Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Minami-ke Tadaima - 04

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He’s baaaaaaaaaack…

First off, let me apologize for false advertising in last week’s post – Yoshino and Mako-chan look a lot alike in a nun’s habit.  In principle I’d say that one episode in 4 is not nearly enough for Makoto/-chan (though in point of fact, he’s actually not in the manga all that much either) but I’m enjoying the rest of the series so much that it’s impossible to get too upset over it.  And the long-awaited return of Hosaka (Ono Daisuke – so help me, I hear Llama-san every time Hosaka speaks now) does a lot to soften the blow.

Minami-ke’s two most memorable side characters form a sort of polar opposites chart of the male masculinity scale (with Fujioka more or less right in the middle).  Hosaka, like Makoto, doesn’t actually show up all that often but again, like Makoto, those appearances tend to be memorable.  It’s safe to say there’s no other character quite like Hosaka – he’s both extremely cool and a complete loser, a genius at many things but an utter baka at common sense, the guy the girls can’t deny is easy on the eyes who usually manages to freak them out completely with his random, usually harmless but often hilariously disturbing antics.  Ironically the one girl most unaffected by his theatrics is the one he generally engages in them to try and woo, Haruka – though that’s largely due to Hayami (Saeko Chiba) distracting him with her trolling at every turn.

For starters this week, we have a main course – the bento Hosoka has prepared for Haruka in his latest attempt to win her heart.  Thanks to Hayami those bentos never find their intended target, and Hosoka usually ends up spending the most time interacting with the two girls most freaked out by him, Maki (Takagi Reiko) and Atsuko (Ono Ryouko).  The funniest part of this chapter for me, though, is Hosaka’s interaction with Natsuki (his rival in unrequited love for Haruka-sama), who’s continually skeeving off volleyball practice to cook for the family.  Hosaka prepares the entire family a meal the day after Natsuki’s latest absence, delivered with the memorable (“It’s nothing any volleyball coach wouldn’t do”).  Natsuki’s reactions make the scene, especially his non-explanation to the ever-clueless Hosaka about why people might misinterpret his acceptance of a giant bento from his sempai.

The focus stays with the high-schoolers as Hitomi visits the Minami estate for advice on how she might win the heart of Natsuki by cooking for him and becoming “more like an adult”.  Kana’s suggestion for “adult cooking” – wearing nothing but an apron – is on-point but a little bold for Hitomi’s tastes. A full on blast of Hosaka weirdness surrounding “browning” ensues.   After this we have the return of yet another of the first season’s gems, “Teruterubozu Chiaki”.  There’s an overabundance of loli cuteness here, but not in the somewhat unsettling way of shows like Haganai – watching Chiaki, Touma, Yoshino and Uchida frolic in the rain and then hop into the bath is adorable without being exploitative.  I don’t deny it’s fanservice, but it’s just damn cute (not least Chiaki with a towel on her head).  The dilemma of the moment is the relentless rain (thus the Teruterubozu) that’s kept the Minami Sisters’ clothes and towels from drying, creating quite a dilemma with four grade-schoolers in the bath whose cloths are soaked.  It’s Touma to the rescue – in addition to the emergency maid uniform she’s crafted the Minamis, she’s also made them emergency nun’s habits.  Why?  This is the wrong series for that question.

My favorite chapter of the episode, though is definitely the next – which leads us back to the ever-fascinating Hosaka.  Between his Michelin 3-star cooking, inappropriate disrobing and fantasizing about Haruka to a rock-guitar soundtrack (remixed) he’s found time to make a plate – literally, as in forming it from clay and baking it in a kiln.  Why?  Again, see above – but apparently no other vessel was glorious enough to hold the delicacies which never reach her lips anyway.  The payoff here is when Maki accidentally breaks the plate (just by holding it, seemingly) and she and Atsuko perform an increasingly desperate pantomime in the background as Hosaka waxes eloquent about his dish, finally turning up with a tea kettle and distracting poor Hosaka into forgetting that it wasn’t the plate he slaved over.  It’s a classic Minami-ke moment, worthy of any in the series 4 seasons.  We wrap with a very short and silly chapter about cup noodles, lacking any big punchlines but a nice send-off featuring the Minami Sisters in their natural habitat.

