The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

Minami-ke: Okaeri

Title: Minami-ke: Okaeri aka The Minami Family: Welcome Home
Genre: Comedy
Company: asread
Format: 13 episodes
Dates: 4 Jan 2009 – 29 Mar 2009

Synopsis: It’s New Years, and the Minamis are ready for a year filled with excitement and laughter. Join the three sisters this third time around as they interact with the people around them and get themselves inevitably tangled in more hilarious misunderstandings.

The Highlights:
Art quality: Fluctuates wildly.
Sentimental moments: None.
Humor: A bit predictable, but still enjoyable, thanks to…
Hosaka: His Kingdom come. His Will be done.

The second sequel to Minamike, Okaeri offers little new in terms of content. This may be a good thing or a bad thing; if one wishes to experience the hilarity of the first season, Okaeri is definitely a better bet than Okawari. Yet, several flaws hinder this show reaching the level of excellence exhibited in the original series.

Admittedly, the humor in the series is beginning to wear off. There are still many genuinely hilarious moments (usually involving Hosaka), but the jokes become rather predictable. More wordplay and punnery is involved this time around, but these jokes would probably fly over the non-Japanese speaker’s head. This perhaps makes the humor in Okaeri even more exclusive than the humor in previous seasons.

There are almost no serious moments in this season of Minamike. This is probably a good thing, as asread has demonstrated that being serious is not their forte. Though, it does feel a bit hackneyed after the third of fourth time that a serious, sentimental moment becomes a slapstick gag. This happens a bit too often for comfort in Okaeri, and cheapens the humor often to the point of being cliched and unfunny.

Fortunately, there’s Hosaka. Everything about him is hilarious; this is especially ironic because he hasn’t changed at all since Season 1. This is perhaps for the better. I would definitely argue that his segments are far and away the funniest ones in the series, especially the one where he (unwittingly) influences a member of the Minami family. Despite the fact that he is an absolute creep, he manages to bring lots of heart and humor to the series, and is definitely the high point of the season.

As funny as this season is, the animation quality remains problematic. There are many moments in which the faces of characters are incorrectly proportioned, or simply look warped. Upon first glance, it may seem that asread did not put a lot of effort into animation; yet, upon closer inspection, one quickly finds out that the animation quality fluctuates wildly between episodes. During some episodes, the animation is crisp and all characters are well-proportioned at all times; in other episodes, the animation is choppy, poor and characters look downright ugly. Bad animation is understandable; but animation that fluctuates wildly in quality makes me scratch my head, because it demonstrates that the studio is fully capable of producing quality work, but doesn’t for some unknown reason. This is undoubtedly Okaeri‘s biggest flaw, and is the primary reason why this third season is not as good as the original.

At the end of the day, Okaeri is probably worth watching if you enjoyed the original: certainly a better work than Okawari, but not as brilliant as the first season. The third season stays truer to the original spirit of Minamike, but this is probably its most fatal flaw: with no real new content and lacking animation, I can not consider Okaeri anything more than a cheaper, budget knock-off of the original Minamike. Don’t get me wrong; you’ll still have tons of fun watching the show (especially if it’s your first Minamike), but it’s just not as good as the original.

The Rating: 6

Reviewed by: Akira

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