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Manga / Minami-ke

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This story is a simple illustration of the three sisters of the Minami household. Please do not expect too much out of it.

Minami-ke ("The Minami Family") is a seinen manga series by Koharu Sakuraba which began serialization in Weekly Young Magazine in 2004. Take an Onee-sama, a hopelessly Genki Girl, and a Little Miss Snarker, make them sisters, and put them all under one roof. That's Minami-ke. The show is a Slice of Life comedy which blends the High School, Middle School, and Elementary School subgenres by having each of the three sisters attend one of these. The fourth storyline is about interactions of the three and their friends at home.

The Minami sisters:

The manga was adapted into an anime by Daume and directed by Masahiko Ohta in 2007. It was followed the next year by a sequel series titled Minami-ke Okawari by a different studio, Asread. It mostly consists of original material not covered in the manga, and contains much more Fanservice.

A third season called Minami-ke Okaeri aired in early 2009, returning closer in style to the first season, and being met with good reception in turn. A short bonus episode, Minami-ke Betsubara, was also released in 2009.

A fourth season, Minami-ke Tadaima, this time animated by feel., started in January 2013 (simulcast by Funimation), and returns even more to the first season's roots, down to having a similarly-styled opening song and animation. It even brought back the iconic starting spiel that you can see at the top of this very entry. Two OVAs, named Minami-ke Omatasenote  and Minami-ke Natsuyasumi, were also released, with the first one being a Halloween Episode and the second one being a Beach Episode.

The show has a character sheet.

