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[R1 DVD box art.]
AKA: 美鳥の日々(Midori no Hibi)
Genre: Romantic comedy
Length: Television series, 13 episodes, 23 minutes each
Distributor: Formerly licensed by Media Blasters.
Content Rating: 13+ (Violence, blood, fanservice.)
Related Series: N/A
Also Recommended: Ah! My Goddess, School Rumble, Ai Yori Aoshi.
Notes: Based on the manga by Kazurou Inoue, serialized in Weekly Shounen Sunday.
Rating: Three StarsThree StarsThree Stars
 

Midori Days

Synopsis

Sawamura Seiji's biggest dream is having a girlfriend. Unfortunately, at school he's known as "Mad Dog Sawamura", well known for his "Devil Right Hand" whom he has defeated every single opponent he's faced. Because of this, all the girls are scared to death of him.

...except one, because one day he finds himself with her in place of his right hand. Her name is Midori, and for the longest time, she's been admiring him in secret. And since I can't really save this from sounding like a really tasteless joke, I'm just going to recoup my losses now and start the review.


Review

For the record, I'm really grateful that the anime never really goes there, even though Media Blasters tried their damnedest by calling the first episode "Right hand girlfriend". Because there's so many bad jokes that could have been made out of this concept, I don't even know where to start.

But then, Midori Days plays out like most high-school romance shows, for good and bad. Girl-on-hand gimmick aside, I could probably call this show out as being nothing really special. And it isn't.

Now, don't get me wrong. This show isn't really a total loss. In fact, many aspects of Midori Days is fairly charming, mostly because the male protagonist isn't someone you see all that often, especially in shows like this. While he's perceived as a thug, he's fairly honorable, and rarely attacks people for no reason. He's just caught up in his own reputation, which means people come looking for him for their fights. And although he's all to happy to oblige, he's also fully aware that the whole situation is the main reason he's still single.

Midori herself puzzles me, though. As Seiji's right hand, she's fairly outspoken, certainly not shy of expressing her own feelings. In fact, she borders on being a brat about it. The thing is, she states herself that the reason she wound up as Seiji's right hand in the first place is because she didn't have the courage to confess to him, or even face him at all. It's a rather huge change for one character in one day.

But what is a romantic venture without a rival? In Midori Days' case, that means another girl trying for Seiji; namely Takako Ayase. She hates deliquents, so naturally, she doesn't take too well to Seiji at first, until he saves her from another group of delinquents who doesn't quite share his view on non-violence towards women.

There's a host of other characters too, some of which I would not have loved seeing dropped off a bridge with brand, new Concrete Clogs on their feet, and some whom I would. The tolerable among them are Seiji's big sister, oddly enough, as she pretty much lives up to the stereotype I hate in any character; exploitative, violent and bossy. She's the one who taught Seiji to fight, too, if that means anything to you, and she's also the source of most of this show's fanservice. And yes, her rack is positively gigantic. There's also Shiori, the token loli who refers to Seiji as "big brother". Sadly, her contribution to the show is less than entertaining, even considering she had an episode all to herself and her "don't get along with stepmommy" issues. (And since I'm such a nice guy, I'll give you a tip: on the scene where Shiori makes up with her stepmom, cover your ears. Because the dialogue in it is just... mercy!)

But the worst character addition -- and one that, sadly, we weren't spared from in the manga either -- is our good friend, the doll otaku Takamizawa Shuichi. For all of Seiji's attempts at keeping Midori secret, he is very unsuccesful at keeping this little tidbit of information away from Shuichi. And boy, does Shuichi's obsession bring some much needed otaku humor into the fold in the same way that hentai needs more tentacles. In hindsight, I'd much rather they dropped this guy and kept the crazy professor from the manga instead, but I guess you can't win 'em all.

Artwise, the show is nice for the better part. It's got a pretty cartoonish style, with lots of visual gags and overdone facial expressions, helped along with the decent and stable animation quality. The dub is surprisingly workable too, even if it comes across as rather dry at first. Midori sounds a whole lot like Skuld from the Ah! My Goddess TV series, I'm actually surprised they don't share the same voice actor. Come to think of it, Seiji sounds a whole lot like Keiichi too, which is both logical and weird at the same time. Although in Seiji's case, they DO share the same voice actor, so there you go... I guess.

I know I hinted that this might be a triangle love drama, but I'm not sure that's accurate. Seiji remains one of the most clueless people I've seen unintentionally stepping on girls' hearts. Which is to say, the gags are as old as sin, but Seiji's hilariously oblivious tactlessness is what makes it work. As is Ayase's optimism that she can make someone who hasn't had a romantic relationship in his entire life catch on to her rather imaginative dreams.

Then again, romances play a fairly small part in this show. Most of it deals with Seiji having to keep Midori being on his hand a secret, including how his inability to use his now non-existant right hand is a bit of a problem in both daily and school life. There's also the issue of too much time being wasted on topics like anime dolls and cosplay, especially since one of the ongoing plots culminates with Midori getting her own website. Am I supposed to believe that none of the people who know her would find out about this site? Or the remarkably similar line of toys going with it? Or am I being too demanding of a show where a girl can transfer herself to someone's hand, no questions asked?

Let me stress that, again, this is not a bad show. It can be pretty sweet at times, and it can also produce a few chuckles when it's not trying too hard to do so. It does realize the seriousness of Seiji and Midori's situation, absurd as it is. Sure, the cast is a mixed bag, but the main characters are as lovable as anyone else, even if the dialogue is unbelievably lame at times. Sadly, Midori Days has already been surpassed by another show, namely School Rumble. The two shows aren't really all THAT similar, but they both feature romantic misunderstandings and relationship comedy starring misunderstood delinquents. But where School Rumble takes chances and goes in a lot of different directions with its show, Midori Days chooses to play it safe, and that's why it remains a decent show. Nothing less, but also nothing more.

Not bad, really. If you think the plot sounds like a good idea, knock yourself out.Stig Høgset

Recommended Audience: There's a bit of fights going around, naturally. There's also a few boobshots to go around. Nothing to get worked up about.



Version(s) Viewed: R1 DVD, bilingual
Review Status: Full (13/13)
Midori Days © 2004 Studio Pierrot, Shogakukan Productions Co., Bandai Visual.
 
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