Home Anime Midnight Diner Is the Hidden Netflix Treasure Anime Fans Will Love

Midnight Diner Is the Hidden Netflix Treasure Anime Fans Will Love


“When people finish their day and hurry home, my day starts. My diner is open from midnight to seven in the morning. They call it ‘Midnight Diner’…I make whatever customers request as long as I have the ingredients for it. That’s my policy. Do I even have customers? More than you would expect.”

That is the introduction to every episode of Midnight Diner — a Japanese live-action sequence at the moment obtainable to stream on Netflix. Half-comedy, half-drama, with a robust slice-of-life really feel and a little bit of foodporn thrown in for good measure, it is a hidden gem that may possible attraction not solely to anime followers, but additionally these with a hankering for a heat and tranquil ‘healing’-type present that doubles as an support for (or least good distraction from) insomnia.

The Master of Midnight Diner surrounded by some of his usual patrons.

Made up of 5 seasons (the ultimate two seasons of which have been launched outdoors Japan as Midnight Diner: Tokyo Tales) the now 50-episode sequence revolves across the mysterious proprietor of a small diner tucked away within the again alleys of Shinjuku, recognized solely because the ‘Master,’ and the patrons who frequent it: a crossdresser who owns a homosexual bar in the identical neighborhood; a yakuza boss who’s all the time nostalgic for his childhood dishes; and a kind-hearted stripper, amongst a number of others.

Together with a lot of single-episode characters, viewers get a glimpse into their day-to-day occasions, struggles and relationships. Nevertheless, Grasp by no means turns into instantly concerned in any of those goings-on, performing as one thing of an unintentional therapist solely when instantly requested for enter, or just by offering aid within the type of a primary but scrumptious meal — usually one which the opposite character fondly remembers from their youth or is restricted to their hometown.

By and huge, Midnight Diner is a quietly intimate present — one which’s much more excited by exploring the small particulars that make up folks’s lives than in being over-the-top or dramatic. On this sense, it’s not dissimilar to iyashikei (healing-type) anime titles similar to Tanaka-kun is All the time Listless and Polar Bear Café; extraordinarily enjoyable, soul-soothing exhibits with a heavy slice-of-life aspect and loads of light comedy.

In the identical vein, one of the vital interesting points of Midnight Diner is the way it’s very hardly ever, if ever, excited by judging any of the characters for his or her livelihoods or decisions. Whereas mainstream society (and particularly conservative Japan) could not look kindly on strippers or gang members, on ex-scammers or those that lie about themselves to look extra interesting to a possible lover, the sequence approaches folks merely as folks, with all their lovely flaws and imperfections. Normally, there’s no “moral of the story”-type narrative to be seen right here, apart from maybe to understand all of the ups and downs life brings — and to eat the meals that makes you cheerful.

Viewers members who take pleasure in watching anime however could eschew live-action Japanese exhibits as a result of traditional type of loud and intentional overacting may even possible welcome Midnight Diner’s much more delicate strategy. Whereas some actors ship extra memorable performances than others, notably the place the single-episode characters are involved, the present tends to favor a largely understated environment, leading to even the extra critical of storylines feeling wistfully contemplative reasonably than melodramatic.

Side characters from Midnight Diner in kimono.

Lastly, if Midnight Diner feels barely anime-esque in nature once in a while, which may be as a result of it’s primarily based on a manga of the identical identify (in Japanese, Shin’ya Shokudō), some chapters of that are used for particular person episodes of the sequence. A couple of of the actors have additionally starred in different live-action diversifications of manga titles, similar to Jō Odagiri (Mushishi) and Yutaka Matsushige (Demise Word), or have had voice performing roles in outstanding anime productions, similar to Mitsuki Tanimura (Summer time Wars, The Woman Who Leapt By Time, Wolf Youngsters).

Regardless, Midnight Diner is a singular sequence with so much to supply, and which requires nothing in the best way of earlier data and even appreciation for Japanese media to have the ability to take pleasure in. As a substitute, it delivers a singular and surprisingly comforting expertise, whether or not considered out of sheer curiosity or 3 a.m. desperation.


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