Frustrating, insufficient, and irritating is how most citizens would describe civil servants. However, three new employees are about to discover what really happens behind the scenes. Lucy Yamagami, bent on revenge against the civil servant who allowed her comically long name to be put on her birth certificate; Yutaka Hasebe, an easygoing guy always on the lookout for a place to slack off; and Saya Miyoshi, a nervous first-time worker, are about to experience the underwhelming satisfaction of being government employees.
They are supposed to be trained by Taishi Ichimiya, but he has no idea how to do so, even though he has worked there for eight years. With an incompetent senior colleague and unfavorable confrontations with clients, the trio starts to lose faith in their chosen occupation but encourage each other to do their best.
Working is no easy task. In fact, getting by every single day with a job is something we all want especially in today's world of recession. With the current economy era, it's best to work hard and keep up with your job hoping you don't hear the two forbidden words known as 'you're fired!' For three certain newcomers, they've become new employees at a Health and Welfare Department of a certain government office at a certain city in Hokkaido. In Servant x Service, we get to see an insight look on what it's like to work in such an environment and their daily lives.
is based off of a 4-Koma of the same name written by Karino Takatsu. She is the same author who wrote Working!! Therefore, expect some similar themes. With A-1 Pictures behind the production, it's easy to get a similar vibe for both series. However, there are some more noticeable factors in Servant x Service that makes it enjoyable especially for those looking something refreshing to watch.
For starters, the series takes place in a working environment. However, it takes place at a government office so don't expect butlers, maids, or call-girls. Instead, expect professionals dressed in suits and ties along with a formal image of the business class. After all, these jobs require more skills than flipping burgers. Rather, it puts them into an environment where the employees have to work to ensure the better quality of the public.
As characters goes, we see a noticeable age range. Even by appearances, we can tell that the majority of the character cast consists of young adults or middle aged folks who already completed school through graduation, and are now working adults. In other words, they are now fully independent and no longer depends on their parents for support. However, what they do need is support from each other especially for the newcomers. A particular example is the main female protagonist Lucy (her name is too damn long so I'll just refer to her as Lucy). As one of the new comers, Lucy is the babyface. She is often the target of pranks but has the determination to work hard on her job. This is especially true in the beginning as she seems to struggle quite a bit in the working environment. Otherwise, we also got the other newcomers such as Yutaka Hasebe that is almost entirely the opposite of the Lucy's character. He is usually carefree and flirtatious while making awkward jobs out of nowhere. Hasebe is also one of the character that is hard to read because of his sarcastic nature. Nonetheless, it's clear to see that the two are contrasting characters. Finally, there's Saya Miyoshi, a newcomer with shy nature but a gentle personality that seems to create a sort of balance between the duo.
Perhaps one of the stronger dynamics and entertainment factor of Servant x Service revolves around the character interactions. Everyone seems to be so different and it's fun to see how their life is like at a working environment. Unlike at school, there's no homework, projects, or lectures. Instead, there's just work to be done that requires skill of their profession. However at many times, we see that some of the characters don't take their work at seriously as some others. Then, there's also some of that 'office romance' going on. This is especially true between co-workers Ichimiya and Chihaya. The noticeable factor though is that the female is the more dominant character here. Given Chihaya's straight forward personality, she brings out the more demanding side of a couple. Coupled by the fact that she loves to co-splay while off work, Chihaya makes the cutting edge of a co-worker. Oh and of course, romance can't be complete without drama so enter Ichimiya's little sister. Long story short, expect humorous drama in this series that can be somewhat awkward to watch.
The office environment that we picture and see in real life is expected to be filled with boredom. However, it is surprising that Servant x Service turns it into a more of an entertainment zone. For instance, there's a little supernatural twist added that comes as a small package of stuffed rabbit. Even with the supernatural element, it moves along the line of realism at many cases. Then, there's also fun to see how people really do work as social workers. At the same time though, this series may strike as repetitive. Most of us watching this show might be working already or at one point in our lives held a part-time or full-time job. In other works, Servant x Service might be a bothersome reminder of how work feels like especially if you just came home after a long day to watch this show. It could even be worse for people who doesn't have a job and struggling to obtain one in this tough economic world as of today.
