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Old 01-02-2008, 01:17 PM   #1
Talon87
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Minami-ke

Summary: This is the story of the three Minami sisters -- Haruka, Kana, and Chiaki -- and their day-to-day adventures. Set in modern Japan, the show is a slice of life comedy that tells some rather extraordinary stories in a rather ordinary setting. The Minami sisters are depicted as orphans who live on their own in a Tokyo high-rise apartment, supported by largely unknown means.

Haruka, as the eldest sister, has been thrust into the role of surrogate mother to her two younger sisters, and at the age of 16 has become the perfect example of a Japanese housewife -- beautiful, charming, and all-around efficient in household chores such as cooking, cleaning, and tucking the children in to bed. Kana is the middle sister and is filled with energy. She is "the stupid one" of the family, unlike her modestly intelligent older sister and her genius of a younger sister. However, it is Kana's antics that provide the Minami household with many of their most classic memories. It is hinted at throughout the series that Chiaki, as the bright and youngest sister, was given all the attention, and so Kana's personality has evolved out of a personal need to try and gain attention in her own way. Finally, we have Chiaki, the youngest sister. She is an intellectual genius who seeks approval from Haruka (whom she calls addressed with utmost respect as "Haruka-neesama"). So hungry is she for this approval, and so ready is Haruka to give it, that Chiaki has developed something of a "spoilt brat" complex that gets her into constant fights with her older sister Kana. Chiaki usually wins these fights ("brains over brawn") but we learn, as the series progresses, that her hard exterior is, much like Kana's exuberant personality, simply the way Chiaki has best known how to grow up in this family -- and that, in reality, a very small and vulnerable 11 year old girl still resides within her heart.

Minami-ke is a family comedy; indeed, in America it would probably have been marketed as a family sitcom. However, this Japanese anime differs from its American counterparts in many ways, not the least of which are its racy humor (including cross-gender dress-up and drunken lesbian sexual advances) and its fast-paced "One! Two!" knock-out style delivery for jokes. Minami-ke has enough character development per episode that the series ought to be watched in order, but viewers tuning in for the first time will be able to enjoy much of the humor with no prior knowledge of the characters quirks or histories. In fact, much of the characters' personalities is established for first-time viewers by the delightful opening sequence -- one look at that 1-minute 30-second video sequence is all you need to get a good feel for just what sort of girls Haruka, Kana, and Chiaki are.

Review:

Plot: 8/10 or N/A Minami-ke, very much like Azumanga Daioh, is a show with "no real plot outside of character development." If you want to call the "character development" the plot, then fine. But I don't, so ... I'd really say that the proper score here is a Not Applicable.

Characters: 10+/10 Some of the best characters I've seen in a slice of life show ever. Minami-ke has catapulted itself to the top of my comedy list in large thanks to these wonderfully vivacious, charming, and real-feeling characters. Haruka, Kana, and Chiaki are names I'm not likely to forget soon.

Animation: 9/10 The animation here is very simple with a lot of panning shots and still shots. For that reason, it can't be given a perfect 10. Still, I'd say that the animation is perfect for a show like Minami-ke. The very realistic colors do the show justice since it drives home how, despite the hilarity of the antics depicted in any one episode, everything happening here could happen in the real world. The animation studio did a superb job of breathing life into the manga from which this anime was taken. In fact, the anime is so much better than the manga thanks to the animation director's genius that I really would love to give it a perfect 10. Maybe in the future I will, but for now, I think that that would be a bit unfair to shows whose animations are more colorful, filled with motion, and filled with minute details. (Like Kyoto Animation's Kanon remake or Sunrise's Code Geass.)

Music: 10/10 Probably would have been a 9/10 for the nice background music whose charm is etched into your mind after your first two episodes of watching ... but it gets the elusive 10/10 due to the fact that I L-O-V-E the intro and ending theme songs. They're just so good. The lyrics! The melodies! All of it! Two of the best anime songs I've ever heard! The ladies who provided the voices for the three Minami sisters will hopefully team up again to do more singing for other shows they (hopefully) co-work on.

Replay Value: 10+/10 I've seen few shows with the replay value Minami-ke boasts. Perhaps no show, even, is so replayable and enjoyable as this delightful series. Unless I'm mistaken, I've watched every episode fully through twice. (I know I have done so, memorably, for most of them.) I have written episode summaries for every episode (for use in the future), but these episode summaries don't do the magic of the show justice. It cannot be read; it has to be seen to be believed and appreciated in its fullest. Minami-ke's an absolute pleasure to rewatch, provided you enjoyed it as much as I did the first time around.

Overall: 10/10 - GOLD RANKING

Placement: the anime is above Genshiken's manga and Love Hina's anime, but the overall enjoyment is below Hikaru no Go, so ... I'll have to re-evaluate my rankings. It's either my 4th or my 5th favorite anime of all time.
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Old 03-26-2012, 08:40 AM   #2
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I conquered my fears and watched Minami-ke season 2!

Hurray for low expectations! This was in no way terrible, just a step down. It looks bad, and the OP is too serious and doesn't suit the show at all. What's up with Uchida and Yoshino lying on the ground in the fetal position at dusk like they're in goddamn Higurashi?!

Kana carried season 2. Her air headed enthusiasm never failed to amuse, and was responsible for all of the best moments. Chiaki was a great foil for her, as always. Haruka ... didn't do anything. VERY disappointing showing from the eldest Minami sister. She literally slept through most of the episodes! And not in a funny way either, like in season 1, when it was revealed that she was secretly a lazy POS when not burdened with responsibilities. No display of bubblegum blowing prowess (including the GODLY bubble inside a bubble technique), no casually undressing in front of other girls (as far as she knows), no having to deal with an embarrassingly skimpy swimsuit bought for her by her sisters, no nothin'. She was just there, in the background, relegated to kid-who-holds-up-a-bush-during-the-school-play duties.

