Maki declares she is going to quit school because the girls’ uniform is too embarrassing to wear, with the skirt and all. “It’s sexual harassment on a national scale!” The discussion progresses, as all anime conversations eventually do, to the topic of pantsu.
Here’s the joke, which gets completely butchered when I try to explain it here – in Japanese, “pan” means bread, which our curious pantsu girl just happens to have lost (split-second bread eating while speaking, this girl should be in some talent contest), so while looking for her “pan” under the desk, she peeps Haruka’s pan-tsu – standing up triumphantly, she proclaims “I have just witnessed something that few have witnessed, it’s Haruka’s pure white pan-“ and gets intercepted by Haruka with a “yes, ‘pan’ is indeed white inside…”
Well, I tried. Maybe there’s some way to work edible panties into that one.
Typical dinner table talk leads to Haruka mentioning that she was working on a committee project with another guy, which incites a “doing some ‘strange things’ with a guy, eh?” from Kana. “What strange things?” asks the elementary school student Chiaki. Haruka gets all deredere and tries to get Kana to explain what she means. “Yeaa… some fun things… like that…”
Next day at school, a couple of guys invite Chiaki and her friend over to their place. It goes something like this:
Boy> Hey Chiaki, wanna come over after school?
Chiaki> What are we doing
Boy> You know, video games and stuff
Chiaki> Stuff? Like “strange things”
Boy> !!! No!!! I wouldn’t dare!
Chiaki> Oh. Too bad.
Boy> Too bad??? Noooooooo!!!
That night at home:
Haruka> Chiaki, you get your homework done at your friend’s place?
Chiaki> Yea, but we didn’t do any “strange things”
Kana>! You’re only in elementary school, not even I’ve done those “things!”
Haruka> Yea, it’s way too early! Even I haven’t done “that!”
Chiaki is called upon by the class to come up with nicknames for everyone. “Stupid kid.” “Plain yogurt.” “Boy A.” “B.” What does she call herself?
The best part of this skit? Her facial expressions – my god lol
In Japan, students are typically responsible for cleaning the classroom – often times in groups – this sort of after-school but still-in-school activity brings an extra edge of callousness and casualness to the table. Today, our alpha male Makoto is hyping everyone up for a round of sweeping!
Chiaki> Shut up and get to it, dumbass
Ouch. Makoto takes it well and tries to talk some manners into her.
Chiaki> Don’t talk. Hold the dustpan and get on your knees. You dumbass.
Needless to say, their sweeping combination is an utter disaster, which takes a turn for the worse when they switch roles. I should note that in the manga, there is a gratuitous shot of her pantsu when she’s kneeling, but the producers decided that there’s been enough mention of pantsu in this episode. Chiaki gets pissed off and tells Makoto to fill two buckets with water, and stand. No, don’t do anything. Just stand there.
And stand there he did.
As usual, Kana is getting bored sitting around, so bugs Chiaki to hang out with her. Chiaki, as usual, is studying, and tells her to buzz off. “I’m trying to get into a good middle school, don’t bother me,” she says.
“Oh hoh, but I’m going to the same school that Haruka went to – you saying she’s dumb?”
“Keh, she had to go to the nearby school because of us.”
“Very well, I shall test just how exceptional you are. In a particular year, the month of May has four Tuesdays and four Thursdays. On what day of the week does May 5th fall?”
*GASP* “W-W-Wednesday it is. Psht, then why don’t you tell me what page that question was on?”
“Like I would know!!”
“Hah, can’t even answer that simple of a question, you’re hopeless! True, you might be exceptional… at an elementary school level.”
Chiaki begins her counterattack as she unleashes a string of her own questions. “A star is a star, but what star is sour?” (answer: umeboshi, those sour plums u find on rice balls). Kana’s answer: a black dot (I don’t get it). “What small thing wears a red hat and cries constantly?” (answer: a candle). Kana’s answer: (puts on a Carp hat) “A fan of a team going through a losing streak :(“
And then comes the bombshell: “What is visible when you’re sitting, but disappears when you stand?” (answer: soles of the feet)
And on that note, we’ll end it there!
You know what’s great about this show – it seems to have taken little bits from all the previous shows in the genre (Ichigo Mashimaro, Lucky Star namely) and put it together in this neat little package that’s not only fresh but also genuinely funny with no need to reference outside material. The sound effects are great and add an extra dimension to the humor (especially those hollow sounds made during the punch line); and to top it all off, we have that disclaimer at the beginning that says “don’t expect too much out of this show, we’re just showing you the daily lives of these girls.”
Gee, sounds like something Lucky Star could have benefited from in the early goings, lol. Without the unnecessary hype and misplaced expectations, Minami-ke has been able to shine in its own way, and it’s been nothing short of great fun so far.
And where else are you gonna find dialogue like this? It’s punch line after punch line, \o/ and OTL all around. And I absolutely love the personalities of the three girls and how well they fit together – Haruka is the motherly type, yet she’s the one who gets embarrassed the easiest about things; Kana is absolutely psycho and has an endless supply of energy (not to mention she’s voiced by Gurren’s Yoko), and Chiaki is this precocious grade-school brat that seems to know a lot and yet knows so little about some select topics.
For those who haven’t already, go check out Ichigo Mashimaro – it’s a bit more mellow and endlessly more loli than this show, but the two shows are very similar and provide nonstop chuckles the whole way.
Edit: It seems like a different studio is doing their own version of Minami-ke, to be released in January 2008! Check this page for details (thanks Necromancer).