Minami-ke Okawari

TV (13 eps)
3.951 out of 5 from 5,041 votes
Rank #1,637

It’s a new year, but little has changed for the Minami household. Chiaki has been given the job of nutritionist for her class's new hamster, and uses the same techniques to care for it that she learned while studying Kanna; Haruka is still suffering from the greatly-exaggerated rumors that she was once a mob boss back in her middle school; and Kanna is as hyperactive as ever, always forcing her friends into awkward situations (including cross-dressing, litter picking and forming an army)! But despite their troubles, the three sisters stick together and always manage to have fun!

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Reviews

Sheex
7.3

StoryIn perfectly simplistic terms, Minami-ke Okawari is a direct sequel to Minami-ke; in more complicated terms, it is the exact same anime with a substantially warped facade. Much like Black Lagoon: The Second Barrage, there exists little permeable variation between the two seasons, as the events in the second flow seamlessly into those of the first. Yet, be that as it may, one key issue plays into the picture: Okawari is animated by an entirely different studio. While to some this might seem trivial, it speaks to a much greater concept - perception - and thus manages to stem beyond a simple matter of aesthetics and impact the work as a whole. Keeping in mind that Okawari maintains the franchise's world of hilarious inanity, it never manages to step out from the shadow of its predecessor. While still an undeniably solid comedy, the transitional period between rejecting and accepting the new character designs presents a glaring disturbance in the natural flow of the story. The same antics continue regardless of the studio transition, but a Haruka with red eyes instead of brown, a Kana with muscular arms, and a Chiaki with dark blonde hair present themselves as astoundingly out of place. Though certainly not a stake in its grave, the life and vibrancy of the characters all but dissipates, and a notable portion of the season is spent trying to win back viewer affections. Fortunately, this notion does eventually pass, and the awkwardness becomes less and less abrasive as the episodes pass; come the halfway mark, the issue is almost nonexistent. Overall an annoying and unnecessary problem, sure, but the new studio does a fantastic job in remedying it, as the quality of the story and characters ultimately pick up the slack. Still, there are a handful of minor quips with Okawari that do not stem from its sequel status.  I am sure some will cite me for nitpicking such flaws, but I feel them relevant since the series' animation already put me on a skeptical edge. Take, for instance, the inclusion of a touch of drama; though in-and-of-itself it makes for a nice change of pace, many of the events carry an anticlimactic flare and build up to slightly uneven finishes. Certain subplots like Chiaki's friendship with Fuyuki just seem to end, and fall out of the loop of recurring events with rather odd suddenness. Though a third season, Okaeri, gives leeway for tying up loose ends, no transitional elements or methods hint that this is the case, and as such it leaves me a bit perturbed. Again, while not overwhelmingly detrimental, it merits a sleight of score, and will hopefully be improved upon in the coming episodes.AnimationWhile I could ramble on more about the drastic changes in animation, it would do little more than belabor an already tired talking point. Though arguments could be hashed out either way in regards to which style is a better fit to the series, Okawari looks great by its own merits. Whereas the first flaunts a simple, demure texture, Okawari opts for a deeper and richer palette to create a warmer, more personal atmosphere. I never felt the new style to interfere with any of the returning scenes (such as Chiaki's pelting of Kana with her bear), and for that I really have no complaints; it's merely a stylistic variation at its core, and should be taken as such. There is one glaring flaw in Okawari's animation, however, which qualifies some bitching: silhouette background characters. Their presence can be alluded to the sensation of viewing Van Gogh's Starry Night without the actual stars; while they does not kill the piece of art as a whole, damn are they obnoxious. If nothing else, they add a measure of tackiness to an otherwise sound visual presentation, and glean my only real lasting resentment toward the Okawari trend. To the animators I say this: slap on generic faces, make them dancing monkeys, or hell, clone and give them fancy laser guns with white suits, but never do such a thing again.SoundSave for a different set of opening and ending tracks, both the musical score and voice acting retain their same elegance from the first season. In fact, my only real gripe stems from the fact that the new opening lacks the light-hearted, hyper tone of its predecessor; beyond that, all is well. All the same seiyuu return for their respective characters, and while the visuals may prove irksome, the audio is a welcome egress.   CharactersAgain, save for the visuals, all the characters remain the same, and bode for a joyous return of Minami bliss. Though a few new side characters make an appearance, their introductions are nothing but an asset; Hosaka, for instance, revels in the realm of pure hilarity, and easily qualifies as one of my favorites from either season. While some of the comedy with the previous cast stutters in the beginning episodes, these new characters inspire continued viewing, and successfully bridge the aesthetic rift. Many of the classic character gags make their return as well, such as the gender-disparaged antics of Makoto and Touma, and leave little room for anything but laughs. All other flaws aside, Okawari remains true to the core principles of its characters, and for that I can view it as little else but a success.OverallWhile not quite perhaps as charming as Minami-ke, Okawari nevertheless lives up to its namesake and easily takes the cake as the comedy anime of the winter 2008 season. With a third installment already on the way, the franchise continues to run strong, and for a very good reason: it's simple, it's funny, and it's definitely not to be missed.

