Minami-ke


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     This episode begins with Kana telling the younger kids (her group of idiots) including Makoto about the Japanese New Years tradition of the wearing the kimono, she wants Makoto the wear the flowery kimono, and Touma to wear the reserved male kimono. Then we switch to Riko’s place where she is thinking about calling Fujioka and inviting him to a New Years Eves celebration,  and Keiko gives her Fujioka’s phone number. Back at Fujioka’s place, he is practicing the proper way he wants to ask Kana out for a date on New Years Eve, he debates if he should call her -san or -chan, he seems very shy about using the more familiar/endearing -chan form. He keeps trying to call Kana but she’s on the phone with Keiko. Riko tries to call Fujioka who is trying to call Kana who’s on the phone with Keiko, and in the end no one gets through, so what we have is a lot of frustrated teens (or at-least two frustrated teens). Then the focus switches to Hosaka who’s at work in a noodle shop, he seems to be working very hard at creating noodles, then he slips into another one of his fantasies about him, Haruka and their two daughters, and then we find out he’s not really working there, he’s just creating a dinner he wants to take to Haruka. Later that evening the sister are watching the final episode of the student/teacher romance show Ninomiya and Sensei when Haruka’s friend Hayami shows up to hang out with them, she brings a large quantity of imported “juices” with her. Kana doesn’t think that these juices as very good so she doesn’t really drink that much of the juices, I think that she’s figured out that the juices are alcoholic in nature. Hayami and Kana have Haruka and Chiaki play twister and drink large amounts of  “juice”,  and they end up getting “drunk” on the juice. After a while Haruka and Chiaki are passed out from the “juice”, then a little while later two more or their friends show at the house and soon their passed out too, and then only Hayami and Kana are left awake, Hayami is very drunk from the juice at this point, and Hayami starts to get a little frisky in a yuri way with Kana, and at that very moment on the TV Ninomiya-kun and Sensei are getting ready to have their wedding night rewards, and at that moment in the Minami household there’s no one left to save Kana from Hayami (remember Kana, that no one can hear you scream in space/ or in the Minami household when every-one’s passed out). Well and that’s how the series ends, they leave it up to you to decide what happened to Kana, below are some screen shots.

Kana and her band of fools talking about kimono’s

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Phone Tag

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The triangle of teen frustration.

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Hosaka’s cooking and his dreams of Haruka.

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Hayami’s arrival, juice, and a game of twister.

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More friends arrive and almost everyone passes out.

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Ninomiya-kun and Sensei’s wedding night.

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Hayami wanting some cake to go along with the juice.

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You decide what happened in the end?

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     Well the last episode of the first installment of Minami-ke was in many ways the same as all the other episodes from the series, in a nutshell this series was all about the three sister’s interactions with themselves, their strange but likable friends, and the guys that are attracted to the sisters. This episode deals with the issues of frustrations between teens in a large part. Below are some of those issues.

Fujioka is frustrated by his lack of ability to get anywhere with Kana.

Riko is frustrated because Fujioka’s doesn’t even notice her.

Makoto is frustrated by his attraction to Haruka so much so that he resorts to cross-dressing.

Hosaka is frustrated by his lack of courage to just tell Haruka he likes her.

And Chiaki is constantly frustrated by her dumb-ass sister Kana and some of her idiot friends.

     So, in the end, this series was all about relationships and the frustrations that go along with them, by the end of the series the only couple that seems to have gotten any was Ninomiya-kun and Sensei, unless you count the cake that Hayami tried to taste at the end of the episode, but this being anime the first episode of the next Minami-ke series will probably have Hayami passing out at the last minute. But if not, I’ll feel sorry for Fujioka , after that Kana will probably be chasing Riko, Keiko, and Chiaki. The only thing that I felt that was overly unrealistic was that Haruka was just a little too perfect, she really never got angry, frustrated, overworked or wanted anything for herself like any girl of about seventeen would want just once in a while.

     And one final thought to ruin some anime fans’ slice of life fantasies: No, Japan is not loaded with households full of cute teenaged girls living alone just waiting for the right guy to cure their loneliness, you only can wish.

