Minami-ke Okaeri

TV (13 eps)
4.094 out of 5 from 4,191 votes
Rank #1,064

Life for the Minami sisters carries on as normal. Chiaki continues to idolize and adore her eldest sister; Kana is as lazy and absent-minded as ever; and Haruka is trying to hold the entire family together. With their apartment acting as a drop-in center for their sensitive and somewhat pathetic uncle, and a friendly hangout for their friends, the trio are never lonely or bored. From getting their fortunes during a new year’s shrine visit, to discussing the recent cup yakisoba phenomenon, or even debating moral dilemmas, no subject is too trivial or too grand for these sisters to handle. No matter what lay ahead for Haruka, Kana, and Chiaki, there will always be room for one more under the kotatsu.

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Reviews

mahius
8

Minami-ke Okaeri is the 3rd season of the Minami-ke slice-of-life comedy series, Okaeri being the Japanese word to return home. I don’t see what’s so ‘return home’ about this since it retains the disappointing animation of the second season. But at least the things that matter are still there, it’s still as funny and heart-warming as ever and it’s more of the comical shenanigans of the Minami sisters and their friends. I’ll disclose the fact that I reviewed the first season rather favourably and that I might have been a bit too harsh on the 2nd season due to that animation. I will be referring to those reviews for a few sections. Once again, there seems to be no reviews for this anime which is very strange given that a lot of folks have watched it and that the first 2 seasons got reviews. Is there something up with the AP website? Animation This is one of the first 2009 anime I’ve watched since I started watching all my anime in order of release. And unfortunately it retains the slightly disappointing animation of the 2<sup>nd</sup> season, which is obvious in the first scene, where the character’s faces look a bit weird. It’s even worse since it’s a 2009 anime, it should have at least improved. It’s still in 720p, but the resolution doesn’t help when the animation itself is shoddy. Here’s a quote from the review I wrote of season 2: “… there’s no benefit to be gained from watching it in HD… The animation is no longer fluid… looked like they ran at 1 fps... Some of the close-ups looked hideous, especially when they tried different camera angles. And there was inconsistency in the design of the characters between scenes. There are some scenes where the camera angles are misleading… Colouration is off… The lines aren’t as well defined and the resolution of the backgrounds have decreased. They don't bother to animate extra characters, whey are all just left as lazy black silhouettes, except for the clothes. I felt like I was watching an anime from the early 2000s, not a 2009 anime. And some anime from back then even had better animation than this. The design looks more generic... The hair colours of the various characters look off and seem to have changed... The eyes don’t look as distinct anymore. It looks like the characters have moved into a different house... The schools have also changed... Looking up what asread has animated, the only anime of theirs I’ve seen are Shuffle and Yuushibu (I couldn’t be a hero…), the latter of which is a very recent anime so of course the animation quality is good. So I’m not sure whether the animation studio was terrible or whether they were in a bad spot during the production of this anime.* One of the downsides of this new animation style is that it was less family-friendly. While the original managed to keep things sensible, it just so happens that asread has animated some anime with fan-service and ecchi (even if one of them was made much later than this anime)…” *- tough spot my ass. This season was made a good many months down the line and didn’t improve much on animation. Of course I’m upset at this, it’s letting down an otherwise great anime and the animation was wonderful before asread got their hands on it. Thank goodness season 4 isn’t animated by them. Though it is made in 2013, so it would take a disaster to have animation this bad again. I’ll also add that things get very weird on the ‘ecchi’ front with Makoto worrying about the lack of boobs giving him away when he cross-dresses. Bu that’s about it, there’s no actual ecchi or nonsense otherwise. Sound The good news is that sound remains as good as it’s always been in the Minami-ke series. The voice actors reprise their roles and music is on point for an anime of this genre. I’ll quote the relevant part from my review of season 1 for this: “Well the music and intro could be potentially off-putting, similar to Lucky Star, it isn’t terrible. It’s quite catchy and the lyrics can give a chuckle (the translations since it’s obviously in Japanese). The background music is another place this anime reminds me of Lucky Star and the sound design is optimised in timing the music such that it helps to amplify the comedy in the scenes. A lot of simple stuff, just one instrument like strings playing a slightly upbeat tune in one scene and it works very well. While there’s no music for me to want to get, the type of music used is very suitable for this anime. I’m kinda glad this anime is Japanese only, not that I’m an elitist, pretentious dub-hater. Though considering how good the Lucky Star dub was, perhaps this might have been good with a dub? … None of the voice acting was terrible and it was actually very nice and helped retain the quality of this anime.