Midori's Days Vol. #02 (Mania.com)
By:Eduardo M. Chavez
Review Date: Thursday, November 10, 2005
Release Date: Thursday, September 01, 2005
Translated by:JN Productions
What They Say
The continuation of this unique romantic comedy in which our bickering couple become attached in more ways that one...
Midori has disappeared! Seiji's hand is normal again! He should be happy but... once he admits he really does kind of like her, back she comes. Later he dresses up as a woman to catch a pervert on the subway. Things go awry when he uses his "hand" to stop a potential groping. Then he runs into one of his embarrassing otaku classmates who think Seiji is a fan, like him, of super-realistic hand puppets!
The presentation for this title is solid all around. First, Viz uses the original cover art. This cover features Midori and Seiji sharing a scarf together in a Polaroid. The piece has been placed on a pink checker pattern to match with the predominant colors. 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 continues the pink pattern and features a very long volume description along with an image of Midori taking at a hot spring.
Inside the printing is pretty clean. Lines are sharp and the tone for the most part is fine. Viz includes a character bio page and keeps the original volume header and chapter headers. At the end of the volume, Viz has kept the ato-gaki manga "The Days Before Midori Days", a 4-koma manga and a short word from the mangaka.
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 few chapters might be a bit inconsistent, especially with the jaw lines, that quietly improves. After a couple chapters, Inoue goes whole hog. By using yanki concepts freely he gives the entire cast this cool attitude that can be used for comedy or to present a growing influence from Seiji-kun.
Background art is okay. To be honest you don't get too much of them, but when they are there they are pretty cute looking. The layout is pretty simple. There is nothing but rectangular panels, but Inoue mixes up the sizes a bit. The perspective is pretty good, but most importantly we get to see the action through some good angles. Unfortunately, we don't get to see the fights through much detail.
The translation for this title is pretty good. There is a bit of slang, a lot of 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 Seiji" or "dear Seiji" instead of Seiji-kun, just rubbed me the wrong way. And situations like that tend to pop up quite frequently in this title. Fortunately, there are no real major context issues that I can see.
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)
It is always difficult to move in with someone. New roommates need time to get used to each other. There are differing schedules, personalities and idiosyncrasies to get to know and not go crazy over. Sometimes there are issues like money and sharing household duties to worry about. Who knows how long a new relationship, especially one with two complete strangers, will need to develop into something that could benefit both partners equally.
Seiji has been struggling with his new roommate big time. His relationship with Midori is much more intimate then any one with a normal roommate. This is not something that could be resolved by creating schedules and working out a privacy system. Seiji's life has been turned upside down by his new roommate. He has lost much more than his privacy, he lost part of himself literally in the process. This is going to take much more than time to resolve and if he is going to have to live with this situation he is going to have to be active in some way to maintain this relationship. But does Seiji even want this? Why should he support something that has brought so much new stress into his life?
Inoue-sensei makes the reason real simple. Seiji has become attached to Midori. Maybe not in the way she is attached to him, however there is something he feels for her now that was not there a little while ago. Even in the short time they had together, there is too much to forget and throw away, so Seiji begins to nurture his unique relationship. He begins to consider her well being in regards to her health and her emotions. This happens to be a great step for the young man since he had grown accustomed to living on his own; often wishing he did not have to live with Midori. Let's go get Midori some fresh new clothing to liven her up. That could also end up helping her health as she needs heavier clothing as winter is around the corner. Then Seiji begins to depend on Midori and her unconditional support. This benefits both characters, but it helps Midori more as it gives her assurance that she is welcomed and needed by the yanki. Seiji is there to protect her from those who threaten her safety and is willing to stick it out even if Midori does obviously attract trouble - in the form of otaku classmates, drunken sadistic sisters, desperate mothers and curious girls next door.
This is a ton of work and effort, especially if Seiji and Midori want to keep their own personalities. At the same time these care about each other because of their faults and their good sides, so the work is well worth the time and effort.
Yanki love is much more than brotherly love. To some it could mean taking care of your school. To some it might mean taking care of those in need. It could mean sacrificing yourself to make others feel good for a while. But no matter how you look at it, yanki love is not just the love for fighting that all yankis possess or the love for one's comrades and Inoue-sensei seems to want to share that fact with his readers in this volume of Midori Days.
Inoue keeps on trying to change the stereotypes around yankis. Yeah they are all hooligans and ruffians at heart. They are always ready to defend their honor, to prove their strength and to protect their turf. Some might think these kids are simply looking for trouble, but fists and kicks are not always the answer (though they seem to be used more often than not). There is no way to take that out of these kids, for rough housing and posturing is a part of their lives. At the same time, everyone has a life outside of their street/business persona. It is like the two sides of a coin in some ways. Seiji has his life looking for love in all the wrong places (apparently family restaurants with cute waitress uniforms are a prime location) and then there is his usual calm lonely life at home. Even characters like Ayase and Miyahara have their own double lives where they are tough and cool before specific audiences and completely different alone or with those really close to them. This duality is natural. It might not be healthy but this shows how Inoue wants to make his tough characters much more accessible.
Seeing Seiji go through this change has really impressed me. Even though I thought the way the anime progressed through this story was much better, I think the fast pace of the manga quickly forces the issue. While some romance-comedy manga take forever to get their leads to grow close, Inoue immediately has these two work together and become partners early on. Part of that comes from their unique relationship but part of it comes from them growing on each other (no pun intended) and their good nature. Most of the appeal I see for this series comes directly from that point. Seiji doesn't have to care. He can continue to chase after other girls (and he does have moments when he does so) but then he has Midori's feelings to respect. Midori could easily give up on the idea of being with Seiji, someone her family might not openly approve of, but she sticks around. Same goes for Miyahara and his moonlighting for romance deal. Tough guy greasers are softies too, you know. Such is life and Inoue makes his readers look at what is inside his cast.
Ultimately, Midori Days continues to be a simple but fun comedy that compliments its anime quite well. Fans of the anime should appreciate the different takes on the different episodes. Fans new to the title should have fun with a more casual look at an uptown girl falling for a downtown boy (isn't yanki love always like that, though). Fun action, good slapstick and one of the craziest concepts in all of manga make for a fun read that is much more accessible than an appearances would suggest.
Mania Grade: B+
Art Rating: B+
Packaging Rating: B+
Text/Translatin Rating: B+
Age Rating: 16 & Up
Released By: Viz Media
Orientation: Right to Left