Minami-ke is a slice of life comedy centring on the three Minami sisters (no mention of any other family except a distant relative) and their friends as they go about their lives – usually with hilarious consequences. Each episode is portrayed in short segments spread throughout, much like azumanga diaoh with each segment having its own theme, but usually fitting round a general episodic storyline. The vast majority of the story takes place at the girls various schools (each sister attends a grade school) and at home, giving a wide scope for hilarity to ensue, with most of the comedy coming from the younger sisters Chiaki and Kana.
Although there may not be a storyline moving towards a dramatic ending, as the genre’s nature is, each episode is well written to bring a smile to the face. The way the story is portrayed with the characters and the styling, make this one of the most fun and enjoyable series that you’ll watch – its just good fun.
The art in Minami-ke is commonly called soft art, whatever they call it, it fits in with the story and the characters brilliantly. The character designs are some of the best I have seen, every aspect of the characters is well animated, and I love the facial animations – especially the tear drop mouth. The backgrounds are all nicely done, and the schools and Minami home are all animated well.
My only complaint with the animation is the tendency to switch styles when the girls are being serious to a more hardened styling. The first time it happens it’s quite a shock, usually involving facial close ups, with additional details added to the eyes and nose detail – it just seems out of place with the rest of the animation being so soft, and they could probably have had the same effect without resorting to a different animation style. This is a small complaint though and the rest of the artwork is beautiful.
The OP isn’t to my tastes but is lively, happy and catchy, generally a good mood setter for the series, the ED is again lively and if anything catchier than the OP. The voice acting is of a high standard throughout the anime, everything sounding right, from Kana’s relentlessly enthusiastic voice to Chiaki’s slightly deeper (not in a bad way!) dead pan voice work really well with the characters.
The background music involved reminds me of the background music from azumanga diaoh - it sets the pace of the segments where it is used, and is normally timed for comedic effect and adds in that extra little bit of fun to the anime.
This show works because of its strong range of characters and supporting characters throughout the series, with most of the supporting characters getting better development than main characters from other animes.
The Minami sisters work brilliantly well, with Kana’s abundance of energy and lack of common sense being offset by Chiaki’s superior wit and intolerance for idiots. That said it’s up to Haruka to keep the peace, although this is not easy as both siblings vie for Haruka’s affection at every turn.
The supporting cast is very strong, with a few strong recurring characters, each of them likeable, my only complaint was about the gender bending Makoto/Mako, while his initial cross dressing was hilarious, the more often ‘Mako’ turned up the less I liked the character, however this was somewhat offset with the introduction of Touma (not really a gender bender, as had it forced upon her) later in the series, which seemed to give Makoto a counter balance which I felt was needed.
What makes this show such a success is the way the characters combine, and would not have been half as funny if the extensive range of characters were not involved. The continual battle of wits between Chiaki and Kana is brilliant to watch, and the way they both manipulate their friends into their schemes is highly amusing.
This is one of the most enjoyable series I have seen, the characters are wonderfully developed and animated and the scripting for the episodes is brilliant – you’ll get at least on good laugh out of every episode, which is basically what this type of series is about, putting a smile of the viewers face.
Miname-ke sets a high standard across the board for it portrayal of brilliant characters, fantastic animation and brilliant use of music. Each storyline brings something new, and you never know what to expect except that its going to be hilarious. I had been looking for a while for something that could compete for laughs with azumanga diaoh’s slapstick comedy and in Miname-ke I found it – in fact its probably the best anime of its type out there at the moment.