Minami-ke Okaeri – 03
Part 1: The Pudding Fight
In an unusual state of girlish cuteness, Touma excitedly comes home from school one day only to find the pudding she wanted to eat in the hands of her older brother Natsuki. Adding insult to injury, he accidentally drops a spoonfull onto the floor while eating it right in front of her, so she escapes the horrific injustice in her home and finds refuge with the Minami sisters. Haruka calls Natsuki and ends up scolding him for eating Touma’s pudding. He doesn’t realize what a big deal the pudding is. You can only get it from “that” special store near the station. Haruka decides to make some tea for everyone but comes back upset. She had also bought some pudding from “that” store, but instead of three there’s only two cups left… and four girls. Touma endures a guilty conscience while everyone else has a stare-down around the table. When the doorbell rings and no one dares take their eyes off the pudding long enough to answer it, Touma stands up to let Takeru in. Despite a cold welcome from Kana, he comes bearing gifts: a box of “that” store’s special pudding, which makes it enough for everyone to share. After the girls finish fighting about who really ate the third cup of pudding from earlier, everyone enjoys some pudding together. The pudding from “that” store really is a big deal…
Part 2: Apples, Anyone?
Uchida stops by to visit Kana and Haruka bearing a kindhearted gift of delicious ripe apples fresh from the countryside. Despite her generosity, she gets an odd reaction from the girls. Haruka mechanically accepts an apple from her in a zombie-like state and walks quietly into the kitchen, closing the door behind her. When Chiaki walks in, she reacts similarly and quickly makes an excuse to leave the room. Kana gets up to use the restroom and tells Uchida that no matter what, under absolutely no circumstances, can she open the box in the corner while Kana is away. Filled with confusion and curiosity, Uchida confirms that Kana is out of sight and peeks in the large box. To her horror, it’s filled with bright red apples. Kana catches her in the act, and although she forgives her, she also cons her into eating several of Haruka’s fried apples as atonement for her sins. Touma stops by to find Uchida in a horrible state. She excitedly looks forward to some delicious apple treats, unaware of her soon-to-be unfortunate fate. When she returns home in a severe sluggish state, she offers Natsuki a “gift” from Haruka, and immediately retreats upstairs to collapse in her bed while her brothers ponder the meaning of the apple sitting in the middle of the table. Hours pass while they deliberate fruitlessly, until the idea pops up that they should use it to make something for Touma. How about fried apples?
Part 3: Totally Unacceptable
Kana and Chiaki wonder who Haruka is talking to, and Touma says it’s her brother Natsuki. To improve his cooking, Touma asked Haruka to instruct him over the phone on how to make decent curry. When Haruka’s strict and somewhat scary banchou side starts to surface, Kana suggests that maybe she likes him. Chiaki becomes defensive and decides to eavesdrop over Haruka’s conversation and prepare curry using the directions she’s giving to Natsuki. The conversations become crossed, and while Haruka guides Natsuki with a strict hand, Chiaki and Kana’s curry ends up in failure. Touma decides to come home early without eating dinner and Natsuki greets her with a plate of what appears to be cookies… cookies that reek of curry.
Part 4: 100 +7
Touma is enraged once again because Natsuki ate her pudding despite the fact that she wrote her name clearly on the lid this time. Natsuki lightly shoves his big and little brothers away when they confront him and tell him to apologize, but they both end up flying across the room because of Natsuki’s oddly reserved brute strength. Touma escapes her big brothers to ask the Minami sisters if she can spend the night again, and Haruka darkly promises to have a word with Natsuki about his behavior later. Kana suggests that maybe she didn’t write her name on the lid obviously enough, and comes up with a code for Touma that looks like “100” (The on-reading for 10 is ‘Tou’ and ‘ma’ comes from the first syllable for ‘circle’), and writes it in ketchup on top of Touma’s food. Touma comes up with a code for Kana that looks like “+7.” They consider themselves geniuses, but Chiaki refuses to comment until Haruka passes judgment. Unfortunately for Kana and Touma, when Haruka looks at their Ketchup creations, she mistakes it for a math problem instead.
The first section was an excellent dialogue about clueless big brothers and the importance of pudding in the life of a Japanese girl. Some people just don’t get it. (Don’t touch my pudding.) Touma really did feel like a little sister (or brother) to the Minami girls this week. While everyone else was making curry, she was urging them to hurry up and cook dinner using passive aggression, and was freeloading more often than helping. (i.e. drinking the milk straight from the carton, etc…)
As usual, I’m really entertained by the way Kana always seems to know what’s happening in awkward situations but chooses only to drop hints and playfully manipulate the situation instead of clarifying straightforwardly. It’s one of the reasons she’s my favorite of the three girls. Of course, this tendency does not extend to her own awkward situations… (re: Fujioka). Doesn’t she look dangerous with a ladle in her hand?
I was really surprised that Haruka and Natsuki talked on the phone all night about curry, but I love her banchou side (and would like more of it please). I’m also surprised Natsuki survived with his soul in tact. Perhaps he didn’t, considering how awful the curry turned out – if you can call that curry. This isn’t really a romance comedy, but if anything were to develop for Haruka I’d prefer the Natsuki path over the Hosaka one. Besides, Hosaka is destined to creepily strive for Haruka from a distance forever. Don’t worry, I doubt anything more than funny or awkward situations will ever happen in this series. Don’t expect anyone to start dating anytime soon.
Speaking of Natsuki, he got a lot of the sideline spotlight this week, much to my amusement. I thought the oldest brother was the “aniki” of the Minami brothers, but when Natsuki became defensive, he really knocked everyone but Touma out easily with a light shove. His hapless and shy yet tough guy personality shined through hilariously, so I’m really happy with this episode. Despite the weirdness that comes along with a new staff, this is turning out to be my favorite comedy of the season so far.
Next Week: More Touma, and Banchou Haruka