Servant x Service [Review]

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I wrote up an early look for this after the first 2 episodes at the start of the season. Initially, it felt bland, generic, uninspired, and all manner of things I go into in that post. Sadly, the trend continued on as the show progressed – however, there were some very good elements that were introduced further along that tried to make it watchable. While it maintains its constant spew of cliche garbage and overdone basic jokes that get rehashed at least 50 times in the episode they are introduced in (not even exaggerating), the show actually starts legitimately focusing on office romance. A turn I was hoping for, but never expected to happen in any relevant way. A single seemingly-unimportant joke turned into the main focus of the series – and that was the best thing that could happen to this show, it’s too bad they wasted that opportunity in the worst ways possible.

It’s a slice of life about working the daily grind as a civil servant in Japan, yet at the same time it’s about the relationships between the cast. It doesn’t force romance at you aside in a few episodes, and it actually feels very natural about Hasabe’s evolution – each time his feelings for Lucy become more serious it seems totally believable and you can clearly see why he feels that way. It’s not ham handed, it’s not thrown in, and it feels well thought out – for awhile anyway. It has a very nice balance of slice of life comedy, a secret relationship, and Hasabe trying to go out with Lucy. There’s even some genuinely romantic moments mixed in throughout, as Hasabe becomes a pretty great lead in a surprise romance; going from just trying to tease her into it slowly to getting fed up with her bullshit and trying to be blunt with her while being too flustered himself to typically stick to it.

Easily one of the best scenes in the show. And him all exasperated after leaving and turning his 'calm' act off was great too.

Easily one of the best scenes in the show, including how he was after he left the room. But where’s it go? Right into the garbage.

Surprisingly, my favorite character ended up being Hasabe himself. He’s cool, calm, and collected on the outside – yet when he deals with Lucy as he falls more and more in love with her he felt very human about it. He’d keep his act up around her, play her like always, and then run off and be physically worn out, blushing like crazy, and entirely incapable of doing anything. It was great to watch him evolve from the (outright joked about and mentioned constantly) ‘perfect’ person with talent in everything he does and who takes nothing seriously changing into someone like anyone else when it comes to love.

The sad part is, the childish and cliched jokes that were prominent in the beginning stay around till the very last second, even through the final credits. The tit jokes, the stupid name joke, the closet otaku, the incestuous sister being mad, and so on. It never goes away, and it really ends up seriously dragging down all the good points. For example, you’ll have some pretty well handled scene of Hasabe and Lucy, a serious one with some progression between them – then suddenly a lame joke cuts it off and takes the rest of the next 5 minutes into a tangent of unrelated bullshit until some other shitty joke fills the rest of the episode.

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Along with that, Lucy herself is a big issue with the show. Her overly generic and uninspired personality just hampers the romance aspect that could be pretty good. When there should be a step forward we just get Lucy almost always causing the previously mentioned ‘lame joke’ – some misunderstanding, some stupid line, whatever. It ruins the flow and the overall feeling of the moment entirely – and while it doesn’t cancel it out, which is actually what most anime tend to do (and thus, is a rare, nice quality here), it pretty much postpones it until the following episode or way later on in the current one. Actually, I’d have to say in the final episode of the show that Lucy is possibly the worst thing in this entire series. Sadly, her character design was great – cute as shit hair, dopey eyes half the time, MASSIVE TITS, etc – combine it all and it’s pretty damn good. There’s nothing not to like until she starts fucking up every good scene with her stupidity or her goddamn ahoge starts acting up (another lame, cliched, and overdone joke). She also has a really cute voice – somehow I originally thought it was HanaKana, it’s not at all, but it is very cute and the seiyuu did a great job with her.

The rest of the cast has the same problem as Lucy; they are all one-dimensional and based entirely around some shitty unfunny humor element. It’s a bit reminiscent of Working!! in that way – one character with more to them while the rest are focused on one aspect – but done a thousand times worse thanks to the cast sucking to begin with – unlike Working’s cast who are all lovable even though they don’t have much depth. Not to mention the whole cast and all their stories are on the same level of non-development, so it’s just infuriating every step of the way. There’s even another romance going on (I won’t spoil it) that ALSO goes fucking NOWHERE, and of course the couple is your typical anime couple where they are very clearly not a couple aside the fact the author says they are. They hide their relationship, they don’t ever do anything together, they aren’t sweet with one another even when alone, even in private they act distant and like a divorced pair who hates each other but needs to act kind of nice to avoid drama, and any time they hint at them becoming more than that they go right back to the stupid joke bullshit deflection. Sorry, but “I-i-i’ll tell her tomorrow” and her being upset he’s such a beta is only funny once, not 20 times every episode they’re in right up to the last credits of the entire series, especially not when they just rehash the same exact scenarios, same exact lines, and same exact reactions every single fucking episode.

