Original Run: January 5, 2009 - March 30, 200 Number of Episodes: 13 Genre: Comedy, Slice of Life Based on the Series Created By: Coharu Sakuraba
To read my Minami-ke review, please click HERE.
To read my Minami-ke Okawari, please click HERE.
***Warning, the following may contain spoilers for Minami-ke Okaeri. Reader discretion is advised.***
It is our third visit to the Minami household, and sisters Haruka, Kana, and Chiaki (voiced respectively by Rina Satou, Marina Inoue, and Minori Chihara) are as they have always been — together and happy.
There is never a dull moment with these three, and given each of their personalities, their home is always open to friends and well-wishers. In fact, the thought of not entertaining a guest is nearly unheard of for this trio.
No matter the day, no matter the weather, no matter the season, the Minami sisters will find a way to make the most out of anything.
I’m running into a problem I wish happened more often. The Minami-ke series has been so consistently good for the same reasons. As a result, it’s getting harder and harder to write reviews for this franchise. It also doesn’t help that there is still one more season to go.
If you have been following along these past few installments, you will have most likely noticed a few visual changes. Going from season one (Minami-ke) to season two (Minami-ke Okawari), the Minami-ke franchise changed hands from Studio Daume to Studio Asread, and the animation styles were wildly different. Along with that, there were also several, let’s call them, atmospheric changes.
The Daume-led Minami-ke was more grounded in its presentation, whereas the Asread-led one was more willing to embrace a higher type of energy. When it was all said and done, both seasons were fun, but I am going to say season one (Daume) was the stronger of the two. For season three, Minami-ke Okaeri, Asread returned as the animation studio, and once again, things changed. Or to be more accurate, things reverted closer to what they originally were.
Okaeri was far more similar in style to season one than it was to season two. Studio Asread did away with many of the design alterations it introduced in Okawari. On the surface, it would appear as if season three returned to a formula that saw better success. Except, that is me shoving in words to fit a situation even I don’t believe was the case. After all, if we are going to say Okaeri fell back to something that worked, we must then admit that, at some point, there had been a stumble.
And that is simply not the case.
The core of what has made the Minami-ke fantastic, the silly yet relatable antics of three extremely close sisters, has never diminished. However, an area where Okaeri saw improvement over its immediate predecessor, Okawari, was in its use of its secondary characters.
Thinking back to Okawari, the second season had to figure out how to handle the influx of people that had become part of the cast. The strategy at that time was to give everyone their chance to stick. Although no one was a straight-up miss, some flew higher than others. As a result, when it was Okaeri’s turn, it focused more on those who worked best with the three sisters.
The Minami-ke series, with Okaeri adding to its credentials, is one of the best names there is in the slice-of-life genre.
Up until this season, the Minami-ke series has focused on the three Minami sisters, Haruka, Kana, and Chiaki. This trio has been the heart and soul of everything, and it is impossible to imagine what this show would be like if one of them wasn’t around.
Or, at least, it would have been impossible to imagine that if it wasn’t for Okaeri. All three sisters were present; however, this was definitely Kana and Chiaki’s show. No matter what happened, it was the two youngest Minami’s that drove the chaos. They were always the center of attention and how things played out were primarily due to their reactions. Haruka was either just along for the ride or a non-factor.
To be clear, there were moments that were reminders of Haruka’s role in the Minami household. Her authority with her sisters was never in doubt, and she was immensely loved and respected by both Kana and Chiaki. Still, compared to the previous two seasons, Haruka drifted into the background to a very noticeable degree.
Part of Minami-ke’s charm has been the bonding time between the sisters, and it doesn’t help when one of the three is treated more as an afterthought rather than a main character.
As for anything else that bothered me about this season…I’m running on empty. As I said earlier, it gets kind of challenging to write about the third installment of a series that is consistently solid.
I wish there were more for me to say about this series. It sort of feels like I used this review just as an excuse to watch this show again. But now that I think about it, I guess that isn’t untrue.
This third chapter was every bit as funny, entertaining, and charming as its two predecessors. Granted, I knew that going into this re-watch, but it never hurts to be sure.
If you were a fan of seasons one and two, then season three is everything you have come to expect.
Minami-ke Okaeri has earned a recommendation.
But these are just my thoughts. What are yours? Have you seen this series? How would you advise Minami-ke Okaeri? Leave a comment down below because I would love to hear what you have to say.
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I’m LofZOdyssey, and I’ll see you next time.