WHEN people finish their day and hurry home, my day starts. My diner opens from midnight to seven in the morning. They call it ‘Midnight Diner’. Master, a mysterious figure who runs a small restaurant located within Tokyo’s hidden lanes, ushers in both his customers and audiences into with the same line at the start of every episode.
With a limited menu that depends on the range of dishes that is available to him and odd opening hours that run from 12am to 7am, the Midnight Diner opens its door to vast diverse characters including the typical salary men, the Yakuza and prostitutes.
The diner serves as a comfort stop for many with problems, and with every bowl of pork miso soup, each one of these troubled souls pour out their troubles to the Master.
Each episode tells the tale of a specific customer that walks through the door of the restaurant. The show explores a range of stories, be it a regretful past, fear of secrets being uncovered after death and much more.
The show successfully delivers its heartwarming tales by having the Master offer advice along with a bowl of noodles. Each time he has someone come in and narrate a part of their life, there is no judgment delivered but only advice without further intrusion from his side.
The writers have also ensured that the tone of each episode, despite with certain stories lending a certain weight to it, a sense of humour is injected along the way, allowing the audience to enjoy both the element of seriousness and whims in each episode consistently.
A consistency throughout the show is its mundane tone. You are not going to find a surprise twist or episodes ending on a climax, surprise or not. Customers from earlier episodes tend to be recurring throughout the show without much to contribute.
And while the setting is set in reality, audiences are bound to find themselves chuckling along with supernatural guests who tend to pop in now and then, teasing the fact that maybe the Midnight Diner is certainly not your usual noodles stop.
The Japanese shows present a peek into the lives of the many who reside in Tokyo in a manner that is often amiss in American entertainment.
The Master remains central to the theme. Those who have watched it would realise that while he is a significant part of the show, there is more to the show than just him opening and closing his restaurant and offering oodles of advice.
Also, the show has made eating alone certainly an activity that is a lot more ideal.
Two seasons of the show can be accessed on Netflix with each season holding rating of 100% on Rotten Tomatoes and 8.6/10 on IMDB.