Midnight Diner: Tokyo Stories (TV Mini-Series 2016– ) Poster

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9/10
Great short series and very feel good-y!
sinabrazil20 December 2016
I stumbled on this series by accident as a recommendation by Netflix for me to watch it and I don't know why but I had a feeling Midnight Diner will be amazing and it turned out to be a an absolute gem. My only complaint is that wasn't long enough so I am certainly hoping for a 2nd season!

The sound track is perfect, really sets the mood and the dialogue is smooth and even though I had to use subtitles Midnight Diner made me appreciate the little things in life. The conversations you have with a few close friends, your memorable encounters with total strangers who impact your life immensely. This series has all of that.

There is plenty of drama too! But the sort of humorous drama, the type that create great stories to tell in the future.
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8/10
Beautiful bite-sized stories
pervocrat3 July 2017
As someone who doesn't speak or understand any Japanese, has never been to Japan and knows virtually nothing about the culture, this series charmed the hell out of me. It's as beautifully shot as it is scored, and it really does have a feeling of craftsmanship about it. The premise - an anthology of human stories, linked together by a graveyard shift diner hidden away in the midst of Shinjuku that caters to both a cast of regulars and one-off visitors - and the construction of each individual tale is charming without falling too far into twee familiarity, and each story is perfectly realised.

Kaoru Kobayashi towers as the quietly sympathetic Master, who will cook any dish for anyone, so long as they bring him the ingredients... which gives the show its neat device of theming each episode around a particular recipe. Whether as a symbol of or conduit for togetherness, comfort, romantic or familial relationships, or a Proust-like trigger for bittersweet memories that can never be entirely recaptured, food provides a delicately illustrated metaphor throughout the series.

The issues that the Master's customers face are frequently weighty and almost always universal, but the tone is light enough to take it all in stride and, if the characters feel like archetypes, it's because they're meant to be drawn broadly. Part of the show's whole concept is, just like the remembered taste of a childhood delicacy, to evoke a sense of otherworldly nostalgia - to create something unreal in the liminal space of midnight, in the idea of an oasis untouched by the city; the otherness that strips away illusion - and that evokes feelings rather than the realism of minutiae.

Perhaps the show is at its least successful when it dips into magic realism, but at its core this is a collection of great stories, told well and seasoned with enough humour and enough pathos to satisfy any appetite.
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8/10
Feeds the soul and warms the heart.
sonyaheartsfood2 December 2016
Right now the foodie in me is loving Midnight Diner: Tokyo Stories on Netflix. The main character is The Master, he is a chef that will make anything you want (if you have the ingredients) from Midnight to 7am. Basically, every story centers around a dish and we see a mixture of characters some super serious and others goofy, but adorable talk about why and how certain dish is connected to them personally.

It reminds me of an after hours diner I went to after my late nights in NYC needing something to eat and someone to listen to you as you go over your regrets of the past and ambitions for the future. Plus, the stores are so light hearted you can't help, but fall in love with the series. Oh and the food is pretty impressive as well.

I am giving it 8 stars, because it is subtitled and there are super corny moments for American audiences, but at the same time it is so unique that people who generally love foreign programming will not mind and would give this 10 stars.
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10/10
((simple))
koooky503011 February 2019
This Japanese series is beautiful and interesting, simple and wonderful, music was indescribable, Certainly l recommend it
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10/10
Addicting
cameronerwert1 August 2018
Haven't found a show this addicting in a long time. It is entirely engaging in a way I cannot describe.
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True-ringing stories
AnthonyChickenson6 April 2017
This show grows on you immediately from the first episode. The stories of the diner's patrons are grounded in such humble reality that it's not difficult to imagine why this was a hit overseas. I quiver in anticipation should this wonderful series be renewed for a second season (do it Netflix! Please!). Watching it is as satisfying as one of Master's dishes. The direction, the cast, the sets leave absolutely nothing to be desired. It easily ranks among my favorite TV series and I still have two episodes to go - but I'm savoring them.
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10/10
Honshu
turnsole-0720617 October 2018
I enjoyed every episode! Wish there were more. Loved it!
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9/10
Great heartwarming series
abrahamsetiawanzheng27 June 2018
Warning: Spoilers
It's quite rare to stumble upon a really nice and heartwarming series on Netflix, so this was a treat.

