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Old 01-10-2013, 08:53 AM   #51
McSweeney
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I still don't think the Kana bra scene was that lewd. It was really brief. I thought of it as a throwback to the olden days, when that kind of thing had no erotic connotations; we saw Kana in her underwear because she was foolish. As "Even a Monkey Can Draw Manga" taught us: "Panty flashing has been around for a while -- as far back as Wakame of Sazae-san, for example. She was always pantyflashing! But that was only to indicate that she was a little girl."
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Old 01-10-2013, 10:34 AM   #52
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I dunno. It just ... rubbed me the wrong way. Did not feel tasteful. I agree with you 100% about what you've said regarding the partial nudity in Season 1 -- it was just showing the girls being girls and being at comfort in their own home to boot -- but I feel like there it was handled much more tastefully and much less ... I dunno, "wolfishly."

I've written quite a lot on this, and that can give the wrong impression, so please do take my word for it that I wasn't that that bothered by it. It lasted all of, what, two seconds? The episode overall was good, classic Minami-ke. I said 7/10, didn't I? So yeah. I am very much enjoying having our favorite family back on television. It's just ... I have my concerns regarding the new studio's agenda, that's all. ^^;
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Old 01-13-2013, 12:44 PM   #53
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Watched episode 2. I thought it was an improvement over the previous episode. Maybe the first episode had those forced-ass jokes to re-introduce the characters? Also Kana had some good lines this episode.
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Old 01-13-2013, 09:40 PM   #54
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I watched Episode 02 and loved it. But before I write up that post, I'm posting here to say ... I finally got around to getting digital copies of the volumes I was missing and checking out the volumes I do own, and ...

Holy cow, I owe Asread a huge apology.

'Cause y'see ... I never made it as far as the final volume I own (Volume 4), and just now I was looking through it and ...

Spoiler: show


The hot springs trip totally happens. It's just that it happens in the final third of Volume 4. >_<

So yeah. I am, uh, majorly embarrassed and majorly eating crow right now. *digs a hole and crawls inside* But I'm man enough to admit when I've erred, and err I did! Asread, I apologize. I accused you of things you were not entirely guilty of.

That stated, your animation still sucks the big one compared with Daume's and the new guys'. ^^; And Season 2 remains the weakest season by far. Oh, and I'm not taking back any of my complaints about the tastelessness of your S2E01. Coharu-sensei's treatment was much more tasteful!

EDIT: Will be posting a lot more tomorrow, both on Episode 02 and the manga. Just wanted to edit this post to say ... I skimmed through Volumes 3, 4, 5, and 6, and I never once saw Fuyuki. I did see some things which turned up in Season 2, so while I did unfairly accuse Asread of concocting one thing, I don't think I'm being unfair to accuse them of inventing Fuyuki. But we'll see.

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Old 01-20-2013, 03:13 PM   #55
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I've been working on my manga post, but I'm going to switch gears to my Episode 02 thoughts post because Episode 03 is already out!

Episode 02 was great. Not every scene was great, but all scenes were at least good and there were a few moments which I just loved. Four seasons in, it looks like S3E02 will defend its crown as the best second episode of a Minami-ke season ever, but let's see what S4E02 had to offer, shall we?

Spoiler: show

April Fools Day: this was a cute scene. Touma definitely went way too far when she pranked her brothers that there was a housefire -- that's, um, not really funny -- which made it very easy not to feel the least bit bad for her when Kana pranked her like this. Minami-ke ups the Fujioka-Touma ante ... by having Kana tell Fujioka that Touma is a girl (so the cat's out of the bag now!) ... Fujioka telling Touma "Oh, so that's why you're so cute! ^-^" ... Touma flipping out and running home ... and Fujioka then telling Kana, "I get that what you said is just an April Fools Day joke. ^_^" OH MAN. ^^; That poor girl. That poor, poor Touma. I said I wouldn't feel bad for her after what she did with the fire joke, but still. Man. This makes it even more tough for her to reveal to Fujioka some day that she is in fact a girl.


Our other gender identity confusion character, Makoto a.k.a. Mako-chan, brought us this scene in which Makoto declares to Kana for the fifty-fifth (and later fifty-sixth) time that he's done being Mako-chan and is going to come clean to Haruka and Chiaki, only to get cold feet at the last second. The highlight of this scene wasn't so much the prelude or the conclusion as it was ...


... the bit with Yoshino at school. Good lord is Yoshino amazing when it comes to Mako-chan material. This girl has been trolling them since Season 1 with her realization that Makoto is actually Mako-chan, and I just love how she is expertly trolling them in this scene by making it clear to them that she knows ... only to then play dumb and be like, "Whoops! I confused the two! ^-^" Just amazing. As if I wasn't loving it enough already, Sakuraba Coharu then has to deliver the killing blow when he has Uchida saying, "I don't know, Mako-chan ...!" and Makoto says, "Right now I'm Makoto. -.-;"

I'll talk about this scene in more detail when I do my manga post later, as it's one of the scenes I found in the manga earlier this week. Really loved every aspect of it, like how the girls are trying to figure out why Chiaki seems to hate Makoto but likes Mako-chan, the story with Mako-chan killing the wasp, and so on.


Tying in to that was this follow-up scene where Touma, then joined by Yoshino and Uchida, tries to find out what it is that makes someone ladylike. I love how Yoshino goes straight for Makoto to seek out the answer to this question. The rest of the school part of the scene is cute but largely sets up for ...


... this scene which had had me worried since the sneak peek two weeks ago. "Oh no!" I worried. "Is Fujioka going to turn out blue?" Well, no, thankfully. It turns out that Touma is really good at needles and crafts and manages to make her own stuffed bear that looks almost identical to Fujioka but for the texture and the color of his fabric. Then when Kana was like, "I wonder if Chiaki could tell the difference, ..." IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII PANICKED. 'Cause I was like, "Oh no! D: Please don't tell me that they swap teddies! Please don't tell me that Touma takes Fujioka home while Chiaki keeps Touma's blue Fujioka! " That would just be too awful. She got Fujioka as a gift from Santa. And as a gift from Fujioka (the human). It would just be too terrible to separate this darling little girl from so precious a gift. So I waited. And I waited. And I waited for them to assure me that this switcheroo would not happen. Until finally ...

Spoiler: show
... this development happens and I just lose it in a mix of anxiety, relief, and amusement.



While it disappoints me a little that Chiaki can't tell the difference between Blue Fujioka and the original, I am glad that she at least seems to keep the real Fujioka. (The epilogue to this scene does show Chiaki holding the original Fujioka, not the blue impostor, so that's good.) I'm starting to wonder if our little adorable snotty brat has some form of prosopagnosia. I mean, I don't want her to? And I don't 100% think she does? But we already have her failing to tell that Mako-chan is Makoto, and now we have her failing to tell apart one Fujioka teddy from another. Kana jokes that it's because Chiaki's eyes are always half-closed, but I wonder ... ^^;

Also, the look on Chiaki's face in that last shot reminds me of one of these cats with the smashed-in faces and the enormous eyes.

Overall, it was a solid episode, an easy "8/10 - Very Good" for me. The bits with Yoshino were by far my favorite, especially that first one. Oh man. Really looking forward to watching Episode 03 now. HITOMI, HERE I COME!
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Old 01-23-2013, 10:36 PM   #56
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Decided to pump out my reply for Episode 03. The manga post is on its way, I swear!