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      This episode begins with Kana talking to Haruka about Chiaki’s dreams being ruined by Chiaki seeing their cousin Takeru changing into a Santa outfit two years ago. So, Kana has Fujioka sneak into the house and change into a Santa outfit, he goes into her room and places a gift on her bed, just as he is leaving she wakes up and he tells her merry Christmas. Chiaki come running out of the room telling Haruka and Kana that Santa was here and he wasn’t Takeru. Kana playfully instigates a fight with Chiaki by telling her she’s still a child. Later when Chiaki’s asleep, she has a dream about Santa and the gift he left her. Than the show switches to the other Minami household and the atmosphere there is very different from the other household. In my last post about Minami-ke one of the comments left about my post was about how Touma’s brothers talk about her right in front her basically ignoring her, and in this episode that comment more true than ever, it’s almost like she’s the invisible girl, she’s there but not really there. On Christmas day Fujioka goes over to the house to give Kana a gift (that’s a big deal, Christmas time is one of the biggest time of the years in Japan for hooking up, or trying to get hooked up) but once there, he sees Takeru standing outside in a Santa outfit, the Minami girls have stepped out for a while. Takeru and Fujioka end up waiting for a long while the Minami sisters enjoy a good meal in a restaurant, in the end they both have to leave because Takeru has to work the next day and Fujioka has club practice the next morning. The next day Touma is over their house and she’s wonders if she should pay for the food she eats there, of course Kana says yes, but Haruka says not to worry about it. Over the next several days Fujioka struggles with how to give his gift to Kana, in the end he gives Kana a gift of food instead of the really cute Christmas hair bows he originally intended to give her. Well, that’s all for this episode, below are some screen shots. 

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Screen shots of tomboy Touma with her good for nothing brothers, I’ve come to the conclusion that she’s pretty cute when being a tomboy. 

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My impressions of episode 12

@ Yes Kana’s tomboy behavior is caused by her “good for nothing brothers”

@ It’s really cute how Chiaki can be so sarcastic and logical and still believe in Santa Claus.

@ Kana really does care for Chiaki even though they always argue, it would be nice if Chiaki would show her the same once in a while.

@ Fujioka’s vision of a cute Christmas Kana is very nice, but I think changing his gift to food might actually get him farther than the hair bows.

@ Touma really is the invisible girl, her brothers talk about her, and whats good for her, but never listen to what she has to say. They would rather look at pictures of her than actually talk to her in person.

Now a picture of Fujioka’s vision of Christmas Kana, actually his  impression of this Kana is very cute.

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     Back at Touma’s house her three brothers wonder what the other Minami household is like, are they good people or not. They wonder if the reason she’s become more foul mouthed and boy-like is caused by them or the influence of the other household. So the eldest brother orders the youngest brother (Akira) to follow her there and check out the other household. So once he’s there they decide to treat him like Touma to ease his fears. Later at school Kana is talking with Akira about what kind of girls he likes and he tells her he like long hair, so Kana says the perfect girl for him is Riko. Fujioka sees Akira talking with Kana and gets very jealous and goes over to them, Kana tells Akira when he asks who’s that, she tells him he’s the bancho, frightening Akira greatly. Akira gets the wrong impression and thinks that Riko is Fujioka’s girlfriend so he tells him he like Kana instead, making the situation worst. After school we spend about three minutes of the show watching Chiaki kicking a stone around and when she almost gets it home Kana ruins her game without even knowing it. At Haruka’s school the other brother Natsuki wants to thank Haruka for caring for his younger brother and sister, as he’s walking up to Haruka one of her friends pushes him into Haruka’s twin peaks, she’s knows it’s a mistake but he has to take punishment or she’ll loses face. Later Natsuki goes to the other household to thank her properly for caring for Touma and Akira which leads to a funny skit about breasts, nose bleeds, and taking your iron. Well, that’s all for this episode, below are some screen shots.

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     Well, eleven episodes of Minami-ke down and two to go for the first Minami-ke series, so were back to the issues of mistaken perceptions and miscommunication between boys and girls. The other Minami household wants to check out the influence that the other Minami household has on their sister and they end up getting sucked into the black hole of cuteness that is the Minami-ke household, once you cross the event horizon of the Minami household (their front door) your never want to leave, just ask Makoto and Touma. A lot of pretty standard anime perceptions are covered here, virgin guys getting nosebleeds when aroused, well I guess it’s better than showing what happens when horny middle school and high school guys stare and hot chicks for too long. I know what their trying to get at about taking your iron to prevent nosebleeds, that might actually work if the cause of the bleeds is anemia, but when the cause of the nosebleeds is sexual frustration, well over half of Japanese and American teen aged guys would be bleeding over their school desks everyday whether they took their iron or not, it would get quite messy. Where they get it perfectly right is in the skit about Chiaki kicking to rock, I’ve seen my niece who’s about the same age as Chiaki get totally involved in some silly game that can last for a long time, oblivious to everything else. Overall this was a very relaxing episode of anime.