Fuyuki: THIS GUY. He is the very epitome of the generic, overly nice, boring anime character. I cringed whenever he was around. If you're one of those people who wonders why no one respects you even though you're "a nice guy", you need to study this character and see if he's just like you. If he is, change your personality! This kid needs to be dropped into the underground tunnels at the start of Gurren Lagann and taught how to be a man by Kamina. It almost looked like this role would be played by Chiaki, who was visibly annoyed at his unappealing character traits. She said what we were all thinking: "Just looking at you irritates me!" LOL. Fuyuki's inclusion was an unusually depressing aspect of the show. He was lonely, and you constantly saw him being a total pushover. Even when Chiaki started throwing snowballs at him, he only got slightly annoyed, then curled up into the defensive position. I'm confused as to what his role in the show was. Him being an annoying character was obviously by design and not accidental, so I thought they were going somewhere with it. But just as it seemed like Chiaki was slowly warming up to him ... he up and moves away without telling her. Just a sad case of wasted potential.

It really grinded my gears how they constantly teased us with Hosaka! This season 1 titan was responsible for many of the show's most memorable moments. In season 2, they'd show him lurking in the hallways, with his shirt unbuttoned (of course by this point I'm already laughing my ass off, since he's just THAT good of a character), and I'd be like, "Oh man, Hosaka's up to something! This is gonna be great!" but then ... it just fizzles out. He'd do something minor that usually ended with his abs exposed, which is good and all, but I expect more from him!

My favourite scene happened at the end of episode 10. Chiaki is about to indulge in a cup noodle that she had bought herself, when Kana comes home soaked in the rain. Chiaki goes to run a hot bath for her, and Kana spots the noodles on the table, not knowing how badly Chiaki wanted to eat them. Chiaki returns and sees her eating them. Normally, Chiaki would get angry and hit her, but this time, she just sinks down to the ground, defeated, and tells Kana to go into the bath when she's done. Kana slowly realizes what she's done, leaves the room ... and brings back 2 cup noodles for her. Chiaki's overjoyed expression as they enjoyed the noodles together, I just about died of cute. It doesn't sound like much just describing it, but if you actually saw how it went down, you'd understand! I'm a sucker for stuff like that: When two characters have an antagonistic relationship, but have rare tender moments where they bond. Even in Garfield when that happens between Garfield and Nermal, or Garfield and Jon, it touches me deeply (go to hell, Garfield is awesome!).
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Old 03-26-2012, 10:58 AM   #3
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Glad you watched it! I'm on my phone right now butI should very much like to write a lengthier reply later. (Remind me to if I forget!) For now I'll reply in brief:

Season 1 > Season 3 > Season 2, but each season has some great moments. One of my favorite episodes of all time is a Season 2 episode. Without spoiling others, I'll clue you in: it's the episode where Kana is scouring the city for a glass figurine. That episode just KILLS me every single time, both as Kana is on the hunt and her posse keeps reporting in as well as when Haruka opens the front door at the end and ... yeah. I'm surprised you didn't mention this one!

I love Minami Haruka. So I can understand your vexation a tad bit. That stated, I didn't really feel that she was absent or unimpressive this season the way that you did. For example, she has one of the best roles in the episode I just mentioned. She's also an important anchor for the season's surprising finale. But sure, she's not up to her Season 1 par. Then again, no one is. Season 2 was just overall an inferior season to Season 1. I don't think Sakuraba Coharu's source material is to blame for this: I chalk a lot of it up to the change in studio. The new director, producer, and/or editor just couldn't pull off the same magic that the Season 1 studio's did. You'll be delighted to see, though, that while they got the rights to Season 3, they took fan criticisms to heart and they "Season 1-ified" their designs and such.

Speaking of Season 3, you simply must watch it. Hosaka returns in top form. One of the greatest, and my personal favorite, Hosaka scenes of the entire franchise is in Season 3. The other Minami family returns after a conspicuous absence from Season 2 and Atsuki, the middle brother, has some great scenes. Just in general, you really should check out S3. While not quite as good as the magical Season 1, it's still very good.

Just noticed my phone motives Hosaka into Hosanna. If stuff like that's happened elsewhere, my apologies.

Okay, last thing for now: what did you think of the scavenger hunt towards the end? I absolutely LOVED what Chiaki drew and who she tapped for it. Loved it, loved it, loved it. Their relationship is certainly hinted at in Season 1 (what with how she sits in his lap and looks so secure and happy, how he's the one who plays Santa for her, etc), but Season 2's where you get that first adorable (and awesome) confirmation that this is how she sees him. Anyway, I bring it up not only because it was one of my favorite moments in Season 2 and not only because it was awwwww adorable and you said you like that stuff, but also because you'll see a lot more of that in Season 3. And it's fairly awesome (imo). So what are you waiting for!? Go and check Season 3 out today!
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Old 03-27-2012, 09:09 AM   #4
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Yes, I did like the ending to the glass bunny episode. The season 2 finale was indeed touching, but I knew she wouldn't leave, so no big surprise there. As Woody Allen said, 90% of life is just showing up, and that's all she had to do for that moment. Still nothing really creative like those awesome season 1 scenes I mentioned before!