Minami-ke provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Adaptation Dye-Job: Every season changes the hair colors of the characters a bit. In Okaeri, the characters have more realistic hair colors.
  • Art Shift: Frequent closeups in which characters' faces gain considerable detail. "Bible Black faces", as the image boards call them.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: Several assembles:
    • Haruka, Atsuko and Maki.
    • Chiaki, Yoshino and Uchida.
    • Fujioka, Hosaka and Makoto.
    • Chiaki, Touma and Mako-chan.
  • Brainwashed: In episode 8 of season 4, several characters begin to have a fondness for vegetables thanks to a new TV show. Chiaki and Kana check it out, with the former thinking it's just some random show pandering to the simple-minded. After the show is over, Chiaki develops Mind-Control Eyes, and has a sudden urge to eat vegetables despite normally hating them. Several other characters are afflicted by this as well, such as Hosaka, who tries to force Hayami to eat some. Interestingly, while Kana watched the show, she wasn't affected by it the same way. Chiaki and Hosaka break out of this when they eat some sausages the grocery store is giving out as samples, but not before breaking into a song and dance sequence.
  • Bullet Time: Kana's jump on the dining table, in the very first episode of the anime.
  • Chaos Architecture: Between season 1 and Okawari. The most noticeable bit about this is the addition of a dining table, and their kitchen is now a counter across said dining table (when in the previous season, the kitchen was outside the living room). Also, Chihaki and Kana no longer have separate rooms.
  • Christmas Episode: Once per season, with the exception of Okawari.
  • Cloudcuckoolander:
    Kana: Warmth... sounds warm.
    • In a scene concerning Valentine's Day, a mistake on the translator's part (Chiaki actually said, "I tried making Chocolat de chocolat (a multi-layered chocolate cake)". Mako-chan then butchers the name as "sokora de kokora") gives us the next dialogue.
      Chiaki: I tried to make chocolate from chocolate.
      Mako-chan: This is chocolate from chocolate, right?
      Chiaki: Pretty good chocolate, no?
  • Companion Cube: Yamada, a small rock Chiaki was kicking around. The fans appear to have latched onto him. The trope also applies to Fujioka, Chiaki's teddy bear, to an extent.
  • Content Warnings: See the quote above.
  • Continuity Nod: All over the place in Tadaima, to the first season. Fitting, as the first season is considered by many watchers to be the best season overall in terms of comedic timing.
  • Demoted to Extra: The Minami brothers, whom the audience had grown attached to by the end of the first season, vanished entirely in the second. Thankfully, they return in Okaeri and Tadaima.
  • Diabolus ex Machina: The Teacher and Ninomiya. Lampshaded both within the confines of their show and by Kana while watching it.
    Doctor/Kana: "Another car?!"
  • "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune: The opening songs and ending songs are sung by the Seiyuus of the Minami sisters: Rina Sato, Marina Inoue and Minori Chihara.
  • Downer Ending: In-universe example. In episode 4 of the first season, Chiaki and Kana play a game based on The Teacher and Ninomiya, with the loser having to go out in the rain to buy snacks at the convenience store. At first it seems to be a standard fighting game, with Kana playing Ninomiya and Chiaki as the teacher. The latter soundly defeats the former, but then a cutscene plays with the teacher screaming her name as she "dies", utterly confusing both girls as to what just happened, as well as who won. The same scene plays out multiple times in different genres of that game, and both girls forget the original reason for playing it in the first place, and simply try to defeat the other, while trying to figure out exactly how the game is supposed to be played.
  • Evolving Credits: The scenery that Kana walks through in the ending for season 2 changes gradually after every three episodes as the season goes on.
  • Faceless Masses: Except for a school uniform, everyone who's not a main character in Okawari is a black silhouette. Then they start talking... Some of those blacked-out faces still have some recognizable features, which makes it even creepier.
  • Fanservice:
    • Quite a bit, with skimpy sport outfits in the opening credits, a beach episode and Kana appearing shirtless (though retaining her bra) in the opening of episode six. The service reaches really silly levels in the second season, perhaps in an attempt to compensate for the lack of funny source material.
    • And the manga has plenty of Chiaki and Kana pantyshots as well.
    • The Betsubara OVA has a completely random Chiaki pantyshot for seemingly no real reason, though it's so zoomed out and undetailed it's almost incidental. Then the camera goes back to it. Three times.
    • Tadaima's first episode has some shots of Haruka with a loose school uniform while taking a nap and Kana lying under the kotatsu along with a change of clothes so that she would be warm when she gets up. The problem with Kana is that she forgot the change of clothes and is in her underwear when Haruka pulls her out.
    • Another from Tadaima — Kana's butt wiggle from episode 7.
  • Forgiving the Accidental Pervert: Zig-Zagged. When Natsuki accidentally gropes Haruka in front of the class during school hours, she all but explains outright that she has to be seen replying to it in order to maintain their public images and stop any wayward rumours, and apologises in advance. Natsuki makes it clear he's aware of her dilemma and consents to 'taking responsibility', so Haruka visibly punches him in response to the 'perversion'. It is clear neither side have any hard feelings over it and Haruka would likely have let it pass if it happened in private.
  • Good Angel, Bad Angel:
