Hosaka – Minami-ke
Ahhh Hosaka. He’s quite an oddball of a character that can usually be found taking off his shirt. He’s remarkably awkward and off-putting for almost every character he meets. His only “friend” is a girl that enjoys watching him be ridiculous. And yet, he can do anything he puts his mind to, especially cooking. He’s captain of the boys’ volleyball team. He’s very clearly rich. Honestly, he’s a little bit of a caricaturization of a standard bishojo (womens’ novels) “good-looking guy.” What happens when you throw that character into a relatively normal slice of life anime? Hilariousness.
He’s remarkably forward and yet shy. He can never bring himself to talk to the object of his affection, but he keeps practicing what he’d say in his head, just in case. He’ll even be mentally practicing cooking or other skills to impress his crush… just in case. He becomes wackier and wackier as the show goes on. Well, how better can you describe a character than a song he sings? To a Spanish tune. In Japanese. About a barbecue. Yep, you heard right. Actually, that isn’t the only song he sings in the course of the anime. He also sings about curry and salads (sorry no subs on the last one). Thank you Daisuke Ono (voice actor). Really, you can’t help but think of Hosaka as a special kind of nutcase.
Makoto/Mako-chan – Minami-ke
In a really very normal sort of world, where everyone seems to have some sort of quirk, there is one who stands out to me as superbly goofy for his love-hate relationship with…crossdressing. Makoto has found himself in the odd situation of habitually cross-dressing when he visits the Minami household in order to be allowed to be a part of things. Chiaki, his classmate and youngest of the Minami girls, is always at odds with him at school, so her sister suggests (initially just as a joke) that he pretend to be a girl so that the prior prejudice is not an issue. Rather surprisingly to everyone, it works like a charm! And Mako-chan is born.
As one may expect, this makes for some really great scenes of confused gender as various characters interact with him as they would a girl—and decidedly not a boy. From an all-girls sleepover to boys telling him he’s cute (not to mention the obligatory onsen (hot springs) conundrum), it’s a generally mixed-up world Makoto lives in, and he flip-flops between being utterly embarrassed and getting waaay too into fashion. He feels that he is supremely manly and that wearing these girly outfits and pinning back his hair cutely cannot possibly hide how masculine he is…but, alas, he’s an adorable 10-year-old boy with a surprising amount of fashion sense and it’s all very convincing.
There are a few characters that know he’s really a boy, which actually makes for greater hilarity as they tense up or try to help him when his cover is about to be blown. For them, there is the added burden of remembering what they did with and what was said around Makoto vs. Mako-chan, which of course throws Makoto off, too. It’s a double-life he leads, and if he gets too far into one or the other, he can’t always remember who he is at the moment.
What I find charming about Makoto/Mako-chan is that, even when he forgets himself, he really is a boy and does boy things. He picks his nose while carrying on a conversation, he gets excited about tradition and tries to take off his underwear while wearing a yukata (summer kimono) (much to the terror of those around him who know), and it is purely through the desire for friendship with Chiaki that he has let himself be propelled down the path of cross-dressing…and continues it. Chiaki cares for Mako-chan and deeply values their friendship, which really makes it all worthwhile to Makoto. Aw.
Zenko signing off.