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Originally Posted by Talon87 View Post

Okay, last thing for now: what did you think of the scavenger hunt towards the end? I absolutely LOVED what Chiaki drew and who she tapped for it. Loved it, loved it, loved it. Their relationship is certainly hinted at in Season 1 (what with how she sits in his lap and looks so secure and happy, how he's the one who plays Santa for her, etc), but Season 2's where you get that first adorable (and awesome) confirmation that this is how she sees him.
To be honest, I was not as astute as you when it came to this. I haven't watched season 1 in its entirety in a long time, but I do remember the part (who could forget?) where Chiaki said to Fujioka, "That's my seat" but before he had a chance to get up, she just sat on him, haha. I was too focused on him crushing on Kana. I liked it when she tried to German suplex him, but he misinterpreted it as a hug from behind! At any rate, Fujioka's a good kid. I like the cut of his jib. I wish him luck in his impossible quest to become Kana's boyfriend, then he can indeed be a full time father for Chiaki!

That reminds me: There was this blue haired girl from season 1 whose name I don't recall, who actually had a crush on Hosaka (though she was quiet about it!). It saddened me how all the girls thought that magnificent specimen of a man was gross, and that's why it was so satisfying and cute that there was one girl who actually did like him! She also acted as a sort of aide to him. To my great dismay, this girl was nowhere to be found in season 2! Poor Hosaka was left all alone, to be called disgusting by everyone. If she doesn't come back in season 3, I fear that she will be forgotten about forever, like a Nangou-san in the wind ...

Quote:
Anyway, I bring it up not only because it was one of my favorite moments in Season 2 and not only because it was awwwww adorable and you said you like that stuff, but also because you'll see a lot more of that in Season 3.
I do, but I like it most when a touching moment occurs between two characters who normally have a hostile relationship!
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Old 03-28-2012, 12:47 PM   #5
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Oh GOD! Just watched Minami-ke season 3 episode 2, aka The Triumphant Return of Hosaka.
Spoiler: show
If the gag where he attempted to befriend a girl by whispering her name creepily through a book case had been placed in season 2, I would have declared it Hosaka's finest moment of the season. OH, BUT THAT WAS JUST THE APPETIZER. THE MAIN COURSE WAS YET TO COME.

At last, Hosaka makes first contact with another member of the Minami family! When I saw that he was in the same supermarket as Chiaki, and they were about to cross paths, I was going insane with anticipation. The way the whole situation played out was just perfect! Chiaki's idle musing as she struggled to decode the shopping list, caused Hosaka to launch into perhaps his greatest fantasy yet; playing a piano song about curry ingredients. Then it flashes back to reality, and she sees him doing air piano, AHAHAHA. This was a callback to season 1, when he was observed by his classmates cooking imaginary pasta. Sweat dripping off his pecs as he finishes off the song and takes a bow ... delicious. And thus he accidentally solves Chiaki's dilemma. It's great because it's like Hosaka indirectly cooked for Haruka and her family, just like he always wanted! And it was indeed of satisfactory quality. And now, Hosaka is this mythical figure in Chiaki's head as the Curry Fairy. SO AWESOME!

My hands are actually shaking right now, I don't know from what. Happiness? Leftover anxiety from how Hosaka and Chiaki's first meeting would go? I watched all of Yakitate!! Japan and never once got the urge to cook bread. But this guy ... this guy seriously inspires me to discover the wonderful world of cooking myself!
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Old 03-28-2012, 01:06 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mcsweeney View Post
Oh GOD! Just watched Minami-ke season 3 episode 2, aka The Triumphant Return of Hosaka.
On the one hand, I am so selfishly happy to finally have somebody else who understands my appreciation of what is perhaps the best anime ever made. On the other hand ... spoiler tags please!? ^_^; Imagine if I had spoiled this surprise for YOU back in 2008/9 when I watched Season 3! ^^; Then you wouldn't have gotten to magically experience it at full blast yourself right now. So ... you think you could put that into a spoiler box please? ^^; Didn't say anything the other day (despite having similar thoughts! ^^; ) because you didn't spoil any of the best moments of Season 2, but this is one of the all-time best moments of the entire franchise and you've just completely exposed it. ^^;

So ... now to reply to my fellow Minami-ke fan.

You totally hit the nail on the head. Your assessment is very much in line with mine (in line with every fan's?). Just like you said ...

Spoiler: show
1. Epic because it was Hosaka's first contact with Haruka's family -- with his fantasies' stepdaughter! -- but at the same time tastefully done in that he doesn't know who she is. One can only imagine how he'd have shat bricks if he had known who she was.

2. Epic because, as you mentioned, Hosaka has been longing to have Minami Haruka try out his cooking for six months now with no luck, mainly because he hasn't had the courage or tact to find a way to share his homemade bento with her, and yet here, unknown to him, he indirectly finally accomplishes his mission. Well, sort of. ^^; You have to keep in mind, the recipe wasn't his -- it was the television program's. Hosaka just helped Chiaki to realize that the listed ingredients were all part of making curry. Still, though, I agree: it was very much the closest he's ever come to getting Haruka to try out his cooking.

3. The fact that Chiaki now hero-worships Hosaka as the Curry Fairy is insanely awesome. Hosaka would be OVER THE FUCKING MOON if he knew that Minami Haruka's youngest sister thought him a fantastical being like this.

4. This was one of Hosaka's best fantasies ever. In fact, it's my personal favorite. I actually have several copies of the Curry Song on my computer (both official and fan edits ) and I used to sing this song while walking to or from my car sometimes. I've always wanted to try out the recipe for myself but when I had the money to do so I didn't know where to get the ingredients and now that I know where to get the ingredients I'm not in a position to be able to afford purchasing them. But yeah, Hosaka inspires me to cook too.