mahius
7

Minami-ke Okawari (means seconds) is the 13 episode direct sequel to a much enjoyed slice-of-life comedy. I was expecting more of the same, which isn’t a bad thing until they run out of ideas. But this sequel has a slightly different feel from the original. It felt watered down. The most obvious change is the animation, done by a different studio. Gone are the great visuals of the original. I never thought I’d say this, but it turns out that animation is more important for portraying the atmosphere than I expected. There were some moments that were actually off-putting and most importantly I didn’t laugh as much. I was really looking forward to this. But how much does this change affect the overall enjoyment of this anime really? Please refer to my review of the original series for some sections. Animation The strange thing is that the original series was more difficult to find in 720p, yet this was much easier. One would think that would be an indication that the visuals are at least on par or improved over the original right? Wrong. Right off the bat, not only do things look different, but they look worse. I feel that with this animation quality, there’s no benefit to be gained from watching it in HD. I’ll mention the shoddyness of the animation before I go on to talk about what has changed. The animation is no longer fluid, this was most noticeable in the very first episode where they go to hot springs via car. The scenes with the car moving down a direction of the road looked like they ran at 1 fps, the car jerked from one position to the next. 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, one scene I though Kana entered the bathroom to take a bath. It turns out it was another room and that she was wearing clothes, but the top was low on her body. There’s another at a hot spring where Kana’s shoulders look a bit too angular and wrong. Colouration is off, towards the end of episode 4 Haruka’s skin looked a lot more red than normal. 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 2008 anime. And some anime from back then even had better animation than this. The design looks more generic, even Chiaki’s leaf has lost shape. Though they do let it twitch like it did in the last episode of the original series. The hair colours of the various characters look off and seem to have changed. Haruka is now less blonde than Chiaki, who seems to have the ends of her hair dyed red. Even Fujioka’s hair looks a lot paler than it does before. The eyes don’t look as distinct anymore. It looks like the characters have moved into a different house, Chiaki and Kana no longer have separate rooms and the kitchen can be seen into. The schools have also changed, Haruka’s classroom looks more like a lecture theatre than a normal classroom. At the very least the seating plan has changed in Kana’s classroom. 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). It shows here, during the hot-springs scene there is much exaggeration of Haruka’s breasts, which make her look like a big-chested character. Something I know she isn’t. Of course, they somehow manage to find an excuse for a guy to wander into the girl’s bath, by using the gender switched characters. Touma being a guy was never that big of a thing, yet somehow Fujioka is made to think that she is a guy and for some arbitrary reason he can’t be told the truth. Makoto joins the gang while dressed as Mako-chan, you’d think he’d revert back to being a guy for the hot-spring? There’s a scene where Chiaki and her friends take a bath together, in the very small bath at their house. Animation style and quality are important for the way things are depicted and here, the sloppiness of both reduce the sensible-ness of this anime. If you enjoyed the original series, then this will be the biggest change (downgrade) and it may mean you won’t enjoy this sequel. The bad news is asread also animated the third season. Thankfully the very recent season 4 (or remake, I haven’t watched it yet of course) is animated by a different studio, plus it was made in 2013, so it would have to be a disaster to fail animation. Sound Thankfully this hasn’t changed much. The intro and outro feel a bit wrong for this type of anime, but the sound in the actual anime itself, including the background and is the