I was still fairly new to weekly anime and the fansubbing scene when I watched Midori no Hibi, back in 2004. Fresh from Azumanga Daioh and Excel Saga, I thought that in the grand scheme of things, the concept of Midori no Hibi wasn’t all that weird. But it is. I was in a little bubble of surreal anime, and I’m not sure anything has had such a weird basis since. Even OreTama has a more coherent thought pattern behind it. Midori no Hibi is truly weird, and only weirder because once it slaps you across the face with its premise, tries to be a very normal odd-couple drama.
But the lead girl has magically replaced the lead guy’s hand, and lives there, attached to the stump of his arm.
Yes, Midori no Hibi is a zany romantic comedy about what happens when you wake up with a cute girl instead of a right hand. Sweet-hearted little Kasugano Midori has long admired delinquent Sawamura Seiji from afar – he has a reputation as a mean fighter and bad company, but she knows most of his fights are to protect the weak, and generally he’s very much like Ichigo from Bleach, down to the hairstyle. After a mix-up with wishes coming true and Seiji thinking that his reputation will mean he will only ever have his right hand for a girlfriend, the two are brought together indelibly.
Midori no Hibi has some of the most bizarre fanservice you could imagine, and is a truly surreal romance, but somehow it powers though with such self-belief and conviction hat it manages to cohere. The result is something certainly unique but also familiar and very funny.
I remember the series being popular at the time mostly through the highly influential Snoopycool scanslation group, and though the manga had several new characters and a slightly more adult tone to it, the only things that the anime missed out on by leaving out the crazy American girl or the strange yankee girl who obsesses over the adorable shy boy who Seiji always ends up rescuing was a few laughs, and those are easily accessible through the manga anyway. Ultimately, the anime feels more like a tool for getting people to pick up the manga, but in and of itself it’s a fun, silly, satisfying story with a surprisingly good romance story and the ability to take its absurd premise to serious places beyond wacky comedy.
And somehow, there’s something hilarious and adorable about how poor little Kouta has to suffer so much.