How would you ever feel if you went to sleep one day, tired of not having a girlfriend, and the next morning you woke up to find out that a girl who likes you had taken the place of your right hand? Or if you liked a guy but were too shy to tell him, and then you woke up to see that you were the dude's right hand? It's an impossible situation, you would say, but that's what's so great about anime: Anything can happen! A high schooler whose reputation as a delinquent scares away any girl he tries to hit on, Seji Sawamura, and a timid girl who's had a crush on him for a long time, Kasugano Midori, are thrown into this very situation. Do we sense romance coming up? Definitely! Comedy? Has to be! Action? Uh, maybe... Ecchi? What!?
No, I am not kidding, the show has all that, with the main focus on the first two. Because when your right hand loves you, that's bound to escalate into a romantic comedy, right? Midori no Hibi (Midori's Days) executes a somewhat standard living-together romantic comedy setting with a refreshing twist, and also does a great job of not leaning too much towards the ecchi side of things. You see some topless females now and then and some bikini shots, but that's all you really get, and after bad experiences with ecchi-intensive shows like Kanokon and Rosario+Vampire, I'm very delighted to see a show that manages to keep it on a decent level and focus on something else. Action scenes are scattered around too; our blond main character is a delinquent after all.
The episodes of Midori no Hibi does nothing special; each episode features a new (mis)adventure in the now jumbled-up lives of Seji and Midori. Be it an otaku who thinks Seji is a doll maniac, a girl who really likes Seji or a trip to a hot spring, you'll be taken through a lot of before-seen situations, and some new. The ending is cute and happy, and when you think about it, the only good ending an anime as Midori no Hibi could have. And while the unoriginal way in which the final episode is played out comes off as borderline facepalm-provoking, it was still an enjoyable watch, right up until the final scene.
One of the things I love the most about Midori no Hibi-- No, the thing I do love the most about it is the whole concept about bringing out what's on the inside of oneself, both feelings of love and supressed personality traits. While the characters don't develop much in the sense that their personalities actually change, they do develop by bringing out feelings of love or personality traits which are in ways hidden from others. And while we have all seen the soft-on-the-inside delinquent and the timid girl, the producers have done a good job with them in regards to the aforementioned aspect. And who can forget the uptight and determined yet tender Takako Ayase whose unrequited feelings of love towards Seji never comes to play, or the otaku who seemingly had a more human side to him inside, but in the end was no more than a crazed otaku anyway? When all comes to all, the cast isn't extremely original nor large, but a lovable gang nevertheless.
The quality of the animation is quite good for this kind of series. The whole story takes place in a city, and there's frequent scenes on high places with scenic views of said city, which are usually animated quite well, from lights in the streets to the monorails criss-crossing the cityscape. Street views of the city and other close-ups such as furniture in rooms are usually beautiful and detailed, but the quality does deteriorate from time to time. The strongest point however, is found in the gorgeous lighting and shading effects. They are eminently soft and relaxing, and especially during the dusk scenes do they come off as tremedous. The character designs are in an entirely different class however, as they are very varying in quality; often no more than mediocre yet often very good. A few close-ups looked like simple Flash animations, while at times they were detailed and fluid, both in design and movement.
The soundtrack was more than likely the weakest part of the anime. Not that it was outright bad; it was in fact quite atmospheric and fit well with the series, but there were no outstanding songs in the background music, and they were quite standard-fare for a romantic comedy. Two mellifluous themes for the opening and ending make up for some of it however, and the voice acting is superb too; the seiyuu manage to portray the characters very well, both their current mood and their character types.
You may have noticed how I used 'soft' or some variant of it frequently in my review (was there some anti-aliasing feature for this show I didn't notice was on?), and that's just what it was. Soft, happy and cute. And just the right length to make it stay that way. If it was one season longer, I'm dead certain the show's quality would have worsened. And part of its charm is that it is such a short watch anyway. If you want a show that's short and charming, Midori no Hibi is the show for you!