Adding another series; although it’s not terribly recent, it’s still from 2009…

Headbutts of fury.

Headbutts of fury.

What have I thought of the show so far?: Like most people who saw the first Minami-ke series, I absolutley adored it and I rank it in my top 3 anime. Like most people who watched the second season, called Okawari, I was extremely disappointed. And like most people who have now started on the third series, called Okaeri, I think it is much better than Okawari yet still not as good as what Minami-ke used to be. In its first two episodes, Okaeri showed some glimmers of utter brilliance (i.e, Hosaka’s Curry Song in episode 2 transformed that episode into one that rivals the best of the original series), yet it took a nose-dive in episode 3 which jokes that didnt seem to end and ‘slice of life’ that was more tedium than cute or relaxing. Plus I dont think Hosaka was in that episode, either. In other words, Okaeri has been an extremely mixed bag so far and I’m hoping it can regain the brilliance of its second episode in time.

Episode 4 was an improvement from the last one, at least, whilst still not particularly amazing. For some reason the show seems to be focusing on Touma, the tomboy from the other Minami family. I’m quite fond of the other family, but I think too many Touma jokes in quick succession can spoil things. She’s much better as an ‘every now and then’ sort of character. As the first little plot goes, both Minami families have noted that Touma has become too masculine and rather violent lately (ie, the headbutting), leading Kana and Chiaki to suggest that she needs discipline, particularly when she comes to visit their house; and needs to know her place. Cue a rather creepy sequence of them all as dogs, which I will screencap for the wtfery:

Kana-dog is just plain scary.

Kana-dog is just plain scary.

And so is Chiaki-dog...

And so is Chiaki-dog...

Of course, Haruka is the leader.

Of course, Haruka is the leader.

Touma-dog is actually kind of cute though.

Touma-dog is actually kind of cute though.

With Haruka established as the leader, Chiaki and Kana decide they need to further work out the heirarchy of the Minami household; ie, who is stronger between the two.Although they prepare to have an epic fight, one may never know the answer because Haruka will have none of it. (And just when Touma arrives again, too). Personally, my money would be on Chiaki though.

People dont want to get on Harukas bad side.

People dont want to get on Haruka's bad side.

It turns out that Touma isnt just being violent to Kana, but also her brothers, particularly Natsuki. Natsuki is one of the minor characters that I feel doesnt get anywhere near as much screentime as he deserves, so I’m glad Okaeri has been showing more of him. There’s something about him that I cant help but love, even if he does seem pretty thick. However, Touma’s headbutts dont seem to work on him.

I love how he doesnt even blink.

I love how he doesnt even blink.

Headbutt fail.

Headbutt fail.

After being thwarted by Natsuki numerous times, Touma asks the Minami sisters what she should do to win against him, or stop him from getting angry as he seems to do when she comes home late (which as been often. She’s at the rebellious age I guess). Kana suggests it’s to do with her masculine behaviour and suggests she act more girly so that he wont get angry, however, her ‘acting girly’ plan for some reason solely involves handing her a photo to give to him. She says he’ll stop being angry when he sees it; and thus Touma takes it, thrusting it at him when he inevitably gets mad at her for coming home late.

Natsuki likes.

Natsuki likes.

The way Natsuki just fell completely silent and stared at the photo for a while, withTouma cheering “Yay, it worked!” is something I found pretty hilarious. I’m continually amused how Natsuki’s facial expression hardly changes, and also how Touma doesnt even understand what about the photo subdued him.
Afterwards, the Minami brothers remind eachother about Touma’s approaching birthday, and have something of a passive argument over who has gotten her the best present over the years. Seeing Touma at different stages was pretty cute; particularly the youngest Touma. Besides Natsuki’s gift, they all seemed quite laughably lame.

From the eldest brother Haruo, a book called Brother Love.

From the eldest brother Haruo, a book called "Brother Love".

From the youngest brother Akira, some weird couple-compatibility test book.

From the youngest brother Akira, some weird couple-compatibility test book.

