There’s no dearth of good shows on the internet but there are certain shows that get you hooked. For a simple reason — good comforting stories. I stumbled upon Midnight Diner when I was looking for more Studio Ghibli movies to devour on Netflix. As someone who reads a lot of Japanese writers, it’s a shame I took years to discover Japanese shows.
Midnight Diner as the name suggests is a diner that runs from 12pm to 7am. The show starts with the diner’s owner, regarded as Master, introducing the diner. “When people finish their day and hurry home, my day starts” — says the Master who remains unflappable throughout the show. There’s not much you can read into him but he is always sensitive towards his customers. You can tell, and it shows in his food. As a matter of fact, 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 a place 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 familiar baggage 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.