Minami-ke is a comedy?
I’ve heard a lot about Minami-ke. It’s another slice of life comedy, which I love (two of my favorite series ever are Hayate no Gotoku and Lucky Star), so I was interested to see what all the hubbub was about. I’m a little underwhelmed, at least by the first season (there are currently three, and I’ll likely end up watching the next two).
I actually enjoy the ‘spin’ on the series, which details the life-happenings of three sisters living by themselves in a small apartment. At the start of the series, the youngest is in grade/elementary (Chiaki), the middle sister (Kana) is in middle school, and the eldest (Haruka) is in high school, so they each have their own set of friends and classmates to interact with. Each of the three have their own distinct personalities (Chiaki dislikes Kana but adores Haruka, Kana is the energetic and outgoing idiot, and Haruka is the quiet and motherly eldest sister) which leads to very interesting circumstances when the sisters are all together.
The problem is that the sisters aren’t always together, and more emphasis is placed on the frosty relationship between Chiaki and Kana. So Haruka ends up sitting a lot of the series out. This makes a lot more sense from a writer’s standpoint, since the presence of a neutral mediator can interfere with comedy if it needs to get a bit violent, but it often feels like Haruka is a supporting character rather than a main (for Lucky Star lovers, think of Tsukasa and Miyuki).
A lot of the comedy is lost to me, as well. I’m not sure if I’m just being extremely cynical or my comedic tastes are far too narrow, but I didn’t really laugh at anything throughout the entire first season. I may have grunted in an amused fashion a few times, but nothing that I really appreciated. And it’s not like there were an extreme amount of Japanese puns to be had or other things I may have missed. Even if it did, I’ll point to Hayate no Gotoku’s endless stream of archaic otaku tropes and references and say that I still was able to appreciate the humor.
The supporting cast isn’t all that interesting either: we primarily have two crossdressers (one of which comes from a family sharing the same surname as the main characters, Minami) and a typical highschool guy that’s lovestruck over the eldest sister. So, pretty bland overall.
Again, the defining feature of this series is the relationship between Chiaki and Kana. It might just be because I’m too used to standard tsundere attitudes, but I actually feel kind of down that Chiaki keeps the relationship between the two in a perpetual state of ice. All the tsun- is reserved for Kana, and all the -dere is reserved for Haruka. I’m hoping that the next season(s) will see a small change in this, but I’m not holding my breath.
Speaking of which, I’ve seen the first couple episodes of Minami-ke Okawari (season 2), and there’s a drastic change in the art style. It feels a lot more high production, and it’s a bit jarring for some reason. But I do hope that the improvements continue.
If I finish the next season, I’ll likely throw up another ranking just to compare and see if my opinion on characters change. For now…
Character Rankings: Minami-ke (Season 1)
- Minami Kana
- Minami Chiaki
- Minami Toma
- Sensei & Ninomiya
- Makoto / Mako-chan
- Minami Haruka