Archive for the 'minami-ke' Category

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?

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Hosaka is a REAL man

He suffers such hardships for his woman. Or, well, in his “simulations”.

I’m almost done with Minami-ke, and despite episode 8 not having any random cuts to Sensei & Ninomiya-kun, it was still impressive. Hosaka may actually be my favorite character; his amazingly vivid imagination and odd personality quirks makes him the amusement machine that he is. I love the fact that he spends time and effort coolly calculating out how he’s going to end up with Haruka as his wife. Of course, no one bothers to inform him that Kana and Chiaki are not her daughters but, instead, her sisters, which is perfectly fine by me since we get uber-cute child Kana. He’s not a shameless womanizing bastard (like so many characters of his type tend to be; see Asaba from Kareshi Kanojo no Jijou), he’s instead very, very devoted to his one true love, who, sadly, being Haruka, doesn’t seem to notice. This may be a good thing, however, since Haruka is indeed the Banchou, and would likely clean his clock.

And on the absurdity of Minami-ke, just look at that screencap–there is no logical reason why Hosaka is covered in snow there. We were treated to him giving his umbrella to Haruka earlier, whereupon he became massively soaked, and now, someone, after he gives his scarf to her on a snowy night, he mysteriously becomes covered in snow. If you ask me, it would’ve been funnier if the snow accumulated rapidly on him after he gave up his scarf while, at the same time, not accumulating on Haruka, but, as it stands, it’s still a brilliant moment. I still can’t believe this is from the guy who did Today in Class 5-2, but I remember 5-2 being somewhat similar to Minami-ke, just more…ero-ero.  And with only elementary-schoolers. Which may be a plus, depending on who you are.

Year-End Anime Awards for 2007

It’s that time of year again.

The air is cold, the night is swift, and Dick Clark is still alive and no one knows why.

Yes, it is the end of 2007, and that means we get the end of the year “best of” awards ceremony. Criteria: the show must have started its broadcast in 2007. So, everything from winter season to fall season is fair game. So here we go!

Best Drama About Drama: Hitohira

Refreshingly original characters, a slight hint of yuri, and some real emotional power drives this series. I kind of glossed over it, and then heard about it from a friend of mine, and then watched it, expecting it to be some kind of mild schoolhouse comedy. Instead I got an incredible and moving drama. It came from nowhere and socked me with both cute and poignancy. How many of your average moe shows get that done, tell me?

Best Space Opera That Was Based on Seventies Manga: Terra e…

A rather inauspicious start led into a flurry of emotions and an actually epic plot, something its contemporary Heroic Age could have only wished it was. Not only that, the anime actually improves on the original manga, making it much more affecting.

Best Show With Immortal Gangsters: Baccano!

I’ve already said my piece about this show, of course, but to review: incredible characterization and a very tightly scripted plot turned this show into one of the real winners of 2007. The whole series would have flopped, in my opinion, had it been 26 episodes, due to the slow pacing that would have been brought on it.

Best Comedy About Little…Things That No One Knows What They Are: Potemayo

The 4koma nature of the manga this was adapted from led to a totally nonsensical anime. And it was good that way. It’s been a while since an anime comedy made me laugh as consistently as Potemayo did, and doing it all without making references is a plus.

Best Show About Drills: Tengen Toppa Gurren-Lagann

I don’t think I actually have to talk about this one much. I was relatively unimpressed by the first episode for some reason (hype got to me, I think–I kind of expected it to be a hilarious episode, and not an episode of burning passion for some reason) but I quickly warmed up to the series and ended up loving it all the way through. It was, indeed, manly as all get out. And well-paced past a certain point, too.

Best Romantic Drama Wherein There are Numerous Visual Tricks Because Shinbo is Crazy: ef – a tale of memories

I just wrote a post on this since it just ended, so it’s still fresh in my mind, but it’s definitely one of the top-tier series this year. See previous posts on the topic for reminders on why it’s listed here.

