After the first episode of Minami-ke Okaeri disappointed, and the second made me laugh until I cried (at one point, anyway), what on Earth is the third instalment of the series going to hold in store for me?
Well, to be honest it lies somewhere inbetween those two poles, although thankfully it's closer to the latter than the former in the amusement stakes. The episode begins, and virtually ends, with a pudding crisis, as Touma visits the Minami household on two occasions to request to stay the night after falling out with her brother on account of him eating her pudding (with the second occasion all but turning to domestic violence inside her immediate family). However, this only causes her to become embroiled in an entirely seperate pudding-related incident there, which is resolved with relative ease. The second chunk of this episode was a rather more surreal affair involving a surfeit of apples, and some kind of baked apple drama that I really couldn't quite wrap my head around.
However, my personal favourite segment of this instalment saw Kana, Chiaki and Touma trying to finish off cooking a curry started by Haruka, while she in turn tried to talk Touma's brother Natsuki through a recipe for sweets. As the two parties yell out indredients as part of their respective conversations, so confusion ensues with inevitable (yet still amusing) consequences.
If I had to label any criticism at this particular episode of Minami-ke Okaeri, it would be on account of its predictability - The ending to each of the set-ups (aside from that aforementioned surreal baked apple scenario) was telegraphed well in advance, taking a little of the lustre from those gags. Still, at least they were jokes, and in the best of Minami-ke traditions to boot - They got a smile out of me, so I'll let their obvious nature slide for now. In other words, while this wasn't quite as good as the last episode of this series, it was still a big improvement over its opener, and I'm now finding myself in the groove of quite enjoying the series as I did the original Minami-ke.