The show has a lot of humor like I've mentioned before. Besides the absurdly long titles of each episode and some of the characters' names, there's also misunderstandings. These misunderstandings usually pokes at the relationships between the employees. Touko Ichimiya in particular often puts herself in the center of misunderstandings and it's almost non-sensual fun to watch her behave at a professional work area. Furthermore are setups to certain yet unexpected events at various points in the series. There's just this sense of parody going on that plays around the relationships between the various characters. Additionally, there's references of other familiar anime to spot here and there. Oh and don't forget the fun challenges at the end of each episode that requires a little brain power. At some points though, the humor might become a bit dry. While reality series such as The Office often pokes fun at popular culture, Servant x Service focuses more on its own dynamics that can be a bit stale. The comedy of this show sometimes feels like it's trying too hard as in a way that is almost forceful at times.
As artwork goes, the series is designed to look realistic in terms of the characters. All of them look simple with nothing too stand out. Besides the supernatural element, all the characters are dressed in a professional way. Lucy plays more of the role as Ms. Fanservice with her large breast size. Her innocence though is quite cute to watch given her fresh status as a new employee. Chihaya is also designed to look like the girlfriend with her aloof personality. Her cosplay designs brings out a different side of her though. The office itself looks ordinary also looks quite simple, realistic, and to the point as it should be.
The music and soundtrack is standard to its theme. However, the OP song “May I Help You?” is very noticeable with its montage and tone. The way some of the VA sings the song makes it even more catchy as it feels alive through their voices. Speaking voices, I give praise to both Lucy (Ai Kayano) and Chihaya (Aki Toyosaki) for their performance. Both of them stands out as the strengths that gives them a more realistic way of women at work. Touko's voice also turns sounds surprisingly real that fits with her tsundere like behavior. Voiced by Rumi Ookubo, her skills can be comparable to Rie Kugimiya, another famous VA well known for playing various characters of the tsundere nature.
Overall, Servant x Service is a decent watch and something to take notice at. Don't take the title the wrong way as it's not about a master and its servant. Rather, it's about how we see employees at work and what they do. Everything looks simple and it's fun to poke at how they behave between each other. If humor in a working environment is something you're looking for, then this show is definitely something that should be on your PTW. It doesn't have maids or a sword wielding woman like Working!! does but what it does have is a fun way of presenting the work environment. After a long day of work or school, this show would like to service you.
There is a recurring issue with many slice-of-life shows that predominantly feature comedy: a tendency to neglect clear development in the narrative. The result of this lack of plot progression is that the humour soon becomes repetitive and events that take place can become almost painfully predictable, particularly if this show focuses on a smaller cast of characters, or even a single character (yes WataMote, I am talking to you). Static characters and predictable gags are the bane of comedy, while surprise, suspense, anticipation and variation are the sugar that can make it oh-so-sweet.
Taking these factors into account, it is evident that Servant x Service
is probably one of the best comedy anime of recent years, and one of the few I can work up the enthusiasm to follow on a weekly basis (unlike most other comedies of the Summer 2013 season, which, except WataMote, I dropped almost immediately). With a solid cast of simple, likeable characters with quirky personalities, this show is possibly one of the best ways to kill a few hours.
The episodes are typically split into 2 segments, each one depicting a smaller subplot, while also keeping the overarching narrative intact and ensuring genuine development (which is most evident in the primary "Lucy x Hasebe" romance and secondary "Chihaya x Ichimiya" subplot). This, along with the large cast, ensures that the humour is surprising and unpredictable. By telegraphing future plot points (known in film and TV as "planting causes for future effects"), a sense of anticipation develops that keeps you watching, as you find yourself keen to see how events will pan out. This is all a perfect example of how comedy in any medium is done.
