After the unfunny disaster that Okawari was (no thanks to that useless shota Fuyuki), I wasn’t sure what to expect from Okaeri. But after seeing the OP (freaking YouTube, always deleting videos and rendering old video links useless. Damn you! *ahem*), my high hopes were rekindled. And for the most part, I give Asread credit for going back to the drawing board and putting in the work to try to reclaim Minami-ke’s golden first season glory. It wasn’t perfect, but I thought it was definitely a success, as Okaeri was exponentially funnier and more enjoyable than Okawari.
The last episode of the season for Minami-ke Okaeri was an alternatively amusing and heartwarming affair. If it felt like one long, drawn-out goodbye, it’s probably because it was – in a good way though – because OVAs notwithstanding, I’d be very surprised if we saw another season of MK in the future.
Others have already written much on the drastic difference in animation quality from the first half of the episode, compared to the second half. But I had to see it for myself to believe it. And yeah, it’s quite stunning actually. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like the animation in the first half is great – I think everyone looks a little too shiny and there were a handful of scenes where lines didn’t look like they were drawn quite right – but it’s so nice to see some attention paid to shading and highlights, to characters looking like well-proportioned humans, and some experimentation with non-standard camera angles, that it just feels like a huge improvement from what we’ve seen so far (and what we see in the second half). It was like going from watching old Hanna Barbera clips to the latest Pixar jawn. Definitely good enough for a slice of life.
I wish… asread could have spent the time and money to make the design and animation even merely average. I’ve gotten used to the terrible quality of the animation. But every now and then I can’t help but cringe at an elongated chin, or a malformed head or a criminally thin body limb. Even Mako-chan got the shaft this episode, and it usually looks like they spend a little extra time on her/him. Whatever. It’s not a big deal. Onto the Kana-heavy episode.
Part 1: Practice? You’re doing it all wrong!
If you were to do a mental examination of all the characters on this show, I think it’d be hard to figure out who’s most messed up in the head. In season 1, Kana was out there, but now you could probably consider her to be one of the most sanest characters on the show. From Hosaka’s obvious delusions, to Natsuki’s growing social awkwardness, to the gender-role confusion that Mako-chan, Touma, and Fujioka are bound to share – no one is safe from the madness.
Part 1: Clothes fit for a King
Chiaki’s shrew-like tongue is sharp as ever with Bakayaro’s flying left and right. After a good stretch of hilarious episodes, this ep was pretty average. The odd timing for a Christmas episode didn’t help either, although I still got a chuckle out of the Hosaka hallucination.
Part 1: Brought to you by the orange growers of the world
If the writers decided to take the few characters they’ve pretty much ignored for the past 2-and-a-half seasons and turn them into completely irresistible moeblobs for one episode, what would you say?
Part 1: Atsuko and Yoshino’s Weakness Appeal
Feel so right!? This ep was just wrong in so many ways, from the trap-fantasy smashing toilet scene to Chiaki’s vigorous wipedown. And while there wasn’t much outright fanservice it was definitely one of the more risqué and ecchier episodes of Minami-ke, but one of the funniest too.
Part 1: LET’S BE (trap) FRIENDLY
This episode was probably the “slice of life-iest” episode of the season. It was the closest the show’s felt like to its season 1 version. Needless to say, I loved this episode.
Part 1: Slice of life brilliance
Mako-chan is finally back in his usual dunce role. Although his part to play was pretty subdued this episode.
Part 1: Chiaki. Outsmarted.