Midori's Days Vol. #01 - Mania.com

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  • Art Rating: B
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Text/Translatin Rating: B
  • Age Rating: 16 & Up
  • Released By: Viz Media
  • MSRP: 9.99
  • Pages: 194
  • ISBN: 1-59116-905-4
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Midori's Days Vol. #01

By Eduardo M. Chavez     October 05, 2005
Release Date: August 01, 2005

Midori's Days Vol.#01
© Viz Media

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

What They Say
Seiji Sawamura is the toughest seventeen-year-old in town, feared by all for his fighting prowess and his deadly "devil's right hand." But at heart, Seiji is softy, and all he wants is an end to his seventeen-year history of being a lonely single guy. Unfortunately, his tough-guy reputation only serves to decrease his popularity with the ladies.

Then one day Seiji wakes up to discover his "devil's right hand" has turned into... a miniature gal named Midori! Strangely enough, Midori is a real girl who is just as surprised to find out she has now become - literally - Seiji's right hand! It turns out 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!

The Review
The presentation for this title is solid all around. First, Viz uses the original cover art. This cover features Seiji and Midori in a framed picture. They use that piece and place it on a green 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 Midori's silhouette in some form. The opposite cover continues the green pattern and features a very long volume description along with an image of Midori taking a test (or is she grading a test).

Inside the printing is pretty clean. Lines are sharp and the tone for the most part is fine. Viz keeps the original volume header and chapter headers. At the end of the volume, Viz includes 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. He is even able to make tough gals look right. The facial expressions are vivid. 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. Nothing really special about the character designs but they just work well with the themes presented in this title.

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 make "thwak"-ed skull seem so much more impressive. Signage is almost always translated, fortunately the retouch is fine so everything looks okay.

Contents: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
High school can be hell for some students, but it can be beautiful for a good number of them. There are sports to play and clubs to join. There are so many activities available if members keep active. But so many students end up alone. They might go to crams school or part-time jobs after school. Some might just go home and others hit the streets.

Sawamura Seiji is not involved in extra-curricular. He tends to be misunderstood because of it. Many people feel he might be a ruffian; maybe a yanki in training. And there is no doubt that Seiji dishes whup-ass on a regular basis, but the guy really is a big softy. His blonde hair, fierce hard to approach personality and that damn right hand of his keep more timid souls away, while it attracts the thugs, punks and hoodlums in his town. If you look close enough you will realize that Seiji is real a man's man. The guys in his school look up to him for his tremendous strength and great sense of honor. Seiji is usually the first person (and because of his skill always the last) they ask to get them out of trouble. He takes the role rather seriously for he respects and cares for his friends deeply, even though some of his "friends" fear him as much as they admire him. He also accepts the negative aspects as well... reluctantly.

Unfortunately, the negative views often translate to striking out with the ladies. Actually, that type of reputation would almost guarantee repelling most young women. He has been quite successful at that, as he has been rejected by 20 young women in his 17+ years on the market. Most of them just assume Seiji is a punk of the foulest persuasion. Whatever he does, good or bad, is often seen as something vile and disturbing. The girls would not even trouble themselves by getting to know Seiji, instead they insist on relying strictly on existing prejudice and unfounded misconceptions.

There are those who have seen the real Seiji, though. Those who understand that the young man might be the "mad dog" part of the time, but he also is someone who is caring and respectful of others. Yeah, you don't want to get on his bad side, and maybe the good side isn't much safer. Characters like Midori, Ayase and other have seen that Seiji, with or without his demon right hand, is really a sweetheart looking for love in all the wrong places.

Love was always a few steps behind him or a few feet to his side. Love always finds a way, right! It is like a song once said, "Love will bring us together!" But I don't think the song meant anything like what happens in this series! But apparently his dreams were answered in the most bizarre way possible. He has a secret admirer on his right hand! She is miniaturized with most of the proper working anatomy (?) right at the end of his right arm. There is no doubting this little person is going to really get to know Seiji... All parts of Seiji! Seiji wanted to have a romance for the ages so bad, and now he has one. But did he want to share his life like this? Did he want people to get to know him like this?

This is a hands on relationship taken to the extreme. On one hand you have a yanki fighting punk trying to live a normal life; one with a normal social life and a normal love life. This guy has not had luck with either and he is almost desperate to fall in love with someone. On the other hand there is a shy rich girl that was secretly in love with the thug. She has had to watch the punk from afar. Hoping and wishing that some day she would be together with him living a happy lovey-dovey time together. No one would have expected to ever see the two together in this way; not even the two involved in this mess.

Easily one of the most outrageous concepts I have read in manga and mind you manga is full of them, Midori Days chronicles a thug's life and it's hardships. Yes, on the surface readers cannot ignore that the friendship that build between Seiji and Midori. However, Seiji's difficulty getting people to understand him is really the main theme in this volume.

Consider how Seiji is really the defender of his school. He is willing to risk his own safety for that of his classmates (friends or not). Only a handful of people see that initially, but with time people come to understand that. Seiji has to not just overcome people's stereotypes from the start but he must also back up to the responsibilities he took on. Seiji really isn't a thug. But those who raised him, mainly his gang-leader sister, brought him up tough to protect his heart from pain. Unfortunately, his attitude has brought him emotional pain.... And strange circumstances have brought him psychological pain!

Seiji reminds me a bit of the members of the OniBaku (made famous in Shonan Junai Gumi). These are two hardcore yanki kids that are generally looking for love 24/7. Tough, crude and almost stupid, Onizuka and Danma have a difficult time attracting affection because of their reputations. What ends up winning people over for them is their personalities.

I see a lot of them in Seiji for he has a good heart. However, as a reader I still do not feel I know too much about him. Midori is even more mysterious. I just don't know anything about her outside of her social class and her unconditional devotion to the Mad Dog. That said I am not completely sold on either as individuals. Their relationship, though, has me intrigued. Their interactions and how Inoue forces each character to be completely open with the other is great. People tend to hide things, but these two really cannot. They are now one. So seeing them have to open up and accept each other has been a hoot.

In contrast to the anime, the manga moves very quickly. One caveat has how Inoue often moves to the action scenes, when he should be showing us more about the two main characters. So while we get many of the same jokes as the anime and the plot progresses on a similar path, the stories along the way for the manga have not lived up to what I have seen animated. Eventually, the manga should pass the anime and fans of either version should get a chance to see the differences within the property.

Yanki's need love; there is no doubt about that. Midori Days shows how easily it can be to love a one. And it also shows how scary it can be to be attached to one. Fun title. I wonder how this will progress in its 8 volume run.


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