Original Run: October 8, 2017 - December 24, 2017 Number of Episodes: 12 Genre: Comedy, Slice of Life Based on the Series Created By: Miyuki Nakayama
***Warning, the following may contain spoilers for Blend S. Reader discretion is advised.***
Maika Sakurnomiya (voiced by Azumi Waki) has long dreamed of studying in a foreign country. She has been trying to earn the funds to make her wish a reality, but she keeps running into a problem. No place is willing to hire her because she has naturally scary eyes, and they always have a way of chasing people off.
However, it is Maika’s very eyes that land her a job at the small, but popular Stile café. Although she is happy to take the position, she does have one concern. All service staff at Stile must play a character, and Maika’s eyes make her the perfect candidate to be the store’s sadistic waitress.
Maika has many reservations about being rude to the customers, but to her chagrin, she is a natural, and she becomes one of the shop’s brightest stars.
Fortunately, Maika’s colleagues at Stile quickly become her best friends, and her desire to travel the world moves closer to actuality.
Regrettably, I allowed nearly two years to pass without watching Blend S. Now thinking about it, I’m not sure why my self-imposed wait should bother me. I had no external connection with this series; I had never read the manga, nor had I heard anything about the anime prior to its fall 2017 release. Still, since the fall of 2017, I have had my eye on Blend S.
Having now seen it, was my interest well-founded? Well, because I don’t know what caught my attention in the first place, that’s sort of hard to answer. Nevertheless, Blend S ended up being quite fun, and I feel I definitely should have highlighted this series when it first aired.
Blend S’ enjoyability stemmed from the same place the Working series’ did. For those who don’t know what I am referring to, Working was a character-based comedy which took place at a family restaurant chain. Both Blend S and Working were heavily reliant on the strength – and strangeness – of their characters’ personalities.
In Working, the employees of the fictional Wagnaria restaurant ranged from energetic, ditsy, bratty, violent, and quick-to-anger. They formed one of the most varied collections of characters I have ever seen in anime, and that added an incredible amount of life and flexibility to the overall franchise.
(Note: Working seasons 1, 2, and 3 took place at the same restaurant while season four was at a different location).
Am I going to sit here and say Blend S was as well-crafted and as fun as the Working series? No, Working is the superior of the two shows. However, Blend S was playing the same game in the same ballpark and it did a pretty damn good job at holding its own.
What this series did in contrast with Working – which had its characters just be themselves – was have its cast take up roles. There was the personality a character had when they were with their colleagues, then there was the personality they put on when interacting with the customers. As a rule of thumb, one was usually the opposite of the other, and this show had a lot of success with that.
Main protagonist Maika was kind and preferred to treat people with a smile. Unfortunately, her naturally scary face and archaic vocabulary allowed her to be the ideal sadist.
Kaho Hinata (voiced by Akari Kitou) played the classic tsundere character. This series went all-in with the stereotype (a person who is outwardly harsh because they are hiding their gentler side). In reality, Kaho was extremely outgoing and was quick to befriend everyone she met.
Mafuyu Hoshikawa (voiced by Anzu Haruno) was the store’s little sister character, and I’m sure you know the type. This is the lovable child who is always looking up to their infallible older sibling. Actual Mafuyu was a bitter, sharp-tongued college student who had very little patience for idiocy.
Miu Amano (voiced by Atsumi Tanezaki) took up the role of the older sister, who, unlike the little sister, spoke softly, and ensured their precious junior was cared for meticulously. Though not too far from the truth, Miu’s stage personality was more a byproduct of her actual personality of a hardcore, not-safe-for-work manga writer who was always dreaming up the perfect ship.
Hideri Kanzaki (voiced by Sora Tokui) was the only one of the waitstaff whose personal and professional personas were the same. Be that as it may, there was still plenty that made Hideri a perfect fit for Stile.
The two male characters, manager Dino and chef Koyo Akizuki (voiced respectively by Tomoaki Maeno and Tatsuhisa Suzuki), helped balance out the rest of the group. They were a consistency since they didn’t need to put on an act. Any flamboyancy or personality quirk was all them.
Together, the staff of Stile formed the foundation of what made Blend S so much fun to watch. Everyone in this series wasn’t merely a name. They were an entity that reacted to, interacted with, and influenced the events and occurrences going on around them. What one would do, the others would respond in kind.
I have found that a mark of an effective comedy is not always found in the foreground, but rather, in the background. Are people standing around watching things unfold, or are they actively apart of the scene? If it’s the latter, such was the case in Blend S, it’s usually a pretty good sign a show has confidence in its humor because it’s not shoving jokes down your throat.
Does that make sense? I can’t imagine it does since I am trying to explain something that works mainly because it doesn’t require an explanation. Hopefully, you’ll come to understand what I am saying once you check out the show.
And in case you are wondering, yes, this is a roundabout way of me telling you to watch Blend S.
I did have one major problem with this series. But what I find interesting – or, perhaps, annoying – is that I can think of a reason why it existed.
Blend S was weirdly sexual.
Now, I am not referring to the roles the service staff had to play, nor am I talking about the ploy Stile used to attract its customers. If it were only that, then this section would be much, much shorter. What I mean is, in general, there was a lot of fanservice in this series.
From seemingly out of nowhere, Blend S would make it a point to showcase how good looking, and well-endowed, its characters were. Weird boob physics existed, there were a ton of niche fanbases, and it was all awkward since this series didn’t need this form of supplementary content. The cast was strong enough on its own to keep everything steady.
But again, I can rationalize why this type of – comparatively – heavy-handed fanservice was here. It was just another way this series was keeping in line with its S motif.
From the title to the content, the letter S found its way into all facets of this series.
- Maika played a Sadist.
- Kaho was a tsundere, which when written phonetically is Sundere.
- Both Mafuyu and Miu were both Sister characters.
- Hideri was the store’s idol, or in other words, the Singer.
Considering all that, is there an S-word that can describe the unusual amount of fanservice in this show? Why, yes there is, and let me give you a hint. It’s four letters long, it ends with “y” and begins with “sex.”
Am I looking to deep into this? Possibly, but Blend S’ own theme song makes me think I am not that far off base. Also, even if I am wrong, just because I thought up a rational, that doesn’t mean I am using it as an excuse.
The fanservice in this show was weird, it was strange, and it was utterly unnecessary considering Blend S would have been fine without it.
I should make this clear before concluding. The fanservice in this show was noticeable, but it wasn’t distracting. As I said, this series’ strengths made sure of that.
This was a more than solid character comedy that was both amazingly funny and thoroughly enjoyable. This show had to its name an excellent cast which allowed it to stand firmly with some of the best examples in its field.
It took way too long for me to get to it, but I’m glad I finally did. Blend S has earned a recommendation.
But these are just my thoughts. What are yours? Have you seen this show? How would you advise Blend S? Leave a comment down below because I would love to hear what you have to say.
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For Anime Hajime, I’m LofZOdyssey, and I’ll see you next time.