Episode 03 was pretty good. I'd call this a classic Minami-ke S1 or S3 episode. No one scene was mega-super-OMG epic, but each and every scene was good, and you can't ask for better than that when there as many as scenes in one episode as there were here. This episode featured the first full return of Hitomi since her debut episode in Season 3. It also had quite a bit of fun fanservice (of all different kinds!) for the fans. More details below. Each spoiler box corresponds with a different scene.

Spoiler: show

Scene 1. Touma takes a bath, tells of Natsuki's bathing habits, tries on Haruka's and Kana's middle school uniforms
The first thing we see when loading Episode 03 is ... "Sensei!" "Ninomiya-kun!" "Sensei!" "Ninomiya-kun!" "Sensei!" "Ninomiya-kun!"" UTW's Kusion bemoaned the lack of Sensei & Ninomiya-kun last week with Episode 02. Well, it looks like somebody on Studio Feel heard him! 'Cause his prayers were answered!

After that little bit of fanservice comes Touma in a bathtowel. This scene was just setup for the later scene with Natsuki at school, and so we shouldn't be surprised that it's not all that funny or interesting to see Touma having taken a bath at the Minamis or to learn of Natsuki's hour-long baths. But then comes this scene's real treat, which is yet another throwback to the legendary Season 1:

Spoiler: show

Just awesome. Yes, yes, we've seen it before -- and so all my complaints levied against Omatase apply here just as equally to Tadaima Episode 03. But I never tire of hearing how Haruka has the perfect body -- nor of the follow-up that poor Kana is cursed with a flat chest and a large waist. It was funny when Haruka and Kana tried each others' uniforms on in S1 and got into a bit of a catfight, and it was funny again here to have Touma reaffirming their three sizes.

Spoiler: show

Scene 2. Kana, Chiaki, and Touma discuss the existence of natural airheads
This scene was cute for what it was: establishing that Uchida truly is a member of Team Idiot, much to her chagrin; showing that Chiaki doesn't want Haruka to be punked so she'll do whatever it takes to sabotage pranks people try to pull on Haruka in order to spare her onee-sama from embarrassment; and, finally, demonstrating that Haruka isn't quite as susceptible to pranks as Chiaki fears she is, and that instead she's one step ahead of her sisters when it comes to things like these. A cute scene, enjoyable to watch, but nothing hysterical.

As for its O-M-G fanservice bit (pictured above), we'll return to that later.

Spoiler: show

Scene 3. Hitomi invites herself over to Haruka's, she and Maki get into an argument, and then Hitomi "loses" her ring
This. scene. was. good. Not for hilarity, since it wasn't particularly funny. Not for memorability, since all on its own it isn't one of Minami-ke's most memorable scenes. But for sheer fanservice of the greatest order: "What if ...?" wish fulfillment. It didn't seem possible for Hitomi's world and Haruka's world to cross paths so intimately, but that didn't stop Sakuraba Coharu from forcing them into hanging out anyway! "The fans wished for it, and I, a most beneficent god, have delivered!" All praise Sakuraba-sama. It may be a bit contrived -- it may have required Hitomi to literally overhear the girls talking about going to the Minamis' apartment and then asking if she could come along too -- but hey, whatever it takes.

This scene has a few character art things I want to comment on, so once again, a collection of snapshots from the episode:

Spoiler: show

First, I wanted to say how gosh durn pretty Hitomi is. She's got a bit of a cloy baby voice and she's no Minami Haruka, but she's certainly easy on the eyes. Her smile melts me like butter.

Second, look at the sixth and the seventh photos in the album above. What I want to comment on is, it looks like Studio Feel has made a deal with the animation devil. How so? Well, on the one hand, I think it's impossible to deny that this is the prettiest the Minamis have looked since Season 1, and possibly since ever. (And I'll go more into why the new style is actually really faithful to the manga next time.) But unless you're ufotable or Shaft and you have money coming out of every orifice in your body because you're just that well funded, money doesn't grow on trees for you and if you're going to make something look prettier than average, there's got to be a catch. In Minami-ke Tadaima's case, the catch is shared faces. What do I mean by "shared faces"? Well, it looks like all of the girls are basically just two or three faces that are distinguished by their hair styles. Take for example Hitomi in that sixth picture. Doesn't she look identical to Maki or Riko? And look at Atsuko in that seventh picture. Doesn't she look identical to Chiaki at the end of Episode 02 last week? Here, a direct comparison:

VS.

So yes, while the character animation's never looked prettier, it's come at the cost of uniqueness. (To be completely fair, Daume's wonderful character art was also pretty simple and face-interchangeable at times, perhaps even moreso than Feel's faces here. So maybe it's unfair of me to criticize this at all given how much I love S1's character art.)

Third, the scene itself. It was cute for what it was. I was a bit worried at first that Maki and Hitomi were getting kind of catty with one another, but it looks like all's well that ends well. (As we see in the next scene, Maki has no problem giving friendly counsel to Hitomi, and Hitomi has no problem receiving it.) That was pretty funny though how the fate Hitomi had hoped to avoid ended up being inherited by poor Atsuko. It was funnier still how Hitomi sincerely tossed the ring blindly away rather than, y'know, tossing it away but noting where it landed. What if they hadn't been able to find it after all!? Man, that would've sucked.

Spoiler: show
Scene 4. Natsuki's embarrassment over Haruka finding out he takes long baths
So this is what Touma's bit at the start of the episode was for. Its purpose was to introduce to Minami Haruka the knowledge that Minami Natsuki takes long baths such that we could then have this scene play out. Haruka tries to make smalltalk with Natsuki but it backfires horribly when Natsuki ardently denies that what Touma told Haruka is true. Haruka then finds out from Hitomi (who can read Natsuki's eyes as well as ever) and races off to assure Natsuki that long baths are awesome. Natsuki is won over when his beloved senpai gives her own personal seal of approval to his quirky habit. Like the other scenes before it, good but not particularly great or noteworthy. But that's fine! This is classic Minami-ke. They're not all S1E05 (the beach + swimsuit episode) or S1E13 (the epic season finale), or S302 (the Curry Song episode). A lot of them are perfectly fine episodes like this one. That's where I'd place this scene. Worthwhile for the little things it brings.


Like this. I just love how Hitomi hangs out with Natsuki like this yet he is completely oblivious to how she feels about him. C'mon, Natsuki! Open your eyes and realize! She may not be Haruka, but Hitomi is a prize catch!

Actually, I love how Sakuraba Coharu has several girls do this with guys. The whole "I'm going to hang out with my back to the window, my arms crossed, standing in front of your desk while you sit there" thing. As I recall, Hayami does this with Hosaka too. But she's a lesbian ... isn't she? (Dun dun duuuuuuuuuuuun! )

Spoiler: show

Scene 5. Chiaki and Touma eat a donut Kana wins ... yet never had the right to eat in the first place
The first part of this scene is pretty much nothing new. ^^; It's just a role reversal from previous sketches we've seen. Usually someone else leaves the room and Kana pigs out on their food and then (poorly) lies about having not eaten it. But this time it's the normally well-mannered Chiaki who, along with her accomplice Touma, scarfs down what was rightfully Kana's and then fibs!

