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mahius

  • Joined Jun 10, 2014
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Minami-ke Okawari

Aug 13, 2015

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)

 

4/10 story
4/10 animation
8/10 sound
9/10 characters
7/10 overall

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