Monday, April 15, 2013

Anime review: "Minami-ke Tadaima"

Last weekend I finished watching "Minami-ke Tadaima". That is one of my favorite (well, favorite in its category) shows and I've been waiting fourth season from 2009. There has been one or two OVA's in the meantime, but this is a full 13-episodes season.

"Minami-ke" belongs to "cute girls do cute things" category, which means that you are either into this kind of anime or you probably hate it. It is not an extreme case like "Ichigo Mashimaro", but more toward "Azumanga Daioh" or "Lucky Star". This kinds of shows commonly have dominantly female cast, usually have light or slapstick humor, there is lots of talking and not much actions, and are definitely not to be confused with ecchi anime. "Minami-ke" is a typical example, depicting life of three Minami sister: Chiaki (in elementary school), Kana (in middle school) and Haruka (in high school), interacting between themselves and their numerous friends (mostly female). As is also common, they live alone, and there is not one single adult is this series. Haruka is motherly type, taking care of her younger sisters, an excelent cook, but with some secret flaws. Kana is usually the primary source of all troubles in the show; not that she is mean, but she is too curious, too impulsive and too outspoken for anybody's good. Chiaki is the youngest: phlegmatic and solemn, always at war with Kana and in awe of Haruka. It would be too much to describe the rest of the cast, which has grown quite large. Thankfully, there were no new additions in this season or it would become hard to follow who is who.

Since there is no plot here, "Minami-ke Tadaima" is just another round of the same - which doesn't mean that it is dull. Those who don't know anything about this series should try watching the first season, which is the best of the lot. Other seasons, including this one, are quite good, but as is usual, not as good as the original. On the other hand, I think that every fan of previous seasons will be very satisfied with this one.

As was in first season, each episode consists of four loosely connected stories, dealing with various subjects: vegetables, beach, Japanese folklore... And as usual, even though the show's main characters are girls, rare male characters bring the most fun: Hosaka, Fujioka, Makoto. Addition from last season, the other Minami family also has a good one, Natsuki. But Hosaka (and his unknown arch-enemy Hayami) is the king. I think that I laughed every time at him, sometimes even out loud. But Fujioka and Makoto come close, also.

The largest difference from previous seasons (at least as I remember them, which can be wrong) is that there are some fanservice scenes. It is nothing over the top (some cleavage or provocative clothes), but in show that had zero fanservice, few scenes are noticeable.

There is one thing that bothered me: this is the fourth season and everybody is still in the same class. Even though aging would mean the end of this series, I would nevertheless appreciate some time-continuity. In other case, show risks to become repetitive and tepid.

As usual, the show has very good design of characters and every detail is taken care of. Voice-acting is at the top, and of course, Hosaka's song is great.

But as it is, "Minami-ke Tadaima" is a worthy representative of franchise and I had a lot of fun with it. And I believe that this will be the case for most fans. If you like this kind of anime, then "Minami-ke" is your first choice.

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