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« Minami-ke Tadaima – 13 (END)

Minami-ke Natsuyasumi – OVA

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「みなみけ 夏やすみ」
“Minami-ke Natsuyasumi”

This is the pose for wishing for more Minami-ke.

This is familiar territory for fans of Minami-ke: wondering if the latest anime is going to be the last, and hoping there’s more to come.  It’s almost always a question with OVA releases but even more so with this series, as Minami-ke exists squarely in that nebulous middle zone where a continuation always seems possible, but never guaranteed.  BD/DVD sales for the show are almost always above the Manabi Line (which has probably lost whatever practical meaning it once had, which was probably not much) but not by a lot.  The series exists on the fringe of mainstream consciousness, equally popular in Japan and the West but not overwhelmingly so, with the manga coasting along pretty much as it always has.  Minami-ke exists in a timeless world, where the cast never ages and women’s clothing can no longer contain Makoto’s wildness as a man.  As usual, all we can do is hope.

You’ll find few fans who would disagree that the most recent "Tadaima" season of M-K is the best since the classic first from 2007.  In fact, you’ll find a few who argue that it matched or even surpassed that season – I won’t go quite that far, as the Ohta Masahiko-directed S1 remains for me perhaps the single greatest season of anime comedy in the last six years.  But Tadaima comes pretty damn close, and represents a huge return to form for the franchise under Studio Feel.  It was a wonderful surprise, as if you signed a great ballplayer in his late 30′s, seemingly well past his prime – you sign him because you figure there will be flashes of brilliance and you know what you’re getting, and he goes out and has an MVP season reminiscent of his glory days.

If you watched the fourth season, you’ll certainly have a good idea what you’re getting from the Natsuyasumi OVA.  The general rule of thumb with OVAs is that they’re rarely as good as the best work from their TV counterparts, and that’s especially true with comedies.  The best chapters usually get picked for the TV episodes, because that’s what the studio is trying to sell on Blu-ray, and I suspect that’s true with Minami-ke as well.  But this is the sort of series that has an almost endless variety of source material to draw on, and it’s so mini-episodic that three or four sketches can usually be pulled together to produce a special that feels pretty consistent with the series itself.  That’s the case here – there’s nothing too memorable, but a good number of solid laughs.

It’s always a bit of a disappointment when an OVA arrives and there isn’t much Makoto/-chan or Hosaka, and each appears only for a baka moment here (the latter alongside Maou-sama and Chihiro)  The focus is squarely on the three sisters – especially Chiaki – with supporting appearances from pretty much everyone in the cast, including a wayward rhinoceros beetle with a homing instinct and a love for melons.  The title is truth in advertising – the focus is on summer vacation, though things get nowhere near as freaky or depressing as they did in Watamote world.  Kana is delinquent on her summer homework (no surprise there) an Chiaki is struggling with her personal goal of completing a back hip circle (again, no surprise there).  There isn’t much Haruka, truth be told – but what her appearances lack in quantity, they make up in quality.  That’s a beach trip (and an outfit) that really screams out for the comic potential of Mako-chan’s presence.

Natsuyasumi does make a brief sojourn or two into the realm of earnestness, a place where Minami-ke  goes every once in a great while – usually in season finales.  There’s a warm moment between Chiaki and Fujioka (pretty well confirming the fact that she’s crushing hard on him) and a nice rapprochement after a feud between Kana and Chiaki which starts when Kana falsely blames Chiaki for the escape of rhinoceros beetle Diamond #2 (in truth, he was just visiting Touma, who named him Natsuki, which led to some solid comedy in the Minami #2 household).  There’s also the requisite food porn (shabu shabu and family restaurant steak and desserts) to help tide you over till next time.  And I prefer to believe there will be a next time – this is a series I don’t think I’ll ever outgrow.

August 21, 2013 at 7:17 pm
19 comments »
  • August 21, 2013 at 7:36 pmHibiki-kun

    Lol Maou-san had a cameo appearance here. xD

  • August 21, 2013 at 7:55 pm†Croos†

    This is why I like you Enzo.

  • August 21, 2013 at 8:55 pmTomislol

    “やはりCOLAだ” LOL @ Housaka after all that grunting noises

    • August 21, 2013 at 9:36 pmAnnyms

      LOL I thought that was the funniest part of the episode. I don’t think Mauo-san and Chi-chan find Hosaka any more out of the ordinary than what they’ve seen before.

      That Haruka fan service though does make up for her lower screen time this OVA.

  • August 21, 2013 at 9:35 pmberrish17

    Love Minami-ke’s mini episodes :))

  • August 21, 2013 at 11:04 pmRockmanshii

    HO SA KA

  • August 22, 2013 at 12:36 amRyuuzaki

    haruka in swimsuit and bunny girl outfit in one episode! :3

  • August 22, 2013 at 1:06 amStilts

    I did not know there was another Minami-ke OVA.

    ENZOCCHI YOU GLORIOUS BASTARD!! *hugs*

    • August 22, 2013 at 5:30 amGuardian Enzo

      Domou. I take my place in the glorious bastard queue (although I prefer “magnificent” bastard”) alongside Tywin Lannister and Wang Qi.

  • August 22, 2013 at 1:37 amGinobi666

    I hate Minami-Ke because it always has to end! Every damn time i finish an episode, i want more! Why is Minami-Ke so damn addictive?! WHY?!

  • August 22, 2013 at 8:22 amGracekid

    i won’t stop watch this till Hosaka make his first step to Haruka!

  • August 22, 2013 at 12:07 pmqwert

    Kana with her hair down is always a welcome edition to any episode, it’s too damn rare to get her just getting in/out of bed or going into bishoujo mode.

  • August 22, 2013 at 8:21 pmYou know, for kids!

    Is that Uchida on the right?

    • August 22, 2013 at 10:56 pmGuardian Enzo

      Green swimsuit, so yeah. She’s definitely the most “advanced” of that quartet.

  • August 22, 2013 at 9:57 pmrandom viewer

    The bug should have gotten less screen time. Screen time that Makoto could had have.
    And were the girls wearing the same swim suits? Anyways, Minami-ke forever in my heart.

  • August 23, 2013 at 12:59 amKarry

    >You’ll find few fans who would disagree that the most recent “Tadaima” season of M-K is the best since the classic first from 2007

    True, sane people are rare in this world…

  • August 24, 2013 at 9:35 pmKoji

    It’s hard to “surpass” the first season because it’s what brought everything together to begin with. The only way a new season could win is if they added significant new things and integrated it perfectly with the old and with the same humor.

    That said, the latest season was by far… FAR the best since the original. There is nothing wrong with the show staying “par for the course” if they can maintain the high par they did with last season and this OVA.

    Minami-ke unfortunately most often suffers from switching studios so often. The same thing happened with Hayate No Gotoku. The later HnG has plenty of the same humor that made the original great, but it doesn’t transfer well jumping around studios so often.

    Basically what I’m getting at is that Studio Feel needs to be left alone with Minami-ke. Poo on any other studio that gets their hands on it.

  • August 25, 2013 at 9:53 amTaiyo

    Tacos…

  • August 26, 2013 at 11:30 amKaka

    Hosaka needs more screen time >_<