It is, by far, one of the most memorable moments of Season 3. I'm glad you enjoyed it seemingly as much as I did, and I'm glad you decided to take my advice and press on to Season 3. I think you are now seeing for yourself that your buddy Talon wouldn't steer you wrong and that when he told you "Season 1 > Season 3 > Season 2, but Season 3 is really, really close to being as good as Season 1," he meant it. Look forward to the rest of the season. And put your spoilers in goddamn spoiler tags next time. ^^;
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Old 03-28-2012, 01:28 PM   #7
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Ahhh, yes, I suppose so. I just assumed there was no one left who intended to watch the show, and if they did, they'd have no idea what I was talking about anyway and would have forgotten about it by the time they got there.
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Old 03-28-2012, 02:03 PM   #8
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Forgot to mention this the other day, but ... you had mentioned that Atsuko doesn't show up in Season 2. But she does. ^^; She's there just as much as Maki. Did you mean that she just doesn't have as much scene presence as she did in Season 1? (I'm not sure I even agree with this ^^;, but ...) Or did you just fail to notice her? She's definitely there.

Flipping through some of the past seasons' episodes, you've got some fun Hosaka times ahead of you yet.

Also ... I really need to get some pocket money and fast. ;_; It looks like in the years since I last imported, there have been no fewer than five new volumes of Minamike manga (Vols 5-9). And that some of the more recent ones have had bonus content inside if you got copies from the initial publication batch. ;_; I've got to get on the ball! But do you know what this means ...? :O If there were four volumes when Season 3 came out, and there are nine volumes total now ... that means we have enough material for at least an additional three seasons if they should ever decide to go back and do it. Oh please, oh please, oh please let the original anime studio do this. No more Asread. T_T (Sure, they improved in Season 3, but ...) Anyway, I'm probably just dreaming. Three whole seasons is more than most manga can even dream of, so we're probably not going to get any more Minami-ke anime. But you never know ... you never know. :o
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Old 03-28-2012, 02:29 PM   #9
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Oh, really? Where in hell is she?! I must not have recognized her because of the studio change. She must not have said anything to make me recognize her either. I need to re watch some stuff ...

And yeah, I was a bit disappointed by the "improvement" in visuals from season 2 to 3. It's not THAT much better, in fact, season 2 arguably looks better lol. The characters look too scrawny or something in 3.

And season 4 was already announced, didn't you hear?
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Old 03-28-2012, 02:42 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mcsweeney View Post
And season 4 was already announced, didn't you hear?
GET. OUT. Noooooooo, I didn't hear!? Are you for real? You better not be pulling my leg ...

*goes to investigate*

*finds this*

CEEEEEEEEEEEEELEBRATE GOOD TIMES, COME ON! ^____^

This totally makes my year. This is better than Kaiji S2, Fate/Zero, or Usagi Drop (2011). 2011 is still probably overall a stronger year for me so far, but ... this is bigger than any one of those for me. HELL. YES.

And now I'm more determined than ever to get Volumes 5-9 and add those to my collection. I will import those, even it costs me $100 to do so. (Which it should not , but I'm just saying.)
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Old 03-28-2012, 02:46 PM   #11
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I'm just confused as to how you didn't know already! YOU OF ALL PEOPLE?
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Old 03-28-2012, 02:52 PM   #12
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Because the news only just came out, it seems, on March 19th-ish. And the last I had checked in, there was news of a ninth volume coming out with goodies co-packaged. Never in a million years did I expect that this would be one of the goodies. I also didn't know Volume 9 was out until today, as you just discovered earlier this same thread. So yeah. I just found out. But ... HOLY COW.

To-Do List:
  1. Secure monies with which to import Volumes 5-9.
  2. Read Volumes 1-4 that I already own. ^^; (I am such a procrastinator. ^^; )
  3. Watch Season 3 for my fourth or so time. (I last completed 2, so 3 is next in line to get a re-watch.)
  4. Either bump the thread I created for Season 1 or else make a new thread or something. Probably a bump. (Feel free to bump it yourself if you like and/or want to move our conversation there.) I definitely need to update that thread, the same way I did with "Chobits 4 years later," since in the time since watching Minami-ke in Fall 2007 it was worked its way so thoroughly into my heart that it's pretty much my #1 favorite anime of all time (sorry, Chobits ^^;, I still love you too! ;_; ).
  5. Catch my breath. Pray to the gods that Asread isn't the studio who gets to do Season 4. Pray to the gods that the original studio is the one with the rights.
  6. With some of that money I use to import Vols 5-9, go out and buy some ground curry powder and some garam masala (my last two ingredients) so I can get to working on making homemade curry Hosaka-style.
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Old 03-29-2012, 10:22 AM   #13
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Come to think of it, I should have posted my rants in the old Minami-ke thread instead of here. OH WELL.

You're right, that girl was "Atsuko" all along. I have this problem with remembering the names of minor characters. Why'd her hair change from purple-blue to green? GOD! Well I'm just glad she's here.

I found that whole apple gag in episode 3 hilarious. I was wondering if they were doing a parody of the the movie Se7en, with the scary atmosphere and the warning not to look inside that box! I was incredibly curious as to what could possibly be in that box to explain the eerie tension caused by the apple gift. Brad Pitt's wife's head? And then ... of course. That DOES explain everything!
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Old 03-29-2012, 12:23 PM   #14
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I don't think either of us have made any comments in these Minamike posts that tie in to other programs so we could always ask someone to kindly transfer the posts over. *cough* That's if you want them in the Minamike thread in the first place. Like I said, I really need to overhaul that thread. ^_^; Bring it up to date with my current thoughts, with some Season 2 and Season 3 commentary from me, etc. Which makes me wonder ... did I watch Seasons 2 and 3 while I was away from UPN? I wonder. 'Cause you'd think I'd have posted about those there. Anyway ...