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Entirely unrelated to the ‘other relationship’, for the record.

I found myself not giving a single shit about anything else in the show because of how unoriginal, boring, and flat it all is – but somehow actually getting really into the situation between Hasabe and Lucy. It was something that was so much better than everything else in the show that when that would come up or be the point of what was going on it was a reminder that the rest of the show really dragged down a nicely handled and built up romance between coworkers and people with entirely different lifestyles and attitudes. It’s really a shame, because it really IS handled pretty good up until the last episode. It’s interesting, it’s not the norm at all for this type of show, and Hasabe was believable about it consistently throughout. But all the bullshit tacked onto it, including Lucy, ends up throwing all that away for another lame joke.

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The finale is seemingly one of the worst in recent memory. The entire last episode is just about one stupid joke everyone watching figured out in episode 1 being drawn out forever and then in the last 5 minutes we get no development, no conclusion, nothing. Instead we get more stupid cliche jokes with lol-so-random bullshit going on – and I mean that literally. The episode is about to go into “the ending isn’t so bad, at least that part was handled well and a good note to end the show on” and then EVERY SINGLE CHARACTER in the show shows up one after the other in succession to interrupt  – followed by the ending not delivering on any level whatsoever.

Imagine a never ending supply of Joe. That's how this feels.

Imagine a never ending supply of Joe. That’s what this finale is.

To rub it in, they go through during the credits all the characters and their significant story issue and also make sure to have no closure for any of them, instead choosing to continue the same shitty jokes that were there since episode one – entirely ignoring the story strings presented to you as the things that would be progressed and given closure by the end because none of them moved forward a single fucking inch. Actually, it’s worse than them just having no closure because they went out of their way to make sure you can’t even IMAGINE there was closure – they outright show you there wasn’t for every single character; a loose string would have been better.

Overall: 5/10 at the very very very best.

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And, sadly, I’m not lying when I say some of that score is only thanks to the tits. Utterly disappointing, would not recommend, would not watch again, and probably would not watch a season 2. Great tits and cute character designs only do so much when the content is such a steaming turd. I’m genuinely surprised this was written by the same person who made Working!! – a show with an incredibly likable cast, a lot of uniqueness and originality, and a story that dealt with some serious issues subtly, as well as a personal top favorite of mine. I’m not sure how we went from that to a show consisting of nothing but tit jokes, cliches, a bad habit of ruining it’s positive attributes, and being a bland generic comedy. I’d rate it lower – however it wasn’t unwatchably bad, it was just truly disappointing in how bland, childishly written, and shittily handled it all was. It was still somewhat entertaining regardless, but that’s a small ‘somewhat’, and I’m likely to lower this score in the future. As I said in that early thoughts post about this show, it feels like something the mangaka made when he was an amateur, some shitty thing that only got animated because of Working!!’s success – but no, it’s newer material. Clearly the creator was a one-hit wonder.

Not only was this show entirely unoriginal – it even rehashed cliches from within itself. You literally see the same jokes, same scenarios, same events, same exact outcomes, same fucking dialogue, all happening over and over and over again. Not just episode after episode – but even multiple times in the same 24 minute block.

The only real positives I could list are having some okay music throughout, a fun and addictive opening (albeit not even remotely good compared to the Working!! OPs), some very well done voice work, and mostly consistent, nice quality art and animation. With better writing the show could probably be around a 7 – but it doesn’t have that, so yeah.

One of the biggest disappointments in recent memory.

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4 responses to “Servant x Service [Review]

  1. I agree with your review. I also thought it could have done better if the characters and writing were better. Also, yes, Hasabe was the best part of the show because he’s adorable and he’s voiced by Suzuki Tatsuhisa. LOL

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    • I’m not familiar with his other roles (I’m sure I’ve heard him plenty, I just don’t recognize his name), but he did a great job here. Hasabe is very much a case of “Great character stuck in a shit show”.

      Like

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