But what sold this scene so well, what made it so very much worth a revisit, was when Kana got all serious. I guess this is as close to a "Bible Black face" that Studio Feel is going to get. Hopefully they can pull it off Daume-style and give us the full Bible Black faces experience. In any event, Kana gets serious and becomes friggin' Sherlock Holmes. She licks the plate, detects sugar, concludes the donut was real. She then proposes inspecting the girls' mouths, and they completely give themselves away. And then of course we get another shameless throwback to Season 1 with Kana trying to steal kisses from the terrified girls.


And then Haruka comes home. And Kana remembers who that fourth donut was for.

Haruka gets a bit depressed and throws herself down on the bed. And so what does Chiaki decide to do?


LOLI MAIDS! Good God, I swear. Sakuraba Coharu sure does know how to press his fandom's buttons. These girls are ADORABLE. >D< Too cute! You just wanna take 'em home yourself! [/totally not creepy] While I'd prefer to see Haruka rockin' the French maid outfit , seeing Chiaki and Uchida and Touma in these maid outfits is just HRNNNNNNNNNNGH adorable. So cute. So, so friggin' cute. >.<

That will probably be S4E03's legacy in my mind, especially if we never do see the maid outfits again. "Season 4 Episode 03: the loli maids episode." That or, if we never were to see Hitomi again, "Season 04 Episode 03: the Hitomi Returns episode." It may still be the Hitomi Returns episode regardless ... but thankfully, it isn't going to be her last appearance. The sneak peek for Episode 04's already seen to that.

*Phew!* Long. Very long. But fulfilling. When it's a show you love so much, and a show others love too, and you want to discuss it with them. Ah ... God bless Minami-ke.
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Old 01-24-2013, 09:14 AM   #57
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YO! Sorry I haven't been around, but I can assure you that I enjoyed this week and last week's episode. Even in a show that's all about cute girls doing cute things, Minami-ke is proof of how male characters can MASSIVELY improve the dynamics of the story. Some shows are so paranoid about having some harem lead waste of life that they just do away with them completely.

And I totally agree that even if there hasn't been an A+ scene yet in season 4, all the bits have been solid. Very subdued and gentle humour, it really does have a season 1 feel to it. I'm sure they'll bring out some big guns before the season's up.
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Old 01-26-2013, 03:29 AM   #58
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Hitomi is indeed cute as HELL. I knew this since last season, but this episode I was actually considering her as being able to out-waifu Haruka. But then they did the bit with the missing donut, and Haruka made the cutest facial expressions of all time as she inquired about the location of her donut, and I just ... I JUST DON'T KNOW!!! I can't choose!

That's an astute observation about the girls' body language with certain guys. It would be pretty funny if Hayami secretly liked Hosaka (it looks like we'll be seeing some hijinks from those two in the next episode). But I'm still an ardent supporter of Atsuko having a crush on him. I swear on me mum's life that this was a thing in season 1, but it fizzled out in subsequent seasons ;_; this shit is the closest I've ever come to shipping, and I didn't even do that back in Pokemon days. Just the idea of this eccentric guy, who is really sweet and handsome and deserves some love, but doesn't get any because his bizarre behaviour scares off all the girls, except for one girl at school who does see the value in him, is just SO ADORABLE! Why, why did they have to tease me with this storyline in season 1, and then just drop it completely?
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Old 01-26-2013, 09:04 AM   #59
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IIRC they drop another "Atsuko would crush on Hosaka were he not so eccentric" hint in S3. It's not long -- lasts maybe only a few seconds -- but it's another of those "he kinda looks sort of cool ... oh no wait, never mind >_<" moments. Forget what episode though. Obviously it's not the (amazing ) shogi-analogized "let's make friends with Haruka's friends!" scene. It's some other time.

The other thing with Hosaka, and we've had this since S1 too, is how Haruka mistakenly believes that Maki likes him and that he likes Maki. (Like in that "SUKI DA! SUKI DESU!" scene.) So he's kind of got a bit of a triangular pyramid thing going on with those three friends:
- Haruka: he worships her, she doesn't even know and barely seems to register his existence
- Maki: she hates him, but people seem to think she likes him; he asks her for advice on Haruka but people seem to think he likes Maki
- Atsuko: she kinda has a soft crush on him, he has no idea and she only exists as "friend of Minami Haruka" on his radar

As for Hitomi vs. Haruka, oh, it's 100% still Haruka for me. But yes, Hitomi is very, very cute and it's like ARGH that Natsuki seems to only have eyes for Haruka. To use a Romance of the Three Kingdoms analogy, I feel like Hitomi is a Zhou Yu ("a talent that comes along only once every century") but that Haruka is like Zhuge Liang ("a talent that comes along only once every millennium"). It's like, alas, poor Hitomi! That you had to be born in the same five-year window of time centered around Minami Haruka's birth! She'd have Natsuki in the bag, or so I'd like to think, were Haruka not in high school with them. I dunno. The whole gag with Natsuki seems to be "those narrow eyes don't see the world around them -- the world right before their very nose!" and that Hitomi (whose name means eye, or can mean it when used generally; specifically means "pupil (of eye)") sees Natsuki's world, reflected in his own eyes, better than anyone. Tangent. Point is, I get the feeling that maybe even without Haruka, Natsuki wouldn't see what a good thing he has right in front of him until it's too late.

Like I said, that smile of Hitomi's just melts me like butter. But Haruka is undefeatible, and she had her own HRNNNNNGH cute moments in such scenes as Touma trying on her old middle school clothes.
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Old 01-27-2013, 12:18 PM   #60
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Episode 04 ... I enjoyed it okay, but it felt really forced, which is a shame. Hosaka and forced don't work well together at all. Might say more after I push out that two-week late manga post I've been putting off finishing. I did like the episode, don't get me wrong. But it felt even more forced to me than Episode 01 did. I think Episode 02 is still my favorite one this season.

Looks like next week's episode will take us back to Kana's group. I'm more interested in Chiaki's and Haruka's groups, but I welcome some much needed and long overdue development for the youngest Minami brother and his crush on Riko.
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Old 01-29-2013, 09:31 AM   #61
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Episode 04 was amusing, but the trend of recycling (paying tribute to?) past gags continues.

-Hosaka and the sweat fantasy (as a side note, I wonder if he was paying attention when he was informed that Haruka has sisters not daughters? Or was he too far off in la la land?)

-Hosaka crafting the plate for Haruka, and then pondering whether he can bring happiness to Haruka with the kettle alone, and then we see her making noodles with kettle water. This resembles the time in season 1 when Hosaka passed up buying the beef, because it obviously would not meet her high standards, only for her to buy the exact same beef herself at the end of the episode.

-I could have sworn they already had a gag where Chiaki became a teru teru bozu. If not, then I'm remembering it from the manga.

Hitomi had a hot outfit on when she was over at the Minami house. Damn Jimmeh.
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Old 01-29-2013, 12:51 PM   #62
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mcsweeney View Post
I could have sworn they already had a gag where Chiaki became a teru teru bozu. If not, then I'm remembering it from the manga.
No, you're definitely remembering it from the anime. ^^; I'm surprised you're even doubting yourself on this one. Was probably one of the most memorable, awesome moments for me in the most memorable and awesome of seasons.

Spoiler: show
BORKED

For your rewatching pleasure.