“ Chiaki is voiced by Minori Chihara, who’s voiced Nanaka Shirakawa in Da Capo II (recently watched), Minami Iwasaki and her real self in Lucky Star, Nagato Yuki in The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya and Coopa in Tower of Druaga. Haruka is voiced by Rina Satou, the voice of Nagi in Eve no Jikan, Shiori Makimura/Eight in Hayate no Gotoku, Kiyoh Bachika in Gurren Lagann, Tooru Taki in Natsume Yuujinchou and Mikoto Misaka in A Certain Magical Railgun/Index. Kana is voiced by Marina Inoue who has voiced Armin Arlert in Attack on Titan, Eve Genoard in Baccano, Wataru Tachibana in Hayate no Gotoku, Rei Miyamoto in Highschool of the Dead, Pheles in Shakugan no Shana II, Kyouko Mogami in Skip Beat, Yoko in Gurren Lagann, Alicia Melchiott in the Valkyria Chronicles anime and Kobako in Xam’d: Lost Memories. Fuijoka is voiced by Tetsuya Kakihara, Touma Minami is voiced by Nana Mizuki Keiko is voiced by Saori Goto, Hosaka is voiced by Daisuke Ono, Maki is voiced by Reiko Takagi, Makoto is voiced by Rika Morinaga and Riko is voiced by Ao Takahashi. Characters Since I’ve recently been reading the Toradora novels (actual books, manga came after vol 7), my tolerance for lies and half-arsed unrequited infatuations has plummeted. There’s too much unrequited love here, it might as well be a terrible romance anime! Surely after this long things would change? I won’t go into much detail on the characters, but I’ll give you a link to what I said about them in my review of the first season. The youngest sister Chiaki Minami remains as mean and as cynical as ever, loving and looking up to Haruka, while looking down on and despising Kana. She regards Fujioka as some sort of father-like figure, ever since Haruka mentioned that he looked like their actual father. She’ll sit down in his lap, like a young child would with their parents/grandparents. From this season it also becomes known that Chiaki can’t swim. Her teddy bear, Fujioka, who she named after the guy she thinks of as dad (and incidentally the one who gave it to her disguised as Santa Claus) seems to have the luck of being the one that people confess their troubles to. She also tends to misunderstand and misinterpret things, which is suiting to her age. An example from the first season, she thinks that Fujioka’s love letter to Kana is a challenge rather than anything actually romantic. The middle sister, Kana Minami remains my favourite character, though her ignorance tests my patience. Still as happy and as cheery as ever and she still acts as childish as her younger sister. But boy how the fuck is she still oblivious to Fujioka’s feelings for her? Of course Chiaki is to partially blame for replacing the idea that he loves her with the idea that he is trying to pick a fight with her. She gets upset at little things. The eldest sister Haruka Minami is still her motherly and caring self. She will break up fights between her younger sisters in a scary way if they continue during times like dinner. She also is often on the phone to Natsuki Minami (of the other Minami family), often helping him deal with and advising upon his younger sister. Yet Natsuki is probably the only guy to get Haruka fired up and passionate about anything, Haruka remains in the dark about Hosaka’s infatuation with her, though it’s mostly Hosaka’s fault. Touma Minami is not related to the 3 Minami sisters, but is from another Minami family, where she has 3 older brothers. Because of this she obviously grew up to be a bit masculine in nature, she’ll get violent. However, she’s still a girl on the inside, since she likes puddings (apparently it’s a girl thing in Japan?), but she will get aggressive with anyone who tries to eat her puddings. One big issue I have with this character is that she won’t clear up her gender with Fujioka, who thinks she is a boy and thus has no qualms about grabbing her chest when playing ‘catch’ and the like. Her masculinity is causing her older brothers to treat her harshly, as if she was a guy. She also doesn’t seem to care what her older brother’s do or say. Speaking of which, her 3 older brothers will mindlessly discuss plans to do with their little sister right in front of her, like deciding what to get her for Christmas or her birthday. Luckily Touma never pays attention to this stuff. Akira and Harou (the youngest and oldest brothers respectively) don’t play as much of a major role as Natsuki, the middle brother. He is very strict and concerned with his sister, though he will mindlessly eat her puddings and make her angry. But he has a reason for doing all of this, in his eye’s he is treating her like a boy this way. So she must either be a bit more girly or put up with the hardships a man must face. He is also unaware of the girl in Haruka’s class, Hitomi having feelings for him. On the plus side, it seems he might have feelings for Haruka, himself. Though it looks as if he’s not sure what to do with it and is trying to avoid it, thus it makes sense how Haruka has yet to notice. Long story