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18 comments:

  1. Hosaka. A true man amongst men!!

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  2. I've liked some of his other appearances in the series but for me this episode he sucked all the life out of it.

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  3. Alright this show seems good but I want to ask something. I haven't watched the other seasons, can I start watching it now from this season? I've seen the first few eps from the first season a while back.

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    1. There's no real continuity to speak of other than some running gags. I think this season has done a good job of re-introducing all those though, so it should be fine to watch it without watching the previous seasons.

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    2. Watch the complete first season. You should be able to pick up on most of the running gags from there. Second and third seasons aren't necessary, and imho, they aren't really as good as the first or this current season. Different studios for each season, I think, hence the inconsistent quality.

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    3. This sure gets asked a lot...

      I don't think M-K requires a full viewing to understand what's happening, but some of the gags will be funnier if you understand the background. I agree that watching S1 would be sufficient as most of the running gags come from there.

      I would watch all three, if you have time. S1 was Daume (with Ohta Masahiko directing) and S2-3 were Asread. S1 was definitely the funniest, but there are some very fine moments in the next two.

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    4. I didn't watch the prior three seasons too. I read the manga instead. While prior knowledge is not compulsory, I think it's necessary to enjoy this anime to the fullest. Without it, you might miss some important points, such as:
      - why does Chiaki love clinging on Fujioka?
      - how did Makoto become a crossdresser?
      - etc.

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    5. Thanks for the honest replies, I'll go ahead and check out the first season before going into this show.

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  4. The king of kingdoms, the lord of lands, the emperor of empires and the man of men. Al hail the return of the mightily stupid Hosaka.

    We have awaited his sire's return for many a moon but let the trumpets blow as he sweeps through our universe once more.

    Okay that was a bit dumb but its still great having Hosaka back. He is his own archetype. Completely unique and so random that he must be based on a real person as no one can possibly imagine someone like him. Him, Haruka, Natsuki, Akira, Fujioka, Mako-chan, Kana, Chiaki and Toma in one room would be the most epic situation ever devised.

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  5. Hosaka's the weakest link in Minami-ke for me. My reaction to him is similar to Maki's. xD

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  6. One quip: this season's use of patterned stock backgrounds isn't all that great.

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    Replies
    1. Probably budget constraints which made them resort to MS Powerpoint.

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  7. Look here's the thing. Hosaka just doesn't do much for me I'm afraid. I mean the episode was still amusing and all but for me this show is at it's peak when it focuses around the Minami sisters and uses the supporting cast as... support. In this episode the supporting cast took center stage and the Minami's faded to the background, and as a result this was probably the weakest episode of the season for me so far. I still chuckled and such but it's just not as strong of a show in this mode IMO.

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    1. Even if Beckett and I aren't the same person (although we certainly seem to agree a lot lately), I agree with his assessment of Hosaka. To me he's about the least interesting character, and drags the show down, maybe partly because he promises the idea of interaction with Haruka (who I think is the most interesting character), but it *never* happens. It's almost like when Hosaka shows up, there's no chance of anything happening with Haruka (or anyone else, it seems. Hosaka is a huge spotlight hog). At least when it's Chiaki and Kana and Uchida and Mako and Touma and everyone else, there's a chance Haruka will show up.

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    2. Hmm, not that the show *needs* Haruka in it to be successful, but more that when Hosaka is on, it's about Hosaka, and that's it. To me, the comedy in the show is about interactions between people. And when Hosaka shows up, the only person he interacts with is himself. Even the part where Maki and Atsuko broke his bowl, and went through all that, it was good because you could almost completely ignore Hosaka and watch their interaction.

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    3. I found it a bit disappointing too that he hasn't really gotten a chance to interact with Haruka. The author should let he manage to hand something over to Haruka, at least. For example, the kettle. And then she gets confused "Ara, ara, I can make tea with this", and then Hosaka realizes that he has been had.

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    4. I find it very hard to imagine Hosaka ever realizing that in any circumstance.

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    5. Boys don't like Hosaka, hehe. The reason of why is "the Minami's faded to the background when Hosaka is near" is simple: he is more AWESOME! xD And Haruka is boring.

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