Despite complaints of the episode making a lot of references to older material that at times felt a bit like they were pandering to us fanboys, there was a lot of important "character plot" stuff though that went down in this episode.

Spoiler: show
For example, I'm pretty sure this episode marks the first time Hosaka has ever publicized his love of Haruka. Up until now, I'm preeeetty sure the only person who he had told was Hayami. Maki figured it out back in like Season 1, and ever since then she's tried to shield Haruka from Hosaka. Atsuko might have figured it out? But I don't know that it was ever revealed that she had. But even if Haruka's two best friends had figured it out, Hosaka had not publicized his feelings for Haruka afaik ... until now. This episode, he barges into their classroom and so loudly that everyone else can hear him, not just Maki and Atsuko, talks about Haruka in a way that makes it 100% clear he idolizes her.

To be honest, this development is the sort of thing I half did not expect Sakuraba Coharu to ever get around to. But I'm glad he did it now in Season 4 rather than pulling a Frasier and getting around to it once people no longer care. Perhaps there's hope for further evolution of Hosaka's relationship with Haruka, be it for better or for worse for him.

Episode 04 also seems to officially (?) put the final nail in the coffin for any hope I might have had that Minami-ke would not be like The Simpsons (in keeping the girls perpetually the same age and in the same grade with the same classmates forever and ever). It's clear from this episode that we are well past the opening ceremonies in late March / early April. The Japanese rainy season is specifically referenced as taking place in this episode, and it is usually in June; so even if it were an early year or something, we'd still be in mid- to late May by this point, long after the opening ceremonies should have been held. Now you might say, "Well maybe the events in this episode are taking us back in time to spring? Maybe it's an out-of-order episode?" But that doesn't line up either. Hosaka doesn't begin cooking until the autumn and doesn't master (or near-master) it until that Christmas, yet this episode has him already a master chef. Chiaki doesn't meet Touma until after the summer, yet here Touma is, in the late spring / early summer. Likewise Natsuki doesn't meet (and develop a crush on) Haruka until after Touma has met Chiaki and started regularly hanging out at their place. Yet this episode gives us a Natsuki who is already head over heels for Haruka. Basically, all the signs point to this episode both being on the cutting edge of the timeline and yet also being long past the time we should have started a new school year. And so that means ... Sazae-san-style storytelling a.k.a. Simpsons-style storytelling. OTL ^^; Oh well. I'm not going to completely give up on hope for seeing the girls actually grow up and stuff, but it's looking less and less likely with each passing day. (I mean heck: we already even had two different Valentine's Days by the end of Betsubara. ^^; )
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Old 01-30-2013, 02:54 AM   #63
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Nah, Atsuko has known about Hosaka's infatuation since season 1. Remember, he had pulled her and Maki out of volleyball practice to grill them about Haruka's "children". I never gave much thought to the amount of people who knew about his fixation on her, really. Obviously it would become a big deal if it got back to her!

The biggest plot development of this episode would be Hosaka finding out the truth about Haruka's "children" ... if indeed he was paying attention. Judging by his lack of a reaction, he wasn't.

Another recycled bit I forgot to mention. When those girls are sitting around talking about how Hosaka is good looking, but there's something wrong with his brain (after he starts musing about the nicely browned eggs). This is just like in season 1, when a group of girls say he looks pretty good as long as he keeps his mouth shut. Then he starts pantomiming the pasta making, and the girls say, "Never mind, he's weird even when he doesn't talk." I seriously doubt all these scenes we're seeing are in the manga. It looks like the studio is taking classic bits, putting a slight variation on them, and throwing them out there. Like their own twisted version of filler.
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Old 02-04-2013, 06:34 AM   #64
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05 was a really nice episode.

Some random notes:

Spoiler: show

-A big hint that our suspicions about Keiko are true

-After Chiaki's scheme of drinking a lot of water to float failed, she attempted the fat enriched diet. Silly girls, don't you know you can't put on muscle by only doing cardio exercises?

-ROFL at Fujioka going Kaiji mode as he dropped the eraser on the board ... then discovered too late that he could have skipped the middle man and gone directly to the fireworks show.

-Unfortunately, I doubt we'll ever see any major developments from the author on the various crushes. We'll continue to be teased by stuff like Fujioka (briefly) getting to hold Kana's hand, but she'll continue to be oblivious. Same with Hosaka and Hitomi and everyone else. I understand that it can be scary to shake up the comfortable, established dynamics of a sitcom, but it would be nice to see the story move forward. Even Jon Arbuckle eventually got Liz the vet to be his girlfriend after like 30 years.
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Old 02-04-2013, 10:14 PM   #65
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You'll have to forgive this post for being three weeks' dated in some paragraphs. ^^; I decided it would delay it too much further if I tried to overhaul it, so I'll just leave things I wrote in the past as they were.

Minami-ke Manga Observations

Anime progress: Seasons 1, 2, 3, and Betsubara took us roughly up through Volume 6 of the manga. I say "roughly" because some scenes which showed up in the first six volumes did not get an anime treatment in those first four animated outings.

What's interesting to note though is that Volume 6 of the manga contained many of the scenes which were used in Season 3 ... yet it didn't go on sale until June 23, 2009, the same day Betsubara was released (naturally, since they were co-packaged together). Keep in mind, Season 3 aired before, from January 4 to March 29, 2009. Now granted, manga tankoubons are collections of published chapters, and Minami-ke being no different from most is serialized in Kodansha's Young Magazine. But my point is, it's a safe bet that a lot of what went into Season 3 was hot off the presses. You can sort of back this up when you consider when Volume 5 of the manga went on sale: March 17, 2008. That means that from March 2008 (when Volume 5 of the manga went on sale) to March 2009 (when Season 3 of the anime wrapped up), Sakuraba Coharu was writing chapters which had not yet been anthologized -- and yet many of these showed up in the third season. To me, this suggests that we not only have Volumes 7, 8, 9, and the recently published 10 to work with: we also have the currently-being-serialized chapters that will one day go into Volume 11 to work with as well. This should mean we can hope for at least two awesome seasons of Minami family goodness before the show goes back into hibernation. (See Volume 1 thru Volume 6 samples below.)

However, there is something else which is important to note, and it's something of concern. ^^; When Daume adapted Minami-ke into an anime, it's clear to me now that they cherrypicked some of the greatest scenes from Volumes 1, 2, and 3. In just thirteen episodes, they "covered" (if you will) three volumes' worth of ground. Well, these new guys, Feel, are kind of pulling the same stunt Daume did. They're grabbing material from Volume 7 ... and Volume 8 ... and Volume 9. ^^; We're only two episodes into Season 4 and already we've used scenes from three of the four books which had been untapped until now. While I enjoyed Episode 01 and greatly enjoyed Episode 02, perhaps as a result of this cherrypicking, it's ... a little worrisome for the prospects of getting a lot more Minami-ke animated before things go back on hiatus again. I was kind of hoping that five volumes (7, 8, 9, 10, and the material currently being written that'll become 11) would mean we'd be set for three seasons at least. Now it's looking like we might be pressing our luck for even getting two high-quality seasons. ^^; If Feel pulls a Daume and "mwa ha ha ha! >3" grabs the very best scenes for Season 4, it'll make Season 4 epic, sure, ... but it'll leave an eventual Season 5 as high to dry as Season 2 was. X_X (See Volume 7 thru Volume 9 samples below.)

