「年の計は元旦にあるらしい」 (Toshi no Kei wa Gantan ni Arurashii)
“Start Planning Your Year From New Year’s Day”

Well, that was surely one of the more random episodes of Minami-ke ever.

I haven’t said it in a while, but it really fits here: needs more Mako-chan. I mean really, how could you deprive us of a chance to see Mako-chan in full kimono for New Year’s? Not to mention another opportunity for swimsuit misunderstanding (though no Haruka-neesama on this trip, at least, and no suntan oil in the indoor pool).

This episode was full of the Minami sisters – as if to make up for their minimal participation last week they were involved in every scene this time. It was also full of some of the most esoteric and culture-specific humor in any episode – and this is a show that spends a lot of its time having fun with Japanese traditions anyway. It was also some of the most low-key comedy I’ve ever seen from M-K, relying on wordplay and random weirdness for most of its punch.

For starters, the entire first sketch was pretty much the three sisters spinning each other around in their kimonos – seemingly all a set-up for Kana to say "Now I can never be a bride", which in itself sets up a running gag for the episode. The rest of the chapter consists of a run-through of Japanese New Year traditions like Hatsumode (first shrine visit), eating red bean soup with grilled mochi, and New Year’s money. Again, very culture-specific. Out of this we have Kana noting that Uchida has a strong tendency to come to the Minami estate, eat and go to sleep – but her plan to expose Uchida’s newfound belly flab goes a-wanting when a trip to the indoor pool reveals that Uchida’s belly is as flat as it was on the beach visit. It’s only her belly that’s flat though… I have to ask – and there’s no way to do so without being crude, so apologies in advance – what the heck is up with Uchida’s chest? I sure didn’t notice it being that big before – I actually thought she’d slipped in Mako-chan’s falsies in the beach photo, but the same anatomy was on display at the pool.

A trip to the middle school soon brings is yet more inside Japanese humor, as Riko has mysteriously lapsed into Kansai-ben after a Winter break trip to her Grandmother’s house in Kyoto. Worse, it’s catching, as soon Miyuki and Reiko start following suit – and they’re already talking in pounds and miles after being overseas. This is surely one of the oddest and silliest Minami-ke sketches ever, but it builds to an even more silly game of wordplay as Touma, Uchida and Yoshino visit Casa Minami after a snowfall and everyone starts saying "I might not look like it, but…" before every sentence. It’s funny, I suppose because it’s so utterly random. There’s also a lesson for Kana – don’t mess with the Banchou, when it comes to snowball fights or anything else.

Finally, we do get a brief visit from Mako-chan, and a dissertation on an even more insider topic – Mamemaki. It’s part of the Setsubun festival that comes near the beginning of February, marking the start of Spring in the lunisolar calendar. I did a blog post about it this year, but just why anyone who isn’t in Japan or a complete geek for the culture would know any of that I can’t say – again this is pretty much aimed right at the home audience – but having experienced Mamemaki this year I got some pretty good laughs out of it (especially Mako-chan’s "Wai!" reaction after he got the extra piece of roll cake while wearing the oni mask). Wearing the oni mask also got Makoto to second base with Kana, so now he’s officially been there with all three of the Minami sisters. And let the record show – even oni have to eat their carrots.

Full-length images: 1, 2, 3, 8, 12, 24, 27, 35.




End Card


      1. Sorry, I should have mentioned that when I wrote “old”, I meant tokugawa period and older.
        I doubt artists from several hundred years ago were referencing Lum when they drew Oni with tiger-skin clothes…

      2. Lum was inspired by classic oni AND some bikini models also inspired by oni. It’s not like original oni’s are wearing bikinis nor thunder oni’s are young girls. They are all macho guys.

  1. Can someone with experience in both Japanese and American/UK culture explain the usual japanese accent:kansai accent relationship in terms of how different English accents are treated?

    1. Kansai accent is from further south. It is the accent of the former capitol and cultural center (Kyoto) as well as a major city of commerce (Osaka). In some ways it has elements of an older form of Japanese than modern Japanese. A cleaned up form of the upper Tokyo accent became the standard dialect because the government and academic institutions were in Tokyo at the time.

      Kansai dialect is pretty broad actually. You can tell very specifically what city people are from by their particular accent. Kyoto or Shiga accents might seem like a gentle or refined accent while an Osaka accent or a Kobe accent will be very different.

      Also, the merchant class in Tokyo historically had an accent quite different from standard Japanese (think Cockney English). Therefore standard Japanese historically sounds more “proper” than just being the most common accent as it was used for education.

      Japan has a very large number of fascinating dialects. The northern and southern dialects can be almost incomprehensible if you only speak standard Japanese!

      1. As Rufe says, it depends on where in Kansai the person is from. Osakans are stereotypically coarse, outgoing and money-conscious. Kyotoites are stereotypically dignified, intellectual and a little stuck-up. As with every such generalization, it’s hardly 100% accurate.

  2. 03/27: Due to other real-life priorities, Magi eps 23-24 and AKB0048 Next Stage eps 12-13 will be covered later than usual.
    03/16: Stereoman and Moomba will be away Mar. 23 to Apr. 2. Their coverage of Sasami-san@Ganbaranai, FAIRY TAIL, Uchuu Kyoudai, and Girls und Panzer will be delayed as a result.

    and then we have psycho pass which ended a more than a week ago, no word on that? how can we discuss it now? how bout spring preview? some shows are gonna start already! replace all the writers!

    1. For your information, the previews are part of the reason for the respective delays. You’ll note that all the above authors are people that work on it, after all. Dozens of hours from each author has been put into it so far and it’ll be ready when it’s ready. We know that shows from the next season start soon, but even then, it doesn’t start until Saturday at the earliest. The original plan has always been to get it out before then, and barring any issues, it will. So if you were just a tad bit more patient, you would’ve noticed it in the coming days. The other shows will follow shortly.

      In addition, please refrain from posting things like this in completely unrelated posts. Especially when it’s something that insults the efforts of the writers who have put over a dozen hours just in the past few days working on the preview in addition to things like mid-terms, having just come back from a tiring convention, and so on and so forth.

      Also, you’ll also note that four writers above have had no instances of delays at all with their coverage recently until this week (in fact, three of them have NEVER had a single instance in their entire time at RC of any post going out over 48 hours post-subs without a prior announcement). If you’re calling for the replacement of all the writers despite this fact, then again, you’re just blatantly disregarding all the effort that has been given on the part of each author AND the fact that multiple authors have stated before hand that you may expect delays in the respective shows. I don’t know what more you’re expecting.

  3. It’s quite funny to see that Touma was wearing male’s kimono during hatsumode ^^

    (I’m not sure if that was meant for Minamike crossdressing running joke or if it is actually common for girls to dress up in one)


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