Minami-ke Okawari — Final Thoughts

Chiaki beans KanaWhen I was introduced to Minami-ke, I was immediately sucked into this world of three school-aged sisters living alone. The format used by production company Doumu of delivering the series with each episode being composed of several shorts worked quite well. The characters were great, the laughs were great, and the series is a favorite of mine. So, when it was announced that Minami-ke Okawari was being created, I was very excited even though it was going to be done by a new production company (named “asread”). Too bad the sequel doesn’t live up to its predecessor.

Car tripFor starters, asread decided to abandon the collection of shorts into an episode approach and went for a traditional anime episode route. That requires some tweaking of source materials to make a better flow of things and there are many comedy anime titles that use this traditional episode approach quite well. However, in the case of Minami-ke Okawari, the traditional episode approach fails. So instead of shorts with each having its own “punch line” (if you will) and laugh, the laughs seem to get smothered in the full-episode approach. With each episode, I became more disappointed because it was clear that the specialness of the characters and the humor that resulted from their antics just wasn’t there.

FuyukiAnother thing that killed the humor was the character of Fuyuki-kun. I don’t know if he’s in the original manga or not (if you’ve read the manga, let me know) but he’s this dark cloud of doom every time he shows up. Chiaki makes it her mission to work with this wimpy, depressed boy and this attempt at forced drama in a comedy series never worked. It was a relief when he left the series in episode 11, at which point I realized he’d served no purpose other than to depress things. Nothing in his storyline was resolved and everything involving him ended up a complete waste of time in my opinion. Very frustrating.

Kana and FujiokaI wonder if asread realized their stuff wasn’t going to be as funny. I say this because while Minami-ke Okawari had much less humor than Minami-ke, the levels of fanservice shot up by a great deal, so much so that it came across to me as compensation for the lack of humor. I’m not a fan of fanservice, but when something has a good story, good humor, or other positive elements, I tend to just ignore the fanservice. However, when good stuff is sacrificed to have more fanservice, then I start getting a bit annoyed, and that’s what I felt happened with this series.

Black-san and FuyukiWhile asread’s new character designs weren’t as nice as Doumu’s, I did get used to them after a while. What I could NEVER get used to were the “Black-san” characters that were jarringly used all over the place, even in speaking roles. What I mean by “Black-san” characters are background characters that are in all anime titles. However, rather than give these characters faces, they are given solid black faces (no eyes or anything) and solid black skin but they wear clothing and have hair. It was ugly, distracting, and frankly very annoying, more so when they had speaking parts. Toward the end of the series, asread began allowing bits of face to come through the black until the final episode, when it was business as normal. Man, I hope that’s not used in the 3rd series for sure.

Speaking of characters, another thing that asread did was make the characters pale imitations of what they’d been in Minami-ke. Oh, they went through the motions, but the heart was all gone as I saw things. For example in Minami-ke, Chiaki had a very dry sense of humor and rarely suffered fools, often throwing out the insulting “bakayarou” word (a very strong form of the word for “idiot”). This time, if she used the term (which wasn’t that often), most of the time it just didn’t have the impact as before. Only toward the end of the series when the writers seemed to be improving in the writing did Chiaki (and the other characters) start feeling more like their original selves.

The Minami brothers were sadly missed in Minami-ke Okawari. I really hope they show up in the third series.

As I’ve said, things do improve toward the end of the series on all aspects, which makes me think that maybe Minami-ke Okaeri will be a better series.

So, should you watch this?

Well, I always tell people that their milage may vary. What I hate they may like and what I like, they may not. Then again, they may agree with me but you never know until you try. So yeah, I would say watch this, especially if you liked Minami-ke. For me, this series is not one that I’d, even though I’d buy Minami-ke (unless it was bundled with Minami-ke, in which case I’d buy the bundle just to get Minami-ke).

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