By: Zeila Edrial
With the amount of original series constantly being released on Netflix, it is nice to see that the shows have some diversity. In Midnight Diner: Tokyo Stories, a man known only as the “Master” (played by Kaoru Kobayashi) owns a restaurant called “Meshiya.” Like the series title suggests, the diner stays open from midnight to 7 a.m.
The Midnight Diner only has one food item on the menu: tan-men noodles. The dish is served in miso soup and is mixed with pork and vegetables.
Despite the lack of variety on the menu, the Master also offers to make any food that his customers request. But there’s one catch- the customers have to provide the ingredients.
Although the Midnight Diner is unique, the restaurant only serves as a backdrop for the series. The attraction of Midnight Diner: Tokyo Stories lies within the colorful characters that enter the restaurant to eat.
Each episode focuses on a different person. While guests dine, they share stories about their lives. Some stories are told in flashbacks, but the end of each episode always returns to the Midnight Diner.
It’s a simple concept, but a powerful one.
In one episode, a man named Shimada meets a taxi driver named Harumi at the Midnight Diner. He later discovers that she was an actress that played one of his childhood heroes on TV. She was a member of a superhero group similar to the Power Rangers.
Shimada hosts a radio show and invites Harumi to speak on it. He tries to get her to divulge the reason why she went from being a famous actress to being a regular taxi driver. But he soon learns that she holds a heavy secret that she is not willing to reveal.
Another episode of Midnight Diner: Tokyo Stories follows a woman who knits sweaters for men that she grows to admire. Although she puts a lot of effort into her creations, the hard work is not always appreciated by her object of affection.
Slice of life is a popular genre in Japan, and can also be seen in various anime series. The genre has less to do with a progressing plot and focuses more on the daily lives of characters. It is an examination of human nature.
In Midnight Diner: Tokyo Stories, we learn about each stranger’s lives as they visit the restaurant. We learn about their conflicts, heartaches and dark secrets. Although the show is an escape from our own lives, it is a depiction of reality. It is easy to relate to some of the characters. Who hasn’t dealt with pining over someone that doesn’t appreciate us?
Midnight Diner: Tokyo Stories is a show about human beings. I recommend watching it because each character’s story forces us to reflect upon our own lives. It is a short series- the first season was released this past October and is comprised of only 10 episodes. The show is entirely in Japanese, but there are subtitles for those who don’t know the language.
What are some slice of life shows that you recommend? Let us know in the comments below!