Aesthetically, there isn't much to report. We have a largely conventional (but acceptable) art style, which flows well and ensures that character models are consistent and easy to watch. The opening is catchy, but it isn't a fine example of music, and the ending's a pretty easy-going and pleasant track. Voice acting is good (though we do get to hear Taketatsu Ayana as a tsundere-imouto, which has now been done about as many times as the sun setting in the evening, though I suspect this was deliberate).
So in the end, the otherwise mediocre Summer 2013 season produced a gem in an unlikely genre, as the oft-muddied comedy conventions get a well deserved polish. I can rarely claim to enjoy straight-comedies, but this is probably my favourite show of the past few years.
Do you miss that always fun show "Working !" ? or maybe you would like to light up your mood a little bit ? Or maybe you just want to have some good old laughs... If you can see yourself in any of the previous scenarios, Servant x Service or simply SxS is what you are looking for.
Servant x Service is simply the most "sitcomesque" like anime I've ever watched, it resembles a sitcom in various ways, and I will demostrate that in the lines below. ( By the way, if you do not know what is a sitcom, it stands for situational comedy, and
it is a expression used to designate some american tv shows, like "Friends" and "How I Met Your Mother").
First of all, what is SxS about ? and how does every episode plays out ?
SxS tells the story of the interactions between co-workers of a ward office speciallized in health and welfare. It does not have a major plot, but instead it carries the episodes out based on two main points : occasional comics situations, and romantic (light-mooded may I add) interactions between the characters, which is basically the formula for most sitcoms nowadays.
Ok, but just because it is following a formula it does not mean it is good, how does the execution of such formula goes ?
It goes pretty smoothly actually. Here is where one of the main points of SxS shines, that is the characters (again, almost every sucessful sitcom is so because of good characters). The characters are reallly well put together, and their interactions is almost always hilarious or sweet.
But who are these so interesting characters ?
Well, the main cast consists of the megane big breasted Lucy Kimiko Akie Airi Shiori Rinne Yoshiho (...) Yamagami, a cheerful and innocent girl who has a passion for books and hates her abnormally long name.
Secondly we got Lucy's romance interest, the hilarious Hasebe, by far the best constructed character of the anime, he is usually too cheerful and careless, but we can say he is basically much more than meets the eyes.
We also got Chihaya, Myoshi and Ichimya as part of the main cast, all of them having great nuances to their personalities, do not be fooled by the first few episodes, they may seem as cliche one dimensional character but they are definetly not.
Through the whole anime the viewer is rewarded with hilarious situations between these characters every episode (it gets even better as the series progresses ) and the romance was a really good surpirse, it progressed extremely naturally,did not felt rushed at any point, and had perfect pacing... again it resembles any sucessful sitcom out there.
The rest of the characters, the supporting cast if you will, are ok. Here we can find a few annoying characters (yes I'm looking at you Touko), but some good ones as well... nothing that will stand out (for good or for bad), but then again, they are not supposed too... a sitcom is all about the main cast, and dragging the attention or screen time away from them would be foolish, luckly it appears the writers of SxS are well aware of that.
Allright, seems good, but what about the more tecnical parts of the anime ? how does the art and sound goes ?
Well in the art department SxS comes through as well, of course we are not talking about a Mecha-Eplosions-Gunfire anime, therefore no specially good effect is required. That being said, the quality of the "normal" part of the art (color pallete, drawings, etc) is pretty standarly good.
The character design does not stand out either (with the exception of lucy, but only because she fits in cliche design). I 'm not saying they are poorly designed, after all they are supposed to be normal working people, therefore we could not expect much unusal innovative design here.
As for the sound in the anime, again it does not stands out, but again it does not have to. The OP was the only catchy song in the whole anime, really great cheerfu song (thanks again mrs Toyosaki), the ED was sweet, but it didnt stand out much, and the SDT was nnot remarkable at all, once again it resembles a sitcom, trying its best not to drive attention away from the characters.
And there you have it, a sitcom in anime format. Personally I loved it, I always liked sitcoms and animes, puting them together was a terrific idea, but as any other genres out there some people will enjoy it and some wont.
