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.
Part 1: Say goodbye to Haruka
Who the heck is that girl in the first screenshot and where the heck did the real Haruka go? That looks nothing like her. Argh.
When I clamored for more Haruka screentime, I should’ve specified that consistent character design and familiarity with basic anatomy was a requirement. Every time I see Haruka, it looks like her head has been run through a food processor and her legs are withering away from some exotic disease. Ok, that’s all for my weekly animation complaint feature.
Haruka seems to be down and Kana and Chiaki can’t figure out why. Later, Uchida, who proves that she can be bright at times, notices that Haruka seems down and asks why. Turns out Haruka’s got a cavity, but that’s not why she’s down. Turns out she’s concerned about Kana and Chiaki, because they’ve been secretive and acting strangely lately. Yoshino decides making funny faces… with Uchida’s face will cheer Haruka up. Kana and Chiaki come home to Haruka laughing with Uchida and Yoshino, and Chiaki starts bawling, because she’s afraid Haruka wants new sisters. But Kana keeps the cool-head and drags Chiaki into the face-making fun. Moral? Never cry when you can make a face.
Part 2: Chiaki-Kana-Haruka sandwich. NOM.
Chiaki has a bad dream that Kana disappears and decides to grab hold of her to make sure she doesn’t disappear. Kana complains about the nuisance, but Haruka thinks it’s cute. I wondering if it was a school day, because that would’ve put a damper on Chiaki’s glomping. Later, Kana decides to take a nap, while Chiaki follows, spooning her. Chiaki wakes up to see Kana, hangdogging with the prototypical emo look – hair covering eyes, face covered by shadows. Apparently, she’s had a bad dream about Haruka disappearing. So when Haruka comes home, Kana immediately glomps Haruka and then Chiaki immediately glomp sandwiches Kana.
Like all of the skits in this episode, it wasn’t laugh-out-loud funny, but was still amusing and cute to watch.
Part 3: Dear World, Goodbye. – Love, Kana
It’s Tanabata time, and Uchida and Yoshino offer to take some Tanabata wishes for Kana. Do you get the sense that Chiaki’s friends actually like Kana better than they like Chiaki? Chiaki doesn’t seem like she minds though. Kana then agrees to take Uchida and Yoshino home, but not before getting into a minor tiff with Haruka about buying sweets and groceries on the way home. When she’s late to return, Haruka notices a Tanabata wish that Kana’s left behind, which reads suspiciously like a suicide (or runaway) note. Haruka and Chiaki both freak out and fret – complete with flashbacks of good memories and past episodes – just as they plan to head out to search for Kana, she returns with the groceries, and no sweets, in hand. Turns out it was a big misunderstanding (duh, obviously), and Kana’s Tanabata wish actually consisted of a hidden message.
This wasn’t a bad skit, but for a while it was a little too serious and heavy for Minami-ke. I mean, you knew it wasn’t anything serious, but the scene didn’t really fit the atmosphere of the show. Plus, the secret message punchline was lame, so it felt like a contrived case of forced and unnecessary drama.
We end with a nice montage of the show featuring most of the characters. Even the ones they introduced and promptly forgot (what happened to the uncle though?). And just when I thought they were going to leave us without another Hosaka scene, they brought him back for the final seconds of the show. A nice surprise, even though his part was more sad than funny. Final thoughts to follow…