Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Anime Review: Servant x Service

This summer I ended up watching a record number of shows for me, a record low that is since I finished with just four shows left. I've been cutting more and more shows this year so that I can try and make time to get through my backlog faster (although funny enough I ran the numbers and I believe I actually tried out the exact same number of shows as I did in 2012) but I am trying to keep an eye on a few of the shows and come back to them later if it seems like other reviewers ended up liking them. When I originally watched this show I got a few minutes into the third episode and then dropped it, of course, as I later worked out, it seemed like the "three episode rule" was in full effect for this show since it seemed to even out and figure out what it wanted to do later in the episode.

Servant x Service

Summary: Lucy (abbr) is a new clerk in the Health and Welfare Department and while she's an efficient civil servant she's joined for one reason, to find the clerk who approved her birth certificate and give them a piece of her mind. At least her workplace is filled with nutty characters to keep things interesting, although interesting usually means "causes even more problems for her."

The Good: No, the show is far less dirty than that title makes it sound (also not related to Inu x Boku Secret Service although that might be a good or bad thing depending on your point of view), I'm honestly not quite sure what it's supposed to mean but it does work, kind of. Once the show gets going it is a fairly funny comedy which makes an effort to follow around all of the characters and the core cast (the three newcomers Lucy, Miyoshi, and Hasebe plus Chihaya, Ichimiya not so much) and once the show evens out I really did enjoy watching them get through their lives and everyone's interactions (heck, even Hasebe's romantic pursuit of Lucy turned out much better than I expected from the first few episodes). Some of the jokes really outstayed their welcome (like the Tanaka grandson, it's weird that I like how half the cast is written and find the other half to be practically two-dimensional) and in some ways it's not that different from high school comedy-with-a-romantic-subplot story, aside from the setting, but even those little differences made it more enjoyable for someone whose long out of high school.

The Bad: Two things drove me away from the show to start with, one was the side character Touko (who is a annoying, tsundere younger sister who appeared far too many times for an unfunny character in the first few episodes) and the other was that Chihaya's really air-headed tendencies when it came to cosplay just rubbed me the wrong way. Thankfully both of those do get balanced out later (Touko doesn't pop up every five minutes and Chihaya gains some other character traits) but that doesn't change the fact that they both bothered me enough to initially drop the show. And as I noted above some of the characters really do feel more like one joke characters than something fleshed out (Touko gets a bit better but the Tanaka grandson and the section manager really never do, plus it is a bit hard to take Lucy's unhappiness at her name 100% seriously all the time, but at least the other characters agree with me there).

The Production Values: The opening song is ridiculously catchy and the ending theme rather grew on me as well (I didn't even notice that they switched singers for the ED, oops) but I doubt I'll remember either of them a few seasons from now. I will probably remember how the opening looked with it's weird choice to portray the characters in their workspaces with everything flying apart while they stand still but other than that the series didn't look very special either. 

While I don't plan on buying the series, I just don't see myself rewatching it and given that it's an Aniplex title it'll probably be more expensive than I'd like, I did end up enjoying the series enough to give it a good 3 or 3.5 out of 5. And it's made me even more curious about the original author's other work, Working!!/Wagnaria!! and I'll probably bump that up my to-watch list now that I'm done. Both shows are streaming on crunchyroll for those interested in checking them out.