Status: Finished Airing
Aired: Oct 15, 2006 to Dec 31, 2006
23 min. per episode
PG-13 - Teens 13 or older
L represents licensing company
Score: 7.591 (scored by 10322 users)
1 indicates a weighted score
drama slice of life
SynopsisGenius bartender, Sasakura Ryuu makes the most incredible cocktails anyone has ever tasted. Seeking his "Glass of God", individuals from all different walks of life visit his bar. With both a compassionate ear and a godly drink, Ryuu helps people with their problems.
Related AnimeAdaptation: Bartender
Characters & Voice Actors
Children have no place in a bar, and most youths prefer dancing in nightclubs to loud music and cheap booze... but for those who wish a calmer and more mature place, there is the bar.
Even among bars, there is a variety of styles: from seedy dockside dives, to beer halls where there is always a ball game or race being played on a large screen, to the dimly-lit classier cocktail bars...
What, then, is a bar? A place where they serve drinks, sure, but that's just an element of the whole.
A bar is a social environment safe from the rest of the world where one goes to throw off the worries for a while; the drinks are just aids to relax and let go of tension and inhibitions. If it is a good bar, it's a place one regrets leaving even to go back home.
In Bartender, we are welcomed with a warm smile to the Eden Hall, a small but cosy cocktail bar. The bartender himself is a confident and therapist to the regulars, well known for his near-magical ability to serve just the right drink to soothe each customer's soul from their problems. Go talk to him for a while, then ask him to surprise you - he'll deftly squeeze, blend, shake and mix the contents of a few bottles while sharing bits of trivia about the different ingredients.
You might eventually realize that he's adding more than spirits into the cocktail, he's also mixing in tales, history, metaphors and emotions... that what he's making isn't simply a drink, but a customized healing potion to which the liquid in the glass is itself only a minor part.
Story & direction: 9.
Bartender is a niche experimental anime, episodic, and although the introduced characters become regulars and appear or even participate in subsequent episodes, in general each episode is dedicated to a patron and his problems.
Instead of following a formal plot, it depends on realistically fleshed-out characters and an excellent direction using advanced techniques such as multilayer superimpositions, juxtapositions, camera angles, flashbacks, using characters as mouthpieces for a omniscient narrative, and seamlessly intermeshing the episode's theme with documentary elements. While the latter are fundamental for understanding the characters' thought processes, they sometimes distract from the main theme, which is why I didn't give a full 10 to this section.
As said before, the characters are realistic and well fleshed out. Sure, we mostly only see what they allow through the metaphorical public masks everybody uses or the tidbits we get from third parties, but isn't this also part of the realism?
Even the bartender himself, who keeps his professional face throughout the series, gets a significant bit of his past explored by the regular patrons' chatting and rumoring, bringing him down from the near-deity status his current abilities grant him and back to the human realm.
The one time this realism was broken was when a character behaved irrationally in an emergency, for the sake of setting up the stage for an episode - but the outcome was so satisfactory that I'm unwilling to penalize the series for it.
This is a hit-or-miss series that should be avoided by anybody who either dislikes bars or slow, talky shows; it also requires a modicum of maturity to enjoy properly. If this is not your case, avoid it altogether.
Even then, as with alcoholic drinks, it should be taken with moderation. The best way to enjoy it is one or two episodes at a time, in a dimmed room, and with your favorite drink at hand.
Art & animation: 8
The art is very good; the bar was created with loving detail, with shadows, reflections and detailed settings. The characters are competently drawn, with a wealth of adequately used facial expressions.
There's not much happening throughout the episodes, most of the time it's just talking heads - the most fluid animation happens during the preparation of the cocktails; still, the characters smile, frown, gesture, grimace - and blink! - while in the background there's the occasional patron going to the toilets, blowing smoke or adjusting his chair.
There is the CG that, given its age, is far from photographic; still, it is pretty much limited to the flow of liquids and the sparkle of bubbles in tall glasses, and doesn't interfere in the enjoyment.
The OP is a nice duet between a female patron and the bartender; it is, however, too upbeat for such slow and intimate series. The ED is a delicious jazz song, played while a real barman prepares and serves us the cocktail featured in the episode... Not once did I feel the urge to skip it, instead I wanted to pick up the glass and sip it.
The rest of the music is ambient soft jazz, jamming in harmony to the scenes and accompanying the mood without ever overwhelming - which, for such a series, is just perfect.
The background sounds are what one should expect from a small bar: glasses and bottles clinking or tapping on the table, chairs dragging, and the such - nothing spectacular, since anything more would actually detract from the experience.
Essence score [3;8]: 7.8
Existence modifier [-2;+2]: +1.7
Overall: 7.8 +1.7 = 9.5 --> 10 read more
Before I get to the bulk of the review,
Imagine the thought of going to a bar for the very first time. Even after going through the trouble of eventually arriving at one, you stand outside the bar idly, wondering whether you should go in or not. Afraid that you’ll be made fun of, afraid you’ll embarrass yourself, you become anxious and the door handle feels heavy, as if it’s shutting you out. But mustering up the courage, you cautiously open the door and take a peek inside. Dim lights, gentle murmurs of people talking, occasional clangs of glasses, classy jazz playing in the background; all of this is very foreign to you. But then you hear the gentle “welcome” from the bartender, and your anxious heart has suddenly calmed down and you magically find yourself sitting at the counter.
