanaka-sensei. She announces that Chiaki’s temperature is 36.9°C (98.42° F) when its really only 36.5°C (97.7°F). Chiaki decides that isn’t bad and is going to leave, so Kumada-sensei “corrects” herself to say that Chiaki actually has a temperature of 37.19°C (98.942°F) and recommends Chiaki rest for a bit. Chiaki agrees and thus Kumada-sensei makes a pitch to have Chiaki mention to Tanaka-sensei that Kumada is single. Chiaki says she’ll think about it and as she’s going to leave, Kumada-sensei offers her a ramune (lemon candy). Chiaki turns her down, but when Makoto comes in feeling ill, Kumada-sensei gives him some, calling it medicine and immediately Makoto is feeling better.

It is time for Chiaki’s school’s athletic fair and Chiaki’s is going to be manning the first-aid station in addition to being on the committee overseeing the fair. One afternoon, Chiaki is walking home with Touma with Fuyuki-kun trailing behind. Touma wonders why Chiaki doesn’t walk home with Fuyuki since they are neighbors, something Chiaki really doesn’t care about. After parting company with Touma, Chiaki arrives outside her apartment building to see Kana training Uchida and Yoshino. Chiaki and Fuyuki make their way to their respective apartments and it appears that Fuyuki has something he’d like to tell Chiaki, but instead makes a bit of small talk before heading indoors.

The next day is a rainy day and Haruka tells Kana that Fuyuki-kun and his father are moving soon. Meanwhile, Chiaki comes home with Fuyuki who again appears to want to tell her something, but doesn’t. The following day the rain has stopped and Touma is trying to dump her work for making paper flowers onto Fuyuki-kun, who as always is willing to do anything for anyone. Chiaki puts a stop to it and states that she’ll help as well. Touma isn’t happy with this and Fuyuki protests that he can do it all, but Chiaki has made up her mind. Besides, three people doing the job will get it done quicker. Once done, Fuyuki and Chiaki are again outside their respective apartments with Fuyuki doing the same thing as before.

The next day is the school fair with Haruka and Kana seated on a blanket to watch the festivities. Fujioka also joins them. Events take place with Makoto, Touma, and Uchida all falling on their faces during races. They all come to visit Chiaki, who’s not amused by them and she tosses band-aids and a “bakayarou” at them. During the scavenger hunt race, Chiaki gets her paper and grabs Fujioka. Fuyuki-kun gets his and races to grab Kana, who’s excited to be participating. While neither win, Chiaki demands to know why Fuyuki-kun picked Kana. His paper said “oneesan” — older sister. Kana demands to know why Chiaki chose Fujioka and snatches Chiaki’s paper. It said “otousan” — dad. This has Fujioka stunned and Kana laughing. Finally, the costume parade happens with Makoto dressed as a maid to represent their class. Yoshino realizes that “Mako-chan” looks like a cross-dressing Makoto-kun.

It is time for lunch and Fuyuki-kun is going to return to the classroom to eat alone since he father didn’t come. Chiaki stops him and invites him to where Haruka, Kana, and Fujioka are waiting. Haruka encourages him to eat, something Kana is already heavily into. He remarks on how this is the first time he’s done such a thing. After lunch, Fuyuki’s father picks him up and they leave while Haruka participates with Chiaki in the parent-child three-legged race. They don’t win, but Chiaki is happy to be doing this with “Haruka-neesama.”

Once the athletic fair is over, it is time to clean up. It is here that Chiaki finally learns that Fuyuki-kun transferred out after lunch and that he and his father were moving elsewhere. She returns home alone and imagines Fuyuki-kun opening his door to enter his former apartment.

Sometime later one morning, the three sisters are heading to school in the chilly morning air. At Haruka’s school, Maki asks Tanaka-sensei about who had been selected to participate in the overseas school program. He states that Haruka had been asked. That afternoon, Maki and Atsuko are in a restaurant having ice cream deserts and discussing this news when Kana pops up outside, envious of high school students. They invite her in but when they ask her about it, she is shocked as she had not heard that Haruka is going to study overseas.

Thoughts: This episode made a MASSIVE improvement over the first eleven episodes. For starters, the Black-san characters are gone. Oh what a relief that is. I don’t know who’s idea it was to have all background characters have blacked out skin (primarily in the face) but it was always stupid, annoying, and frankly a distraction. So I’m very glad the producers corrected that mistake.

Next is Chiaki. In Minami-ke, Chiaki basically sat in the seat of the scornful in a sense. She had little patience for idiots (hence her constant use of the more extreme Japanese word for idiot — bakayarou) and she saw idiots everywhere. Thanks to Kana, she saw them every day. That’s not to say she was all knowing or the like because she could be led astray by her own misconceptions or dumb things that Kana said which Chiaki couldn’t prove one way or another (like the whole swimsuit incident). However in Minami-ke Okawari, Chiaki lost all that. She no longer seemed in command of things. Even when she tossed out an occassional “bakayarou,” it didn’t have the impact it carried in the first season.

For this episode, the writers appear to have corrected this mistake as well. Indeed, Chiaki felt like the Chiaki of old and a pleasure to watch in action. I laughed when she is working the first aid station and just throws the band-aids at Uchida, Yoshino, and Touma, calling them “bakayarou,” because in her mind, their actions warranted such treatment. It had been so long since we’d truly seen this side of Chiaki (discounting the incident where she trapped Kana with the desert) that not only was it great to see, I actually laughed. Where has this been all along?

I also laughed when Touma got Fuyuki-kun to stop addressing her as “Minami-san” since both she and Chiaki have that family name. He had no problem addressing Chiaki as “Chiaki-san” but immediately addressed Touma as “Touma-kun” which sent her off. However being addressed as “Touma-san” was nearly as bad for her, which was not totally unexpected, but it made me laugh just the same.

It is too bad that the writers waited until the very end to get rid of Fuyuki-kun. Minami-ke was just a fun, lighthearted series. Fuyuki-kun’s character was a dark cloud that brought everything down. What was the point of this anyway? Did we resolve anything through Fuyuki-kun? Did we learn anything? Did he change at all? As I see it, his character served no real useful purpose. I would have rather spent time on the other Minami family brothers.

Finally, it looks like the writers are going to make the last episode all serious. I haven’t bothered to even look to see how this ends (does Haruka go overseas or no?). Frankly, it would be remarkably unbelievable for Haruka to leave her two little sisters to fend for themselves, though there is their cousin whom I suppose could do the job. We’ll see what the writers do.

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One Response to “Minami-ke Okawari 12”

  1. Anonymous says:

    The removal of the black-faced characters is a big improvement.

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