It addresses human issues in Japan in a really nice way and it's only 20 minutes per episode.

Spoilers: some episodes have ghost/hallucination as it's an integral part of Japanese culture. You have been warned.
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9/10
Love This
thekingsdom10 November 2019
I love this show. I'm currently enjoying season 2 and it's just as good as season 1. Each story is only 25 minutes long and I'm always drawn into the storyline, so the writing is excellent. I've lived in Tokyo, so for me it's nice to see bits here and there. The scripts are well written and also acted very well. The food, by the way, looks awesome! I also study Japanese and this show (and most Japanese shows post 2016 on Netflix) come with both English and Japanese subtitles, so it really helps. You can switch between both languages and learn! Thumbs up! 9/10
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10/10
I want to see more
budanome2 December 2019
Imperfect characters acting in virtuous ways. Portrayed by actors that come across as genuine and real. Wonderful music, reminds me of traditional American folk. Authentic Japanese values and culture presented, according to my Japanese couch buddy.
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8/10
Stories for our mind and hearts.
WhimsicalVonia16 September 2018
Midnight Diner: Tokyo Stories (Japanese: Shinya shokudo) (2016) Creator: Yaro Abe Watched: September 2018 Rating: 8/10

"When people finish their day and hurry home, my day starts. My diner is open from midnight to seven in the morning. They call it "Midnight Diner". Pork Miso Soup, Beer, Sake, Shochu. That's all I have on my menu. But I make whatever customers request, as long as I have the ingredients for it. That's my policy.Do I even have customers? More than you would expect."

Not sure what Master is talking about! An intimate 12 seat Izakaya in the Shinjuku, Tokyo district with custom made scrumptious eats served during nocturnal hours? Seems like a dream of a place. Called simply "Meshiya", Japanese for "Diner", it would certainly be one of those unassuming hole-in-the-wall hidden gems that become a home away from home; a refuge of sorts. A night owl foodie lover of stories, this is somewhere I, for one, would undoubtedly frequent.

Anthology style episodes. (Although Japan has its own adaptations, in the form of both show(s) and a feature length film.) Quite ingenious how one particular dish of food (as indicated in episode title) is creatively integrated as a motif in the story, but does not become contrived or overwhelm as the centerpiece. Artfully and subtly exemplifies how good food, especially lovingly prepared, can be an anodyne and nutriment for not only our bodies but our minds.

"People finish their day and hurry home. but sometimes they don't want to go straight back home. So, they drop in somewhere else on the way home."

Who is Master? Nameless and storyless. (He has s prominent scar, though. Oh how I want to know his story. Guess I have to investigate the manga this show is based on.) Therapist. (Like any good therapist, he listens more than he talks, but when he speaks, one should pay attention, for it is usually good advice or a thoughtful question.) Storyteller. (Narrates and tells us what happens sometimes rather than show.) Nourisher. (Serves you what always turns out to be comfortable food, and for better or worse, alcohol. Although he does have a three drink maximum rule.) Observer. (He can be seen standing and waiting, listening surreptitiously, behind the kitchen curtain before coming out with the beer or food.) Mediator. (He remains impartial- though not disinterested- in the arguments that take place in his diner and sends any heightened altercations outside.)

There are some regulars at the Midnight Diner, including: the three (annoying) girls that gossip and are akin to a Greek Chorus; Chu, an elderly man always wearing a baseball cap who gambles at the horse races and has an affinity for alcohol, the younger man always seen with him; Kosuzu, the cross-dressing owner; and the almost adorably awkward police officer. But, for the most part, each episode introduces a new character or characters in their own bite-sized story, never to appear again.

The show was not perfect, though. First, the stories themselves were all rather kosher. While it was nice to see the genuine slice of life aspect, the show would have benefited from a few risks. Stories were not boring, but a little lulling at times. Secondly, there was a noticeable gaping void where Master's story should have been. Whether an oversight or intentional mysterious angle, it really did not work here. Also, the folksy soundtrack often does not quite suit what was being seen. One wishes that they invested more in what could be the extra ingredient this show needed.

