Midori Days Vol. #3 (of 3) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Monday, August 01, 2005
Release Date: Tuesday, July 26, 2005
What They Say
As Seiji continues to live out his days with Midori as his loving right hand, her real body rests at home in a coma. Kouta is Midori's childhood friend. Desperate to wake her from her coma, he tries to convince Seiji to give her a kiss, like the prince rescuing sleeping beauty. Meanwhile, Midori's mom lines up all manner of quacks and faith healers to try and save her daughter. What will happen to Seiji when she finally awakens?
Without stringing the viewers along or providing no real closure, Midori Days ends with a sense if finality to it while still opening up a new chapter.
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. The stereo mix is fairly standard for a TV series and with lots of action sequences throughout it that make good use of the stereo channels. The shows dialogue has a fair number of areas where it's rather low and whispered as well as hitting some good highs and throughout those areas it avoids any sort of real distortions. The mix overall is fairly standard but it comes across well here and is problem free from what we could tell.
Originally airing in 2004, the transfer for this series is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. The look and feel of the show fits well with the real world style while the characters are standing out with brighter and more fluid pieces to them. The main characters themselves are the ones that stand out the best, particularly Midori with the green for both her hair and eyes. The show has a good amount of fluid animation to it so it flows well throughout the episodes here and the colors are really vibrant and full without being over saturated or showing any noticeable bleeding. Lacking any cross coloration and only some very minimal aliasing, it simply looks good through and through.
Sporting some cover artwork that works much better than the Japanese covers, the sideways angle helps it to stand out and provide a really good wide shot of most of the main cast of characters that looks wonderful with the English language logo that's really cute. The sideways covers can sometimes not work well but this one comes across really well and the heavy blue emphasis is just right for it. The back cover isn't done sideways though thankfully and it's laid out in a cute manner with lots of hearts with character shots in them and a plaid background. The description covers things nicely and the discs features are all clearly listed. The discs production and technical information fills out the bottom half cleanly and clearly. No insert was included with this release.
The menu is laid out in a similar fashion to the back cover of the keepcase but with an additional image of Midori to the left and the navigational selections on top of the piece of paper and done in a cursive writing. It's really nice looking and fits the theme of the show well without being over the top or too bland. Access times are nice and fast and it's easy enough to move around and read the selections. Unfortunately our players' presets weren't properly read as the first subtitle track is the English signs and song one.
Similar to the second volume, things drop down considerably here to just two extras. The first is the nicely done third audio drama being presented with subtitles. I continue to be glad that some outlet for these things has been found and done well by several companies now. The other is a series of dub outtakes that run a few minutes and as expected run the gamut of humor quality.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Midori Days has been fun to watch and it's been a fast watch at that. With three volumes and plenty of episodes on each one, we've barreled through the series and it feel likes it's over before it's really begun. Each of the volumes has done a good job of really being part of an arc. The first volume was setup, the second one played out the character interactions and changed up the situation a bit while the final volume goes for a proper ending to things by coming full circle.
To do that, a bit more tension and possibility must be introduced and one of the key areas for that is to expand on 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.
One 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's quickly become 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.
The potential for other interests is usually an event that sets others in motion in romances and this series is no exception. With the possibilities swirling around, Seiji and Midori's situation changes and each of them has time away from the other to really figure out what happened and what it all means. I was really glad to see that they focused far less on the how and why of the situation and rather just deal with the emotional side of things. Each of them has a different issue with the split which puts more of the pressure really on Seiji but it also lets Kota become more of a key player for Midori's side of things than you'd expect otherwise. While it's not the ending I would have picked myself, it's one that works and one that's shown through a reworked opening sequence of sorts that helps to cement that things work out one way or another.
Midori Days worked with a single gimmick but managed to not really use it as much as they could. It has something of a really sweet side to it when it could have been a heck of a lot cruder but it wanted to deal with the romance side more than anything else. With Midori being stuck so close to Seiji, the two got to see things about each other in very different light and Midori had the best view into someone else's life. Everything worked towards taming Seiji down at the same time and making it so that he could have a relationship and be able to talk with someone without being over the top about it. Midori Days is a series that fits perfectly at thirteen episodes without feeling like it's too much fluff or that they missed a lot of potential. It's essentially just right and very much worth checking out.
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Audio Drama 2,Dub Outtakes
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Zenith DVB-318 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player via DVI, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.
Mania Grade: B+
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: A-
Packaging Rating: A-
Menus Rating: B+
Extras Rating: B
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: Media Blasters
Running time: 100
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Midori Days