Manga samples: I thought it'd be great to share with you, my fellow Minami-ke fans, some of the stuff I came upon in my cursory travels through the volumes.

Manga Art Comparison - Then and Now: Then 1, Then 2, Now 1, Now 2
While Sakuraba Coharu's artwork remains very simplistic, his ability to draw human beings has admittedly come a long way since his Kyou no 5-2 days. Those first two samples come from Volume 1; the second two, from Volume 9.

But there's something important I want you all to notice: please look carefully at the art style of the characters in the more recent manga volumes! Does it look familiar? It does to me. It looks like the spitting image of the so-called "new Studio Feel faces" we see in Tadaima. In other words, the new faces aren't Feel putting their own studio's touch on the finished product: they're actually manga-faithful character designs. Well ain't that something? Sakuraba Coharu has come along so far now that studios no longer have to prettify his drawings for the home audience. His drawings stand on their own two feet now and are easy on the eyes, easy enough that Feel is pretty much just lifting things straight off the pages of the manga and then adding color and motion to them.

Valentine's Day Part II: 1
This scene showed up at the end of Betsubara, when Kana mistakenly gives Fujioka chocolate, unaware of the significance in what she's just done until Keiko points it out to her.

The Curry Fairy: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
This scene shows up halfway through Volume 6. Credit has to be given where credit is due: Asread did a phenomenal job translating this epic scene from manga to television. They embellished the song lyrics a bit, to say nothing of the part with the Minamis gathered around the dinner table. (In the original manga, all we get are two cels, and one is of an empty dinner plate. ^^; The other is Kana asking for seconds and Chiaki demanding "Tell me what you thought!") There is one thing they left out though which makes me kind of sad, and that's Coharu's omake rakugaki after the chapter. He tends to do this after every chapter, and the one he supplied for the Curry Fairy chapter is priceless. Haruka tells Maki, "Chiaki says she saw the Curry Fairy at the supermarket yesterday! " And then Maki replies, "If it's the Curry Fairy we're talking about, it seems he's turned up in the 3rd years' classroom." In other words, she can smell the smell of curry coming all the way from the 3rd years' classroom, just as Hayami worried about, and the mysterious student who's responsible is already being called by some "the Curry Fairy," just as Hayami warned Hosaka about.

On page 110, Hosaka sings the Curry Song. The lyrics in the manga are in cels 2 and 3 of the page, and they go:
Quote:
全ては 愛の ターメリック All is for the love of turmeric
ハラハラ ハラペーニョ Harahara (sfx of heart going aflutter) jalapeńos
泣かれちゃやだもん シナモン カルダモン Don't wanna cry, cinnamon, cardamom
無理か パプリカ Is it impossible, paprika?
コリゴリ コリアンダー Fed up coriander
でも 明日があるもん カルダモン But we've got tomorrow, cardamom
おいしいカレーの 出来上がり Tasty curry is served!
I like Asread's embellishments to be honest, although none of them are strictly necessary. (Saffron is quite costly, chocolate seems like an experimental thing that someone on the staff prefers and wanted to throw out there before the fans, and garam masala is a base used by amateurs like myself but if you're SUPER hardcore like Hosaka or Haruka you can pretty much make your own garam masala from the very ingredients listed off in the song.) And it should be stated that for the most part, Asread stayed very faithful to the original manga. They only added material: they never subtracted, never took out or altered what was already there. Most of the dialogue in the scene is lifted word for word from the manga, and the parts that aren't are Asread additions, not alterations.

Hosaka inspired by Hayami's shogi analogy: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
This classic Season 3 scene shows up at the very beginning Volume 6. Maki's face on the upper-right hand corner of page 14 is priceless. One thing you can really appreciate from this same page though is how wonderfully the anime tends to embellish or elongate things from the manga. Like, in the actual manga, Hosaka only calls Atsuko's name but once in the library before she spots him and drops her books. He also appears to come straight for her from the side of a bookshelf. But in the anime, there's that amazingly whispered "atsuko ... Atsuko ... Atsuko ..." from behind the bookshelf, and then Atsuko bends down and *insert horror SFX here*.

Impostor Fujioka teddy: 1
This comes from Volume 9 of the manga, a clear representation that by Episode 02 of Tadaima we've already dived deep into uncharted waters. Remember that Volume 6 was the last volume covered by the anime (including Betsubara!) until 2011. So Studio Feel has four volumes to work with -- 7, 8, 9, and the recently-published 10 -- and already they've reached for Volume 9 material for use in Episode 02.

Kana, Haruka, and the kotatsu: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
This scene showed up at the end of Episode 01 of Tadaima and comes to us from Volume 7 of the manga, the first of the untouched volumes. Well, untouched until now, that is. Please do notice how in the original manga treatment, very little of Kana's bare body is shown, it's in the bottom right corner of its comic cel, and it's only shown for one cel. Her midriff is also completely covered -- her breasts are half clothed by the kotatsu drape, making her less exposed than she was in her swimsuit even in Season 1.

Chiaki on femininity: 1
This scene showed up in Episode 02 of Tadaima and showed up in (you guessed it) Volume 9 of the manga.

Makoto takes off the hairclip: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
This scene from Episode 02 of Tadaima shows up in Volume 8 of the manga. And with this, we have proof that Studio Feel grabbed from Volumes 7, 8, and 9 -- three different tankoubons -- in crafting just the first two episodes of the fourth season of the anime. ^_^;

Chiaki's consciences: 1
As a bonus treat to you for reading all of this -- you did read all of this, right? -- here's the color two-page picture at the front of Volume 8. (Bad Conscience Chiaki is to die for! *drool*)
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Old 02-05-2013, 05:25 AM   #66
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I dig the old art style. They're both good though. Triangle mouth is triangle mouth!
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Old 02-06-2013, 08:30 PM   #67
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A bit late, but my own thoughts on Episode 05!

Spoiler: show
It was a surprisingly good episode, though once again I wouldn't say that there were any epically great moments. That stated, this episode probably had the closest thing to an epic great that we've had yet in Tadaima, which would be the scene with Fujioka and the eraser-drop lottery. But like, even if that's very memorable, I wouldn't say it was funnier to me than the time in Episode 02 when Yoshino meta-trolled Uchida and Makoto by letting on that she knows Makoto is Mako-chan but obscuring it juuuuuuuuuuuust enough to have them second-guessing themselves. In any event. I think we can all agree that the episode lacked a Curry Song scene or a Hayami "Fruit Juice" scene, but it was still a pleasant episode.

I liked the developments that Akira got this week. The boy sorely needed some character development, having not gotten much of any since Season 1 insinuated that he has a crush on Riko and that Fujioka mistakes his (Akira's) conferences with Kana as romantic interest in her. One thing which quite surprised me, and I'm going to have to go back and re-listen to this bit, is that Fujioka referred to Akira as a 1st year and Akira later told Natsuki that Fujioka was his "scary senpai" at school. I could've sworn that Akira and Kana were in the same grade, just in different classes. I had no idea that Akira was crushing on Riko (an upperclassman beauty one year older than him) in much the same way that his own brother Natsuki is crushing on Haruka. Another thing I thought amusing was how Akira seems to have become Fujioka's dating advice go-to guy. Which is funny considering a) he's only a 1st year middle schooler ^^; and b) he doesn't seem to have made much of any progress himself towards asking out Riko. Reminds me of when I used to give dating advice when I was in middle school. People would ask me because I was "the smart kid," but like, I had never dated anybody before. Those kids would've probably been better off asking someone who had had actual experience.

