The second season of Minami-Ke. It picks up where the first season left off, and just like the first season, it's about the daily lives of the three Minami sisters, Haruka, Kana and Chiaki, and their school friends.
Even more of same stuff with INCREASED fanservice, more CHARACTERS and extra neko scenes!! With a fleshed out story in place, you're basically getting more bang for your buck the second time around!
Story (Very Good)
As the description says, its a continuation of the daily lives of the three Minami Sisters. Thats a plot to the uninformed. Also called a sitcom (google it). Now this time around they actually have a rather large cast of characters supporting the three girls. The girls get put into more silly antics than before and all at the same time showing a lot of skin in the process. If
there was any fan service suggestions you thought of that was missed in the first season, its most likely in the second season. Common situations like bath house antics, winter time hijinks, and even valentines day blues they're all there and accounted for. Its all very cliche' but for such a great show as this one can't help but watch the girls in their form and laugh out loud. If you cant realize the story/plot in a sitcom is all about the comedy than one doesn't know what a comedy anime is all about.
You get to see all three sisters in every episode but now they're almost always surrounded by their friends in one situation or another. They follow the 'more the merrier' approach and put all of them in such hilarious situations. Their facial expressions are still as classic as ever complete with the arms in the air. If you had a favorite character you'll just like them even more (Haruka for me) as they're all are even cuter than before. Well aside from their thigh high and miniskirt school uniforms, they wear a lot of different fashions every episode. On top of that theres more antics and silliness in every episode as well. My only gripe is that their friends are a little too friendly. Meaning they like to do things for the minami sisters more often than a normal friend would do. But then again, thats a large reason why this show so funny.
Sound (Very Good)
The background sound effects are all there, the same as before. A lot of bare feet running on hardwood, the sound of the computer fan running, etc etc. All the same as before. The music is exactly the same as before which is fine for such a light hearted, brightly colored, cute anime such as this. Mainly piano solos and light percussions and wind instruments. The opening theme isn't as great as the first seasons but the ending theme is pretty good but really flashy and loud. At least the singers were the same.
As hard as it may seem the art actually seems to be kicked up an extra notch. The background art is the same style as Season 1 but this time theres even more settings in every episode. Theres a lot of random still shots of their apartment, school, etc. But on top of that you will even get to see more things throughout their apartment than just their living room and kitchen. Also, they do a lot more things outside. But the obvious difference isn't just from the background art. The static objects are everywhere from random underwear hanging to dry to uncooked meat getting tossed in a fryer. It all looks like they're done up an extra notch. But the main difference of the artwork, are with the characters. Sure theres more main and supporting cast on screen but how they manage to give them ALL different outfits for almost every show (apart form the school uniform) is pretty impressive in my opinion. You almost wonder if they have a fashion stylist on their payroll.
Overall, its like what the first season should have been. So in essence its a perfect sequel. More of the same stuff, with A LOT of extra additions in every episode. Slight word of caution a lot more skin is included with what I previously stated. But with the addition of all the extra characters theres bound to be a chuckle or two somewhere. It's obvious the different production company tried to emulate Domu's classic hilarity. For the most part it stays pretty well in tact although fans of Domu can spot slight differences. Its so well done, even a normal anime viewer (like me) could hardly tell that it was made by a different company.
So, Minami-ke Okawari, is, as anyone who watched the first series would know, a continuation of the original Minami-ke series. The first thing to be said is that it's not as half as good as the first season. The second thing to be said is that despite that fact, it's still very enjoyable.
I was following Minami-ke Okawari as it came out but I stopped around ep 4 and wasn't really watching it anymore. And with the first season, I searched for the new episode every week until the very last one. It took me a few months to get into Okawari to watch it,
but once I started watching it again I realized it wasn't so bad.
One thing, I guess, is it just doesn't seem to have the charm the first one did. It's not as funny, I can tell you that. It has its moments, but some episodes in Okawari were just sort of mildly amusing.
The story and voice actors and character do not differ from the first, which is good at least. If you don't know, the story consists of three sisters living under one roof and their daily lives. And that's about it for the story and characters. It may sound boring at a glance, but it's done so well that it never drags.
