This is review number two hundred and thirty one. This anime is part of the Summer 2013 lineup. I finally found some time for my anime and I just need to work out a plan of attack. Time in a b*tch of an enemy. Apologies if my reviews are slow. I try to squeeze one a week but I’m sure I can do better. Please bear with me and my hectic work life. In the meantime, I’ll be reviewing this anime called Servant X Service. It’s a thirteen episode anime about some office workers being stupid and romantic or something like that. I love Lucy Yamagami now though. Something about her really intrigues me and I haven’t felt something like this since I saw Mix and her bouncing pair. I recently learned that I love small woman with huge knockers. Anyways, let’s read on.
The anime is about the office workers of the health and welfare division of a government branch in Hokkaido. They are regular civil servants trying to help people and do their desk jobs. They are also a bunch of oddballs and they often go about work with a bit of an eccentric attitude. A normal work day for them involves a couple of misunderstandings, a few weird conversations, handling some unruly people and some romantically awkward scenes from time to time. It’s just a normal office but with not so normal office workers.
Taking the Pants Off
Servant X Service is basically the anime “Working!!” getting a third season. I’m just kidding but I didn’t expect the author of “Working!!” actually creating this anime as well. I just thought that A-1 Pictures really love that 2010 anime hit of theirs. I honestly thought the anime would be something involving actual servants and that’s the sole reason I picked this anime up over all the popular titles of the Summer 2013 lineup. I literally regretted my choice when I saw the first episode. I don’t know why I had S&M in my head when I saw the title but the initial idea of this anime being nothing but a “Working!I” clone bummed me out a bit. I enjoyed that show slightly but got annoyed at the stagnant status quo and the annoying characters. The idea that Servant X Service will have the same plot progression isn’t something I am definitely looking forward too. It’s a good thing I gave the show a chance though because all the good parts of the 2010 anime is in this one but without the negative aspects. The engaging and cute characters, their complicated yet captivating relationships and the overall hilarity that commences while they do their job are aspects that appear on both shows. Servant X Service is slightly different though simply because of the slightly older cast and the slightly mature progression of the story. It’s all very much lighthearted though but you can’t help but just go “awww” at some of the best moments of the show. It makes me want to dust off my “Working!I” CD collecting dust at the top of my shelf but I won’t because Servant X Service is much better.
The anime is pretty simple. It’s just about the everyday happenings of the office workers in the health and welfare department. The show doesn’t really have an overall story to focus on and mostly relies on the characters to carry the anime. The anime mostly highlights the things they do at work, the relationships they develop and thee comedic instances of their everyday life. It’s pretty straightforward. As you progress on the anime though, certain subplots do start to form and it will take a life of their own. This was the nice surprise in this anime. It starts out Slice of Life and Comedy but somehow develops in something much more. The series of events that helps in that transformation is something I personally can’t help but enjoy seeing. The manga is a four panel though so the show mostly consists of various skits that ends with a punch line or two. The fun part about this four panel anime is that the skits also gradually develop as it keeps on getting featured on the episodes. The simple skits grow into an interesting subplot that becomes an important part of the show. The anime does have three plot points it nicely features on certain skits.
The first plot point is simply about the work the characters do and the interesting things that happen in the work office. As I said before, the anime is very character centered so certain skits would involve them and how they do their job. Each character has their own kind of circumstances in their job that makes it pretty fun to watch. One of them seems to be always stuck listening to an old lady tell stories nonstop and, sadly, she can’t refuse the old lady’s chattering because part of her job is listening to the people that asks for their help. You can’t help but laugh at her trying to fake a smile while having tears form up in the side of her eyes. Another one of them is a complete slacker and he always seems to find the best spot to slack off. He’s unbelievably reliable though that he does his job better than his supervisor despite being a slacker. This, in turn, would make their supervisor a bit depressed that the new comers are doing a better job at work than he is. Then there is a girl that seems to think that she causes trouble for everyone for being a new comer and she does her best to please people but still feels like she’s being an inconvenience. The cast of oddballs really make each skit and episode interesting and watching them just do something stupid makes the whole anime pretty entertaining.
The second plot point in the anime is the relationships of the characters to each other. There is a limited cast and the show often focuses a character on one episode as much as possible. This character would establish a relationship with the rest of the cast and the show would often track the development. A character would often be concerned about another person and the whole skit would often involve the character adjusting to the quirky attitude of his/her co-workers. It might seem a bit limited but the anime really did a job of making every interaction interesting. A character might start out playing pranks on another character but that playful banter would eventually transform into something more. A character addicted to cosplay might try and find new people to dress up with her in a convention then find a way to coax them into joining her cosplay group. A superior might feel unappreciated in the workplace then tries to slowly get to know his underlings but it often ends in a complicated manner that barely improves the way they think of him. There’s a lot to take in from this plot point despite being a bit restrictive. The comedy appeal of the show nicely comes through in the various situations and skits in the show. It’s the kind of casual yet eccentric kind of comedy that I personally appreciate but the show flows naturally at every skit. The punch lines differ in its effect but the pace is never compromised and it keeps on delivering more cute comedy. The fun part is that when a new character gets introduced, it’s often interesting to see how they react towards the cast. The new characters do seem to have a few quirks to contribute themselves and develops an interesting relationship with the regular characters right away. This, in turn, makes the whole circle of casts all the more interesting all throughout the show.
