Wednesday, 7 May 2008

Minami-ke:Okawari : Going, going...

You know, going off to study in a foreign country can be quite saddening...

(Well, sad for the unhouse-trained members of the family you leave behind perhaps)

Minami-ke: Okawari (which aired last season for anyone who forgot, and yes I realize this post is probably only relevant to myself who took until yesterday to finish the series) is literally a second helping of sorts to last year's successfully hilarious slice-of-life comedy Minami-ke. On one hand, we got back most of what we already loved in the first series (Mako-chan's gender confusion, Hosaka's self delusionsbeing Hosaka, Kana being BOSS, the Bible Black SRS BSNS faces, and have I mentioned Mako-cakes?). On the other, with the studio change came other bits of extras (new hair colours, creepy blacked out faces, Fuyuki... Yea, Fuyuki) and for all the extra toppings Asread added, some may have found that this second helping pales in comparison to its predecessor.

Of course the first series had the advantage of being a sleeper hit of sorts that did admirably well without relying on high expectations which this sequel probably came with. Asread did manage to tap into the key LOL elements of the first season and played them out for more laughs - poor Mako-chan being the most severly unspared :P, but along with it came their own original additions to the story, probably in the hopes of making the series 'their own'... Only they didn't do much in increasing the appeal of the series - Fuyuki's presence in the story ended up being less apparent than those unseen faces in the background.

Until the episode he left that is.

I was rather surprised that despite the decidedly low impact Fuyuki had on the actual story (oh wait, what story? Fine, maybe I was just disappointed that he was hardly 'broken' to begin with/by the end - unlike us readers of Derailed), his eventual exit was handled in such a subtly sombre fashion (underneath all the Sports Festival hijinx going on) that despite some part of my mind going "*yawns* Is he gone yet? Oh, finally", I was actually impressed that a Minami-ke with comedy as its main forte could pull off something that's vaguely touching (or was meant to be).

Of course, this kind of 'sap' in comedy does occur elsewhere (like a a gazillion times in Ranma 1/2 and once or twice in Galaxy Angels where they didn't really work. In comparison Gintama has managed to pull some of these surprisingly well - damn, I just remembered I missed the conclusion of the current Shinsengumi uproar arc!), but is often very jarring to the comedic aspect of the show. But it's less of a case with slice-of-life comedies like Minami-ke or Azumanga Daioh.

And what they did in the last episode, having KANA actually thinking of 'sending off' Haruka with a smile (fine, only Kana would think of that and execute it the way she did - or rather got all her minions to) leading to the eventual true tears segment (to use another season-old joke).

I dunno if it's me actually being away from home that's doing this to me *sniffs*, but that usual "ACK, SAP ALERT" gag reflex the cynical me would usually have didn't come on at all. Yea, you could see from a mile away that Chiaki would break down first, followed by KANA before Haruka reveals that she's not going anywhere, but there was that genuine aspect of sadness at the prospect of Haruka leaving her sisters to go abroad (actually, it's a rather horrifying aspect now that I think about it, how Chiaki and Kana would survive I don't know) coupled with the fact that the show is ending. All in all, despite it being a somewhat cliche slice-of-life type finale, it was again played out well by Asread (the inserted first ED song was a nice touch - again borrowing from the success of the first series).

Actually it's my second time this far away from home pursuing that 'necessary' yet incredibly tiresome asset called an education, so for my family and friends back home as well as myself, there's not so much to be as sappy about this second time around -_-"

Final verdict? Okawari did offer a good amount of laughs to balance out whatever else Asread put in that you might want to complain about - so it neither falls into the category of sequels that suck nor those which greatly surpass their originals. Yet another 'solid' comedy series overall, for the lack of a more interesting description.

Now if you excuse me, I've got to go book a ticket to San Fransisco, I here there's this new place that's just opened that serves the best pasta...

P.S. Happy 21st to Shin over at atalude (And a Happy Birthday too to everyone else who seems to have been born on this same day) Get your cake before Kana does =P

1 comment:

Nagato said...

I need to watch Okawari. :<