I remember feeling a little “meh” in my first impressions of Minami-ke and predicting that I probably wouldn’t have anything significant to say about it. What a pleasant surprise, then, to discover a show that really does make me laugh out loud, has very likable characters, and has lots of great slapstick to boot.
The heart of the show is definitely Kana, with Chiaki coming in a close second. I suppose it’s because energetic, outgoing characters usually take center stage in a manner similar to real life, and because her outbursts are funny as hell. (The futile changing of grades in this one, for instance, her constant harassing of Chiaki, etc.) Chiaki is actually a fairly typical type in a lot of American film and tv–the smartmouth little kid–but I’m not sick of her yet. Even if she sounds a little too smart for her age…her “innocence” only kicks in around Haruka, the motherly sister. I’m still surprised Haruka is only in high school, actually.
The structure of this show is somewhere in between Azumanga Daioh and Lucky Star. There are usually three vignettes, but they all seem to be related, and often wrapped up in a way reminiscent of Seinfeld. This works well, I think, because the cast of characters is comparably smaller to both Azumanga and Lucky Star and the emphasis is on how the three sisters relate to each other. I’m learning some family therapy theory at the moment and it’s actually quite funny how the sisters “triangulate” all the time–usually with Kana being the outsider and Chiaki and Haruka on the other side. As in this explicit example near the end of the episode:
I have yet to watch Sketchbook, though I have the first three episodes, but for me so far this is the “relaxing easy to watch” show of the season. Yes, it pretty much is a sitcom of the sort that American TV has often done, though with a somewhat different brand of humor. But who cares when the characters are so likable and the humor so easygoing and self-assured. I probably won’t blog about it regularly, again, but I almost certainly will include it in the higher priority watch list.