Speaking of Memory Lane, Coharu-sensei does a great job of strolling us down it this week with Fujioka. Man oh man could I relate to Fujioka's awkward "getting overly excited about small things done for him by his crush" antics this episode. It was a combination of embarrassing and smile-inducing nostalgic. The part where Kana slaps the 100-yen coin into his hand and he starts whooping "YEEEEEAAAAH! " was a big one for me. Could totally, totally relate to that. The whole "I want to hold her hand oh wow she just touched my hand WE'RE GETTING CLOSER! " naive excitement of a boy in love. I was never invited by a trio of girls to hang out with them, let alone at a Denny's or some other kind of diner, ... well, not until high school. And then I turned them down because they weren't girls I was interested in. ^^;

There is one thing I kind of didn't like this episode though, which was how Studio Feel depicted Fujioka's freak-outs. In the past, they were portrayed by Daume and Asread as what I'd call "healthy" or non-creepy freak outs. He just got excited very normally. Here though with Studio Feel, I very much agree with what Mcsweeney had to say: it felt like I watching Itou Kaiji! ^^; Fujioka would sweat, his eyes would open wide, his irises would constrict, ... he looked a bit psychotic. ^^; Like a man on edge. It was kind of creepy at points. ^^;;

Now for my thoughts on your thoughts, Mcsweeney!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mcsweeney View Post
05 was a really nice episode.

Some random notes:

Spoiler: show

-A big hint that our suspicions about Keiko are true

-After Chiaki's scheme of drinking a lot of water to float failed, she attempted the fat enriched diet. Silly girls, don't you know you can't put on muscle by only doing cardio exercises?

-ROFL at Fujioka going Kaiji mode as he dropped the eraser on the board ... then discovered too late that he could have skipped the middle man and gone directly to the fireworks show.

-Unfortunately, I doubt we'll ever see any major developments from the author on the various crushes. We'll continue to be teased by stuff like Fujioka (briefly) getting to hold Kana's hand, but she'll continue to be oblivious. Same with Hosaka and Hitomi and everyone else. I understand that it can be scary to shake up the comfortable, established dynamics of a sitcom, but it would be nice to see the story move forward. Even Jon Arbuckle eventually got Liz the vet to be his girlfriend after like 30 years.
Into the spoiler box they go!

Spoiler: show
When you say "A big hint that our suspicions about Keiko are true," what might you be referring to? I felt like there were a few hints throughout the episode but none of them struck me as particularly big. The one that stood out to me personally the most was Coharu's subtle (or perhaps not so subtle? ^^; ) nod via Fujioka's daydream. The one where he imagines him, Kana, Riko, and Keiko all hanging out, and as his daydream progresses from family restaurant to shopping mall to beach to fireworks, we see that he's always pairing himself off with Kana ... and thus Riko off with Keiko. And what's more, the bit on the beach. That's the one that stood out to me. How Fujioka imagines himself chasing after Kana like lovers would, and then in the background we can see Keiko chasing after Riko in much the same manner. So basically, Coharu-sensei confirmed, if not outright that Keiko is a lesbian, that Fujioka at least thinks she's one. So ... is this the "big hint" you were thinking of too? If it's not, I want to hear which one you were thinking of!

Regarding the weight loss scene: Chiaki and Kana exercising was cute though! Those face plants. I am so going to have to look for an animated gif of that later. (Poor Chiaki ...)

Yeah, the eraser scene was pretty funny. Probably the episode's highlight scene.

As for us being strung along indefinitely regarding the various crushes ... Minami-ke has been going on now for eight, nine years. (It started in 2004, says Wikipedia, though I lack a month or a specific date.) So it's not like Coharu hasn't had a chance to think things over or to take action. I mean, hell: eight years is like 10% of most men's lives! (Damn. T_T) So if he's gone 10% of his life writing Minami-ke and he still hasn't evolved anyone's relationships, then yeah, it doesn't bode well for us to be taken outside of the sitcom comfort zone. Which is a real shame. I was really looking forward to seeing the girls move up a grade, to seeing what crazy antics Hosaka might get up to as a high school graduate, so on and so forth. But yeah, I agree with you that, at least from where we are standing right now, it doesn't look good for those of us who would like to see some advancement on at least one of these fronts. Fujioka x Kana is the most canon-established one of them all (not to mention it has Takeru-ojisan's pen trick's seal of approval) and even with them we still have Kana grossly misunderstanding Fujioka and not really demonstrating any signs that she's the least bit romantically interested in him. And I dare say she won't be until Fujioka confesses to her, thus changing how she sees him and how she sees them. So yeah: he needs to confess. Sakuraba Coharu needs to have Fujioka confess. C'mooooooooooooo~on, Sensei!
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Old 02-07-2013, 02:04 AM   #68
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I was thinking about when Keiko wanted Akira to go with her and Kana to the Chinese noodle place, because she was too embarrassed to go on her own with another girl.


With all the evidence added together, yeah it's pretty much confirmed. She's gay as Walen Smithers at this point.

Also I was just re watching the last episode of season 3 (because the bit where Chiaki has a bad dream that Kana left and never came back, so she clings onto her for the whole day is the cuuutest and saddest bit ever), and damn ... I used to think season 3 looked good, but it really does look like crap compared to season 4. Their heads and everything are all screwed up. And of course the scrawniness ...
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Old 02-07-2013, 03:01 AM   #69
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Yeah, I was pretty shocked myself when I revisited Okaeri. I think it's just that Okaeri had overall better designs and better animation than Okawari did, and that's why we feel like Season 3 was pretty-ish. But yeah, if you look at Season 3 right after looking at Season 4, it'll really stand out how pretty Season 4 is.

Thing is, though, Studio Feel cheats a bit. They're able to give so much attention to the character art because, in so many scenes, the background art is just a simple two-color or three-color pattern. They've taken advantage of Sakuraba Coharu's own laziness (?) in drawing up the manga with generally only people and the bare minimum of foreground objects (like a kotatsu or a bicycle) to ground the scene. Daume (God bless them) may have had very simple animation, but not only were their character designs charming, Daune also had the decency to always animate the environment the girls were in. Studio Feel cuts this corner, and at times it can be rather noticeable, but it allows them to focus more time and budget on the character animation.
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Old 02-07-2013, 03:15 AM   #70
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One more thing, about Kana not seeming to have any interest in Fujioka. There WAS the part in the very first episode of the first season when Kana received the love letter from Fujioka, and she seemed excited about the prospect of parading around Fujioka as a trophy boyfriend. Of course Chiaki ruined all that by twisting it into a letter challenging her to a fight.

I can only see advancement in the plot coming at the VERY END of the series. Like, Koharu decides to end the manga and gives us a bunch of juicy confessions because hell with it, he doesn't have to deal with the aftermath. That, or he gets really old like Jim Davis and decides to give one of his characters a break because he's tired of writing non stop heartbreak for 30 years.

But Charlie Brown never ever got to kick the football ...
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Old 02-07-2013, 12:44 PM   #71
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He can do a confessions fireworks show at the very end if he likes, but even if he leaves the aftermath up to fans' imaginations, there's no way that everyone can have their happy ending, not without some serious character changes.

