The anime has almost caught up to the scanslated manga, and without that, I’m pretty hopeless at trying to translate some of the conversations that go on here… you’ll see why!
Since the weather is so hot, the sisters decide to go to the beach, much to my delight. First order of business: swimsuits! The girls haven’t been to the beach in a couple years, so their old swimsuits didn’t fit too well, much to my delight once more.
Kana> It’s cuz we got taller, right? Not cuz we got fat, right?
So on the way to the store to buy new swimsuits, Kana and Chiaki strike up a conversation that goes something like this:
Kana> So technically, because we got taller, the one-piece suits didn’t fit anymore, right?
Chiaki> I guess so.
Kana> Therefore, we need to make up for that extra torso length! With a two piece, this no longer becomes a problem!
Chiaki> That makes sense.
Kana> As for Haruka, we need to account for the extra horizontal length too! Her chest should be covered by two pieces of cloth, connected by a thin string!
Chiaki> I can’t accept that! I don’t want other people staring at Haruka-neesama like that.
Kana> How naïve you are, Chiaki… it would be unnatural for a high school girl like her NOT to show off her body! Therefore, we must find her a swimsuit that covers the least in order for her to not be embarrassed!
Chiaki> Oh… ok.
But if it rains, the whole trip is cancelled, right? The Japanese have a custom to make teru teru bouzu dolls when wishing for the rain to stop. The Minami sisters do the same – except, with Chiaki as the doll…
And somehow, it works. It’s off to the beach!
The main agenda at the beach is getting Haruka to take that shirt of hers off – what’s the point of getting a new swimsuit if you’re not gonna show it off! Kana and Chiaki have another one of their little competitions to see who can get Haruka to take it off first (I like where this is going)
How do they go about it? One of Aesop’s fables have the north wind and the sun in a competition to see who can get a man to take off his jacket. The actual fable has the wind blowing and blowing, which gets the guy so cold he’d never want to take off his jacket; the sun just shone brightly and he takes off his jacket to bask in the warmth. How does the Minami version play out?
Kana: gets a pocket mirror and shines a light into Haruka’s eyes.
Haruka> Kya! Too bright!!!
Chiaki: gets a fan and fans Haruka as hard as she can.
Haruka> Ahh, that feels good!
Kana> What the hell Chiaki, that’s the reverse effect!
Chiaki> Psht, your approach wasn’t too great either.
Fail. Soon enough, Haruka’s friends show up, and they’ve all got their shirts off, showing off their goods. Haruka starts feeling weird having her shirt on, and lobs it off. I guess Kana was right…
Kana (walking up to Haruka’s friends)> Hey, how the hell you get her to strip?
One more beach scene involving Kana and Chiaki and some fancy rope work around a life preserver (and a very painful slap across the face with a large shell), and it’s back home. Some silliness regarding their tans, and a comment made by their friends gets them into another discussion about how the three sisters were so different from each other. What if they were the same? What if their situation were reversed? Reminds me of that one Lucky Star scene were Tsukasa was imagining herself as the onee-san. Wheeee.
Choosing a swimsuit for Haruka, Chiaki controls the weather… beach episode!! I think Lucky Star ep 5 was the beach episode too, and that’s about the time it started to get good. Minami-ke? It’s always been good, and it’s only getting better! Some real nice animation in this one – great ep!
I’ve always had a thing for beach episodes… probably because of the costume change and the fact that it’s almost always about fun. Then there’s the staples of every beach visit: giant sand castles, some “sore!” action with the beach ball, watermelon smashing, and of course, getting self conscious about the swimsuits. Ah, a never-miss, always-win recipe. Of course, some shows take the low road and attempt to defy gravity with the character designs, and some other shows get a little too raunchy with girls and popsicles, but none of that here. Quite frankly, I think the balance of humor and imaginary fanservice is just perfect in this show.
And much like other shows in this genre, much of the attention is placed on the conversations, in which Minami-ke does a great job. Furthermore, the manga to anime adaptation makes logical sense, as the first bit about rain is actually an entirely different chapter than the beach chapter. I think it’s important to stick to the manga, but even more important is to strike a balance that puts most of the focus on making the anime work as a standalone product. 4koma-derived anime (very similar to the Minami-ke manga style) don’t have much material to work with so much of it is up to the writers, and almost every time it turns out great. It takes some work and clever thinking, and considering what a great anime Minami-ke is shaping up to be, I’d say the production staff has done an amazing job at not only planning it all out, but executing it to perfection.
Random tangent: I just watched the final ep of Seto no Hanayome – and wow! Not quite as large-scale as Gurren Lagann, but every bit as epic! If you haven’t checked it out yet, gogogogogo