However, the characters and story is not portrayed as well as in the first, so I give a little bit of lower of score than I did on the first season. The animation is very different, but I didn't find too much of a problem with it, though there's much more fanservice in this season which irked me a bit. Okawari's animation is not done spectacularly, but it is sufficent, and I liked how the kept the "regular to serious" style going in this season.
While I enjoyed it, I couldn't give it too high because at first I was struggling to watch the episodes and didn't even watch them as they aired each week. If you were a good fan of the first season this may come off as a little dissapointing. However, I was glad to embrace some more Minami-ke, and it is still a good series.
“Minami-ke” and “Minami-ke ~Okawari~” are such hilarious series, each time I had watched an episode, I couldn't help but watch another one right away or watch one of the previous episodes again.
Focused on the daily life of the Minami sisters, Haruka, Kana, Chiaki and their many friends, it's a nice mix of a slice of life series rife with comedy and conversational banter between the characters, especially between Kana, Chiaki, Touma and Makoto.
It's a solid comedy that never fails to make you burst out laughing, which I can appreciate. While the series is mostly carried by the antics of Kana and Chiaki, and how
their elder sister haruka has to deal with them, I also particularly enjoyed the episodes where their friends Touma and Makoto were prominently featured. Both school friends of Chiaki, Touma is a tomboyish girl that is branded by Chiaki as her 'brother' and most often goes around pretending to be a boy, Makoto is a wimpy boy from Chiaki's class who through circumstances cross dresses as a girl -and starts liking it to boot-. The humorous situations arising from their combined cross-dressing proved to be more entertaining than the main character's silliness at times. I did miss Touma and Makoto more in the latter half of “Minami-ke ~Okawari~”, they are featured less prominently among the Minami sister's many friends (and Touma's brothers disappear altogether in this season).
It also made Touma and Makoto slightly more original characters since the Minami sisters themselves are more stereotypical, the eldest sister Haruka is the perfect housewife with good looks and great academic skills, the middle sister Kana is the lazy troublemaker who will constantly tease the youngest sister Chiaki, who is a very serious bookworm that greatly admires Haruka. It's made clear throughout the series that regardless of their character, all of the Minami-ke sisters became who they are out of affection for their sisters.
Both seasons were done by different production studios so there is a clear difference in character design, but this didn't bother me at all, especially not since both animation styles kept the 'serious' face mode the characters sometimes are portrayed in. (Instead of chibi facial expressions sometimes observed in other series, here their faces will become more realistically styled giving them an absurdly serious undertone compared to the light-hearted and silly content.)
The different styles for both series gives a unique feel to each season which would else not be remarkable since they aired back to back and contained mostly episodic plots and events. For both “Minami-ke” and “Minami-ke ~Okawari~”, the animation itself is good, it never particularly excels but also never drops in level, it remains solid throughout all episodes.
While the soundtracks are more unremarkable and are typical for comedy series, the opening song 'Keikenchi Joushouchuu' of the first season “Minami-ke”, sung by the main seiyuu is a very catchy and happy-go lucky track that fits the series very well.
Both “Minami-ke” season were fun from start to end, so if you're looking for a good laugh, you might want to check this series out.
Okawari follows on from Minami-ke starting the morning after New Year and once again follows the lives of the three Miname sisters as they enter their third semester.
When an anime changes studio’s it’s always worrying, especially on the back of such a successful first series. These fears are realised in Okawari and there are large differences in story styles between the first and second series. Firstly Okawari plays a lot more on the slice of life genre, whereas the previous Minami-ke had some ridiculous, but none the less hilarious moments (Who can forget Kana tying Chiaki up to ward off the rain), this
series tones down the ridiculousness and concentrates more on the character interactions. Also changed are the episode styles, whereas in the first series each episode was split into miniature stories, Okawari dedicates the entire episode to one storyline.
This may not seem like a bad thing and there are plenty of series that pull it off but whereas the first series jumped from incident to incident with little need for build up, Okawari has to build up each joke and follow it up with some relevant storytelling to get to the next laugh which is a little long winded. I found this especially hard during the 7th episode when Kana continually foils Chiaki’s good work and actually got me annoyed at Kana’s character. Kana was probably my favourite character from the first series and for it to turn round to me actually finding her irritating is a prime example of bad storytelling. There have also been a few losses in the studio takeover with the rest of Touma’s family disappearing (I thought Natsuki and Haruka were getting on nicely) and the addition of a new next door neighbour who does nothing for the storyline and is a pretty pointless character.