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      This episode begins with Chiaki’s classmates pointing out the fact that a person in class 5-1 has the same last name as hers, and they wonder if theirs a relationship. So they go and check it out, at first Chiaki thinks that Touma Minami is a guy, well she behaves as a guy anyways. They get into a little spat and Chiaki agrees to take on Touma as a younger brother? Later in cooking class Chiaki tweaks Makoto about his cooking skills not being good enough to be able to help Haruka properly. That afternoon Chiaki brings Touma home and when Haruka and Kana walk in they mistake Touma for a guy, but Touma tells them she’s really a girl, Haruka and Kana really thought that she was a guy. Then Mako-chan shows up and Touma recognizes him, but Makoto ask her not to spill the beans. Later Touma tells everyone that even though she’s a girl she’s really a guy, then Kana has Touma sit by her and lifts her shirt to do a body check, after looking under her shirt she tells everyone no matter how you look at it Touma’s much more feminine than Chiaki. A while later Mako-chan tells Touma and Kana that he/she wants to reveal his true nature to Haruka and Chiaki, Kana thinks that it might be interesting, Makoto says that girls clothing can no longer suppress the wild urges of a man. Later Makoto confesses that he’s really a man, Chiaki and Haruka aren’t upset, Chiaki tells Touma that if Mako-chan going to impersonate Touma she should at least try harder (if Makoto could hear this his male wildness might be crushed). The next day at school Touma tells Makoto that Haruka and Chiaki still thinks that Mako-chan is a girl so try confessing to them separately. Back at the Minami house Makoto tells Kana and Touma he wants to revert back to being a guy, Touma tells him it won’t happened. As Haruka and Chiaki arrive home Makoto in his normal state as a boy and he hides under the heated table (kotatsu) rather than caught there as a guy (Well, this would be the perfect location for Ah-kun from Moetan). Makoto takes a lot of physical abuse from Kana while under the table, but a little while later Kana and Touma bail out Makoto under the ruse of a magic trick, he pops out as a girl but Kana says it’s no special magic (another dig at poor Makoto’s manhood). Well, that’s all for this episode, below are some screen shots 

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     Well, another episode on Minami-ke involving gender and gender roles, Chiaki meets a girl named Touma who insists that she really a boy (no reason is given for her wanting to be a boy), actually Touma carries herself more man-like than most boys at the school. Then we have Makoto who dresses like a girl in order to be closer Haruka, the object of his affection. Whats really funny is that when Mako-chan tried to confess his secret to Chiaki and Haruka they thought it was funny, Chiaki’s even told Touma that if Mako-chan wanted to try and be a boy she should try harder, poor Makoto even though he wants Haruka to see him as a man he comes off as a girl. I thinks at that young age it’s easier for Touma to pull of the boy thing than it would be for Makoto to pull off the girl thing. But dressing boy as girls is nothing new, it was pretty standard in European society, up until the late Victorian period to dress boys in almost the same clothes (dresses, frocks, and so forth) as girls up until they were aged 6-7

http://members.tripod.com/~histclo/chron.html.

     My only advice for Makoto is to go with the flow, if dressing as girl keeps him close to Haruka then keep it up, I really don’t think Haruka has a shota complex, he may wish it so but I don’t think it would really turn out the way he hopes.

Now we join Ah-kun for a special addition, Minami-ke corner. 

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 Remember boys, Ah-kun says “when you have a group of cute girls seated around a Kotatsu there’s no better place to be than underneath it, the views can be most stunning!”

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     This episode begins with Haruka having a day off from school, and the other sisters think that she’s having a great time resting, but in reality she is very bored. The next day Chiaki wakes Kana up by sitting on her because she overslept, so Kana comes up with a plan to make Chiaki oversleep, she wakes her up in the middle of the night and tries to keep her awake by talking to her. So Kana asks Chiaki to tell her what she really thinks of her, so Chiaki talks for hours about what kind of idiot Kana is and why she thinks Kana’s stupid. In the end Kana’s plan fails because they both end up falling asleep in the dining room, and that’s where Haruka finds them in the morning. Then next week Chiaki wakes Kana up in the middle of the night to present her with a 10,000 word essay on her stupidity, and she tells her to read it and reflect on it. The next funny skit is when Kana gets sick Chiaki looks after her and Kana tells her to go watch her favorite TV show but she says watching her suffer is much more entertaining, a short while later Kana is better and Chiaki get ill. Then there’s a pretty funny skit about the sister trying on each others school uniforms, amazingly enough Haruka can still fit into Kana’s uniform and the skirt is eye pleasingly short on her. Next, Kana talks Chiaki into making a cake by telling her that Haruka wanted to eat that kind of cake, but before Haruka gets home Kana eats the whole thing causing a fight between the girls, and Haruka defuses the situation by telling them they’ll  make another cake together. Well, That’s all for this episode, below are some screen shots.

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     Well, this episode in a switch from the last few episodes, in the last few episodes school, and relationships with school friends were featured, but this episode concentrated on the relationship between Kana and Chiaki. For the most part I find their relationship to be funny and amusing, but I can’t shake the fact that Kana is jealous of Chiaki’s closeness to Haruka, it’s almost like she feels that she needs Chiaki to state the fact that she’s loves her as a sister (can anyone see the yuri potential here, I’ll be willing to bet that there’s dozens of Dōjinshi featuring this pairing available in Japan right now). Overall a nice, relaxing, slowly paced episode of anime. 