The third plot point is closely connected to the first two plot points. This was the thing that made it much better than the 2010 anime that it shares a lot of commonalties with. The third plot point is simply about the romantic relationship of certain characters. There are quite a few of them and the anime really focused a lot of time in this one. This was the best part of the anime as well since the whole romantic misadventures sprung up from the way the first two plot points are utilized. We get to see how the whole thing starts out and then gradually see the two characters get closer. It’s really the thing that makes the anime special because the romance aspect of the show is cute and funny yet the fact that the characters are mature does make the plot point a whole lot more interesting. I remember in “Working!!” that the best thing you can expect from the puppy dog romance of the show is two characters holding hands or hugging. This was also rare since the romance aspect was pretty minimal. It also got a bit frustrating when the damn story becomes stagnant. In Servant X Service, despite the pace of the romance being oddly similar, the cast is really a bit more daring and this makes the romance really different. Let’s see, the best romantic moment I remember in the 2010 anime is a hot spring episode with a couple being cute. The one in the 2013 had a guy being rejected yet slowly getting the girl to realize how important he is to her. It’s f*cking adorable. Every romantic interaction in the anime really gets me to scream like a fangirl. There are a lot of things contributing to it but one of the best reasons is simply because the characters really look cute together. All the romantic relationships feel fun to watch because of how the characters just interact with each other. So every glance, awkward silences and sweet nothings between the characters really means a lot when we see them together. The romance is so cute and entrancing that even my fujoshi friend was screaming like a fangirl as she watches the show. BL usually does the trick for her but even she was caught up in the romantic aspects of the show.
Like I said, the anime solely relies on the characters and they are truly an interesting bunch. The casts all had equal amount of screen time in the show so there really isn’t a main character. The show is about the five people in the workplace and a few side characters. The obvious stand out is this girl in a turtle neck with some really huge boobs named Lucy Yamagami. Actually her real name is Lucy Kimiko Akie Airi Shiori Rinne Yoshiho Ayano Tomika Chitose Sanae Mikiko Ichika… Yamagami (taken from wiki). She has a really long name and she hates it. She prefers being called Yamagami because hearing people blurt out her name just depresses her. She hates her name so much that the reason she joined the Civil department was to track down the person that approved her name. Her parents would’ve simply reconsidered if that person just just second guessed the name before accepting. She wants to find that person and complain to him nonstop. Lucy is a really cute character. She loves books and she has this “ahoge” that wags around like a puppy tail that displays her emotions. She has a bit of an inferiority complex though and she can’t read situations well so it often leads to some interesting misunderstandings between her and her workmates.
Another character is Yutaka Hasebe. He is a third generation Civil Servant and he is a bit of a genius. He seems to do his work flawlessly and even go as far as to improve himself to adjust to the environment. He is one big slacker though. He would do fine work but would rather go to places he can sleep in to avoid work. He also enjoys flirting with girls and it’s a bit of a problem. He has a laidback demeanor that he can confront girls casually. Here’s the fun part though. Despite being a playful little fellow, he has never been serious about dating someone and then he met Lucy. He got rejected right off the bat and now wants the girl all the more. How many times will his advances be rejected though before he gets the girl? It’s easier said than done because Lucy is no ordinary girl. Luckily, Yutaka is not that normal as well.
Another character is this girl named Saya Miyoshi. She is the college graduate that took a long time to pass the Civil exam so she feels a bit insecure at times being older than her workmates. She is the girl that works reception and sadly ends up listening to old woman talk on and on about a lot of things. Saya is a really nice girl but she seems to be a bit straightforward at times that she would point out a fact pretty blatantly. She would be nice about it but the way she words her kindness is a bit too extreme that I personally can’t help but laugh. There are also two more co-workers. The part timer named Megumi Chihaya and their supervisor, Taishi Ichimiya. They started out as side characters in the anime but slowly got huge screen time in the show. Megumi is the girl addicted to cosplay and would be a bit blunt about trying to get Lucy to try on her outfits. She would do some pretty crazy things just to get Lucy to cosplay with her. Her life is also consumed with cosplay that this straight laced girl will surprise you with how she presents her obsession. The supervisor is the guy working in the department for years now yet still gets some things mixed up and makes mistakes form time to time. He feels a bit depressed that his new co-workers are doing better at his work than he is. It’s a nice thing to see this guy just realize how worthless he is and suddenly wallow in self-pity.
