Review: Minami-ke

Minami-ke

“This is just a plain depiction of the days of the lives of the three Minami sisters. Please do not expect too much.” Minami Chiaki.

Author Sakuraba Coharu

Status 5 Volumes – On Going

Plot Summary

Meet the three Minami sisters – the gentle Haruka, who has to combine high school with being a surrogate mother to her siblings; the boisterous middle schooler Kana, whose opinion of herself far exceeds her abilities and Chiaki, the youngest and most arrogant of the three

They live together, taking care of one other. With nobody to answer to but themselves and each other, the three sisters deal with daily life and the strange and humourous events it – and their odd friends – throws at them.

Personal Opinion

This is another of those slice-of-life “stories about nothing” which, despite what you might think, turn out to be pretty popular and generally very good – just think of similar series such as “Azumanga Daioh”, “Aria” and “Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou.”

Apposed to Sakuraba’s earlier work, “Kyou no 5 no 2”, at least here we’re dealing with mostly older characters, once we add in the circle of school friends each of the sisters bring to the story. The humour is slightly off-the-wall, drawing inspiration from traditional Japanese owarai, pop culture, and the funny little things people do in fact and fiction.

Another plus is that all the characters, even the bit-players, are immensely likable, and the storytelling is easy going and idyllic. Admittedly, it doesn’t do anything that I haven’t read before, but it does what it does well enough to make me laugh and want to turn the next page.

Haruka’s job as the eldest is to care for her two siblings, while still attending high school. She is the most level-headed of the bunch; a good housekeeper and cook, but extremely lazy when Kana and Chiaki aren’t around. Kana is a middle school wild-child who talks and acts before she thinks, if she does think at all.

Chiaki is the youngest of three, and the smartest. In true manzai style, she plays the “straight man” to Kana’s “funny man” antics, and because of all she has to put up with from Kana, is normally sarcastic and insulting. She is also a terrible suck-up to Haruka (Haruka-neesama, indeed!). As a comedic trio, they work very well together, in small doses, with just the right mix of dysfunctional to be funny but not alarming.

When you add in the girls’ assorted friends – including Chiaki’s classmate Makoto, who due to a combination of his infatuation with Haruka and terror of Chiaki’s jealousy, cross-dresses as Mako-chan to gain access to Haruka’s presence (yes, more of Kana’s doing) – the comedy works even better.

Left: Sibling rivalry and homework clash.

This is probably because all the characters individually are a little too one-dimensional and poorly developed to sustain the story on their own strengths, and we could only really watch so much of Kana and Chiaki’s bickering, so when as much of the cast as possible are involved, rather than relying on one or two to provide the gags, its strengths come shining through.

Overall opinion? It’s nothing new, and his artwork is kept pretty simple (although he does use his technique of suddenly “aging” a character to convey a moment of wisdom or inspiration (or deviousness) well, as he did in “Kyou no 5 no 2”). If you like your slice of life to be funny, by all means add this to your list.

Personal Rating 6/10

[Reviewer: Gerwyn Petty]

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