(EDIT: never mind. I just scrolled up after I posted this and ... I see that you did in fact make references to other shows. Shame on you. )

I feel like Atsuko's hair is blue in Season 1 and blue again in Season 2. ^_^; Different shades, sure, but ... I wouldn't call it purple in S1. Green-blue in S2, yes. I guess this gets back to how people perceive colors differently and how the Japanese in particular have a funny (to us Westerners) sense of what constitutes "blue." To them, colors we'd consider to be green (like a traffic light) or indigo-purple (like many scholars say is the case for Lady Aoi in The Tale of Genji) they just blanket-consider as "blue." You can actually see this in some older animes where the budget was low and/or the attention to detail was less and the traffic lights are clearly (to even our Western eyes) red, yellow, and blue -- because the studio just painted it in blue instead of trying to get that exact shade of green right. Anyway, digression. ^^; My point was, to the Japanese (and apparently this time to Talon too! XD), Atsuko's hair in both seasons is probably to be considered blue; but to your eyes, you see her S1 hair as borderline purple and her S2 hair as borderline green, so it creates cognitive dissonance for you.

You mentioned yesterday that you prefer Season 2's art to Season 3's. Maybe it'll just take time for Season 3's to grow on you, but I've never much cared for Season 2's. I really don't like the way that Asread drew and colored the eyes in most cases -- Haruka's face is especially "WHAT DID YOU DOOOO!? " in Season 2 -- and I feel like S3 was a big improvement in that regard. S2's animation seemed to be trying to be too flashy -- for example, they made Kana's rival's hair a much brighter purple, they made Atsuko's hair practically sea green like you've already noted, they gave Makoto bright green eyes, etc -- but in S3 they seemed to take to heart the fans' criticisms of S2's art direction vs. S1's and they made the characters seem more real. I think it's most noticeable in the eyes. They return to a more realistic form and have better (imo) colors. For example, Haruka's bizarre acquisition of red eyes in Season 2 is gone and she gains back her golden hazel eye color from S1. Another example is Chiaki's hair: the bizarre red highlights from S2 are now thankfully gone, though her practically blonde S2 primary hair color remains.
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Old 03-29-2012, 12:43 PM   #15
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Actually, watching episode 4 now, I definitely do prefer season 3's look. Especially the faces. But Haruka is supposed to have a fairly voluptuous body wouldn't you say? She's too damn scrawny in 3!

I never noticed how tall Hosaka was until Chiaki referred to him as "that big guy". Then I started taking note of his height compared to others. Holy crap he's huge! A foot taller than Haruka. He could have rested his chin on top of Haruka's head when he was hugging her in his fantasy!
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Old 03-29-2012, 01:42 PM   #16
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Hosaka is amazing. He's handsome, passionate, a hard worker, and at least decently intelligent as far as we can tell. (His absurd adventures aren't the result of stupidity so much as they are peculiarity. ) His only problem is that he tries so hard from the shadows but he has virtually no game in the spotlight. This has the double-whammy negative impact of keeping him off of Haruka's radar -- she has no idea how he feels because he's never once even said "hello" to her! -- while registering as a creep to Haruka's best friends (who, luckily for Hosaka, do not appear to have told her that he's obsessed with her). I think Hosaka is pretty much the handsome, buff embodiment of a lot of fans of Minami-ke. I know I can personally relate to him. (Take that for what you will! ^_^; )

Regarding thinning, I've never noticed it. I went and looked back at several episodes in Season 1 and compared them with several scenes in Episode 04. The only "thinning" I think I can see is in the faces, but I don't really perceive the girls as having gotten thinner or anything: it's just a difference between how the two animation studios draw the faces. I prefer the original studio's designs to Asread's, but Asread's aren't bad either in Season 3. I guess they are a little ... I dunno, less baby fat-looking? A little more mature-thin? And thus thin? But ... as for the bodies (waists, busts, etc), I did some direct comparisons (can upload screencaps if you like) and they look identical. Haruka is depicted as a liberal B / conservative C cup in pretty much any clothed shot that isn't drawing special attention to her bust. So I don't feel like Haruka got a downgrade in that department.

Since I randomly picked S3 E4 for the comparisons, I got to rewatch the scenes with Hitomi. Awww, so you've finally met her! What do you think? On the one hand, I was slightly concerned to see Season 3 introducing more complexity to the love web -- what are they trying to do? outdo School Rumble? -- but on the other hand Hitomi is pretty cute and it's interesting to see that ___ has a secret admirer. Sure, her voice is ridiculously childish, but I guess it fits what they're trying to do with her character: create somebody who wants to be seen as a woman by the person she likes even though she's younger than the person that they like. It also produces an interesting contrast with her manner of speech which is pretty gruff and yakuza-esque at points. lol @ Touma's birthday gift. XD I'd completely forgotten about that. My lord, those brothers are crazy. hahahaha
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Old 03-29-2012, 02:25 PM   #17
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Don't have to tell me twice. I'm Hosaka's #1 fan for a reason! He's right there with Akagi in terms of my favourite characters of all time. Akagi caters to my fantasy of being an ingenius badass with brass balls, but at the same time, Hosaka panders to my latent desire to be dandyish, sweet, and funny!

I liked Hitomi a lot! The way the show handles people crushing on other people is simultaneously humourous and cute. The best I've seen. There was also Fujioka marveling at Touma and "his" ability to be playful around girls without being shy. Then he's like, I must try that with Kana! I can do this! And, well.

As for body types, well check this out:




Okay so it's not AS severe as I thought, but I didn't almost mistake her for Chiaki in pic #1!

