First Impressions – Servant x Service

summer13-rom-servant

Can the office be as funny as The Office?

spring13-highwIt’s a new anime season, and that means First Impressions! Servant x Service brings us the action in a government office, somewhere that you’d think wouldn’t really be ripe for comedy. But as an office worker, I think there are plenty of amusing stories that we’ve come up with through the years, and I imagine most offices are the same. So how does this look into the backstage of the bureaucracy come out? Let’s find out!

Not Your Ordinary Civil Service Office (or maybe it is?)

Yamagami chases Hasebe

I like the guy who doesn’t even turn around.

Servant x Service starts the show off with the introduction of three new workers at the Health and Welfare section of the City Ward office. Hasebe Yutaka (Suzuki Tatsuhisa), Miyoshi Saya (Nakahara Mai) and Yamagami er…-san (Kayano Ai) are all starting their first day in the office, and for all three of them their first day working pretty much anywhere. But they don’t have much time to get comfortable, as they’re thrown right into work. Well, the work of a civil service office, at least. Manning the customer windows is their main duty, and it’s going to take some work to get used to.

Experience at work

Newbies get flustered pretty quickly

The main character is Yamagami, who manages to keep from saying her given name throughout the first half of the show, but finally has to explain why, and with it her reason for becoming a civil servant: petty revenge. Apparently her parents are some indecisive folks and, faced with so many good names for their child, couldn’t pick just one. So her name is actually Lucy… Kimiko, Akie, Airi, Shiori, Rinne, Yoshiho, Ayano, Tomika, Chitose, Sanae, Mikiko, Ichika… and on and on. And she blames the civil servant who registered her birth certificate for allowing them to saddle her with this terrible name. So she wants to find out who it is, and say something to them! Truly a noble career goal.

I wonder who this could be

Gosh, I wonder who THIS guy could be. Most transparent plot telegraphy ever…

The other new employees have their problems as well. Miyoshi is a nice girl. Too nice to actually cut off the old obaa-sans that come up and tell her their life stories, monopolizing her time. And Hasebe-kun is actually good at his job… when you can get him to do it. But he’s much more interested in lunch break, smoke break, unauthorized break, wandering around, and getting girls’ email addresses. Coming from 3 generations of civil servants, he’s trained well for the job. And he’s got the most important part of being a civil servant already down: your job is to be scolded.

Yamagami vows revenge

Ichimaya, Hasebe, Miyoshi, and Yamagami

Other characters of note are the previous ‘new guy’ Ichimiya Taishi (who’s worked there 8 years) and jaded employee Chihaya Megumi (played super-flat by Toyosaki Aki), who always knows which way to direct people to a different counter.

Taking a rest

The only thing that’s gotten Chihaya excited so far…

Enough about characters, how’s the rest of the show?

OP Effects

This sliced / exploding effect worked very well in the OP

As is to be expected given its creator and A-1 Pictures production, Servant x Service has a very similar style to Working!! Character designs are very similar and so is the clean animation style, even though the Director and Character Designer weren’t credited for the earlier show. The OP song is VERY reminiscent of Coolish Walk, the OP from the second season of Working!!, upbeat and lighthearted, but the visuals are striking and fresh, with a mix of still real life locations and animation and credits on top, blended in excellently. The ED song is nice enough, but it will take a few listens to see if it’s something that grabs my ear. The voice work so far is also very good and all the characters fit their actors. Kayano Ai in particular does her usually stellar job, and gives Yamagami a well-suited excitement.

Hasebe dragged off to work again

Hasebe getting dragged off to actually do some work… again.

Miyoshi can't get rid of clients

Miyoshi can’t say no.

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I enjoyed the first episode and think that it’s got a good base to build on. It was definitely a solid opening, and seems to have that right size of cast. The characters are definitely not openly broken, just normal people, which is something I always like to see, because quirky can get old quick. A good opening to the Summer season for me!

