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Twenty Years Later: Midori Days Anime Series

8 min read
The show is focused around seventeen-year-old Seiji, a young man who has some anger issues to him of sorts.

Midori Days
Midori Days

Based on the fairly popular manga series of the time, Midori Days made the leap from the printed page to the TV screen during the spring season of 2004. The original manga had been done by Kazurou Inoue and had a decent eight-volume run while appearing in Weekly Shonen Sunday between 2002 and 2004. The anime adaptation by Pierrot ended up coming out as the manga was winding down, which is rather unfortunate but not uncommon, and sadly Inoue never seemed to get another series going that lasted all that long or got recognized much overseas. Midori Days did well enough in manga form that it did get picked up by Western publishers, but that was the only one. The anime adaptation got attention though because of its quirky nature and it ended up being picked up by a number of studios, including the AnimeWorks label of Media Blasters, who released it numerous times over the years.

The show is focused on seventeen-year-old Seiji, a young man who has some anger issues to him of sorts. His life has led him to be something of a terror on the streets where he takes on various gangs and those who attack his junior. He’s earned a reputation as one of the baddest of the bad with his right-hand demon fist that has almost a legendary amount of amusing tales told about it, usually by the junior of his that he keeps defending. When it comes to his classroom, his general nature exudes from him and his desk is like an island in the room as everyone has shifted away from him. Naturally, this means he doesn’t have a girlfriend as most of them are pretty much afraid of him, regardless of how earnest and actually nice he is underneath that persona.

But for every man, there is a woman and one has fallen in love with him – though from a distance. We see an attractive young woman from an elite school who watches him along the monorail and has that look of longing that is pretty common in these kinds of situations. Where the show gets weird is that the next time we see this young woman, it’s when Seiji wakes up one morning in bed. She’s right there beside him. Well, beside him and a part of him but not in a way that he’d probably like as his right hand is now a miniaturized version of Midori’s body from the waist up and she’s completely clueless about how she got there.

Midori Days Image 1

So you can pretty much imagine that the humor and story get pretty slapstick at times from there. Midori’s not sure why she’s there but she tells him that she’s been watching him for nearly three years and really likes him but at the moment he’s more concerned with getting her off of his hand. To both their surprise, they find that her body is still where it is at home and she’s simply fallen into a deep sleep that she isn’t waking up from. The two keep their secret from everyone, particularly Midori’s parents, and they try to figure out the best way of dealing with things. Unfortunately, they often find themselves in strange situations that don’t allow them time to figure it out and they just roll with the punches.

One of the more amusing situations that arises from this is when Seiji’s sister Rin comes home, initially to take the expense money that his parents had sent home for him for the next month. Rin normally lives with whoever her boyfriend of the moment is and she’s out of high school, but she takes advantage of Seiji whenever she can and this is one of those times. She ends up discovering his little secret and just has a lot of fun with him over it which includes taking his money and forcing him to spend it all on an overnight retreat to a hot spring for her and her gang from high school. While it is a hot springs episode, it’s a very cute one where you have the weirdness of Midori washing Seiji’s back with her body wrapped in cloth.

The show is very much heavy in the slapstick department and this is owed to the way that Midori is able to take control of Seiji’s body. When she wants to move somewhere, she simply goes and Seiji is dragged along behind her. Since she’s a touch flighty she doesn’t think this through at times and it certainly causes some pain to cross Seiji’s face but since he’s got such a cute girl there it ends up not being something he really yells at her about. The show is also very upfront with the nudity so there’s plenty of breasts and nipples abound in this show, including a cute scene when we first see Midori on Seiji’s hand. With such great character designs for the two leads and some of the secondary characters, this show just looks really good and plays out in a highly amusing manner. That’s not to say that there isn’t any character-building going on though.

Midori Days Image 2One of my favorite parts from the series that still stands out because of its weirdness and the simple fun of it all is the episode where when the two wake up one morning only to find their bodies have switched places. Seiji is now the hand on Midori and they have to deal with it. It’s one of those learning episodes for Seiji to understand just what Midori has to go through but it also shows how well she’s mastered the entire experience since we get to see some parts to it that was hidden before. Seiji’s attempts at doing the things that Midori normally does is very amusing since his control isn’t all that good, especially when it comes to cooking. The best material comes when they realize they have to go out to get him clothes since he doesn’t want to wear the tops she’s made with all the “I love Seiji” text on it. They go to the figure store which is just filled with some of the weirdest people ever and it’s priceless watching how they both deal with it.

While we get that kind of learning experience, we also get to spend some good time going into Midori’s past. We see this through the eyes of Kota, a fellow classmate of hers at her school who is also a long-time childhood friend. He’s become concerned about her strange sleeping illness and is looking for anything that can help, which includes acting on something of a dream of his. Since he knows Midori pretty well, he knows about her crush on Seiji and decide to approach him to see if he’ll do a Sleeping Beauty routine on her. This is actually quite a challenge for Kota since he’s part of the elite and a bit on the wimpish side and Seiji has one of the worst reputations out there.

On Seiji’s side, he’s got an additional issue that’s come into his life. While he’s spent all his years expressing his interest in women they’ve never returned the feelings, until Midori at least and he can’t quite take her seriously while they’re in this situation. Ayase’s been something of a thorn in his side to an extent but it’s been mostly because she doesn’t know how to express herself. Midori’s been watching these changes in Ayase and notices that she’s much more open about it than Midori ever was and she begins to question whether she should interfere. Ayase quickly becomes my favorite character of the show as she’s the one who does what she thinks the most, and follows through on her own advice of telling her interest of her feelings. The comment about feelings not being enough to tell someone is appropriate and through all of the heartache of trying to say the words, she fights through it to achieve her goal. It’s amusing that we learn more of her than we do of Midori in a way and that Ayase comes across as the much better choice for Seiji, something that continues to be a draw to anime romances for me.

It’s kind of weird to say, but we’ve actually had a few series over the years where there’s something sort of like this. While Best Student Council had the lead running around with a puppet on their hand, Midori Days plays it similarly but with a real girl. The show is one that was utterly quirky and comical in a way that left you just wondering how they’d pull it off without going full-on hentai. Hell, you really want them to go full-on hentai – or at least realistic – with how this particular issue should be handled. But that’s not the point of Midori Days. Instead, it’s a rather endearing look at two characters who have struggled with issues and are now forced together in the most awkward of ways. Media Blasters handled the show quite well at the time as it got a quick release just a year after it was broadcast in Japan, which was coming at a time when releases were starting to get shortened windows, and they released it several times over the years which kept it at a low price that you can still find. The show had a lot of fun with its dub as well as Drew Aaron and Kether Donahue had to play the surreal nature in a kind of straight way while throwing in a ton of slapstick as well. Sadly, the series has as of this writing long fallen into the unlicensed category, but it’s one that certainly deserves another day in the sun. Viz Media released all of the manga in 2005 and 2006, and while it still appears to be licensed, the volumes are largely unavailable and not even on their digital side of the business.

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