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: 7.581 (scored by 10721 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
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
“In happy times, one cocktail is enough, because anything you drink will taste good. But if there are a hundred shapes of unhappiness, I want to be a bartender who will make a hundred cocktails to soothe unhappiness.”
An anime series about a bartender at work might not sound like anything worth paying attention to, but Bartender is a calm, gentle series that might be just what you need. Each episode covers the stories of customers that go into a bar to soothe their souls. Bartender Ryu Sasakura assists them with their problems by making them a cocktail with a history or taste that relates to the customer’s situation. By coming to terms with themselves through their drink, each customer can leave the bar satisfied. Each story is expanded upon not only by what the customer reveals but by narration, often by others that have also been healed by the bar. Each individual story is well-developed, detailed, and brought to a satisfying end. However, there is no plot carried across the full show.
Much of the animation style is abstract, using many unrealistic background effects, quite a few of which are theatrical. For example, a character may be having a conversation at the bar counter, then the scene will cut to a narrator elaborating on what is happening, perhaps in a spotlight or even simply living their own lives. It may not seem realistic, but it’s pulled off quite well. While it may seem that it would be difficult or boring to follow a show narrated like this, it never is thanks to the animation that makes it clear what is happening in reality and what is abstract.
While the background music doesn’t stand out in any particular situation, it also helps to create the atmosphere. The opening song provides a good introduction, and the ending is slow and simple, yet effective.
The characters in each story are very believable. Instead of crazy characters made for the viewer’s excitement, they are developed to be believable people. In addition to each episodic character, the bartender himself is presented very well. Although at first he is the idealized “Glass of the Gods,” the man who can always make the perfect cocktail for a customer, his past is also addressed. By the end of the series, he has become a three-dimensional character with his own history and shortcomings.
Bartender’s true strengths lie not in the technical aspects, but the atmosphere. It’s an incredibly relaxing show and does a great job doing exactly what the creators felt a bar should do: soothe the customers. Watching an episode is a great way to calm down after a bad day; you can sit back and enjoy without shutting down your brain. A word of warning, it’s not as enjoyable in large quantities, save it for when you need it.
Bartender doesn’t try to be big or exciting, but instead appeals to people who want to relax while learning a little bit about alcohol and life. It’s a lovely little series that brings emotion and realism in a way that other, flashier shows can’t achieve. 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.
I feel that Mushishi and Bartender have a lot in common, at least in the way they make me feel: bitter-sweet, calm yet unsettling, but at the end I cannot find any more physical similarity other than they are both episodic
and made by Japanese, and only Japanese can make them I'm sure.
The former is more fantasy like but still roots in reality, and it's a beautiful reimagination of Japanese unique view of the world. The latter is a simple and straight-forward story about how the bartender serves his costumer with unique cocktails who has different backstory in a small bar called "Eden Hall" in modern Japan.
I don't drink other than beers, but I'm sure you don't need any knowledge about cocktails to enjoy Bartender because it explains every details you need to know and at the same time it doesn't force-feed information or bog down the story. You may probably be surprised by how well the cocktails complement the feelings of the character, and be amazed by the different types of cocktails presented in the show. The characters are not spectacular but they really feel like everyday people that are easy to relate to, or I should say "us".
Watching Bartender to me is like meeting up a stranger that I gaze upon thinking that it's a shame we didn't know each other earlier. If you like Mushishi for it's atmosphere and human element, you may also like Bartender. Watch it at the end of a busy or fruitful day if you can't go or find a bar nearby.
Opening Theme"Bartender" by Natural High
Ending Theme"*~Hajimari no Hito" by Natural High
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