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     This episode begins with Hosaka trying to figure out a way to befriend Haruka so he can get a invitation to her house, Maki tries to protect Haruka from Hosaka but Hayami thinks it’s interesting so she goes with the flow. Maki freaks out when she hears Hosaka’s cheesy ideas on how he can steal Haruka’s affections, and those ideas seem more creepy than romantic to Maki. Then the show moves to the Minami household where Chiaki tries to teach Kana how to properly make large bubbles with crewing gum, and after much training Kana show no skill at it, but when Haruka arrives home she shows even more skill than Chiaki can muster, Chiaki calls it a God like technique. The next day at school Hayami calls Hosaka vain and cowardly for not having the nerve to go and talk to Haruka instead of just scheming about her. Hosaka even goes so far as cooking French style bento in hopes of sharing them with Haruka but he comes up with a excuse not to share them with her. The next day he gets his chance to give Haruka a bento because she doesn’t have a lunch, but at the last minute one of Haruka’s friends give her some rice balls and Hosaka chickens out again. On his way home, Hosaka has another vision of him and Haruka as a family with two young daughters but his vision is imperfect because Haruka isn’t smiling at him. Well that’s all for this episode, below are some screen shots.

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     Well episode 8 of Minami-ke was very enjoyable I was waiting for an entire episode dedicated to Haruka, and I got my wish for the most part. Watching many of Haruka’s friends and acquaintances getting some screen time was very interesting, the girl I found the most enjoyable was Hayami, she knows just how to tweak Hosaka about his infatuation with Haruka, Hayami judges him correctly, he’s vain, and a coward when it comes to talking to Haruka. He suffers from the affliction a lot of teenage boys suffer from, how to talk to girls, he thinks that he needs some special material to be able to talk to Haruka, and he just comes off as vain and creepy. When I was a teenager I thought that girls were a totally different form of life, I needed to be macho and tried to impress them too, and come off a lot of times as immature or silly. Now later in life I have finally learned to secret to communicating with women/girls, and if I had known this lesson when I was a teenager I would have gotten ten times as much play as I did back then. Here’s the lesson, when talking to women/girls, be kind, nice, friendly, really listen and be interested in what they have to say, and talk about normal things you have in common, you don’t have to act macho or talk a lot of shit because most of the time they can see right through it. Now to my impression of Haruka, it’s easy to see why Hosaka is falling in love with Haruka, when compared to the other girls around her she is a fully mature confident women not a teen-aged girl, so I can see anyone’s attraction to her compared to the other girls.

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     This episode continues the Mako-chan storyline as he/she has dinner again at the Minami household, and Kana gets enjoyment out of the fact that she started Makoto on his journey of cross-dressing. Kana wants to continue her mission of transforming people, at school she thinks that if she could wear Keiko’s glasses it will make her look more intelligent, and seeing wearing glasses is just too funny. Then back at home Kana decides to give self-defense lessons to Chiaki’s friends, we see that her stupidity knows no bounds, but some of the girls are stupid enough to fall for it. when Kana is in the school library she runs into Fujioka and they talk for a while, then they meet two 3rd year girls, one of whom is the “official banchou” her name is Yu, but Kana thinks that Fujioka should battle her for the title banchou. The issue is settled by a game of rock, paper, and scissors, with the girl throwing the match to Fujioka. Then Kana finds out from the two 3rd year girls that there are many legends surrounding Haruka while she was in middle school and that Haruka was the original banchou, then Kana gets one of the girls to write down all of Haruka’s legends in a notebook. Later that evening at home Kana makes a reference to one of the incidents listed in the notebook drawing a shocked response from Haruka, later we get to see Haruka’s memory of the incident. Well that’s all for this episode, below are some screen shots.

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     Well, Minami-ke episode 7 continues with the Makoto/Mako-chan cross-dressing storyline, what I find interesting is that he/she is now buying more girl clothes on his own, I know that it was his attraction to Haruka that caused his initial cross-dressing but now is it his continued attraction to Haruka or has Kana forced him to get in touch with his inner girl? Speaking of Kana, she is a good natured, caring girl at heart, but she has got to be one of the dumbest girls I seen recently in anime, I mean we see girls in anime that can be pretty clueless but Kana is a real rock. While most of the previous episodes were centered around Kana and Chiaki and their friends and the situations revolving around their school relationships, in these episodes Haruka is usually the voice of calm and reason and the stability in the household. While Haruka gets a lot of screen time we really don’t get to know any of her history or what makes her tick. So, I was really pleased seeing a episode featuring her background from junior high school, long live banchou Haruka Minami.

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