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Proving that you don't have to be young to love anime, I enjoy all genres and styles of shows. If it's not hurting anyone else, you should never be ashamed of what you like!
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50 Responses to “First Impressions – Servant x Service”

  1. Cybersteel says:

    I’m sure there will be a boss lady-sama in there somewhere ;D.

    • Highway says:

      I don’t know if we’ll get a boss lady. I think we’re going to get boss robo-bunny.

      • skylion says:

        ..at least he lets them go home, unlike a certain other stuffed toy in a new series…

        • BlackBriar says:

          I’m very much curious to find out which demented freak created that stuffed toy.

        • Liza says:

          Or will they be able to go home once they find out the truth that their boss is a robo-bunny…

  2. Tofu says:

    The character designer also did Mawaru Penguindrum, which makes me wonder if he had a part in the OP sequence because I really loved how everything crumbled in nearly every scene 😀 And yes as you’ve said Highway, the mix of real life and animation is intriguing!

    The character designs suit well with the office atmosphere and omg! I totally thought of The Office as well when I heard about this series! Sadly, it’s only the setting that’s quite similar :( It doesn’t seem like there’s going to be many characters too so I hope they haven’t flushed out all their character traits or else it really WILL get boring seeing the same gag’s over and over again T_T

    • Highway says:

      I prefer a show not really keep adding characters, because to me it shows a lack of depth in the ones that they have. 5-7 characters is a good amount for me if they can keep them fresh, because you don’t end up losing track of them, and they become flanderized, with only their most remarkable trait taking over. I think a lot of shows do well with that number of main characters: K-On (I’d say 7), Yuyushiki (5 or 6), Leviathan (4), Chuu2koi (7)… the list goes on.

      I actually have not watched even a whole episode of The Office, either the British or American version. And I don’t think this show will really be like that (some have compared it more to Parks and Recreation, which I watched a few of, and think would be fine).

      • skylion says:

        Working! had a similar character count.

        And don’t feel bad, HWY, I never watched either versions of the Office, either. They just seemed kinda bland. If you want a really insane civil service show, The Thick of It.

        • Highway says:

          I watched about 2/3 of an episode of the British version, and oh my, that was VERY British comedy, extraordinarily uncomfortable and embarrassing. But, I honestly haven’t watched any sitcom regularly for 20 years.

        • HannoX says:

          If you can find them somewhere Yes, Minister and Yes, Prime Minister are superb civil service comedies. But since they’re decades old, it’ll probably take some digging to find them on DVD.

          • Highway says:

            I have watched some of that, along with some of Black Adder. But there’s enough new stuff that I don’t really have much time to watch old stuff. :)

            • HannoX says:

              Yes, I know what you mean. You have to really like an old show to put in the time to find it and watch it.

          • skylion says:

            Three Cheers for the Yes Minister series and also for Black Adder!

  3. Tofu says:

    spammy ate my comment T___T

    long story short:

    – I liked the OP and ED
    – Hopefully the characters have more to show or else the jokes will become repetitively boring
    – It reminded me of The Office as well! Except it is a bit different. Only the setting is similar 😛

    • Foshizzel says:

      I saved it for you Tofu!

    • BlackBriar says:

      I can’t say I agree on the OP. It was too high pitched and fast paced for me to enjoy but I like the ED a bit.

      I agree. The jokes will become stale if there isn’t anything new for them to keep building on like what happened with Nyaruko-san W and that was sad to see happen.

  4. Restia says:

    Chihaya best character pls XD

    It was better than I expected to be, but pretty…er mild on the flavor, should I say? I’ll have to wait and see if this show can keep me entertained. In terms of Comedy, I’d say Kitakubu was quite a bit funnier, but this is still pretty interesting being an office anyways.

    The Opening was fabulous! I loved it! The song was pretty good, but not very attention grabbing, I agree. It’ll need a few listens.

    • Highway says:

      An opening show that doesn’t bowl you over could either be good (in that it hasn’t set the bar too high, and has a lot in reserve) or bad (in that that was the best they had, and it’s just downhill from here). I’ll be writing a Kitakubu post soon, it was good, but maybe a little to retort-y for me.