From the middle brother Natsuki, a game system. Although I guess because its one of those 99 games in one things its still pretty lame.

From the middle brother Natsuki, a game system. Although I guess because it's one of those '99 in 1 things it's still pretty lame. I love how proud they all look.

The high point of this episode is the introduction of a new character to the High School sphere; the frankly adorable Hitomi. This section was also focused on Natsuki, which earns it bonus points; because Hitomi actually has a crush on him. She has the unbelievable ability to be able to know exactly what he is thinking by looking at his eyes; an incredible feat when his face generally always looks the same no matter what he’s thinking. Little does the poor girl know, however, that Natsuki is quite fixated on Haruka. If both Natsuki -and- Hosaka are in love with Haruka, I’m not sure why they havent had some epic fight over her yet; although they probably arent aware of the other one’s feelings. I actually hope this comes up in future. Anyway, Hitomi; her voice is adorable, too. I’d seen pictures of her before I saw this episode and assumed she was a tsundere-type, however she’s really just sweet. And she seriously looks like an older Chiaki with weird hair.

Another favourite character approaching...

Another favourite character approaching...

Daaaw x2.

D'aaaw...

She also seems to be the sort of character that misunderstands quite easily; when Natsuki looked at Haruka with lovestruck eyes (or at least, what Hitomi says were lovestruck eyes), she thought that he was looking at her instead. We can tell she really likes him, but she’s still shy, so she didnt really know what to do. I’m loving the girl more by the second.

Natsukis just like wut. As per usual.

Natsuki's just like 'wut'. As per usual. Also these subtitles need a grammar checker.

Hitomi believes herself to be too childish and wishes to be more like an adult, so she goes to see Maki of all people for advice. (Her reasoning for this is that she believes Maki must also be trying hard to be an adult, as opposed to Haruka, who already is one.) Whilst talking about Haruka, the best character of all three series approaches to give his own input.

Hosaka~

Hosaka~! He's all >:3

I’ll just say here that I still miss Hosaka’s first-season design. His Okaeri design is a vast improvement over his Okawari design, at least. And as long as he has Daisuke Ono’s brilliant voice-acting, he’s still the Hosaka we know and love. Maki and Hitomi are quick to observe that despite the fact that he is carrying an umbrella, Hosaka is soaking wet, and has gotten water all down the hallway as well. Apparently it was because it started to rain during the day, and Hosaka supposed that Haruka did not bring an umbrella, and with the fantasy in his mind of him lending her his umbrella and her being overcome with love as a guide; he went back home in the rain to retrieve one.

Of course it wouldnt be a Hosaka-fantasy if he didnt randomly unbutton his shirt halfway through.

Of course it wouldnt be a Hosaka-fantasy if he didnt randomly unbutton his shirt halfway through.

Dramatic, accidental water-flinging, all over Maki and Hitomi. Oh Hosaka.

Dramatic, accidental water-flinging, all over Maki and Hitomi. Oh Hosaka.

Although Maki is disgusted by Hosaka as usual, Hitomi quite seriously takes his ‘advice’, that giving someone an umbrella will make you an adult. Her plan however doesnt go so well because Natsuki is quite unwilling to use the bright pink, bunny-patterned umbrella that she offers him. In the end, however, the rain stops, meaning that once again, Hosaka’s 3 millionth plan to get close to Haruka never actually goes into action.
Cutting forward to Touma’s birthday, she gets a gift from all her brothers, which turns out to be…an umbrella.

So boring, but at least its practical.

So boring, but at least its practical.

It felt like a weird place to end things, but there you have it. This episode was far better than episode 3, with alot of Natsuki, who hasnt gotten a spotlike since season 1 and the new girl Hitomi, whom I already love. Hosaka is brillaint as always, even if he only got a tiny part. The episode was entertaining, but I was a little bored in some places; it’s getting ‘good’ again, but still not ‘great’, so out of 5:
melonpanratingmelonpanratingmelonpanrating1/2