For instance, let's look at Keiko and Riko. These two became friends back in Season 1 when Riko used to ask Keiko for advice pertaining to Fujioka. Over the course of the first three seasons, Keiko always had that sort of "lesbian librarian" vibe to her but not one you could really support with solid evidence. She and Riko were just friends, right? And Keiko's never exhibited any longing for Kana. But then Season 4 comes along and starts throwing out hints left and right that Keiko may in fact be a lesbian. The blushing when Miyuki cutely asked for help studying. Fujioka's daydream depicting Keiko and Riko as a couple. Keiko not wanting to be alone with Kana at a restaurant in public. It's still not official -- we have yet to hear Keiko's own internal monologue confirm that she is attracted to Riko -- but as speculative fans we're all ready to roll with it. Well, say we're right. Say that's the case. Say that Keiko does in fact have feelings for Riko that transcend friendship. What about Riko? Riko has done nothing all series long but demonstrate heterosexual feelings for Fujioka. She seems like a fairly typical girlie girl, unlike someone like Hayami who, sure, I could easily see being revealed to be bi. But Riko would have to be revealed to be bi for her to happily pair off with Keiko instead of Fujioka. And despite all this time they've spent together, we haven't had a single sign that Riko is interested in Keiko like that. Not a single blush, no physical intimacy (the closest thing being those skirt grabs she does), nothing to indicate that she likes Keiko as anything more than a friend and confidant. tl;dr if Keiko confessed to Riko the only way that that could possibly result in those two pairing off would be if Riko was bisexual, either already aware of it and ready to go or else made to realize it as a direct result of Keiko's confession and having to confront the thoughts in her mind / feelings in her heart that result from it.

And you can copy and paste this for a lot of the couples.

Another easy example to see that not everyone can have their happy ending is all the couples surrounding Haruka. Coharu has pretty much given every single guy who crushes on Haruka a second eligible partner:
  • Hosaka has Hayami, assuming she secretly is bi and secretly crushes on Hosaka. She does seem to be the closest thing he has to a best friend. Alternatively, he has Atsuko, who seems to be the closest thing Hosaka has to an admirer, although even she is put off by his level of strangeness.
  • Natsuki has Hitomi, who loves Natsuki big time
  • Makoto has Chiaki, who fans speculate is tsundere towards Makoto
If Makoto pairs off with Chiaki (who otherwise has no one but Fuyuki, an anime-only character), and if Natsuki pairs off with Hitomi (as Hitomi has no one else she yearns for nor does she have anyone yearning for her), and if Hosaka pairs off with Hayami or Atsuko (or remains a bachelor), then who does that leave Haruka with? ^^; Right now she's got various guys crushing on her (okay, two guys and one boy), but she could easily wind up with none of them in a scenario which says that they each pair off with their respective Sakuraba Coharu-penned back-ups.
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Old 02-07-2013, 07:06 PM   #72
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Hayami's sexual orientation is still up in the air. Outside of the one famous incident, I don't recall her ever showing attraction to another girl. People can do crazy things when they're wasted ... for now, we will tentatively label her as bi-curious.

Haruka is too angelic. It would be very jarring to see her get together with a guy, so I don't think it will ever happen. She is married to her sisters and always will be.
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Old 02-07-2013, 07:15 PM   #73
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Quote:
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Haruka is too angelic. It would be very jarring to see her get together with a guy, so I don't think it will ever happen. She is married to her sisters and always will be.
Season 1 spoiler:
Spoiler: show
You say of the legendary Banchou?
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Old 02-08-2013, 05:32 AM   #74
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In episode 04, Atsuko once again blushed when Hosaka exposed himself. No other girl does this. It's a sign I tell you!

I can live with most of the cast remaining single for the duration of the story, but Hosaka NEEDS some love. Ideally he'd get Atsuko or Haruka, but even Hayami or Maki would be cute. Or some dark horse no one expects (Hitomi?). He is a good man and doesn't deserve this

Imagine how lucky Chiaki would be if Kana got together with Fujioka (as prophecized), Hosaka got Haruka, and she got to live with daddy Fujioka and the Curry Fairy!
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Old 02-13-2013, 10:38 PM   #75
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Episode 06 of Tadaima was one of the sweetest and yet most heart-breaking episodes of Minami-ke I've ever seen. I think it's safe to say that it is the saddest episode I can recall seeing since the Season 2 finale, and may well be the second saddest overall pursuant to it. Taking the discussion in turns though, let's get through the first two or three sketches (which were mildly humorous but nothing too major) and work our way towards what to me was the meat of the episode.

Spoiler: show

The first sketch in the episode shows a fun, somewhat typical power dynamic within the Minami household. It's nothing too out of the ordinary, yet a fresh enough approach to be interesting and amusing. I do quite enjoy Haruka's straightfaced "Haaai~ ^.^" as she hands Kana the permanent marker. Harsh love!

Something else I loved about this scene, though it's only a very small detail, is Chiaki's summer homework notebook. We've seen Japanese school kids doing their summer homework in countless anime over the years, but I've really got to hand it to the master for making such a convincingly real visual there. I remember manuals and learning handbooks just like Chiaki's when I was in elementary school. With a title like "Your {~} Friend" and all. Things like "Your Learning Buddy", I remember things like this. Not in every year or every class, but on occasion.


The sketch with Riko's horoscope was next. This was a cute, fun little sketch that gave Riko a bit of extra time in the spotlight. It also sees Miyuki brought back, proving that she wasn't just a one-time appearance the way that Hitomi was with Okaeri. (I still can't believe that. It honestly feels like she was in at least one other episode!)

One of the most talked about parts of the episode, it seems, is the part where Kana bends down and stares directly at Fujioka's crotch. It is a pretty funny scene, though it does invite us to wonder just how differently Kana's mind works from everybody else's. I think my personal favorite part of this sketch though is when Riko goes into the pool with Fujioka and she's all like, " 'Bad luck'? That horoscope couldn't have possibly been more wrong! >_<" And after she'd just been all "Horoscopes are always right for me". But hey: all's well that ends well, right, Riko?


(click for full body shot)

The next scene introduces us to "Bishoujo Kana", Kana when she is pretending to be a charming beauty. She uses polite Japanese, she is soft-spoken, she lets her hair down long, she wears a beautiful white summer dress, ... if Fujioka saw her like this, I'm pretty sure he'd nosebleed and pass out faster than Natsuki does when spotting Haruka's cleavage.

Except he does see her, and he doesn't quite nosebleed and pass out. What he does do is get a little weirded out by how Kana is acting and asks Chiaki what's up. When she suggests to Fujioka that a hint to figuring out what is going on is the need to demonstrate what sort of person one is / to demonstrate what one thinks, and Bishoujo Kana then asks him to please tell her about himself, Fujioka declares, "I love the usual Minami Kana!" Everyone else in the room (even including Chiaki? :o Hard to tell) takes this for a confession of love, which it pretty much was , but only Kana seems to take it as Fujioka meaning "I like the usual Kana." (suki doubles in Japanese as English "like" and English "love", context informing meaning.) Is she playing dumb? Or is she really just such a naturally spacey girl that she failed to realize that he just confessed to her? It's hard to say. But I do love the looks on Uchida's and Yoshino's faces!


