Midori's Days Vol. #05 (Mania.com)
By:Eduardo M. Chavez
Review Date: Friday, May 05, 2006
Release Date: Tuesday, April 11, 2006
What They Say
Midori? Jealous? Of course! And poor Seiji: No action for seventeen years and now he's got Takako, Lucy and Shiori after him all at once?
Plus, more trouble with creepy, reaky Nao and uber-geek Shuicihi, who now both know about Seiji's little secret.
Well the streak is over for Viz. Let's start with the positives. Once again, they use the original cover art but give it a slight retouch. This time they use a Polaroid of Midori and Seiji in winter wear hanging out in the snow placed on blue-checkered background. Beneath the Polaroid, Viz provided 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. Good job by Viz to incorporate all of those elements in their logo. The opposite cover has the volume description warped around an image of Midori with a snowman. I really enjoy the season themes Inoue used and Viz's production shows that element off well.
Inside the printing is a mess. Lines are breaking up and the tone has such bad moiré effects tone areas in my copy occasionally looked like a plaid shirt! Just to pile on, there are some alignment issues as well. I have noticed this is becoming an issue with more of their recent titles (my new copy of G13 was strange as well).
As far as extras go, Viz has included a summary of the story so far, a character bio page, a message from the mangaka and an omake four-panel manga.
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.
The translation for this title has dropped with every new volume. There already was a bit of slang, many colloquialisms and a lot of attitude, but the frequency has really jumped up. Moreover, now the use is starting to really influence the context. Some of the terms might work if the context is right, but there were a few moments where I just had a hard time imagining any Japanese person saying what Viz put in. If that was not enough, I was disappointing was the lack of honorifics. At the start of the series, Viz used terms like "My Dear Seiji" and such, but they have appeared to have dropped those as well.
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)
With every new volume there is a new person who wants Seiji. Girls are competing against each other for his attention. They try to win his heart over with physical strength by trying to race their way into Seiji's big dumb heart. Then they try to show off their talents on the slopes by skiing arm and arm with the young yanki. There are even those who are willing to risk their lives in the extremes to get Seiji alone for a little while. The love for Seiji burns so hot it could melt glaciers.
Finally, someone was able to seriously get Seiji into a position where he cannot refuse a girl's advances " a love hotel! Seiji might be a little dimwitted and he might have a girl on his left hand, but the heart races for any straight man when a smart, athletic and strong beauty in nothing but a t-shirt and undergarments on his lap. Ayase didn't need a spinning bed and mood music, but if it helps with the mood (for him and her) let the good times roll! Before someone ruins the mood! Or before Midori ends up killing Seiji in a lover's suicide!
And finally the secret is out on Midori's situation. Seiji finds out what will happen if Midori goes back to her body. He leaves the choice up to a mutual friend of his and Midori. Seiji did not realize it much, but he has figuratively grown attached to Midori. Even if he might not fully consider her girl-friend material, that does not mean he doesn't want to be close friends with her when she gets back to her body. That might not be an option right now, and he is not sure how he is going to handle losing a friend like that when the time does come.
The beauty of shonen filler does not cease to amaze me. Take a look at this volume for example. Not only does Inoue create multiple chapter stories based on the oldest manga cliché " getting caught in bad weather and spending the night at a love hotel " but he closes it out with the same ending he used for an episode a handful of chapters earlier. Like many other mangaka that are struggling for new ideas, he brings back old characters for and gives them each a chapter to go through their roles before he gets back to the plot.
Hey lets bring back Rin and her beau! That sounds like fun for Rin fans!
Why not have a Taki-kun chapter where he isn't an otaku!? Oh that sounds different!
Hey, why not have another chapter with Kota and his admirers? He hasn't been around for a while.
Midori Days is at its core a fun title and a very sweet title with a few characters that are much more than we would expect of their stereotypes. Unfortunately, this series has gone way way too long. I fell in love with the cast from the very start. You have to have a heart of stone to hate an uptown girl romance " rich girl falls in love with a thug in the making. And when you find out that the thug is also a local hero, Seiji's stock just rises. However, the anime does the right thing by making the series short, occasionally tossing some fluff, but mainly focusing on Midori and her problems. Inoue turns the tables and tries to put the focus on Seiji but you cannot make him any nicer than he is now. Moreover, if he were nicer he would be trying to get Midori back into her body.
There are moments even in this volume, but there is so much filler I am starting to get a little tired. Furthermore, the repeated teasers of a plot are getting annoying. With only three more volumes there is really little room for fluff, but as other titles have shown (FMP! is one that comes to mind) it is never too late for that. I almost feel that because of the fluff and the episodic storytelling this title would be much more enjoyable with a longer break between releases (or even better in an anthology).Slice of life mixed into action comedy moments just doesn't work for me. I recommend taking a little break before picking up volume 6. Hopefully, you will be like me and you'll miss Seiji and his hijinks more with another month or two.
Oh what's Inoue up to with Seiji and Midori now? Yeah it has been months since I heard from them. Let's go check if they are doing well.
Mania Grade: C+
Art Rating: B+
Packaging Rating: B+
Text/Translatin Rating: B
Age Rating: 16 & Up
Released By: Viz Media
Orientation: Right to Left