“Three years high school, and the rest of my life for that matter are gonna end with no girlfriend but my right hand! I can’t take it anymore!”
– Seiji “Mad Dog” Sawamura “Midori Days”
If there’s one thing that can be said about “Midori Days” it’s that it takes the concept of having a relationship with ones right hand to a whole new level [go ahead and laugh…]. While the idea of having a girl attached to your wrist might sound like a dream come true for some, for our male lead, tough guy Seiji, it’s a nightmare made even more potent when the girl in question is madly in love with him. But, for its quirkyness and it’s very strange plot, “Midori Days” is a good love story that is as realistic as the day is long…save for the obvious, of course. What makes this story so good? Let’s dive right into it.
Warnings and Notable Objectionable Content – “Midori Days” is rated for viewers thirteen and upwards, and I would have to agree with that assessment. Language-wise, it’s not that bad; about what you would expect in a PG rated movie. However, there is some nudity involving bare breasts, but it is within context–bathing, etc…
Availability – “Midori Days” is available both as three separate volumes and as a “Complete Collection” set which is pretty much all three volumes in one box. Each volume contains your typical extras including English Dub outtakes on volumes one and three and Audio “Drama” skits. Finding either one is hit or miss. I’ve seen some brick and mortar stores like “Best Buy” and “FYE” carry it, but as of recently, I haven’t come across it. If you check online, you might have better luck, but no guarantees!
Story Breakdown – “Midori Days” is a thirteen episode series based off a manga by Kazurou Inoue, and it tells the story of Seiji “Mad Dog” Sawamura, a high school student with a reputation for being the toughest guy in town with a demonic right hand. This reputation has both its privileges and it’s detriments in that he cannot get a girl to look his way. Faced with the horrific idea that the only loving he’ll get is of the “Self Serve” variety VIA his right hand, Seiji beseeches to the heavens for someone, ANYONE to be his girlfriend. Suddenly, his wish is granted…in the most unexpected of ways as he suddenly discovers a small girl where his right hand would be. This girl is Midori Kasugano, a young girl who has been watching Seiji from afar, but did not have the courage to confess her love to him…at least until now. And so the story begins, with Seiji and Midori adapting to their new lives, working as one to get through the day and keep their current bodily arrangements a secret from freaks like Shuichi Takimizawa, the doll-otaku with eyes for Midori. This story, while it appears to be bizarre [heck, it IS bizarre, what am I saying…]actually ends up being your typical “girl-meets-boy” love story. Though at times it can tiptoe the line between romantic comedy and harem, it never really gets to that point. Even though this series is only thirteen episodes long, it tells a lot of story in that time, and has an ending that is both heartfelt and complete. [25/25]
Favorite Episode/Scene –Though it’s not an official “Scene” or “Episode”, I actually love the outtakes that came on volumes one and three of the DVD release. It’s hilarious to hear the actors make their characters say things completely out of the norm, like Midori cursing like a sailor over Seiji. Check them out here and here on YouTube.