Honorable Mentions

“Honorable Mentions”, in this case, usually means “this show is really good but I haven’t actually finished it yet”.

Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei
Minami-ke

We got not one, not two, but three rather clever comedies this year, Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei being the funniest Shinbo Akiyuki show to date, and Minami-ke being….Minami-ke. All three of them are worthy of note, but I just haven’t finished these two. For shame.

Hidamari Sketch

Notable simply because it marked a point where Shinbo stopped being Pani Poni Dash Shinbo and became the Shinbo I can actually find amusing and interesting to watch. I was apathetic before this show; now I’m as much of a Shinbo whore as the next person. So, uh, yeah.

Lucky Star

I actually did finish this, and it was really fun to watch, and I will be buying the upcoming DVDs, so I can’t really explain why it’s down here. Notable, however, for turning a relatively mediocre manga into a huge otaku phenonmenon. Amazing what Kyoto Animation can do, isn’t it?

CLANNAD

Again, you probably know my stance on this show. The relationship dynamics between Tomoya and Nagisa are great, and the one arc I’ve seen so far has been pretty good. And I hear the Kotomi arc is great.

Moyashimon

Yes, let’s make a show about bacteria! And it will be the greatest thing ever!

Mobile Suit Gundam 00

Nothing’s changed since I last watched an episode. It’s still going strong. 30th anniversaries are wonderful things.

Sketchbook ~full color’s~

The other slice of life show about artists. It’s not as viusally clever as Hidamari Sketch is, but it’s a lot more relaxing and funny, thanks to Team Aria.

Dennou Coil

I still can’t figure out why I’m watching this so slowly. I think I’m trying to preserve the awesome as long as possible. Yeah, that’s it.

Darker than BLACK

I’m still only partway through this, but it’s been fairly good thus far. I don’t think it’ll make it into the top-tier up there, but I like the way every arc is focused around character development over action. It could just as easily have been an straightforward action show, but, instead, it’s a pretty nifty study in character.

Ghost Hound

It’s finally shaped itself up to be a good, creepy show. Even if it’s not allegedly as bizarre as Serial Experiments: Lain, I still like it.

I think that’s everything. As you can see, this year has been quite bountiful with the goods.

Minami-ke is a great comedy

Spot the trap.

I honestly didn’t expect much out of Minami-ke when I fired up episode 1. I figured I’d like it, but I didn’t figure it’d smack me in the face with an absolutely bizarre and brilliant sense of humor. It rises up out of the “schoolgirl comedy” subgenre by being completely absurd. The best part of episode 2 had to have been the running televised loincloth competition joke. I mean, it made so little sense that I thought the series was never going to be able to top it. But then…

SENSEI!

NINOMIYA-KUN!

*screeeeeeech*

and the show skyrocketed into totally hilarious territory.

Granted, the random TV bits are the best example for why I respect the comic ability of this series. The series as a whole strikes me as just plain absurd. Nothing in the series makes any kind of literal sense. Kana and Chiaki somehow turning a love confession letter into a letter of challenge was a stroke of genius. Later episodes, such as Haruka’s classmate having bizarre fantasies of her as a mother (with her two children being Kana and Chiaki) just plain out had me in stitches. Not bad for a show I thought would just be another mildly amusing schoolgirl comedy.

The series does tend somewhat to the more sexual-innuendo laced kind of jokes somewhat a bit too often, which isn’t really a problem, but it feels kind of jarring, given the rest of the show. It almost feels tacked on, since the author of the manga is the same guy who did Today in Class 5-2 seemingly can’t do a series without lacing it with sexual innuendo. Sometimes, however, the tendency towards the ero-ero makes for pure and definitely not ero-ero hilarity. Which is always a good thing.

And the last episode I watched (6) did something I never thought possible–I actually found a guy dressed as a girl kind of cute. I assume it’s just because I’m weak vs. hairclips and failed my saving throw. There’s no other explanation. Now there’s talent.


NOTICE SHAMELESSLY STOLEN FROM G.K. CHESTERTON

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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