Reviewby Theron Martin, May 30th 2005
DVD 2: Wrong Hand Man
Seiji's always been a loser at love, but his luck may be changing. Not only has his right hand been turned into a girl who adores him, but now two girls—the elementary school-aged Shiori and stuck-up high school classmate Ayase—are actively trying to draw his interest! Unfortunately for them, Seiji is a little on the dense side when it comes to the ladies. Meanwhile, Takamizawa regains his memory of Midori and starts a fan site dedicated to her (as a doll), which becomes a raving success. But can Midori's real nature remain a secret in light of all the attention she gets at a convention? Seiji's problems aren't over, either, as not only does his sister Rin continue to interfere, but he wakes up one morning as the right hand for the now-full-sized Midori!
The first volume of Midori Days established the series as a cute and funny romantic action-comedy with a gimmick ripe for exploitation. Sadly the series loses its way early on in this volume. Episodes 6 and 7 entirely involve the efforts of Shiori and Ayase, respectively, to win Seiji's heart using nearly every tired girl-out-to-win-the-boy routine you can imagine. Midori, who is fully aware of what's going on, frets endlessly but doesn't take much initiative to disrupt their efforts—not that she has anything to worry about, because Seiji is quite clueless. The result is a pair of very tedious episodes where a viewer is likely to spend more time wincing than laughing. Only Shiori's relationship with her stepmother lends any depth to these episodes, and those merits are counterbalanced by Ayase's sacrifice of character credibility. The series redeems itself in episode 8 when it returns its focus solely to Seiji and Midori in the expected role reversal story. (Viewers may find this episode to be somewhat confusing, as it seems to repeat itself, but that's because it is switching back and forth between Seiji and Midori's perspectives. If that doesn't quite make sense now, it will once you've seen the end of the episode.) A greater spark of creativity is shown in episode 9 as the series delves deeper into the world of anime fandom. Both are considerably funnier than the first two episodes, in addition to having a bit more depth. If only the whole volume were like them, then “Wrong Hand Man” would be a real treat.
Although the first volume had a significant action quotient, this volume is completely locked into “romantic comedy” mode and relies more on situational humor than slapstick. Though Rin makes an appearance in one episode, Kouta does not, and little effort is made to further develop characters or advance the overall plot about how Midori ended up the way she is. This is, more or less, a filler volume. It's also cleaner than the first volume, with only a single scene of nudity and little which could be considered fan service beyond that. No violence, either, beyond typical romantic comedy pratfalls. Apparently people have decided to leave Seiji alone for a while, because he almost entirely avoids fights in this volume.
The artistry is a bit of a drop-off from the first volume. Backgrounds continue to be excellent and well-detailed, and Midori is still incredibly cute, but character artistry sometimes doesn't look quite as sharp. Common anime comedy artistic conventions, especially those for exaggerated facial expressions, are used even more heavily than before. The supporting animation uses fewer cut scenes this time, but that's more because of dearth of action scenes than actual technical improvement. The musical scoring continues to be unremarkable, as is the opener, while the closer is a respectable adult contemporary number.
Kether Fernandez, the English voice of Midori, continues to turn in a great performance in her first anime role. It's just as cutesy as the original performance and has a certain quality to it which fits the character well. Relative newcomer Drew Aaron gives a strong performance as Seiji, with his voice sounding remarkably close to the original seiyuu. (Interestingly, his pitch of his voice is electronically adjusted upward when he is the right hand in episode 8, though the original seiyuu's voice wasn't. A variation, to be sure, but an appropriate one.) Supporting performances are generally good. The English script isn't as tight as it could be, but all of the extra variation was done to allow for some of the jokes to work better in English so it's appropriate.
The extras are much sparser on this volume than the previous one. Aside from company previews, the only extra is day 2 of the Original Audio Drama. Given that the episode count is lower on this one (only four episodes instead of five), I would have expected more than this. As before, the Setup menu does offer separate options for “English” and “English With Subtitles.”
Overall, the second volume of Midori Days is a drop-off in quality from the first volume. The humor in the 8th and 9th episodes are enough to make it a worthwhile view, but this is just another example of an anime romantic comedy series which has trouble sustaining itself at a high level throughout an entire series. Unfortunately a few weak episodes here and there seems to be the norm for such series rather than the exception.
Overall (dub) : B-
Overall (sub) : B-
Story : C+
Animation : B-
Art : B-
Music : C+
+ Appealing lead characters, good English vocal performances for leads.
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