Midori's Days Vol. #03 (Mania.com)

By:Eduardo M. Chavez
Review Date: Friday, December 30, 2005
Release Date: Tuesday, December 06, 2005



Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Inoue Kazurou
Translated by:JN Productions
Adapted by:

What They Say
At heart, tough guy Seiji Sawamura is a softy, and all he wants is to end his romantic losing streak. Then one day, Seiji wakes up to discover his "devil's right hand" has turned into... miniature gal Midori! Strangely enough, Midori is a real girl who is just as surprised as Seiji to find out she has now become -literally - Seiji's right hand! Midori has always had a crush on Seiji, and her desperate wish to be connected to him has somehow come true... maybe all too true!



Ayase steps up the efforts to make Seiji her boyfriend in Operation: Seduce Sawamura! She shows off her new swimsuit and toned body at an indoor pool, but another girl seems to be getting all of his attention. Seiji's big sister, Rin, suggests that a scientist she knows may be able to help, but the scientist turns diabolical and the two flee. Will cute little Midori ever return to her body? And even if she could, would she even want to?!

The Review
Packaging:

Another solid job by Viz. Once again, they use the original cover art. This time they use blue-checkered background with a Polaroid of Midori and Seiji by the Beach. They have also used a logo that is almost exactly like the one used by Media Blasters (the studio that released the anime in the US). The font is very similar to the Japanese version and all three logos make use of the silhouette of Seiji's right arm in some form. The opposite cover has the volume description warped around an image of Midori in a swimsuit.



Inside the printing is clean. Lines are sharp and the tone for the most part is fine. If I could nitpick, I would like to say there are some alignment issues, but nothing serious. Viz includes a character bio page and keeps the original volume header and chapter headers. Viz has also included a character bio page, an afterword called "The Days before Midori Days", a message from the mangaka and an omake four-panel manga.



Artwork:

Inoue has a fun style that works well for this title. First off is the obvious connection to yanki manga. If you look at most of the male cast have the standard characteristics - pompadours, squinty eyes with tension lines and gang coats. Inoue is even able to make tough gals look right. The facial expressions are vivid and the costumes show some knowledge of the trends at the time of printing. The look is a lot of fun, and is an interesting contrast to the cute designs used for Midori and Ayase. While the first volume have been a bit inconsistent, especially with the jaw lines, that has greatly improved. Now the designs have settled and Inoue has seriously begun to use yanki influences more and more. By using yanki concepts freely, he gives the entire cast a cool attitude that can be used for comedy or to present a growing influence from Seiji-kun. You can see that influence in the introduction of new characters and as Seiji's older sister gets more panel time " the fights between those two are straight out of a yakuza film.



Background art is okay. To be honest you do not get too much of them, but when they are there, they are pretty cute looking. The layout is simple. There is nothing but rectangular panels, but Inoue mixes up the sizes a bit. The perspective is good, but most importantly we get to see the action through some good angles. Unfortunately, we do not get to see the fights through much detail.



SFX/Text:

The translation for this title is pretty good. There is a bit of slang, many colloquialisms and a lot of attitude. All three come out rather well here. If there was anything that I felt was disappointing was the lack of honorifics. Having to read "my/dear Seiji" instead of Seiji-kun or even worse "little Midori" instead of Midori-chan rubbed me the wrong way. Moreover, situations like that tend to pop up quite frequently in this title. Fortunately, there are no real major context problems.



The SFX are translated with overlays. The overlays are similar in size to the original and have a very clean good-looking retouch. I am not a fan of overlays, but this does give readers an easy way to experience each "thwak"-ed skull in full force (and there are so many of them). Signage is almost always translated. Finally, the retouch is clean and looks good.




Contents: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)

For the longest time, Seiji just kept on striking out in the world of love. Around seventeen years of failure has started to really affect this already twisted yakuza-in-the-making personality. Failure is so engrained in his psyche that he cannot see failure when it is eminent and he cannot see that there are women falling for him all around him. If Seiji is going to make his dreams come true, he must change his perspective because someday he will not have it so easy.