same good quality you’re used to from the original. Voice actors remain the same, I couldn’t find who voices Fuyuki. Once again, I point you in the direction of the review of season 1 for more info, since sound remains mostly the same. One nice throwback is that the last scene in this season features the original intro from the first season. Characters Not much has changed with characters besides the new next door neighbour. A kid called Fuyuki has moved in with just his dad. He wears glasses and seems a bit weird, especially as he seems perfectly behaved. He always helps people and Chiaki notices that he doesn’t seem capable of refusing others. He turns out to be a weak willed and shy kid. Other than that there’s Chiaki’s teddy bear she got at the end of the first season, called Fujioka. Often thrown at Kana the teddy bear seems to feature in his own scenes, including a randomly placed Samurai showdown. I’ve also noticed that Kana is much more of a glutton, any food lying around will be consumed by her. I must add that they somehow manage to convince Fujioka that Touma is a guy, even though they go to the pool in one episode where Touma is clearly wearing a 2 piece swimsuit. It’s not like she’ flat chested, Kana mentions she has more of a chest than Chiaki in an early episode. Even though at times it seems Touma is clearly trying to convince him that she really is a girl. Hayami returns with her strange, non-alcoholic (since they can’t show minors drinking alcohol in anime) but still somehow trippy fruit juice. Just such a silly way to get around the characters being unable to drink, in order for them to act like they are drunk. Story While I did mention it was watered down, it’s because I didn’t laugh as much as I did watching season 1 just the day before. Not to say I didn’t laugh at all, there are still funny moments. Kana still saves it, her personality remains as before and reminded me that the characters still have the same personalities. Fujioka seems to have slightly forgotten his infatuation with Kana and doesn’t so much to progress it. Similarly with Haruka’s suitors there’s no development from season 1. Which is a big issue here. The more I watch this anime, the more I get the vibe of comedy TV shows like Family Guy, where not much changes. Except it did since Cleveland moved town didn’t he? I don’t like this shoehorned in romance that goes nowhere. Do it properly or don’t bother. As for the rest, I once again direct you to the season one review. It’s more of the silly slice-of-life antics, but with situations that bypass certain boundaries. Some parts still don’t make sense, like how Kana only allows Makoto to visit if he cross-dresses as Mako-chan and Fujioka regards Touma as a guy. Or how simple fruit juice manages to mess everyone up so bad as if it’s alcohol. Fuyuki’s weirdness also makes me scratch my head. Conclusion While this is the direct sequel, I’m still surprised at how this turned out. In the last episode of the first season, they even mentioned that this episode would be airing just a week after the first. With these two being aired so close to each other, it makes you wonder why and how did they manage to suddenly change the animation studio. Not only do anime keep the same studio, but this might change if the sequel is aired years after the original. Which obviously wasn’t the case here. Season 4 is a good example, it airs several years later with a different studio, which makes sense. I was disappointed initially. Fans of the series will know whether they can tolerate the quality reduction or not within the first few episodes. I don’t blame you if you don’t watch it. Otherwise, my recommendation remains the same as it did for season 1. The most die-hard of fans would forgive the animation and appreciate the comedy, which is still there even if a bit attenuated. For fans of slice-of-life and comedy. And even then the animation quality may put you off, damn is it hideous. But as I’ve often said, it’s not what it looks like that’s the important bit. It’s the story (or lack of in this case) and characters which warrant an anime worth watching. Good, but not as good as the original. Family-friendliness Rating: 3/5 A few inappropriate moments/shots (lower is better) Overall Rating: 7/10 (higher is better)  