      • Restia says:

        Just watched Love Lab, the tsukomi here can rival Kitakabu XD if not more

        • Foshizzel says:

          I just finished Love Lab episode one! That was so CRAZY! Also the character designer from Yuru Yuri gets my vote over Kitakabu for now…

  5. skylion says:

    Good review, HWY. I found the first outing to be very watchable. I think Lucy is going to get the most screen time, but I am waiting to see more on Miyoshi, cause the other two are kinda taking the show from her.

    Chihaya? OMG, that cannot be my Aki-chan. I agree with Restia.

    The Bunny is Watching You.

    • Highway says:

      I think Miyoshi is destined to be the 3rd wheel, not assertive enough to really stand up to either Hasebe’s self-assured slacking or Yamagami’s instances of snapping.

      There is another character to introduce, Ichimiya’s daughter, and I’m hoping that she doesn’t overdo it (a la Yamada from Working, who I didn’t care for that much).

      • skylion says:

        Just from the OP alone it looks like overdoing it is her job description. Fussy looking…

        • Highway says:

          Yeah, she looked REALLY fussy. The ages seem weird tho. She looks like a middle-schooler, but I’m still guessing Ichimiya’s daughter. I’m guessing that Ichimiya is about 30-32 (with 8 years of experience), which makes him a father at 18-19? But that’s more believable than his imouto at 19 years younger…

          • HannoX says:

            Not really. There’s 22 years between my oldest sister and my youngest. Unusual, but not unbelievable.

            • BlackBriar says:

              I’m with HannoX that it’s not unbelievable. I have an aunt who’s 5 years younger than I am but in turn, it makes a 29 year difference between her and my father. Surprised at the fact?

            • Highway says:

              These aren’t surprising, but they’re also not typical. Teenager parent is a lot more typical. :)

  6. BlackBriar says:

    An acceptable start for an interesting show and there really shouldn’t be any worry for where the story takes place because with so many animes creating stories out of random things, an office setting doesn’t seem so awkward.

    Three types of elements found in every office: Too strict (Lucy), too loose (Hasebe) and too indecisive (Miyoshi).

    I sympathize a bit with Lucy’s reason for working there. If were cursed with a ridiculous number of names, I’d want revenge too. It’s apparent she hasn’t thought of what she’d do after getting her revenge. And her work ethic contradicting her view on view on civil servants makes for an amusing paradox. She does seem rather fit for the job.

    Hasebe had me facepalming most of the time. How is it that the slackers always manage to be better off while those who have enthusiasm for their work end up suffering to get where they want to go?

    • HannoX says:

      I imagine putting in 30 or 40 years in a civil service job could be mind numbing and soul killing if you let it get to you. So Hasabe not taking it seriously might be the right attitude to have, especially since he points out that the most important part of their job as low level civil servants is to be yelled at by the public.

      Once someone works their way up higher in the civil service and they get more important duties, then I suppose the job will get more intellectually stimulating.

      • Highway says:

        I’ve often thought that when people find a job ‘mind numbing’ and ‘soul killing’, what it really is is a slight-to-major mismatch between what they want to do and what they are doing. There really is the opportunity for self-improvement and system improvement in a lot of things, and finding those things is the key to enjoying your job. But, if you focus on the aspect that ‘getting yelled at is my job’ and let that become the priority, then you’re going to get yelled at more.

        • skylion says:

          That’s any job. I’ve worded part time in restaurants for years and you see people slack off all the time, “This ain’t my real job”, as if they are aiming for a career elsewhere. Well, you gonna have the same problems in that career if you keep a bad attitude at any job.

    • Restia says:

      lol yes Lucy’s name! XD I laughed so hard when Miyoshi said jugem jugem hahaha

      But going through all that trouble for revenge….I’d rather just go change my name legally or something. She really should have consulted her parents first.

