It's taken a while of playing catch up, but at last I'm up to date with all things Minami-ke. While the first season of this show wasn't particularly a classic, it was still both entertaining and amusing enough for me to look forward to a second series. So, how does this second helping taste so far?
Coming straight from viewing the first run of the show, watching Okawari is actually a little disconcerting from an animation point of view, as things have changed rather a lot - while the overall look and feel is the same, the addition of computer animation and some subtle character and colouring changes have really altered part of the feel of the show. When you've spent thirteen episodes getting comfortable with a set of characters, even such subtle changes can be quite distracting, and I'm not sure that work done here has been for the better (although doubtless it's made the life of the animators easier).
Having watch through to episode nine of this series, I can only wish that an equal amount of effort had been made in changing and progressing the storylines in Minami-ke Okawari - although the first series was hardly rife with laughs, it did have enough going on to get the odd smile or chuckle out of me, but somehow these further episodes seem completely devoid of much of that humour. Instead, we seem to end up being pushed down the same old tired pathyways over and over again, focused around cross-dressing, Kana's stupidity and so on. Even introducing new characters hasn't particularly pulled the show out of this rut, leaving it feeling rather stale.
That isn't to say that Minami-ke Okawari isn't at all entertaining - it's a non-taxing, relaxing show to watch and unwind, and the overall personalities of Haruka, Kana and Chiaki remains watchable, but beyond that the majority of the nine episodes of this series so far have been largely wasted, a trend which doesn't seem likely to shift any time soon. It isn't quite enough to stop me watching, but it really would be nice to see a departure from the tired old jokes and interplay between characters in the last few episodes of the show.