VISUALS ASIDE, season 3 is better in overall quality just as you said. Remember how I said Kana carried season 2 when others failed to show up? Well she's actually taken a back seat in season 3 as others step up!
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Old 03-29-2012, 04:48 PM   #18
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Yeah, I took some screencaps to support my viewpoint too , but I was too lazy to upload them and resize them for you. Maybe later? ^^; For now I'll just say this: I don't think the girls have lost any weight or fat-padding in Season 3 versus Season 1 other than that they are narrower than they were in Season 1. Like, if in Season 1 the girls were let's say 2 feet wide at one vertical plane, here they're like 1.75 feet wide. I agree with you that they look much better in Season 1, but 99% of the Minamike fanbase is with you there, my brother. Also, just like you said, I took almost mistook Haruka for Chiaki in that bottom picture. Especially because ...

(Season 3 spoiler, safe to click if you've seen through Episode 02)
Spoiler: show
... starting in Season 3, we start to see adult versions of Chiaki in various situations, notably her Good Conscience, Bad Conscience routine.

But yeah. It's not too bad. Just like you've admitted. Just like I keep repeating. ^^; We can all agree that Season 1 animation rocks the house but that Season 2 animation is bearable (for our beloved Minamis!) and Season 3 animation is actually pretty good, just not as awesome as Season 1's was.

I think another thing you can spot them doing in Season 3, whether deliberately or not (and whether encouraged by Sakuraba Coharu or not, I don't know), and that is that all of the girls appear to be growing up physically. In your second screencap, for example, Touma looks a hell of a lot older than she does in Season 1, even though she's only 10 to 11 years old in all three seasons (her eleventh birthday taking place in Season 3, as you just saw). The first season covered some of spring and then all of summer, fall, and led us straight into winter. The second season picked up during winter and was pretty much one long winter smorgasbord. The third season starts us off with what appears to be a traditional New Year celebration (i.e. circa March; note the green shrubbery and tree leaves and the SFX crew's planting of bird chirpings everywhere ) and continues on from there. So in three seasons, we roughly cover one school year's worth of adventures. Which is why it's pretty crazy that Asread went so to town on the girls' designs and made them all look like they'd grown by 2-3 years. Haruka goes from looking like a young adult woman to definitely looking like a young adult (22+ y.o.) woman, various characters really shoot up (compare S3 Uchida with S1 or even S2 Uchida), etc. As a fan, I'd actually be really interested to know to what extent Sakuraba Coharu had a say in the anime's production and to what extent he was in support of making the characters all appear older in S3 than they did in S1.

If Yuki decides not to copy these posts over to the Minami-ke thread, I'm definitely going to need to bump it and link to all these posts or something. ^_^; There's too much good Minami-ke discussion going on here to not include it in the proper thread!
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Old 03-31-2012, 12:57 PM   #19
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-Big coincidence! Tonight, one of the ladies in my office was talking about how she heard Starbucks crushes up beetles and puts them into their frappuccinos for colouring. I said that sounded like such an urban legend, and whoever told her that is probably full of crap! RIGHT AFTER THAT, I come home and watch Minami-ke episode 10, where Chiaki enlightens us on how insects are sometimes used as a natural food coluring agent. Damn it to HELL! If only I had watched episode 10 yesterday instead of today, I could have calmly explained that insects are often used as an all natural ingredient for food dye, and looked smart in front of everyone!

-So I was re-watching season 1, episode 3, where Chiaki sits on Fujioka's lap for the first time. Yeah, I definitely would have made the connection of him = dad if I had re-watched season 1, instead of diving into season 2 after several years layoff. Whew, I can chalk that one up to bad memory rather than stupidity. Speaking of which, the ONE exception to season 1 looking better than 2 and 3 is Fujioka. He's supposed to be handsome and popular with girls, but he looks like a pudgy little runt in 1!

Also, why wasn't Fujioka weirded out when Touma sat on his lap?! Is this some East Asian cultural thing where guys can bro it up and it's not considered gay? I know this guy who taught English in China for a couple years, and he said it's perfectly acceptable for male friends to walk around holding hands. I thought he was exaggerating, but maybe the legends are true ...

-Am I wrong about Atsuko having a crush on Hosaka? Twice now she's called him "cool" (when he keeps his mouth shut), but doesn't "kakoii" have any connotations for attractiveness? I turn this question over to you, the expert. Besides that, she's also looked at him twice as sparkles fill the screen. Isn't that a universal cliche for a girl being love struck by a hot bishounen? Yet, she ran away in terror when he tried to befriend her in the library! Does she indeed only see him as being "cool", and a man to be respected when he isn't acting like a weirdo? AHHHH, they'll never destroy my dreams of Hosaka having a secret admirer!
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Old 03-31-2012, 01:31 PM   #20
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Atsuko is creeped out by some of the creepier things Hosaka says or does. That stated, I think just as you've picked up on, there are other times where Hosaka says or does things that are not creepy, that maybe are even cool, and Atsuko perceives them as such. I think there's a definite physical attraction, but iirc even Atsuko is unsettled by Hosaka unbuttoning his shirt in public. I don't think it's right to say that she secretly crushes on him. Rather, I think Atsuko is like, "Hosaka is almost a great catch ... but sometimes he's just way too creepy." Whereas Maki is like "No. Categorically, Hosaka is nowhere near a good catch. Because he's just plain creepy." The funny thing is, Hosaka and Maki have so many scenes together that lead others to mistakenly believe that the two of them are an item!

Nah, I think everyone looks better in S1, even Fujioka. That stated, sure, he looks fine in S2 and S3. (One of the better character redesigns, as you've noted.) But ... I still prefer S1's character designs period to S2's and S3's. Not a big fan of the changed hair and eye colors for Fujioka. They also make him seem like a punk (the bleach blonde hair? ) when we know that he's anything but.