Case in point Seiji is invited to go to the indoor beach by Ayase Takako. Imagine an all-expense paid trip to an indoor water park with a smart, strong and cute girl. Who would pass on that? Seiji would because he does not see Takako as a love interest. To him she is the cool and sometimes cold class rep (which is a step up from nice but weird talking right hand). Takako can ask him out on a date, wrap her arms around him, and not get a rise out of Seiji. Moreover, Takako can use her youthful charm along with her boom-boom body wrapped in a revealing swimsuit and in Seiji's eyes, she is a friend he respects. Seiji can have younger women all over him. He has teachers locking their loving eyes on him. These women repeatedly try to share their love through costumes, bribery schemes and entrapment.



Seiji is a yanki, so all of that seems to go over his head. To snag Seiji you have do something simple. Maybe that is why guys seem to get his attention. A man's life, or in Seiji's mind a yakuza's life, is his ideal. Therefore, he would easier kiss a guy's hand and fight over the attention of tough guys, than notice the details of someone's outfit. Maybe his experience with adult videos and porno magazines has given him confusing image of women. Most high school girls are not going to "star" in their own porno's like Moriyama Milk. They are not going to always be wearing maid outfits accentuating their busts. Some girls are going to wear "I Love Seiji" shirts and will never leave his side.



Seiji had better open his eyes soon before the women that love him, join the women that have rejected him.



Comments
In this volume, Inoue uses most of his chapters to give Seiji some time to show off his personality as an individual. Up to now, the main theme in this story was the relationship between Midori and Seiji. The moments where we have seen either one doing what they enjoy have been rare. That is to be expected with their unique relationship. Yet, after some time together, these two do not worry much about their little problem anymore. Their concerns are mainly around being able to be themselves. Seiji is having a hard time doing man things alone nowadays. His hobbies have changed. He studies more and he has shown some great restraint in regards to certain urges. For a yakuza in the making, he is showing great resilience and tolerance, and I find that to be endearing and a nice twist on the genre. Yeah, yanki tend to be honorable people (to a point) as seen in Shonan Junai Gumi, Salaryman Kintaro and Fighting!! Guidance but very few have the strength of character to put his needs aside for his friends.


Every time I read Midori Days I have to wonder: why is this series called that. Seriously, even though Midori is one of the main characters and her problems are certainly much more serious than Seiji's, the vast majority of stories revolve around the big guy. Seiji's fights, his studying habits and even his attempts at skirt chasing tend to overshadow anything that revolves around Midori.


Midori-chan tends to be there as a mood setter. Whenever, Seiji needs support, Midori is there to be a helping hand. If Seiji is gets a little overheated because of violence or romance, Midori is there to say a few words of wisdom before Seiji is embarrassed. Midori just seems to bring out the best in Seiji when he needs that the most.


Now there is nothing wrong with Seiji being the focus of this series. As a main character his strengths are evident. He has a cool head on his shoulders and more often than not, he is always there to help anyone. There is a good reason why most of the cast seems to gravitate towards him and that is mainly because he is generally fair and honest. Moreover, the more I see Seiji develop, the more I find myself enjoying this series. I have quickly become a major Seiji fan, like most of the cast. Now where is my "I Heart Seiji" t-shirt?

At the same time, I am pleased to see this manga start to hint at Midori's problems. The manga has already passed up everything in the anime, so everything from here on out is different. The mood is definitely different and the pacing is slower than what viewers got to experience. But as we move to the halfway point next volume, this is the time to start on Midori for her problems seem to be much more serious and definitely more complex than Seiji's right now. If Inoue is able to make a case for Midori as strong as Seiji's Midori Days should easily become a comedy that should belong on everyone's shelves.



Mania Grade: B+
Art Rating: B+
Packaging Rating: B+
Text/Translatin Rating: B+
Age Rating: 12 & Up
Released By: Viz Media
MSRP: 9.99
Pages: 182
ISBN: 1-59116-907-0
Size: B6
Orientation: Right to Left