First Impressions: Minami-ke Tadaima



I remember Minami-ke. According to my MAL account, I watched it a little while after it came out in April of 2008. It was one of the first slice-of-life shows I watched, and I definitely enjoyed my time with it. The sequels came out after some time, but similarly to many other fans, I found they didn't really hold the same quality as the original.

So here we are with the fourth iteration. I've heard from some people that this is meant to be a return to form, but you know, I can't say I'm going in particularly optimistic. I mean, the second and third series weren't exactly terrible, but having to watch another of those is certainly not what I'm looking for right now.

Please be good. 

Minami-ke has one of the most simple plots going; three sisters go about their school lives. It's a comedy, so there should be plenty of scenes here and there that will give you a good giggle, rather than full on drama or anything like that. We have the eldest sister, Haruka, who is the most responsible of the trio and pretty much acts like a surrogate mother to the other two. Kana, the sister in the middle, is the happy-go-lucky idiot of the three. Chiaki, the youngest, is the one who is too smart for her age. She adores Haruka, but thinks Kana is just a bumbling idiot. Accurate. 

One of the most common complaints about the Minami-ke anime is that the quality suffered after the animation studio changed after the first season. The original anime was produced by Daume (whose last anime was Shiki in 2010), where it was then passed to Asread (who tend to do additional animation for other companies) for two seasons and an OVA, and finally to Feel, who're doing this series and an OVA. We have a nice and fresh face, so everything is looking good!

See, this is the part where I would start recapping the show, but can I even do that? It's hard enough covering slice-of-life shows without just transcribing an episode, and to make matters worse, I feel like I've already seen this episode.

To clear things up, let me iterate that no, I haven't seen this episode before. On the same point, all of the jokes felt incredibly recycled. The kotatsu jokes are back, Kana is still an idiot/beetle, Chiaki still thinks Kana is an idiot... the list goes on. The problem is that this is the entire point. This is Minami-ke. You could expect this kind of thing from any sequel to a slice-of-life show.

There were some new things, granted. I don't remember a few of the characters, so I'm pretty sure some of them are new additions. We got to see Chiaki's conscience. We even got to see Haruka act lazy. But... it doesn't matter. At least, not to me. I just couldn't find it funny. 

I'm certainly finding this pretty strange. As I mentioned earlier, I didn't have high hopes going in, but the opening music certainly reassured me that things might just be alright after all. It's not a reused track, but it does have that classic singing of 'Minami-ke', which I have to say got me a little hyped up and nostalgic. A good move, that's for sure.

Minami-ke isn't bad, not by a long shot. I don't even think it's a lack of effort or jokes in the show itself. So, I'm saying it. It's not the anime, it's me. I think after four years of waiting on a good sequel and watching constant lacklustre efforts has really just put me off the show as a whole. This may indeed be the season that die-hard fans have been waiting for, and more power to them, but I think I'm done. I just don't think I can enjoy this show any more. I also think this will be the case if I went back to the original series.

So, how do I conclude all of that? If you liked the original series, you should love this. If you liked the sequels, you will love this. If you are tired of the series, perhaps you should pass. I'll give it a few episodes just to make sure it doesn't invigorate my past adoration of the first season, but I'm not hopeful. Anyone else stuck like this, or are you all enjoying it?

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Chris Walden
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