Mike wonders aloud which anime would be a good fit for the prestigious Criterion Collection.
Reviewby Theron Martin, Jul 19th 2005
DVD 3: Handle with Care
While Takako tries to work up the nerve to confront Seiji about her feelings, Midori's childhood friend Kouta (Kota in the subtitles) tries to work up the courage to confront Seiji and ask that he visit Midori, under the belief that Seiji is the prince who can awaken the sleeping Midori with a kiss. Meanwhile the pint-sized Midori blissfully continues on as Seiji's right hand and Midori's mother desperately consults any spiritualist she can find for a way to wake Midori. The situation cannot continue on as it is forever, however, much as Midori might wish it to be so. And what will happen to her and Seiji when her body finally wakes up?
The last volume for anime romantic comedies is a minefield. All too often they go disastrously wrong while trying to bring their relationships to some kind of resolution, usually because they change some intrinsic quality of the series. Although Midori Days takes the common approach of getting more serious as it wraps things up, it avoids the deadly trap of getting too serious for its own good. While there is less of it (especially in the last two episodes), humor still flows freely throughout, with some of the best jokes belonging to the fat cat which has periodically popped up throughout the series. The action elements which permeated earlier episodes also make a return, as Seiji is back to his fighting ways. The most important concern, though, is whether or not the key relationships are resolved in a way that will be satisfying to fans.
Granted, Midori Days is hardly original in the way it resolves things. These are scenes we've all seen before, probably many times; anyone who can't predict how things are going to turn out is a true anime neophyte. That doesn't change the fact that they work. Takako's scene where she finally breaks down and admits her feelings to Seiji, and Seiji's reaction to her, is especially well-handled (Yes, she does partly redeem herself for her ridiculous behavior in volume 2 and reestablish some character credibility.) The scene where Midori finally confronts Seiji person-to-person won't disappoint, either. (Do notice how the eye catch changes after this happens.) The ending of the series is likely to leave most viewers with a warm, fuzzy feeling, which is one of the best things you could ask for from a romantic comedy. Is everything explained? Not really, although we do get some further insight as to why Midori was on Seiji's right hand while her body was asleep. Numerous practical details – such as how Midori doesn't get noticed more frequently while replacing Seiji's right hand – are also skipped over, but this was a concept which required a certain suspension of disbelief in the first place so that's acceptable. All that really matters in the end is that the series succeeds at being entertaining.
The artwork for the third volume continues to be good, although it is not a top-end title in that category. Midori is not as overwhelmingly cute at full size as she is in her pint-sized version, but she is appealing enough, and most of the other character designs are fine. The one that doesn't work is Midori's mother, who doesn't look quite right with those big eyes. As with previous volumes, fan service is not skimped on, with at least a small amount of nudity in most episodes. Animation quality fails to impress; though fight scenes are staged without shortcuts, they are not especially smooth, and shortcuts are taken elsewhere.
The pleasant, varied soundtrack does a reasonably good job of supporting most scenes. The opener is unremarkable, while the closer is a pleasant number that would be more accurate as Takako's theme song than Midori's. As before, the English dub cast is rock-solid in the key roles, proving once again that AnimeWorks has some capable new talent in their voice pool. Supporting performances are more consistent than in previous volumes, with Mollie Weaver in particular doing a good job as Takako. The dub script is tight enough that it shouldn't draw major complaints.
Extras this time around include company trailers, Day 3 of the Original Audio Drama, and a collection of English Dub Outtakes which spans volumes 2 and 3. These are a mix of actual outtakes and alternate dialogue for some scenes, many of which are much dirtier than anything actually in the final version and most which are also quite funny. As before, a separate option for “English With Subtitles” is offered in addition to standard English and Japanese With Subtitles language options.
Though Midori Days sagged on its storytelling in its previous volume, this one picks the story up again and brings it to an entertaining and highly satisfying conclusion. Not all questions are answered, but fans of the series are unlikely to be disappointed. If you like anime romantic comedies but are tired of run-of-the-mill harem stories then this title may well fit the bill.
Overall (dub) : B+
Overall (sub) : B+
Story : B+
Animation : C+
Art : B+
Music : B+
+ Good resolutions to key romances, great outtakes
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