Minami-ke Okaeri – 04
Part 1: The Boss
While Haruka prepares Kana’s favorite snack after school one day (cheese lemon custard chiffon pie), Kana receives divine punishment when she tries to sneak a taste of Touma’s portion. Both Kana and Haruka have been told by Touma’s brothers that she’s been acting rougher than usual lately, acting much more violently and basically like a boy. Using a wild gang of dogs as an example, Chiaki suggests that Touma realizes Haruka is the leader of their ‘pack.’ Things heat up when Chiaki and Kana try to decide once and for all which of them is higher ranking, but Haruka’s frightening banchou power settles things before they can finish. Touma stops by just in time to see the dust settle and almost gets blamed for the argument, but it’s all hugs and sparkles after a few more frightening words from Haruka.
Part 2: A Feminine Reaction
Touma gets in deep trouble with Natsuki after breaking a promise to come home on time for dinner, and fails miserably at defending herself in return. He’s being stricter and rougher than ever in an effort to quell Touma’s masculine side. He even consulted Haruka about it at school. Kana decides the best thing to do is show Natsuki proof that Touma has in fact been acting girly lately. She hands Touma a questionable photo, and tells her if he starts to get angry, just show it to him quickly in order to fend off the incoming attack. When Touma arrives home late for dinner again, Natsuki storms toward the front door in a rage, prompting Touma to pull out the photo as quickly as she can to protect herself. After a few moments of silence, Touma opens her eyes to find that Kana’s plan worked! Natsuki isn’t mad at her anymore, and isn’t even saying anything about being late for dinner. After Touma skips away in glee, Natsuki is left standing in shock at the front door, staring at the photo of (Touma’s girly reaction to) a sleepy, disheveled, sexy Haruka.
Part 3: Expressive Eyes
The Minami brothers gather around the kotatsu to (pointlessly) discuss what to buy for Touma’s upcoming birthday, while Touma sits just a few feet away ignoring them as thoroughly as she can. Natsuki says he’ll take care of it this year. At school, Kana’s friend leaks some “new” banchou info to her, but it turns out she already knew about Minami Natsuki’s rough habits. In Natsuki’s class, his devoted (and oddly voiced) kouhai Hitomi can see in his eyes that he forgot his wallet, and tries to force feed him a cute tako-weener. After lending him some money for lunch, Hitomi tells Natsuki that his emotions and thoughts are always really easy to read from the expression in his eyes. Hitomi blushingly runs away after misinterpreting Natsuki’s ‘loving big sister’ (in mafia terms) expression that was actually directed towards Haruka. She lands face first into Haruka and Maki, but escapes teary-eyed and without an explanation. When Haruka looks up with eyes full of doubt and worry, Maki is forced to ask what in the world Natsuki’s suspicious eyes are expressing. They’re clearly the eyes of being misunderstood.
Part 4: Narrow Escapes
On a rainy day, Hitomi asks Maki for some advice about acting like an adult. Hosaka interrupts their conversation when he walks up soaking wet and yet holding an umbrella. While explaining how naïve Haruka is despite her adult appearance, he fantasizes about saving the day by offering his umbrella after she forgets her own on a rainy day like today. Hitomi somehow interprets Hosaka’s words as advice on how to be an adult, and runs off on a mission. She can see in Natsuki’s eyes that he forgot his umbrella, and tries to forcefully lend him her pink bunny one, thinking that this is how she can act like an adult for his sake. As the clouds begin to clear and a ray of light shines through into the classroom, Hitomi once again misinterprets the direction of Natsuki’s gaze that is filled with hope and salvation. Elsewhere, Haruka unknowingly escapes a dangerous situation of her own as the clouds clear up. Hosaka rests the umbrella near the classroom door and walks away with soggy socks and a smile on his face. At the Minami brothers’ home, Touma opens her gift. Touma is perplexed to find a plain umbrella wrapped in green bunny rabbit wrapping paper. Her brothers congratulate her with a round of applause. Job well done.
Haruka’s banchou power is glorious. I feel like season one skipped out a bit on how complex her character was, but this is excellent. They are doing a good job of blending total innocence with mafia level commandment of the silliness going on around her. If only Hosaka got to see the other half of her sometime, I wonder what his fantasy would be like. Hosaka. The rain evaporated off of him in heat waves because of his.. passionate feelings. I’m not sure how I feel about that.
Kana knew exactly what she was doing when she handed Touma the photo of Haruka to give to Natsuki. She must have. Granted, it did show Touma’s feminine reaction to Haruka’s problem, but even Touma suspected it would be wrong to hand Natsuki that photo up until Kana told her it would be fine. Ah, to be blissfully young and innocent. Also, great reference to season one, but with much less blood loss. As Hitomi pointed out, Natsuki looks up towards Haruka as his ane-ue, with loads of respect and admiration, and probably the occasional bloody tissue. Hitomi’s voice is really weird. I’m sure I’ll get used to it, but she feels like a stray cat. A prideful, cute, mafia stray cat. I’m not happy that her weird crush is interfering in the dynamics between Natsuki and Haruka, but I’m sure nothing will come of it.
Those of you waiting for Mako-chan, the preview proves that this season is wrapping up all loose threads as well as making new ones. I feel like I’m praising this season a lot. I think it’s a mixture of lowered expectations (from season two) and actually doing a great job despite that challenge.