Surprised you'd forgotten about S1E3's lap scene. It's huge setup (as I'm sure you've since discovered) for Season 3. Glad that you went back and caught it though. If you're going to rewatch any of S1, you might as well watch the entire thing over again. To be quite honest, that's what I assumed you had done: I assumed you'd re-watched S1, then proceeded to watch S2 for the very first time, and then proceeded to watch S3. Surprised you decided to jump into S2 without rewatching S1 first. Maybe that softened the blow for you though. ^_^; Seeing the fugly S2 character designs must be less painful if you do it after the years have dulled your memory of how awesome S1's were. But yeah, as you saw in Season 3's scene with Oji-san's pencil ...

Spoiler: show
It's all but confirmed that Kana and Fujioka will wind up together. It's very interesting to note that while Chiaki does not approve of various of Haruka's suitors, she not only approves of Fujioka but she even tries to help set him up with Kana after her disastrous dismantling of that relationship in S1E2 when she convinces Kana that Fujioka is really a banchou who's just trolling her. In any event, my point being, it's pretty clear that not only is Chiaki happy with the idea of having Fujioka for a brother-in-law, but as the only older male in her life whom she respects, she sees him as a father figure.

[speculation on my part]You also have to keep in mind with Chiaki that she has a very different view of adults vs. children than most kids would. Even when we were her age, I'm sure you remember that kids in high school used to seem like adults to you. Like, you truly perceived them as young adults and not as big kids. But in Chiaki's case, specifically, not only does this regular phenomenon apply, but it's super ramped up by the fact that Haruka is her de facto mother. Haruka cooks for her, cleans for her, runs errands for her, monitors what she watches on television, tucks her into bed, etc. Even though they're blood sisters and even though they're only ~6 years apart age-wise, Chiaki 100% sees Haruka the way most kids would see their mom, and she seeks Haruka's approval the way a spoiled child seeks their mother's approval. So, where am I going with this? Well, I'm pointing out that when your brain develops such that you hard-wired perceive this girl who can't be older than 17 as an adult woman, it's not much of a stretch to imagine that you could perceive a 13 to 14-year old boy as being an adult man. Even though he clearly isn't. And you cerebrally know that he isn't. You know he's just a teenage boy. And yet ... you see him as a man, just as you see your 16-year old sister as a woman. And so for Chiaki, it's all the more possible that she could see Fujioka as a stand-in father whereas most kids would be like, "He's an older kid, sure, but he's still just a kid." [/speculation on my part]

As for the beetle thing, don't feel bad: I've seen every season multiple times and I have no memory of this insect food coloring story. But yeah, that would have been kinda cool if you'd seen the episode before the Starbucks conversation instead of after! ^_^; Then you could have been all, "Well ... " Because nothing impresses the ladies more than your knowledge of crushed beetles. ;p
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Old 03-31-2012, 02:03 PM   #21
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No, if you read one of my season 2 commentary posts, you'll see that I DID remember Chiaki sitting on his lap for the first time. What I didn't remember was Haruka talking about how Fujioka is a lot like their dad, and how that visibly gave Chiaki some ideas. But yeah, I never re-watched the entirety of S1, just certain episodes that I really liked (such as 8, which is thoroughly amazing). I will definitely do so though. This show just puts me in a good mood, it's gonna suck when I run out of season 3 eps.

Quote:
You also have to keep in mind with Chiaki that she has a very different view of adults vs. children than most kids would. Even when we were her age, I'm sure you remember that kids in high school used to seem like adults to you. Like, you truly perceived them as young adults and not as big kids.
That is totally true! I remember being in elementary school, and the grade 5 kids were these giant monsters that you didn't want to screw with. Now I look at grade 5 kids and laugh. How could these little runts possibly be the same kids that I feared way back then?

Spoiler: show
Quote:
But yeah, as you saw in Season 3's scene with Oji-san's pencil ... It's all but confirmed that Kana and Fujioka will wind up together.
I hope so, I'm rooting for the guy, but not necessarily! The pencil may have just gotten lucky three times in a row, and it was a funny coincidence. If the pencil is INDEED magic, Kana altered the course by flicking it, maybe that didn't count! And the correct answer is that her future husband is indeed in the heavens.
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Old 03-31-2012, 02:43 PM   #22
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Yeah, but the thing is ...

Spoiler: show
Before she flicked it, Fujioka was on the roof. So it was correctly pointing in the right direction. Then she flicked it ... and it pointed towards the door, in front of which was Fujioka not but ten seconds later. Now granted, you could argue real-time physics and say "There's no way he went from the roof to the front door in the time it took from the pencil being upright to her flicking it over," but (a) it's just a charming show ^^; and (b) I could argue that the time lapse was an anime thing that didn't necessarily hold in the manga, a.k.a. in the manga for all we know a good 2-3 minutes of astonishment passes before Kana flicks it over. In any event ... the fact that it pointed to the roof (which is where he was initially), and then she flicks it and it points towards the door (which is where he was secondarily) is one hell of a big coincidence.

And yes, of course the pencil could just be a coincidence, no one's denying that. I mean, if it really worked 100% of the time, you'd think that Oji-san would have used it by now to find his own future wife. (Pooooor Oji-san. )

Sorry about the confusion regarding what all you'd forgotten. But yeah, Haruka's offhand comment probably had some impact on Chiaki.
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Old 03-31-2012, 03:00 PM   #23
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Oh. GOD, I totally missed the fact he talked about climbing all the way on the roof. Yeah ... that does add a lot of credence. I just can't see it though! She's way too dense.
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Old 04-01-2012, 08:30 AM   #24
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Finished off season 3.