The rest of the cast is pretty interesting as well. Like I said before, the anime give equal screen time to all the characters and the side characters got some nice treatment as well. Some of them have limited roles though but the anime still had time to give them some decent skits in the show. I won’t spoil the rest of the cast since I’ve already spoiled a lot of the show’s surprises. The rest of the cast is among the best surprises by the show. Their personality and the relationship they have with the central characters is something that can really draw you in. They are as interesting as the rest of the characters though and they also have their own brand of craziness to present. From a tsundere to an obsessed BL, there is no shortage of interesting side characters in the anime as well.
I am so glad I gave this anime a chance. At first I was a bit concerned that A-1 Pictures played this season safe delivering a clone of a 2010 anime. This show is definitely meek compared to their recent releases but their standards still nicely came through in this show. The sort of high quality production you’d expect from such a strong studio is really felt in this anime. I was a bit bummed there was no Working/Service X Service crossover in the show though. There was a restaurant scene in the anime and I was really hoping a Wagnaria reference would pop up. Considering it’s the same author, an easter egg would’ve been nice. It’s all good though because the show really gave me an enjoyable anime experience. I’m limited in my anime viewing now so I carefully pick my shows now. When I realized I picked a “Working!!” clone, I was really pissed but an entertaining show is an entertaining show. There is no denying it. I would love to see more of Karino Takatsu’s (the author) works if they are as great as this anime. I hope there is another season as well. I want more of this show and I hope A-1 Pictures can deliver.
Sight and Sound
Karino’s design is pretty awesome. Her illustrations are always so captivating. I love her for making Lucy such a rounded character. Her inferiority complex is inviting but it’s the way she dresses that I am attracted to. The turtle neck that defines her curves and accentuates her big boobs coupled by her pleasant face with the way the glasses casually sits on her face has this alluring charm to it. I seriously love Lucy’s design. The attention to detail Karino give to her characters is really one of the best parts of her works. Even though most of the characters dresses plain, the way the clothes drape and the face blushes is enough to make them decent eye candy. Some points for the cute uniform for the high school characters, by the way. Karino’s design is a bit boxish though when the characters turn sideways. It’s all good because the anime got it covered. Terumi Niishi, who did the character design for Mawaru Penguindrum, did a great job of adapting Karino’s design. The details are nicely captured and the character’s appeal nicely comes through. The vibrant color palette was a nice touch and the rounded faces were also a big improvement. He really made the characters more of an eye candy and I appreciate that.
The animation is pretty incredible. I love Slice of Life anime with really smooth animation and A-1 Pictures did a wonderful job at doing just that. The movements are so precise and nicely detailed. There are a lot of running and playing in the show that the anime nicely captured. From simple walking scenes to physical comedy, they really did a good job at presenting the scenes. Perhaps my favorite part of the show though is the expressions of the characters. I love how the emotions of the characters nicely come out at every frame because of the detail work the studio did on the characters. I wouldn’t mind watching Lucy’s face in the entire show because the animation work is just outstanding. The production values in this anime are proof that A-1 Pictures really know how to make great anime.
The anime’s OP is “May I Help You?” by Lucy Yamagami (Ai Kayano), Saya Miyoshi (Mai Nakahara), Megumi Chihaya (Aki Toyosaki). This is a really cute and energetic song. The verse was bubbly and catchy that leads to an explosive chorus. You can’t help but play the song over and over. It’s so fun to listen to. The OP sequence is also impressive. It is a live action sequence with the characters drawn in with complicated CG effects surrounding them. It has the whimsy of a Shaft anime with the intricate animation stylings of Yuasa Masaaki. It features the characters in their normal work pace but with the camera going a bit static and the animation being a bit bizarre. It’s pretty awesome though and I really enjoying the OP song and the sequence together.
The anime’s ED is “Hachimitsu Doki”. It’s sung by the three central girls and they had a different version in the different episodes of the anime. It’s a mellow song with the cute voices of the characters as the main appeal. The softness of their voice was nicely highlighted as the laidback pace of the song progresses. It’s a really relaxing song. The ED sequence features the girls preparing to sleep as they go about their routine before sleeping. They all look cute and sexy. It ends with Lucy putting down her glasses and the drink they poured at the start is now empty. It’s a subtle sequence but it’s also really cute.
6/10 “It’s a cute and funny slice of life anime with a romantic element you can’t enough of.”
This is an awesome show. The characters are really interesting, the skits are truly funny and the romantic aspects are very sweet. I would’ve easily marathoned this show if I only had the time and I only marathon great shows. This show has a lot of great elements to it that I’m sure you’ll enjoy. If you enjoy Slice of Life/Comedy anime then you’ll love this one. If you like that puppy dog kind of romance then you’ll enjoy the one in this show. If you enjoy great characters in your show then you’ll love this anime. I recommend it.