    • Chiaki and Fujioka's angel/devil pairs that appear in episode two of Okaeri.
    • Chiaki's pair shows up again in the first episode of Tadaima.
  • Gratuitous English: KANA IS BOSS.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: In episode 8 of season 3, Kana tries to teach Yoshino and Uchida about feigning weakness to attract a guy. They practice by pretending to not be able to open a can of soda. Although Uchida accidentally opens it, Yoshino manages not to. Maki, Atsuko, and Haruka later arrive, and Maki recalls a bad memory of that can trick failing miserably when she attempted it with a guy. They then make Atsuko do it, and she is completely unable to do it. However, she wasn't faking it, and really couldn't open it, causing Kana and Maki to hilariously accuse her of witchcraft with the level of helplessness she showed.
  • The Hecate Sisters: In terms of age it's Chiaki-Kana-Haruka, but in terms of personality, Kana is the maiden, Haruka is the mother, and Chiaki is the bitter crone.
  • Halloween Episode: The first sketch of Omatase is a Halloween Episode. Takeru has a lot of sweets and the girls play "Trick or Treat" (with some variations). Kana is a vampire, Chiaki and Mako-chan are Cute Witches, Touma is wolfboy, Uchida might be a bunny girl, Yoshino is a mummy and Haruka is a succubus.
  • Improbably Female Cast: While there are male characters, the vast majority of them have minor roles or are only seen very sporadically. In Makoto's case, he's often forced to become Mako-chan whenever he spends time with the Minami sisters.
  • Insane Troll Logic: Kana and Chiaki are both prone to some very bizarre "deductions".
  • Intimate Lotion Application: When the cast goes to the beach, this is a problem for Makoto who is crossdressing as "Mako-chan" since the beach environment makes it hard to conceal his true gender from the others. One of the incidents includes Haruka (who doesn't know he's a boy) offering to rub sunscreen on him, and he can't think of a reason to refuse. The audience doesn't see the act itself, but when we next see Makoto he's flushing red and in a daze at having Haruka (who's a Ms. Fanservice that he has a Precocious Crush on) touch him in such an intimate manner.
  • Just Train Wrong: In the 2nd season ending Kana is shown walking a train track whose gauge is as wide as Kana is tall. Most lines in Japan are 1067 mm wide. Either it's a blatant error or Kana is only about one meter tall. There are also no signal posts or mileposts as far as an eye can see.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: In episode 2, after Chiaki gives her whole class nicknames and destroys their self-esteem, two students lament that their nicknames are "Student A" and "Student B", which is exactly how minor characters without proper names are credited in anime.
  • Love Letter Lunacy: In the first episode, Chiaki's... creative re-interpretation of the letter as a challenge from a banchou has hilarious results.
  • Love Triangle:
    • Riko is in love with Fujioka, but Fujioka is in love with Kana. Sadly, Kana is completely oblivious to Fujioka's affection for her.
    • "Sensei and Ninomiya-kun" have a Love Triangle in Tadaima, with the addition of Sannomiya-kun.
    • It becomes a Love Dodecahedron when Akira joins in. He's attracted by Riko's long hair, but his close relationship with Kana makes him the target of Fujioka's jealousy. Akira on the other hand has no idea of Fujioka's feelings towards Kana and mistakes Riko for Fujioka's girlfriend, believing that being the reason why he's mad at him. Also, Riko and Kana have no idea what's going on, everyone within the Love Dodecahedron doesn't know that he/she is in one.
  • Lyrical Cold Open: All openings start with the lyrics.
  • Mind-Control Conspiracy: Just why was a children's television show hypnotizing people into loving vegetables...?
  • Mind-Control Eyes: The result of the vegetable song from Tadaima, episode 8.
  • Mind Screw: The very last ending for season 2 shows the usual Kana walking through various scenes. Then at the end when she stops, the camera pans away, and that scene we just looked at turns out to be a painting that another Kana just watched along with the viewers.
  • New Year Has Come: Once per season. The girls usually go to a shrine. In Omatase, the girls celebrate the New Year in their home right after the Halloween sketch, and everyone but Kana ends up drunken by Hayami's alcohol.
  • No Full Name Given: Almost the entire cast. It's easier to point out the characters whose family names are known: The Minami sisters, the other Minami family (Touma's family), and Chiaki's friend Yuka Uchida.
  • No Social Skills: One has to wonder how the other Minamis raised their children when you look at Touma's brothers... Natsuki in particular is the crowning example.
  • Not Allowed to Grow Up: It's not really noticeable in the manga, but for those following the anime this is especially glaring. For example, at least three New Year's celebrations have been shown... and yet no-one has advanced a single year in each of their respective grades.
  • Oddly Named Sequel: From Minami-ke to Minami-ke Okawari ("Seconds") to Minami-ke Okaeri ("Welcome Home") to Minami-ke Tadaima ("We're Back").
  • Open Secret: In the final episode of Tadaima, Uchida, Miyuki and Maki are not able to keep the secrets of Touma, Riko and Atsuko, respectively, because "it's just between us" animates people to tell secrets to other peoplenote . Kana uses this as an advantage and tells people about a "secret" place for a hanami in disguise of "it's just between us", so a lot of people will be invited for the hanami.
  • Numerical Theme Naming: Ninomiya-kun (2) gets her rival Sannomiya-kun (3) in Tadaima. Makes you wonder if there was an "Ichinomiya-kun (1).
  • Parental Abandonment:
    • There are no signs of parents. A conversation implies that the sisters' father is dead or long absent, and their mother is not mentioned at all.
