The vibe right now is as if Daume and Ohta-sensei distilled the magic of the first season of Minami-ke into its essence, bottled it and stuck it on shelf somewhere, where Asread forgot about it a good deal of the time. Asread moved out of the house, Feel moved in and found the bottle, and the rest is history. Or three episodes worth of consistently hilarious history, anyway.
If the S1 vibes weren’t strong enough from the art, the comic timing and the general tone, this episode marked the long-overdue return of “Sensei and Ninomiya-kun”. It’s a testament to just how good S1 of Minami-ke was that “S & N-k” might just have been the second-funniest anime comedy of Fall 2007. We even get an exquisite Japanese-style pun with the introduction of a new character, “Sannomiya-kun”. This comes as part of a very funny sketch about long baths and idiots, which sees Kana, Chiaki and Touma (yet another common Minami-ke subset) immediately call on Uchida when a baka is required to test Kana’s veracity when it comes to airheads, watches and glasses of water. Haruka (in banchou mode) has the last laugh though, in the eyecatch – the eyecatches being, by the way, one thing that’s different from S1 and quite a welcome addition, too.
As expected, the focus shifted towards Haruka’s school subset this week – though still no Hosoka yet. First, with a short chapter about a lost ring (the weakest of the episode) and then a recall of the first sketch as Touma’s “Natsuki takes long baths” remark pays comic dividends. Hitomi gets some screentime here as she completely misinterprets Natsuki’s willingness to share his embarrassment at having been outed as a long-bather in front of Haruka, and Haruka tries to make amends (quite successfully too) for inadvertently embarrassing Natsuki by telling him the virtues of long baths.
The capper of the episode is about as classic a Minami-ke episode as could be, featuring our most extended food porn segment of the season. The ongoing battle between Kana and Chiaki over food has been a theme for all four seasons, with sweets being especially inflammatory – and this time it’s a delicious powdered sugar donut which was ticketed for Haruka. I agree with Touma that Kana cheated at the Jan-Ken-Pon – she definitely waited – but even so, pretty baka move to go for a tea refill right after winning the precious pastry. Kana may be a baka but she’s still the big sister, and she cons the two chibis into quickly confessing with the threat of a little mouth-licking – but when Haruka gets home, the focus shifts over which one should be apologizing, the ones who ate the donut or the one who forgot who it was for. It’s refreshing to see an anime put two lolis into maid outfits (Kana wouldn’t fit) and make it cute without descending into degrading fanservice but what I want to know is, when did the emergency maid outfit become three emergency maid outfits?
Next week: the long-awaited return of the one and only Hosoka, and Mako-chan in a nun’s habit. You’d have to be crazy not to watch.