short, Natsuki doesn’t know how to deal with people and he always has a serious look on his face… he doesn’t even know how to smile. Fujioka… goddamn. Not only is he too much of a coward to properly confess his love for Kana, but he remains oblivious to Touma really being a girl, to Mako-chan being Makoto in disguise and most of all, to Riko having feeling for him. Gah! This guy is idiot central, a real shame since he’s otherwise a very pleasant character, I can understand why a person like Riko would feel for him. Hitomi falls in love with Natsuki, except she is very shy with it and she thinks he is trying to hit on her. This is a misunderstanding of course, Natsuki’s eyes go serious whenever he sees or thinks of Haruka. Poor innocent girl, except she doesn’t ever tell the guy how she feels, gah shy characters are annoying to me right now. Of course Riko loves Fuijoka but lacks the ovaries to tell him. If I was a girl in this anime who liked Fujioka, I’d just be out with it. And then if Fujioka has the balls to say he loves someone else (Kana), then I’d attempt to push the two together. She hangs around with Kana and the adorable Keiko, who is shy and unfortunately gets dragged into awkward situations by her pals Riko and Kana. That same adorable Keiko who always gets 100 on tests and can predict what would come up on tests with pin-point accuracy. Makoto is still cross-dressing to disguise himself as Mako-Chan. Very few people know about this, Chiaki, Haruka and Fujioka are among the ones in the dark about it. Unfortunately, things get weirder with Makoto as he becomes good friends with Chiaki as Mako-chan, but Chiaki hates the normal boy Makoto. Maki is still being weirded out by Hosaka, though she seems to pay too much attention to him, I hope she’s not being tsundere about the whole deal. Hosaka is still being a creepy coward when it comes to his feelings for Haruka, he still makes her lunchboxes which he never gives her, he still never talks to her, let alone confess and of course his habit of slowly unbuttoning his shirt remains. Story From the character description updates/overviews one would think this is some massive mess of a romance polygon (it seems to be much more than a mere triangle) anime. I reassure you this isn’t, though it feels awfully close. The comedy remains and we get some cool new things like the angel/devil trope sometimes seen in other anime/movies/media. This seems to only happen for Chiaki and Fujioka, where the angel is a young child version of the character and the devil is a hot older version of the character. Devil Fujioka is a sexy man. There’s the token swimming pool episode and also a token beach episode. There are some nonsense bits which don’t make sense, such as the rest of the scene pausing with Kana discusses Makoto’s secret in front of Chiaki, there is no indication for the pausing of the scene and this just seems a bit broken. And the downside to this anime… the hollow shoe-horned in romance. Why so bad? Because there’s so much unrequited ‘love’ and none of these numerous characters have the balls (or ovaries) to tell their crush how they feel. I.e. the romance goes nowhere. Perhaps most mind-boggling of all is Kana… she has no interest in boys or love whatsoever. Granted, it does go with her character and make her funny, but isn’t she supposed to be a teenage girl raging with hormones (like her pal Riko)? And it also means that Fujioka is metaphorically running at a wall. The only thing that seems to develop even slightly is the possibility of something between Natsuki and Haruka. Overall, there seems to be themes of family and a few things are address/noticed by the characters, like how Chiaki is always being mean to Kana and calling her ‘baka-yarou’ (idiot). It's a positive anime and the conclusion that is reached is that the 3 Minami sisters really appreciate each other, though that should already be obvious. Conclusion It’s the same Minami-ke as ever and it’s getting dangerously close to being stale. The one-sided romance angle is getting a bit ridiculous, though thankfully it isn’t much of a major focus in this anime. As before, I’d recommend it to fans of the Minami-ke series and anybody who enjoys comedy and/or a wholesome chilled-out slice of life. Watching this anime really helped me to relax, despite the bad animation. I unfortunately got used to it, so it’s not that bad. Coupled with the many heart-warming and slightly serious moments in this season, it’s an improvement over season 2, but not quite as good as season 1. I personally did enjoy it overall, but folks who don’t like slice-of-life or dislike anime lacking plot will want to avoid this season and for that, all seasons of this anime as they lack an overall narrative. There is a sequel OVA, but it seems to be themed around Valentine’s Day and if these 3 seasons are anything to go by, no progress will be made, while being themed completely around the pointless unrequited love that is the weak point of this anime series. I do look forward to the 13 episode 2013 sequel, better animation will be appreciated, but it will be a while before I get around to it. Family-friendliness Rating: 2/5 Mild references (lower is better) Overall Rating: 8/10 (higher is better)

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