As is not uncommon in Eastern Cinema (based in theater and therefore less concerned with that fourth wall), the featured characters say "Goodnight" to us. Credits roll- a recommended extra couple minutes for the endearing stills of the episode's eponymous dish and various outtakes. And the "This Story is Fiction" shot, taken in a different seeing for each episode.

All in all, a delightful series that needs some more episodes readily available. Perfect as the amuse-bouche or even appetizers, but not quite ready for Michelin Stars.
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10/10
Beautiful and I wish..
redafiz4 January 2020
Each episode have its own story which is beautiful and heartwarming. I wish to know more about the master, how he open the diner at the beginning, his own background story, why is he still single (he must have his own family tho).. The master looks so mature, he knows everything.. Wish I have someone like him to talk to..

I dont even skip the intro, the soundtrack and masters voice is sooooooo soothing... Makes me feel relief...
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9/10
Heart-warming!
the_headspace2 December 2019
Not much to say, other than that this is a beautiful little show that will make you laugh for all the right reasons.

I actually thought it was some kind of foodie reality show, so I'm happy to have given it a try just in case.
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10/10
The Master is in fact a wizard.
dariorenato18 November 2019
It's an humble allegory for people serching the right path. Sometimes the customers are lost in personal problems just to find guidance in simple words. The Master can make whatever customers request, as long as they have the ingredients for it on their hearts. Delicious little show both ways, belive me, I've done some of the dishes too.
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10/10
Nostalgia for Tokyo
maartenvantilburg14 November 2019
This series makes so many loose, beautiful characters and delicious food. Watching this series I get homesick for beautiful Tokyo.
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10/10
From the simple this have accomplished the rich
barry-587-8975383 October 2018
Straight off the bat to let you know who is reviewing... i love JCVD movies. Shallow and profound are the flix i like. I don't know why i have such taste for such drab.... Honesty and clarity is a great starting point. I have fallen in love with this show - why? i don't know. But here's the miracle. It has nothing to do with any of the movies i have loved in the past. This breaks all the films of my shallow judgements and is not something i would think i would ever appreciate.

Without understanding why, i love this show. It was so refreshing it is a show i will remember for the rest of my life. if it is not your type of flick im sure u will forget it - however if u like it you will love it. Last season was 2016 so i assume no more seasons - i was emotional affected but this realisation.

Please watch first season.... watch it honestly (not in front of your iphone).

It is a treasure in a world of limiting values.

We need more of this.
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7/10
An Izakaya Unlike Any Other
keikoyoshikawa27 October 2019
An unusual izakaya that opens from midnight to 7 am, and serves atypical foods to an eclectic group of diners ... yes, please!

But the food is not the main point of this series. Rather, it is the customers who come to share their angst and worries to each other or to the Master (chef/owner) that makes it interesting.

Many of these characters are sympathetic, despite their flaws or perhaps because of them. Their situations may not be common, but they are believable and certainly riveting. Even the mysterious Master himself is a curious character.

Unfortunately, the short format gives only a cursory treatment to each customer. I only wish that the episodes were longer than 30-minutes each, to give a bit more time for exploring more fully each character and their situations.

In any case, this is an enjoyable series good for binging.
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10/10
I want season 3
valetjulie2 May 2020
This series is my favorite ever. It's a feel-good series like the movie Amelie. I have cried at almost each episode. It's such a gem. hope there will be a third season
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10/10
Just great being small.
nielsvergouwen24 May 2020
Small stories with great characters. I just adore this series .
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Interesting idea, bad execution
ersbel24 November 2019
I have no idea how the manga goes. And I don't seem to have access to a translated version so this show will have to do.

The idea is interesting. But the overall atmosphere is of governmental TV, in the late 70s, early 80s. And the acting is on a par with the passionate village association theater troupe.
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3/10
Heading for a great time
tokyojoe-0897216 June 2018
I've live in Japan 50 years and in the Shinjuku area 10 - 6 of them in the area just a few blocks of the "location" of this shokudou. How wonderful to something this close to what I've known (and been to many times). This series will introduce you to a side of the Japanese that is otherwise very hard to find, unless you speak good Japanese. For others try Okuribito, Shoushiki, and of course Tampopo. You might be even a little envious that you don't live here.
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