    • This seems to go for Touma and her brothers too, but they get less screentime.
  • Rubber Face: A few characters are subjected to this, such as Makoto and Chiaki.
  • Running Gag:
    • The loincloth festival.
    • Never ask Keiko what grade she got for whatever test you just took, you'll just feel bad about your own grades after.
      • Or you badmouth about her grades that makes her sad.
    • The limited vocabulary of Teacher and Ninomiya ("Sensei!" "Ninomiya-kun!").
    • When people discuss things about Touma, she's often lying around within earshot. This is lampshaded when Natsuki asks Haruka to tell Touma something.
    • The question of Touma's gender who are not sure about her true gender.
    • Hosaka and his plans how to give Haruka a bento or another gift. In the end, he never meets her anyway.
  • Say My Name:
    Ninomiya: "Sensei!"
    Teacher: "Ninomiya-kun!"
  • Selective Obliviousness: Characters often act as if they do not hear the conversation that is taking place right next to them (i.e. Touma to her brothers' talking about her). Taken to extremes with Chiaki not seeming to notice anything that would give away Makoto's disguise... although perhaps she's only feigning obliviousness.
  • Ship Tease: Sakuraba likes to portray Hosaka, Fujioka, and Makoto as Spear Counterparts and Opposites Attract of Haruka, Kana, and Chiaki respectively in promotional art he makes, although in the manga proper those three are quite far from being romantically involved, and Hosaka and Haruka in particular barely know each other; surprisingly enough, Touma's brothers, who are generally accepted to be the real Spear Counterpart for the Minami sisters, get no such service from Sakuraba, they are in none of the promotional material.
  • Shout-Out:
    • In Okaeri episode 10, Natsuki and Touma play a game that looks like a parody of The King of Fighters '95, with Touma playing "Rugal Bernstein" and Natsuki playing "Kyo Kusanagi". In the end, Natsuki spams "108 Shiki: Yami Barai" like there is no tomorrow.
    • In the final scene of the OVA Natsuyasumi, Hosaka is ordering food at a WcDonalds. The two cashiers behind the register look a lot like Chiho and Maou from The Devil is a Part-Timer!.
  • Show Within a Show / Soap Within a Show: The Teacher and Ninomiya. Apparently also an in-universe Cash-Cow Franchise, as well, since the Teacher and Ninomiya also star in their very own multi-genre video game (spoofing a lot of familiar titles from video game history) as well as their very own magic show.
  • Sick Episode:
    • Kana gets sick in episode 9 of the first season. Chiaki keeps her company and watches over her, and tries to cheer her up. Chiaki herself gets sick later on, probably having caught whatever was making Kana sick.
    • Kana again in episode 11 of season 2. At first she was faking it to get out of the neighborhood cleaning that day, which Chiaki immediately suspects. But then she really gets sick the next day. Which was also the day the sisters were supposed to go shopping for clothes, and later go to an all you can eat rib restaurant. Kana tries various things to get better, but feels even worse by the time Haruka and Chiaki get home from shopping.
  • Signature Shot: The first episode, "The Three Minami Sisters", contains director Masahiko Ohta's signature shot of a camera barreling down a hallway at full speed, loving drawn in full 3D, when Kana chases her sister looking for a kiss.
  • Slice of Life: Its main genre.
  • Smashing Watermelons: Two are done episode 6 of season 3 and 4.
  • Snowball Fight: A few times in season 2. A brief one occurs in episode 12 of season 4.
  • Spelling Song: The first, third, and fourth season opening themes. The second season... was something else entirely.
  • Strange Minds Think Alike: Chiaki refers to Hosaka as the curry fairy. Later, Hayami tells Hosaka that he could become the curry fairy. Chiaki meets Hosaka again in Betsubara and the eighth episode of Tadaima while both of them are shopping for carrots or vegetables.
  • Stylistic Suck: The Teacher and Ninomiya is an utter Cliché Storm.
  • Sustained Misunderstanding: This show runs on it. Often one character will say something, another will misinterpret it, and then spread the misinterpretation around, such as Hosaka believing Kana and Chiaki to be Haruka's daughters, rather than her sisters.
  • Temporal Theme Naming: Doubled up — the Minami sisters have Haruka (spring), Kana (summer), and Chiaki (autumn), while the other Minami family has Natsuki (summer), Akira (autumn), Touma (winter)... and the oldest brother, whose name is never mentioned until the seventh volume, which established that his name is Haruo (spring). Okawari runs with this again in the case of Fuyuki (winter).
  • Those Two Girls: Each of the sisters has a pair of Those Two Girls in their respective schools. In Kana's school, there are even two pairs of them.
  • Title Drop: If you name your sequels like that, it happens a lot.
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change: The Teacher and Ninomiya: The Video Game. Such genres include fighting, platformer, shoot-em-up, Capcom-grade survival horror, and an RPG.
  • Unlimited Wardrobe: Just how many swimsuits do the sisters, their female friends and Mako-chan own?
  • Valentine's Day Episode: Happens once per season.
  • Voice Clip Song: Rotterdam Banchou Core, a hard trance techno remix of one single scene. Now with a gabber remix of the remix!
  • Wacky Homeroom
  • Wham Episode: Two incidents in episode 12 of season 2. The first, a minor one, is that Fuyuki, the boy that lived next door to the Minami sisters for that season, moves away unceremoniously. A bigger one that impacts the other sisters is the revelation that Haruka is going overseas to study abroad.
  • Wham Shot: Otherwise incredibly lighthearted, an example is found in the last episode of Okaeri when they find what appears to be Kana's suicide note.

Alternative Title(s): Minami Ke