However much I may complain that the story isn’t up to the excellent standard of the first series, the majority of the storylines are decent themselves, and it still provides a good laugh from time to time, with the addition of some fan service from the girls (not that I felt the series needed any of it) in the traditional onsen sketch and then on every occasion the girls get to jump in the bath.
I have to admit, I fell in love with the first season’s ‘soft art’ (serious poses aside) so I was worried to see what the new studio would change. It’s a pleasant surprise then to find that without notable exceptions the artwork is still the same soft art styling as before, and does contain the serious posing. What the new studio has added to the anime is better backgrounds – Okawari has lots of small unnoticed background objects that look like they should be in focus and also takes place in far more locations than the first series all of which are animated beautifully.
My main complaints stem from character design changes and one of the biggest one for me being a layout change to the Minami household. The first shot of the first season shows each of the girls waking up in their respective rooms, whereas somewhere lost in the time which is New Year is the wall between Kana and Chiaki’s room. They have been shifted into a smaller room separated by a curtain which doesn’t really make sense from a continuity or production viewpoint. Secondly are the character changes to the eyes and hair, the eyes are given more depth and more colour – but I was seriously put off when viewing Haruka’s eyes turn red (I checked back in case I had missed something and they were definitely light brown in the first series), the hair also is given brighter colours and even two tone colours – Chiaki’s hair turning from Haruka dirty blonde into some blonde/dirty brown two tone combination which just looks weird.
Once you get used to the changes you hardly notice them, but for the first few episodes it does sometimes take your attention away from the story when you are trying to figure out if someone on screen is a main character which it will be if they don’t have a blacked out face. The credible art of rendering additional background characters to a high standard, with lots of variety is utterly defeated when the studio isn’t going to actually add in facial features and just blacks out the rest of the character. It looks really odd, and just doesn't fit it with an otherwise fantastically animated show, ruining what is almost a perfect mark.
All of the voice actors have stayed the same, so there is no change in the characters. The OP doesn’t really work well with the series I don’t feel, it’s not quite lively enough for the series nor is it catchy enough, it’s alright but a lot of songs out there would have been better choices for the OP. The ED is better than the OP but again doesn’t really catch the essence of the series which is a bit disappointing, the animation sequence with Kana wiggling her bum as she walks is a bit odd as well, there’s just something not quite right about it. The background music throughout the show is the same brilliant work as in the original however and sets up the jokes well.
The main characters all stay the same and are all brilliant. The only completely new character in the series is Fuyuki, who moves in next door to the Minami’s and is such a disappointing character. He’s a restrained good guy type character, always doing things for other people etc but he never really makes an impression on the series at all, even though he may be mentioned or involved with more than half the show you never actually miss him or want the girls to become distracted with him.
As for the cast from the previous series we get a lot more Touma, Fujioka, Hosaka and Makoto (mainly in the guise of Mako-chan), with the banter between the characters bringing the extra dimension that was in the first series. Gone however are the rest of Touma’s Minami’s which I thought was a shame as I liked Natsuki’s character as a counterbalance to Hosaka’s weirdness.
With the new episode format and the move to a more slice of life type show I think that a little bit of the Minami-ke charm has been lost in the mix, it’s just not as fun to watch as the first was. However comparing it to what is probably the most enjoyable show I’ve watched recently is perhaps not very fair, Okawari is still very fun to watch and the escapades in which the characters get into as still very enjoyable to watch once you get over the new styling.
If you break the scores down its actually 7.6/10 but I really felt that Okawari was probably more than one mark away from the original (which I gave a 9), while still being good in its own right. In the end what brings the score down is the changes involved in the story, with the story focusing more on slice of life than humour the enjoyment of the series decreases, and the addition of Fuyuki is detrimental rather than positive. It’s still a good show and if you enjoyed the first series then I would recommend it, but with the warning that it is not Minami-ke as you know it.