In this otherwise foreign place, the simple “welcome” suddenly makes the bar a space where you can express yourself freely; and like the “gentle perch” that he is, the bartender calmly listens to all that you have to say. So starts the story from your heart… and from that story the bartender provides you with the perfect drink that carries with it the words, the emotions, and the memories of your story.
The above description depicts the sort of atmosphere you should expect from Bartender. This anime focuses mainly on Sasakura Ryuu, a young genius bartender nicknamed the “Glass of the Gods” because of his keen sense of discernment for his customers and his ability to make quality cocktails deftly. He works at a small bar called “Eden Hall,” but despite its diminutive size, several people with personal problems frequent here. Sasakura Ryuu listens to whatever these people have on their minds, much like a physician, and then prescribes the perfect medicine in the form of a cocktail.
The concept of solving problems through cocktails is what ultimately attracted me to this anime, but I understand that not all of us can relate to an anime about bartending; some of us detest the idea of drinking in the first place. However, as the anime takes on an episodic style of storytelling, each episode tells beautifully the story about a certain customer and a certain cocktail. Then the anime ties the two stories together masterfully to reach a heartwarming resolution. So if alcohol isn’t the initial attraction to this anime, just keep in mind that this anime focuses more on telling a memorable story to its viewers. The main criticism with the storytelling, however, is that the delivery can be a bit awkward and confusing at times, especially when the anime chooses to have some of the secondary characters start narrating the stories as omniscient third person narrators. In addition, since this anime is episodic, there isn’t an overarching plot connecting all the stories together. As a result, this anime becomes merely a collection of short stories rather than an anime with a continuous plot.
As for the viewers who can relate to this anime and appreciate drinking from time to time, Bartender teaches the basics of bar etiquette, fun facts about certain drinks, and the history behind several cocktails and other drinks. The main criticism here is that the anime is in some ways more educational than it is entertaining, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with it having educational value. I, for one, rate an anime highly when it goes beyond being simply a form of art to teach me something new. However, since the anime does spend a good amount of time in each episode to explain the history or list out the various trivia about a certain cocktail, the focus of the story tends to deviate a little.
With the anime busy from telling two stories or more in one episode, there is barely any room for character development. Arguably, the most developed character in the anime is Sasakura Ryuu, because viewers learn about his personality, thought process, morals, and bartending philosophies. However, at the same time the viewers learn nothing significant about him because the “Sasakura Ryuu” introduced to viewers at the start of the anime is a professional with very little room for improvement and development. There is an episode dedicated to how he learned from a mistake he made in the past, but generally the episodes focus on him being a problem-solver and not a problem-maker. As a result, there is actually very little development of the main character and the development is more focused on the secondary characters within each episode. Although I fairly enjoyed this anime, in the end I cannot say I really formed a personal connection with either Sasakura Ryuu or the secondary characters.
To end, I want to point out some of the many subtle aspects that made this anime even better:
1) The music: As fitting of a bar setting, smooth jazz plays in the background throughout the anime to add a touch of elegance that is unique to this type of anime. The soundtrack itself is also a wonderful collection of smooth jazz that I could listen to while studying, reading, or relaxing in a café or library. Overall, the music is superb and ultimately aids in amplifying the “classy” mood of the anime.
2) The ending: Viewers usually neglect the ending because most often than not it’s the same song with the same animation playing every time. In the case of Bartender, however, every ending is special and unique to the episode. This is because an actual bartender makes a cocktail aforementioned in an episode while the ending song plays in the background. This aspect allowed me to appreciate the ending song even more, as well as further my interest in the world of bartending.
3) A touch of reality: Whether it’s the history, the fun facts, or other trivia about alcohol, I could always tell that Bartender did its research in regards to bartending. I could especially tell by Sasakura Ryuu’s movement when making drinks, because his movements mimicked that of the actual bartender when he makes drinks during the ending song. The anime also uses real life alcohol brands instead of censoring them, thus adding another touch of reality.
Bartender is definitely not for everyone; but it definitely has its stories to tell, and these stories are meant to be told to everyone. Much like a cocktail itself, Bartender aims to mend the tired soul laden with burdens, misunderstandings, pains, anxiety, and depression from everyday life.
If you are looking for a truly therapeutic and healing anime, look no further because Bartender will be there to listen to your stories.
Overall: 8.4/10 read more
Both are calm and slow-paced series where the main character helps to solve the problems of the people he meets.
The stories are completely different, however atmosphere are exactly the same. Both amine have a very calming effect on viewer's soul.
Both are perfect match when you want too see smth and too tired for action, detective etc.
Each series has a single very knowledgable character -- Ginko in Mushi-shi and Ryuu Sasakura in Bartender -- who helps other people. Both are episodic series and, in each episode, the main characters find creative ways to help different people with their unique problems. The pace in each series is calm and neither has much action.
The atmosphere is similar - calm, meditative, leisurely-narrative, various stories of various people are told within each episode.
Mysterious main characters, they're masters of their craft. Bartender and unseen-otherwordly-creatures expert - you don't say it at first, but the core of they're job is to help people and they do it using what they know best.
Despite that both has a completly diferent plot and development they share a relaxing atmosphere, good stories and a nice main characther.
Opening Theme"Bartender" by Natural High
Ending Theme"*~Hajimari no Hito" by Natural High
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