"Midori Days" Vol. 3: A Satisfying Conclusion to a Satisfying Drama
Before I begin, let me say this: Midori Days, despite what many people on the Internet claim, is not a zany comedy with gut-busting laughs every minute. Oh sure, it has some funny moments in each episode, most of them awkward and/or imaginary. And yes, it begins as more of a comedy: the general weirdness of the situation lends itself to comic slapstick at first. But Midori Days, despite its funny start, is really more of a romantic anime. Which isn’t a problem, since it nails the drama in these final four episodes, proving it’s more than a gimmick with dumb puns tacked on.
Some background for those unfamiliar with the series: Midori Days (a.k.a. Midori No Hibi) is an AnimeWorks/Media Blasters release that concerns a 17-year-old loner named Seiji who is legendary for the fighting prowess of his powerful right hand. Of course, everyone is deathly afraid of him because of this, hence the “loner” part. One day Seiji wakes up to find that his right hand has become a miniaturized female named Midori, who, when she was a full-sized classmate of Seiji’s, had a crush on him (but was way too shy to approach him). Things go haywire. Seiji has to readjust to life without the use of his right hand and has to constantly hide Midori in his pocket or coat. But throughout the time that Midori is Seiji’s right hand, she has an influence on him; he starts going to school regularly and becomes more polite as well.
The two biggest supporting players are Ayase, a classmate of Seiji’s, who hides her secret crush for him behind a wall of disdain, and Kouta, a childhood friend of Midori who ends up kidnapped by thugs and eventually finds out Seiji’s secret. There are minor players here and there, like the young neighborhood girl who lusts after Seiji, the doll-collecting geek who thinks Midori is plastic and Seiji’s boorish, bullying sister. But they are mostly present for comic relief and sometimes even get in the way of the plot.
During the third volume, Midori finally leaves Seiji’s right hand to return to her normal, fully-grown body. While this happens, Ayase gathers up the courage to confess her feelings for Seiji. Kouta wants Seiji to visit Midori and tell her what happened while she was in the coma; meanwhile Seiji is feeling empty because he no longer has his right-hand companion.
While I won’t give away the ending, I will say that it’s satisfying but leaves a few things unresolved. It’s abrupt, but most of the show is tied up.
In terms of presentation, Midori Days does a decent enough job. The animation, as in much anime, is limited during talking scenes but kicks in during comedy and action sequences. The designs are suitable for this genre: females are cute, and the backgrounds are usually lush (gorgeous sunsets) and well detailed. The English VAs do a good job of sounding like their Japanese counterparts (especially Midori’s VA, who manages to sound high-pitched and cute yet not scratchy or annoying), making this a cringe-free dub, except for a very out-of-place Beverly Hills accent in one episode.
Music is a big part of this show as well; you’ll hear plenty of piano and strings to accentuate the romanctic atmosphere. There are a few fast-paced, frantic-sounding melodies too, but those were used more in the first few episodes, when the slapstick was more frequent. One flaw with this part of the show is that they tend to repeat the same melodies over and over.
As for the DVD itself, I saw no noticeable encoding problems. The transfer is beautiful (partly because this is a digital show), and access times were almost instantaneous because there were no menu animations. But, sadly, Midori Days Vol. 3 is like many anime releases in that it does not include many special features. For this third volume, there’s a six-minute radio drama, which is essentially a series of still images from the show with the characters’ voices on top, telling a story that sort of relates to the main plot line. It’s fairly bland. English dub outtakes are also included. Most jokes are of the raunchy sex variety, although there are a few “clean” flubs too. Fairly so-so overall, however. The disc also has a few Media Blasters trailers for titles like Gokusen and Grenadier.
Midori Days isn’t a wild and bizarre comedy like Excel Saga or Cromartie High School. If you enjoy love stories (or good character development) and can handle the bizarre premise, you’ll like this title. And the three-volume release means you won’t be spending too much money on it either.