Fans of Azumanga Daioh rejoice; Minami-ke has arrived! A brilliant show in which absolutely nothing substantive occurs, Minami-ke succeeds at being one of the funnier comedies produced in recent years, and I found myself amused on a consistent basis throughout all thirteen episodes. It carries a distinct, inane sense of humor that continuously draws smiles and laughter throughout its duration, and I found myself disappointed when it all came to a close.
The general setting of the series entails the lives of three sisters living together in an apartment as they attend school. As can be expected, each sister has a personality wildly different from the other two, and the eclectic mixture of their family provides for an especially comedic atmosphere. Each episode picks out random events that occur from day to day, often involving a mismatched romance of some kind, though certainly not limited to any one particular comedic form - a lot of it is simply randomness as its best. While perhaps slightly more structured than Azumanga, Minami-ke nevertheless has a lot of random humor itself, and, as far as presentation goes, tends to follow a similar pattern.
Other than that, though, for being a show quite literally about nothing, there's really not all that much else to talk about for the story section. It's simple, it's entertaining, and it's hilarious - what more needs to be said?
Like all comedy series of this type, the animation is nothing really worth mention. Exaggerated facial expressions, chibi-ness, and other anime stereotypes abound, and all serve their purpose. There is a particular emphasis on parodying the shoujo and shounen-ai genres, though, and I found that one of funnier aspects of the series - there's nothing more simultaneously hilarious and disgusting than a complete mockery of the typical "pretty boy."
In addition, there are a ton of other little visual easter eggs poking fun at various quirks in Japanese culture scattered throughout, and I'd say that more than makes up for the lack of quality; the point of watching Minami-ke is to laugh, after all.
The opening song happens to be strangely contagious, so don't be surprised when you start singing along with the "Hai! Hai! Hai! Hai!" portions of the song at the beginning of every episode. Though the soundtrack is quite simplistic in nature, there are no real repetitive tracks, and each song chosen picks its respective scene perfectly. The voice actors also do a great job with their respective characters, and there's really nothing to complain about here.
Of the three sisters, Haruka is the eldest and happens to be the caretaker of the younger two. She's the typical "every guy's dream girl" with a super-nice, warm personality and naturally has a ton of guys trying to vie for her attention, often whom end up failing in a rather pitiful, amusing manner. Next in line is Kana, the loud-mouthed, extroverted idiot whose simple-minded, gullible nature causes her to be comically exploited in just about any situation imaginable. Last is Chiaki, the introverted child genius who takes pride in her ability to ability to call Kana a dumbass in over ten thousand different ways. They are further fleshed out through a rather elaborate caste of side characters, many of whom wind up in some mishap, one-sided romance with one the girls, only to suffer tragically pitiful results.
As with Azumanga, the characters all tend to take on extremely exaggerated stereotypical personas and thus exhibit minimal traces of actual growth, but in this case it's not a detriment - their shallowness is part of what makes the series so amusing.
For any lover of anime comedy, Minami-ke is not a series to be passed up. Its simple charm is perhaps what makes it so appealing, and it's quite rare for an anime series to get me to laugh as much as this one did. With a second season already in the works it's hard for me to judge it as complete, though, given the nature of an episodic series such as this, "completeness" is a rather relative term. If you're looking for a relaxing way to burn a few hours with a smile, definitely check this one out - it's not to be missed.
Meet the Minami sisters, three girls living on their own and doing their best to make it through life's little snags and adventures. Kana, the middle sister, has far more energy than common sense; Chiaki, the youngest, is more reserved, but her sharp tongue and devious mind often cause trouble for others; and Haruka, the eldest, acts like a mother to the other two, is beautiful and kind, but has a fearsome stern streak. Together, no obstacle can stand in their way, be it school, romance, or even cooking.
Though I'm a big fan of slice of life and romance, I'll watch just about anything that catches my interest. My opinions tend to be pretty level-headed, but I have been known to be controversial from time to time! Feel free to lay into me if you so desire, as I always appreciate feedback - positive or negative. I hope you enjoy reading!