      • BlackBriar says:

        I see no problem with the name “Lucy” but she probably got so caught up in her revenge that she never thought of changing it legally. Or maybe she has thought about it but decided it wouldn’t change much since she was living with those names in her mind all her life.

  7. Liza says:

    I was surprised how much I liked this. It’s just a typical show of a bunch of people going about work but it was enjoyable.

    Poor Lucy, being stuck with a long name like that. And here I thought my name was bad…at least it isn’t a million names long. Go Lucy! You will get your revenge someday! Maybe.

    • Highway says:

      Being an American,the idea of an adult being stuck with a name they don’t like is really something I have a hard time relating to, but in a quick look around the internet, I see almost no references to Japanese changing their name officially, or even unofficially (in America, you really can ‘pronounce’ your name however you want, and will only get in trouble if it’s done fraudulently. So Edvard Shlabotnick could be ‘Ed Schenk’ if he wanted). In fact, one of the things I found was a highest court case ruling saying that women could *not* keep their maiden name if their husband wanted them to change to their married name (although if both want to change to her maiden name, that is allowable).

  8. Overcooled says:

    I wasn’t sure if they could make a show about working in an office interesting, but the first episode was very promising and funny. I just hope they can keep it up.

    Hasebe would probably annoy the hell out of me in real life, but watching him slack off and hit on girls is my favourite part of the show. =w=

    • Liza says:

      The same for me too! I can’t stand people like Hasebe in real life at all! But his antics are hilarious to watch.

    • Highway says:

      That guy annoys the hell out of everyone who’s trying to get their job done. But yes, it is funny.

      To me it didn’t seem like they only had a couple jokes. I did get the feeling they had quite a bit to go with. And sometime, Lucy is going to find out who saddled her with her name (besides her parents), and I think they’ll get at least an episode of angsty comedy out of that.

    • BlackBriar says:

      I’d have to buy one of those toys to squeeze to relieve stress or possibly go to anger management if I had to work with him in real life. Even more annoying is that he’s fully capable of his job but refuses to put any effort into it.

    • Foshizzel says:

      Hasebe would probably annoy the hell out of me in real life, but watching him slack off and hit on girls is my favourite part of the show.

      Sooo basically Hasebe is the male version of Yamada from Working! She is lazy and doesn’t do much but run around having fun or the manager who eats parfaits all day? xD

      • Highway says:

        Nah, he’s a different guy. The one who gets by on charisma and does enough to keep his neck off the chopping block. Guys like that are actually a net asset for an office, but they can get very annoying at times.

  9. lvlln says:

    Let me just put this here. It’s a translated bit from a Joshiraku audio CD with one of the girls actually performing a rakugo bit. It is about naming a little girl, and I believe it is a derivative of the same rakugo bit as what Lucy’s naming was based on.

    • skylion says:

      Thanks for the link, Lvlln, that cracked me up, but good. I aught to go to my local civil office and get my own hellspawn renamed now.

      Taiga-Shinobu-Shinobu-Shinobu-Rin-Hanbei-Ririchiyo-sama-Last Order-says Last Order as Last Order references Last Order-Madoka-Houmura-Kyoko-Sayaka-Mami-Ami-Mami-Nyalko-Desu-Desu-Desu…

    • skylion says:

      But that link is a gold mine.

      Taketatsu Ayana and Hanazawa Kana talk about lolis

  10. T.K. says:

    The PV gave off a very familiar “Working!” vibe and I’m glad it’s completely carried over to the actual show. Enjoyed this a lot more than I thought I would. Loved that Gintama reference too. XD

  11. Gecko says:

    I’m liking this quite a bit, and I’m very glad I don’t have to deal with a Hasabe in real life… well, yet, I’m sure in the future I will. T.T I’m also liking that it’s a government office, rather than a private company, so the people who come in (like the old ladies) all have these different reasons for being there, rather than being clients constantly. (Then again, what do I know about work…)

    I really liked how they blended the credits in the OP, so that they don’t really cover up any of the OP animations.

    • skylion says:

      …work in Food Service….Platoons of Hasabe abound!

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