Now all that is left is to ask yourself, "Will I like this ?", Remember all that I said above, this anime consists basically comedy oriented with a bit of light romance, with no major plot, dark themed stuff, or twists. If you think you'll dig it, I say go ahead, you will get a delightful, smile maker experience. If you dont, well there is always something else out there right ?
This is an office comedy. It stars a small cast of young adults (Lucy, Hasebe, Chihaya, Miyoshi, and Ichimiya) all with their own unique quirks. There's a bit of romance, but mostly office antics that keep the story moving at a steady pace until the end of its 13 episode run. Think of it as Japan's answer to The Office of England and North America. There will be characters that you look forward to watching, and some that irk you every time they're on screen. And of course it wouldn't be Japanese without a talking animal, which comes in the form of a stuffed bunny
boss. They work in the social service sector, but the setting is really only a backdrop,
with the action of the characters amongst themselves being the plot driver. It's a good relatable scenario for anyone who would consider themselves affiliated with the josei genre, so if you're looking for a more mature comedy anime this would be a good choice.
My opinion of the story is that is a light enjoyable plot that never gets too serious. It deals with relatable office scenarios that anyone in the service sector will know, as well as a couple relationship woes (that aren't as relatable). It has a steady pace that never has too many deep catalysts, and is typically resolved within the 20 minute period of each episode. So don't expect too much depth. You might be surprised by how admirable some of the characters are given certain scenarios, so at least to a degree you'll find yourself excited to see how the characters function within the plot. The comedy of course is effective, you'll find yourself laughing on multiple occasions, but probably not a whole lot. It had moments, but not monumentally hilarious ones. I guess that's a part of what Japanese comedy is, some things just don't translate over. That said, it is still a office romance comedy at heart. The story gets an 7.5 out of 10. Not stellar, but certainly enjoyable.
As I mentioned earlier, all the characters are quirky and interesting. My personal favourite was Chihaya, but I think the effectiveness of this show is how everyone will like someone different for different reasons. Briefly, Lucy is the nerdy, coming out of her shell character that ends up being the prime love interest. Hasebe is the endearing slacker who spends the whole season trying to win Lucy over. Miyoshi is a quiet somewhat closeted person who ends up in the toughest situations. Chihaya is the otaku seamstress who has a fiery personality and Ichimiya is the hopeless naive supervisor who is whipped by his younger sister. There are other minor characters of little interest, but what makes this anime strong is the banter among them. Their quirks offer interesting situations with some unpredictable outcomes. The characters get an 8.5 out of 10. Likeable, interesting, and well-developed, you'll find yourself wanting more from them after the 13th episode.
Lastly the presentation should be addressed, because I feel this is another facet to this anime that made it effective. The opening and ending songs are both catchy, and I found myself looking forward to hearing them each week. The voice actors are all really effective, with prominent seiyu such as Suzuki, Tatsuhisa which I recognized from some of my top animes including Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun. The art is spectacular in the opening, but somewhat lack luster in the show itself. Sometimes it's great, other times it feels kind of cheaply done. I don't expect very much from a comedy slice-of-life series, but coming off of Working! there was already enough fanbase to warrant a bit more work on the animation end in my opinion. The manga has a similarly low budget look to it, so I guess there's not tons to work off of here. Either way, I was a little disappointed. However, all in all the presentation gets a 7.5 out of 10. There were strong points of the presentation that made up for the weaknesses in others, giving it this solid score.
For the josei genre there is a disparagingly large void of animes to keep a young woman watching shows that relate to her. Servant x Service will help to shrink that void, even if just a little, as it is truly a seinen/josei series. Appealing to both the sexes there's something for everyone, and I would recommend this series to anyone looking for a good watch or read. Compiling the score, Servant x Service gets a final score of 7.8 out of 10. For a comedy/romance it does a good job of keeping you entertained, and will leave you wanting more by its finale. Luckily the manga exists that can remedy that for anyone looking to get some more of Lucy x Hasebe! It's still an ongoing manga so expect more in the future, and while you're waiting, watch the show.
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