Here is where Episode 06 truly begins, for me: the beach. The Minamis have taken a summer trip to the beach once again (I believe this marks the third time they have done so, the other two times being depicted in Season 1 and Season 3), and this time Makoto tags along as Mako-chan. The episode from here on out is divided into three parts: pre-lunch, post-lunch, and after returning home from the beach. And in the first of these parts, we have a really touching Makoto x Chiaki plot thread which is developed.


When Chiaki takes Mako-chan's hands in hers and says, "I hope we'll be friends forever", it was just awesome. I feel so bad for Makoto since, for whatever crazy reason, Chiaki seems to treat him like shit and even seems to suggest that the very sight of him annoys her; and yet when he's crossdressing as Mako-chan, Chiaki loves him to pieces, treating her almost like a favorite cousin. I'm not the only one who was moved by this scene: after Makoto retires to the beach to take a break and meditate on what all just happened, Kana approaches him and he thanks her for inviting him to the beach, thanking her from the bottom of his heart, expressing that he was able to really bond with Chiaki on this trip and it's meant so much to him. This is probably the best evidence we've gotten for an official Makoto x Chiaki ship and I'm lovin' it! I love Haruka too, of course, obviously, but you just know that that one would never work out. But Makoto x Chiaki? Who knows, who knows.


The second phase of the beach escapade is after lunch. Well, strictly speaking, it starts with lunch: everyone is eating the cheap beach food that Maki and Atsuko warmed up for them, and they're all finding different ways to feign that they like it when they really don't. Chiaki picks up on their sarcasm, smart little girl that she is, and blurts out, "So what you're saying is, the food sucks?" And then suddenly, the mood completely sours. And they're not even trolling her! Everyone is all like, "We were trying not to say that, but thanks a lot, CHI-A-KI. ¬_¬ Now I've lost my appetite." And they pretty much all quit eating.

This is why I say Sakuraba Coharu is such a master of telling stories that have to do with childhood: because I can personally relate to his stories so much sometimes. And this is one of those times. Oh my word, I can so relate! I have been Chiaki in this scene before, many a time, and my response was 100% identical to hers: you want to be left alone, you're barely holding back tears, you feel like shit for ruining everyone's day, you don't want to be patronized by the adults, you wish there was some way you could make it up to everybody but you just can't think of a way how, ... yeah, I've been there, at so, so many social gatherings when I was a little boy. Maybe I broke my aunt's aunt's vase. Maybe I accidentally left a door open and our host's toy poodle ran out the door and was lost. Maybe I was swinging a child around by their arms and I accidentally swung them through a nearby rose bush, cutting up their legs. (That last one was as we were saying our goodbyes to family and friends right before we were to depart for the airport. That sure made me feel like shit. What a terrible way to end a two-week vacation abroad.) Yeah, I could definitely relate to Chiaki here, and that just made this scene all the more valuable to me.

So anyway, Haruka tries to console Chiaki like a mother, and Maki ends up saving the day like that aunt of yours who knows just how to salvage a socially awkward situation. The "adults" manage to make Chiaki cheer up and feel like she's saved the day, and everyone enjoys some slices of watermelon. Hooray!


The final phase of the beach story is the aftermath. After our characters return home, we fast forward a few weeks and are at the Minamis' apartment. Makoto is telling Uchida and Kana how his summer vacation pretty much ended the day he came home from the beach -- thanks to the girl's swimsuit he was wearing, he developed a telling suntan. >_< Oh my word, poor Makoto! He also reports to us that while he was at school (as Makoto), he cut his hand and Chiaki put a band-aid on it for him. Ŕ la Bart Simpson and the loogie-in-the-hand, Makoto swears that he'll never take his band-aid off. (Aside: this is pretty awesome additional fan service from Sakuraba Coharu for everyone shipping Makoto x Chiaki. I'm tellin' you: he's going to island hop from Haruka to Chiaki, it's just a matter of time!) And then Kana points out to him the obvious problem: "If Chiaki sees you as Mako-chan wearing that same band-aid, she might figure out who you really are."

And so begins the saddest scene in Minami-ke since the season finale of Okawari. Chiaki pops in to see what's up and, spotting Mako-chan, asks if she'd like to play a game of Othello. Makoto declines, keeping his hands poised in such a way as to conceal the band-aid. Then Chiaki offers him a cookie. Again, she is rebuffed. Finally, she opens her mouth to make a third offering and before she can even say what it would be, Mako-chan cuts her off, saying "No thanks!" It then dawns on Chiaki: "Mako-chan doesn't like me anymore. " Uchida tries to fix the situation, assuring Chiaki that Mako-chan loves her and coaching Makoto on how to handle his hands in such a way as to conceal the band-aid and yet look inviting to Chiaki rather than stand-offish ... but then this happens:



And it just about breaks my heart. The episode ends on this crushingly saddest of notes, with Chiaki bawling her eyes out like we've rarely ever heard and then an abrupt cut to the ending credits. Just ... wow. I am really interested to see if this is referenced in the next episode (or other future episodes) or whether it's something that is never going to come up again. Whatever the case, I absolutely do not want there to be lasting permanent damage in Chiaki's relationship with Mako-chan. I will be so disappointed if that is the case, and so sad for Chiaki.

But yeah. Wow. This scene really showed just how much Chiaki loves Mako-chan.

So yeah. A great enough episode that I feel I'm not cheating now to say that Minami-ke Tadaima is thus far an overall 8 out of 10 experience, but one hell of a sad episode there in the end. I should totally see where this happens in the manga and if things continue on after the chapter ends or what.

Manga Comparisons:

So, I checked the manga. Some interesting things. Spoilers thru Minami-ke Tadaima Episode 06.

Spoiler: show
Chapter 157 of the manga is the same scene that we saw at the very end of Episode 06. In the manga version, the beach trip is only referenced as a flashback very briefly rather than actually taking place over the course of several chapters. I'll see if I can find it earlier in the manga though.

In the manga, Makoto doesn't have a band-aid on his hand from when they came back from the beach. Instead, Chiaki had placed a band-aid on his hand before they went to the beach. Then, because of going to the beach as Mako-chan with the band-aid still on his hand, he got suntanned in such a way that now, as Mako-chan, you can very clearly see pale skin on his hand (where the band-aid used to be) surrounded by tan skin.

This seems to have been a bit of a logical oversight by Sakuraba Coharu, so kudos to Studio Feel for catching it and correcting it. The original version invites the question of why Chiaki didn't notice the Makoto band-aid on Mako-chan's hand in the first place. Or why, if she failed to notice it then at the beach, she should notice it now at the apartment. But the anime version avoids this logical problem by simply changing the order of events: Makoto never had any band-aid at the beach (check), and then after coming back to school with a tan he got a band-aid (check), and now he's gone to the Minamis as Mako-chan but is still wearing Makoto's band-aid (check).

Yeah, I don't see the beach trip any earlier in the manga. I'd be surprised though (and a little disappointed ^^; ) if all those other beach trip details were made-for-TV stuff though. They kind of felt like they could be, but ... I'm hoping they're not. Nothing else to date has been, that I've seen. (Every scene I've checked for so far has been in the manga. Though I haven't checked since like Episode 03 or 04, so I should look again.)

Last edited by Talon87; 02-13-2013 at 11:41 PM.
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