Spoiler: show
The last episode where Chiaki dreams that Kana left and never came back, so she clings onto her ... AWWWWWW. Almost had a heart attack from cute. And then when Chiaki forbade her from going out, so Kana said she'd just take a nap, and Chiaki lied down behind her, with the music playing ... I was on the verge of tears. I told you, that stuff touches me deeply!

So yeah, really good finale and overall season. BUT! It was not without some disappointments. They didn't build on the legend of the Curry Fairy! Or maybe Hosaka could have met Kana next. Hitomi also didn't show up again! You got my hopes up that she did, since you said, "So you've finally met Hitomi" which made me think she was a recurring character.

My top 5 season 3 moments:

5. The apple gift
4. Hitomi reads Natsuki's eyes
3. Fujioka steals the snacks from Kana
2. Chiaki has a nightmare and clings to Kana
1. And the #1 moment from season 3 is ... Hosaka's curry song. THERRRRE YA GOOOOO [throws pen at camera]

Some honourable mentions: Natsuki and his request to send Touma home early, with his hilarious and creepy smile. You know what that totally reminded me of? Stephen Harper. When he was running for Prime Minister of Canada, he totally did the exact same thing during the TV debates! He'd make a statement, then flash this super fake smile, and he was obviously told to do so by some campaign handler. Well, just like Natsuki ... IT WORKED.

Natsuki letting Touma beat him in a fighting game. Then when she got cocky, he grabbed the gamepad and unleashed his true power. "You should return both debts and grudges tenfold!"

Hosaka and his umbrella scheme. Both him and Hitomi actually. Those two need to get together and help each other out.

Hosaka and his cake smooching. At first I thought they were making a "Christmas cake" pun when middle aged women started to flock to him! And what was the deal with that old guy who kept showing up in Hosaka's fantasies, and trembled at his power? LOL. Is he like the Japanese equivalent of a guy in a top hat having his monocle pop off?
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Old 04-01-2012, 01:33 PM   #25
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The scene for me that more or less ties with the Curry Song is definitely Natsuki's visit to the Minamis' home. I'm a little surprised it didn't even make your cutoff for Top 5 seeing as it's either tied for 1st Place or else a very respectable 2nd in my own list ^_^;, but whatever: different people, different preferences. I absolutely love the way that that scene was done. And the epilogue bit at the end when he goes to the grocer's ... priceless!

Another of my all-time favorite moments from Season 3, and I'm surprised you never even mentioned it!, is the time when Haruka is at school with Natsuki and ...

Spoiler: show
... her skirt comes undone.

It was an epic evolution of those two's (Natsuki and Haruka's) relationship, with how he always accidentally embarasses her through no fault of his own, and it also played upon Haruka's wonderful personality. Really enjoyed it.

Regarding the old man ...

Spoiler: show
Yeah, I didn't want to spoil the surprise until you'd seen it. Isn't that awesome that he returns? I just love how Hosaka has him dropping his cane (Ep02) / fork (Ep09) being all "T-this is ... this is ... this is UNBELIEVABLE! :O" hahahaha And how he's this old-fashioned Japanese aristocrat. I could have sworn that at some point he's revealed to be real during Season 3 and not merely a figment of Hosaka's imagination, but I also thought that it was revealed during that very Christmas cake scene, so I guess I might have been wrong. =\ You tell me: did you notice the old man in the IRL world in any of the other Season 3 scenes? I'll be sure to keep an eye out for him when I go back and re-watch Season 3 myself.

Watching that Christmas cake scene again reminds me of just how unbelievably sweet and good-hearted Hosaka is. As I've said before, I think many fans of the series can relate to him because we've all probably had daydreams like his where we imagine how we'd sweep the girl of our dreams off of her feet when the perfect situation arises: and yet that perfect situation never does arise, and so we go on being single in the shadows. I really would like to see Hosaka muster the courage to tell Minami Haruka how he feels about her, but I also feel like that's something best reserved for the end of his appearances in the comic, either because the series itself is being wrapped up or else because he's being phased out due to the nature of the narrative (e.g. he has to go to college now).

Speaking of Hosaka's future, that's one thing I kind of wonder about with Season 4: what's going to happen to all the old 3rd years? They should be graduating here very shortly. Hayami will likely be phased out, but not without one last "fruit juice" scene, but as for Hosaka, I wonder what Sakuraba Coharu plans to do. Will he have Hosaka go to a college that's close by so that Hosaka can still cross paths with Haruka on occasion? Will he have Hosaka go into the restauranteur business and work as a sous chef as he trains to become the best chef in the world? Will he phase Hosaka out of the narrative completely and use some life-changing event to justify it? (E.g. Hosaka decides to tour the globe in search of the best cooking techniques and the freshest ingredients so that he can, lol, make the ultimate bento? And this adventure has him be out of the country for 1+ years?) Fans love Hosaka, and you know that Coharu must love him too or he wouldn't give him so many wonderful scenes, but if Coharu wishes to please the fans' desire for internal consistencies in this universe -- and the Minami-ke universe is more or less ours with all the real-world rules and social expectations that apply -- then it's hard to imagine Hosaka being able to actively cross paths with Haruka much anymore.

Finally, Hitomi. I could have sworn that Hitomi showed up again circa Episode 09 or 10 for half of an episode. Sorry if I was mistaken and if my choice of words gave you false hope. But yeah, I knew that she was a rarity to begin with. (I just thought she was a two-shot rarity, not a one-shot. ^_^; ) Hopefully we'll see her again in at least one of Season 4's scenes.
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