Epimondas
8

The story is supposed to be about 3 sisters but Kana seems to take central stage most of the time and everything about the story tends to revolve around her much like another similar character, Haruhi Suzumiya.  Like Haruhi, everyone seems to follow her lead into her wild antics driven by her seemingly chaotic unpredictable personality.  Both have absolutely no willpower against their own whims, emotional moods, or self control.  Whatever comes to mind they tend to act upon which gives them this kind of random and chaotic action oriented air.  At home Kana seems like the most demure and docile of the sisters but at school and among friends she is clearly a dominating and demanding personality who takes absolute control over everyone and everything around her according to whatever whimsy hits her at the time.  Keiko, Fujioka, Makato, and Uchida are among those she tends to force her will upon the most.  Makoto ostensibly appears to have a connection to Chiaka at times yet, Touma more often seems like his best friend or even his love interest.  It is really hard to say who he will end up with.  At the same time, Touma has sometimes been cast as a potential love interest for Chiaki but also obviously appears to have a strong potential love interest connection to Makoto.  In all fairness, Makoto and Touma appear to have alot more in common than either does with Chiaki.  Both have been pushed into roles they are not all that comfortable with or suited for and display an uncanny sense of common sense curiously enough lacking in Chiaki despite her so called intellect.  Her intellect though tends to leave out to many uncommon factors like emotion, common sense, or social graces.  Haruka for the most part often fades even more into the background than she did in season one while Chiaki comes out a bit more.  Fujioka is still left dancing on the edge of acknowledgement or acceptance while appearing to take on the role of Kana's lacky, henchman, or sidekick much of the time and yet he is either obliviously unaware or does not care if that is all she sees him as.  Makoto and Touma so far appear to be getting slightly more equal screen time and more timely appearances in general even if somewhat minor overall.  Hamiya has already appeared more in the first half of season two than she did in all of season one.  Keiko appears less or if she does appear it is almost solely when Kana asks or demands something of her briefly.  Maki is on screen more but is not relagated to using her singular straight man lines to the insane Hosaka.  Hosaka luckily appears less often and significantly but no less creepy or no less stupid than last season.  It almost seems his delusions just pushed him off more into his own little world and drifted off toward a spin off from Minami-Ke.   Animation is slightly less pronounced and a bit more subtle than last year.  Sound effects come off a bit sharper due to more variety of settings such as heavy rain.  Generally, the characters are more and more active than before.  The major characters get a bit more screen time, dimension, and depth than previously as well.  It is just the sort of thing you would want to see in a developing set of characters and an interesting story.  Other than seasons, the series does have a weak spot in that, there is little to no indication of what year it is or at least what year it is with respect to what grade all the characters are in other than being in elementary, middle, or high schools.  So that in the end, we the viewers have no sense of the progression of time.  One of the downsides to the animation, is the tendency to show dog or cat smiles on characters such as Chiaki, instead of human ones (The unsual bird silhouette shaped line smile Chiaki often sports is an example).  All that is missing are whiskers.  The running gag with Hamiya is starting to become a bit too repetitive and her lesbianish flirtations with Kana are hard to decipher the nature thereof.  We tend to only see her do it when she drinks and everyone else drinks or gets drunk on her spiked fruit juice.  So it makes it uncertain if that is her true nature or her waking side interest.  Why only Kana seems to have a clue that the drinks she brings are always spiked will start looking odd if this running gag keeps repeating.  Hamiya needs some depth beyond getting people drunk and something to suggest if she really is in love or in lust with someone or is it only a drunken act that only appears when she gets drunk.  Chiaki appears to make mistakes now and then that she gets flustered about but other wise her character still feels a bit too aloof to effectively draw viewers in.  Her coldness might be an endearing quality under the right conditions but in a slice of life family oriented drama with her as one of the main characters, this aloofness is working against her and keeping her from feeling like she is really a part of the story. Fuyuki is even duller than Chiaki but grows even less.  He is not quite as bad as the ultimate super dull boring useless and pointless character, Tsubaka of //Hack:Sign, but he could certainly be a contender.  Like Tsubaka and Haseo of Hack:Roots (also fairly dull), he has the most robotic and boring reactions to virtually any and all stimuli.  Unlike Tsubaka though, he at least appears to be awake for most of the anime rather than appering like a sleepwalking psuedo zombie or a sleep deprived Rip Van Wrinkle.  He is about even with Haseo for being a sheer dullard as a main character, except so far he did not turn into an even less interesting character later on. The antics are still quite intriguing and humorous but once again the show is essentially dominated by Kana who is clearly the driving force in the story and at times almost appears to have mulitple personalities.  A side she shows to family and a side she shows to everyone else at least would be two of her personalities that do not seem very compatible given how different they are.  At home, it almost seems like she has taken on the role of the youngest sister to get her own brand of family attention from the others.  It is as if her 'at home' persona is the fake to make her family feel needed and her to feel like she is the spoiled youngest.  That part at least fits her ravenous need for attention and her greed for items and food.  The good news is the show appears to be developing the story and characters the way you might expect a good series to do.  

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