Characters – The series begins with Seiji “Mad Dog” Sawamura, a high school delinquent with a fiery temper and a “demon right hand” that can beat up enemies left, right, and center. However, due to this reputation, he is unable to get a girl to fall in love with him…at least until he meets Midori, a painfully shy middle school girl who fell in love with Seiji at first sight and wished with all her heart that she could be with him forever and have the courage to tell Seiji how much she loves him without shame. Both wishes were granted beyond her wildest dreams as she now finds herself attached to his right hand. Midori is a very intriguing yet simple character with two sides; the extroverted side, who says whats in her heart and admits her love freely, and the introverted side, who’s shyness rivals that of Hinata Hyuga from “Naruto”. It’s sweet, but it’s sometimes agonizing to watch, which makes the show that much more enjoyable. I love the fact that, even in the short thirteen episodes, these characters evolve and grow so much; we see Seiji mature…then relapse…then grow as a person; the same with Midori; we see her come into her own as the episodes go along, and it makes the ending more touching to watch. [25/25]
Animation – The animation of “Midori Days” is really quite beautiful. While it’s not much by today’s standards, “Midori Days” animation makes the entire show a joy to view. Character designs are unique and interesting, especially with regards to Midori while she is attached to Seiji’s right hand. She actually looks like a doll, which makes the idea of others confusing her as such believable. Speaking of Midori, I kinda like the idea that we don’t see exactly how she is attached to Seiji’s wrist, and it leaves much to the imagination. Background animations and scenery are also very well done with great attention to detail. [12.5/12.5]
Music – I have to admit, this is probably one of the few weak points of this series. The opening song, “Sentimental” by CooRie is nice to listen to, and the opening animation that accompanies it is beautiful to watch. The ending song, “A Little More… A Little More…”, also by CooRie, is a great song to end each episode with, like watching a sunset at the end of a day. However, the incidental music is a bit distracting. As I’ve said countless times before, incidental music should be heard without being heard. But, I must admit I enjoyed the times when the music-box style song was used. [10.5/12.5]
Performances and Production – “Midori Days” was licensed and dubbed by Media Blasters, a company well-known for products like “Ah! My Goddess”, “Genshiken”, and “Bludegoning Angel Dokuro-Chan” among many others. At the helm of this project is director Sean Schemmel, known more for his voice work than his direction skills. However, his work in this project is nothing short of excellent. Instead of filling the series with popular and well-known actors, Sean filled this series with actors with little if no prior anime voice work experience. Drew Aaron as Seiji Sawamura is awesome beyond belief. He is so believable in the role, it’s almost scary. He’s one of those rare voice actors who haven’t been in a lot of projects, which is a shame. Equally underused yet awesome in this series is Kether Fernandez, who played Midori. She is extremely versitile in this role, playing Midori both as an introverted character and an extroverted character with pride and conviction. Joshua Popence as Shuichi is hilarious to listen to, playing the role of otaku better than any veteran voice actor I’ve heard before or since. All other roles are very well done, and I have no complaints. This show is great to listen to in either language. [25/25]
Story Breakdown – 25/25
Characters – 25/25
Animation – 12.5/12.5
Music – 10.5/12.5
Performance and Production – 25/25
Final Score – 98/100 – A
Lagniappe “A Little Something Extra”:
- In episode six, “Shiori’s Love-Love Battle!” the title character’s father is credited as ‘Vic FiletofTomorrow’. Of course, this is veteran voice actor Vic Mignogna working
under a pseudonym. [On a related note, I think it’s funny that Vic has so many young fans, when he’s actually old enough to be the father to those same fans–he’s in his 50’s, you know. But the good Lord has been good to him because he REALLY does not look it…kinda reminds me of that George Michael song…”I will be your father figure, put your tiny hand in mine…”]
- Sayaka Ohara is once again cast as a motherly figure in an anime series, assuming the role of Haruko Kasugano, Midori’s mother. She has previously played the role of Kimura-sensei’s “waifu” in “Azumanga Daioh” and, of course, she has played the role of Alicia “Snow White” Florence in the “Aria” series.
- Throughout the series, the fat family cat can also be seen going through his own issues with love, acting almost as a mirror to the Seiji/Midori relationship.
- In a deviation from the original Japanese, the cat is given the name “Gigolo” in the English version.
- In episode nine, “Takky Days”, a Naruto cosplayer can been seen lurking in the background of the anime doll shop. [Believe it! …okay, I’ll stop now.]
So where does that leave us? Well, for a series that’s thirteen episodes long, “Midori Days” manages to tell a heartwarming, funny, and touching story about love in the weirdest of situations. With its outstanding story, multi-faceted characters, excellent animation, somewhat tolerable music, and a vocal cast that makes you sit up and take notice, “Midori Days” is one of those series that any couple would enjoy watching together.
And so “Love-Love” February chugs along with yet another review tucked under our proverbial belts. I think we’re moving at a pretty good clip! Next up is another romantic classic, which has set the standard for anime based off of video games. It’s one of the oldest series in my collection of it’s kind, and is revered by many an anime fan…yup…that one. So, dear readers, please cuddle up with the one you hold dear as we continue “Love-Love” February with…