There is no shortage of good shows on the internet, but certain shows get you hooked for a simple reason — good, comforting stories. I stumbled upon Midnight Diner when I looked for anime to devour on Netflix. As someone who reads a lot of Japanese writers, it’s a shame I took years to discover Japanese shows.
As the name suggests, Midnight Diner is a diner that runs from 12 pm to 7 am. The show starts with the diner’s owner, Master, introducing the diner. “When people finish their day and hurry home, my day starts” — says the Master, who remains unflappable throughout the show. You cannot read into him, but he is always sensitive towards his customers. You can tell, and it shows in his food. The diner offers only 3–4 dishes, beer, and sake. But he’ll whip whatever you ask for as long as he has the ingredients or if you fetch some.
Tucked in Tokyo, this diner is where people from all walks of life come together, from Mahjong gamblers and fortune tellers to anime voice artists and realtors. People slide the diner’s door for comfort food and advice. They ask for nostalgic dishes — ramen with curry, chicken fried rice, pickled plum rice balls, ham cutlets. Master and his regular customers serve conversations along with warm sake. The customers are nosy but endearing. Sometimes, they’re all over your business, but characters don’t hold back, too. It almost appears like the diner offers a strange respite to loners. It’s a safe place.
The show is slow (not in a bad way) and a perfect midnight watch. On the surface, you’ll find characters with baggage as familiar as yours. It’s an illustration of life, its ups and downs, through epiphanies and great food. What else do you need?
Watch the trailer of Midnight Diner here.