Minami-ke: The Accumulation of the Ludicrous

Welcome to Anime wa Bakuhatsu da!, “I have no idea what I’m going to write about tonight! Help!” edition! Thrills! Excitement! Boys dressed as cute girls! It’s all here!

Er, well, this is about Minami-ke, so enough complaining and on to it. I recently found the time to blast through the last few episodes of the first season (I still haven’t so much as started the second season) and I felt like I wanted to talk about it only now, so here you are!

I was thinking recently about the series, and I’ve reached a reason why I found it so hilarious: not only is it totally absurd in character actions, but nearly every story is like that strip of Calvin and Hobbes where a derailed train, a crashing airplane, a stampede of escaped zoo animals, and various other nasty things are all coincidentally converging on Farmer Smith’s house, where he is (of course) lighting his gas stove with a match, unaware of the massive gas leak in his home. What I mean by this is, the situation starts out with a simple misunderstanding between two characters, and, although, in the viewer’s mind, the situation is easily resolved by shouting things at the screeen, the characters are behind that screen, and therefore cannot hear you. So, because they’re all characters who tend to overthink the situation to an absurd degree, things quickly spiral out of their control.

Take, for example, the lovely Makoto. He likes Haruka, but Chiaki hates him. Clever Kana, however, comes up with an idea to save him: dress him up as a girl, so that Chiaki won’t recognize him. And, thus, Mako-chan is born. Now, to us, the viewer, the way out is easy: simply explain that you’re actually a guy and everything will sort itself out, right?

Wrong. If it hadn’t been for Touma showing up, being the tomboy that she is, Makoto could have easily gotten out of his predicament. Instead, of course, things spiral far beyond his control, and even telling the truth is simply assumed to be a falsehood, because the Minami sisters are oblivious to everything. And, to make matters worse, Makoto finds himself drawn, strangely, to wearing female clothing, leading to a supreme sense of general gender confusion on his behalf.

What makes this funny instead of woefully tragic (I can almost imagine this exact same setup in a drama) is that no matter how much Mako-chan twists and turns to try and get out of this situation, not only do things not get better, they get increasingly worse. It’s that accumulation of the ludicrous, the sense, as you watch the series, that as more and more people are brought into the series, the more complicated the situation between them gets, until it’s almost unbearably large. Of course, it doesn’t stop there.

It’s an incredibly over-the-top comedy, in the way that Dokuro-chan could only dream of. What is over-the-top about it isn’t a large amount of slapstick and shouting, which I never found especially humorous, but a much more classy over-the-top. To give you a terribly frightening mental image, it’s Guy Shishiou, the beloved cyborg hero from GaoGaiGar, in full fighting regalia, with a tuxedo on top of that, a pipe in his mouth (bubble or tobacco, it doesn’t matter at this point) , sitting on a plush velvet armchair, and hosting tonight’s episode of Masterpiece Theater.

That is how ever-the-top Minami-ke is. It’s remarkably sophisticated yet insanely ludicrous at the same time. How many anime comedies can lay claim to that title?

4 Responses to “Minami-ke: The Accumulation of the Ludicrous”

  1. 1 rah-rah 20 March 2008 at 1:19 am

    Best comedy of the year. Hands down. and you sir are BOSS

  2. 2 Deranged 20 March 2008 at 1:01 pm

    Mako-chan and Hosaka brung this show up with their injection of comedy… So much, that it is one of the best comedies ever in my eyes =P

  3. 3 TheBigN 20 March 2008 at 2:23 pm

    I wouldn’t say that the humor in Minami-ke is over the top (nowhere near as Potemayo for example), but I really like the character dynamics in the show. And there’s a lot more Mako-chan in Okawari, for better or worse (better in my case. :P)

  4. 4 voodoomage 4 April 2008 at 9:53 am

    Okawari in no Minami-ke season 1… I wish the same studio had done both seasons…

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I cannot understand those that take anime seriously, but I can love them, and I do. Out of my love I warn them to keep clear of this blog.

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March 2008

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