Thursday, 5 February 2009

Minami-ke Okaeri - Episode 5

"The pool" is a staple part of pretty any anime series diet, especially when it comes to slice of life shows, so I can't pretend that I was exactly shocked to see an episode of Minami-ke Okaeri focusing entirely on swimming pool related shenanigans.

If I'm honest, the whole thing started in a rather mundane fashion - It's a hot day, but Chiaki's class have to clean out the pool ready for use at the start of the Summer. The trouble is, Chiaki still can't swim, so she initially tries her best to complete this cleaning from being completed. When that fails, she instead decides to "become one" with the water by raising her body's own water level from 70 up to 80% (which, by the way, is never a good idea). Of course, this attempt fails, but she still feels bloated (and thus buoyant) enough to float - A plan which is dashed by her using bandages on her finger to distract people from her swollen stomach, as she's then told to take it easy on account of her "cut" finger.

Chiaka isn't the only one with the swimming pool on her mind, as Kana is also pondering it in her own inimitable way. Despite just enjoying some time in the school swimming pool, Kana wants more, and so invites a couple of her friends to go to the pool with her outside of school time. Cue a certain amount of amusement as both Fujioka and others try to suggest that she should invite other people along, while Kana of course gets entirely the wrong end of the stick.

The episode finishes with a failed game of "tag" at the pool, which then takes a similar turn back at the Minami sister's apartment, with things getting awkward for Touma as Fujioka's boisterous tagging gets a little too much for her. Again, there was a certain amount of amusement to be derived from this, even though gags based around Touma's gender-swapping have been done to death by now between this series and Minami-ke Okawari.

All in all then, a pretty typical episode of Minami-ke - Neither laugh out loud funny nor able to break out of its own well-worn jokes, but still somehow just about entertaining enough not to feel like a complete waste of time. It does again serve as a reminder of how much better the first series was though, proving that this franchise has never quite gotten over its "difficult second album".

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