- Genre :Slice of Life, Comedy, Romance, Moe
- Episodes: 12
- Studio: A-1 Pictures
Maika Sakuranomiya is not great with people. Despite being a pretty, sweet, kindhearted girl, with nothing but the best intentions, she gets easily flustered around strangers and can come off a bit cold. Well more than that actually, she can sound rude. OK, let’s not mince words, the girl can seem downright sadistic. And with her beautiful yet sternly slanted eyes, you can’t blame people for taking it the wrong way. However, there’s a place for everyone in this world, and Maika’s intimidating demeanor and unintentionally vicious speech make her one of the most popular waitresses and the themed Stile café. For the first time Maika finds herself surrounded by friends and perhaps even more.
There are some things you may already know about me. I’m not that interested in “cute for the sake of cute”. I am not a fan of Romance as a genre. And, I don’t drink coffee. Look, I already have all my drinking needs sorted out and stimulants isn’t the path I’ve chosen.
Despite an entire podcast on the subject I’m still unsure what is and what isn’t a cute girls doing cute things show. Maybe S Blend is one. It certainly looks like one. The moe aesthetic is ever present, choice of wardrobe, settings and colour palette included. Maybe this is an odd bias on my part but the female characters seemed considerably more detailed and just prettier than the boys. Nothing wrong with that but there was a bit of an unbalance as far as the visuals go.
There really isn’t much to the animation. What’s there is all good and the art is consistent, but I doubt anything will particularly strike you as memorable. The likelihood that you remember the animation or backgrounds some time down the line is slim. The designs on the other hand are pretty good. Stereotypical for sure but just individualized enough to stand out. Again, the quality is more apparent in the female characters.
One of the reasons I’m at a loss for how to categorize this series is that it plays on moe archetypes and otaku fetishes. It seems to have been produced to appeal to the same demographic as a lot of cute girl shows. However, if I was to compare it to any other series I’ve seen recently, I would say it reminds me most of Denki Gai (which could also be a cute girls show, I just keep digging myself deeper in…). Look the fact is, it doesn’t matter in any way whether any particular series is or isn’t a CGDCT show but when you write *reviews* it can be helpful to have a shorthand everyone understands. I guess I made it amply clear that not everyone understands this particular shorthand since I obviously don’t.
Basically, Blend S is an episodic Slice of Life with recurring themes but no real overarching narrative. It’s mostly comedic in tone with some pretty obvious romantic touches. The jokes are self-referential and fairly uncomplicated, the characters are pleasant but uninvolved and the writing is predictable and inoffensive. Much like Denki Gai, it occasionally hints at some racier subjects but remains essentially wholesome in the process. It’s fluff.
I really liked it. I know myself and there are some things I’ve come to accept. Let’s face it, I’m an easy laugh and a sucker for a cheap chuckle. The humor in S Blend is more or less at the level of a knock knock joke rather than some brilliant witticism, but a *good* knock knock joke. I laugh at those. I found myself endlessly grinning at the puns and running gags that made up the bulk of the show. I found the easy atmosphere and unchallenging characters comforting. I simply enjoyed watching the series. Even the romantic plot lines where handled lightly and with a lot of laughs which made me actually look forward to them. I think I may have audibly squealed at some point. Not that I care about that stuff or anything…
As I mentioned the characters are not particularly deep but the way they are presented gives you the impression that you simply don’t get to know them too well rather than that there’s nothing there to know. Their reactions and interactions are just nuanced enough to hint at fully formed personalities. The fact that the narrative doesn’t emphasis characterization isn’t that bad. It works quite well with this particular type of story structure. It did however hinder Hideri. Like the others, Hideri is a pleasant if underdeveloped character. However, as Hideri is the last to be introduced, fairly late in the run of the series, the little evolution the character does get is condensed, making it feel superficial and tacked on to the rest of the plot.
Look, it’s one of those shows. You know. There’s nothing bad to say about it really but there’s nothing remarkable either. There are a lot of other shows exactly like it. A light, unsubstantial comedy with decent production values and safe writing. It’s formulaic and unobjectionable and…cute. For me, it was a better example of the genre and I would mindlessly watch another season if it ever became available.
If you listened to the boys patiently letting me drone on about whatever crossed my mind a few weeks ago, you may remember that I watched this show because of the memes. More particularly these memes:
Maybe you can put yourself in the mindset of someone whose entire expectations for a series is predicated on these and these alone (there’s no need to think too hard on what type of person would then watch a show based on these expectation) but all I can say is that Blend S (almost wrote S Blend for real this time) did not let me down.
I’m not sure how I feel about the fact that there’s no coffee in the show. Like none. There’s occasional mention of tea but really the coffee presence is minimal…
Quick tip for all you boys and girls – “cornering” your crush is super creepy. Don’t do it unless it’s a joke and you know the person well.
Favorite character: Miu
What this anime taught me: Resting B face is a marketable skill in Japan. Also I need to move.
Suggested drink: Café Brûlot
- Every time Dino bleeds – take a sip
- Every time there’s an eyecatch – stretch
- Every time Maika goes into sadist mode – take a sip
- Every time any of the employees abuse the manager – take a sip
- if it’s Mafuyu – switch to water
- Every time a character gets a “spotlight of despair” – take a sip
- Every time we see someone arrive at work – take a sip
- Every time anyone gets stars in their eyes – squee
- Every time Dino speaks English– try to understand
- Every time anyone calls the cops on Dino – stretch
- Every time Hideki says pigs – take a sip
- Every time Dino is on his knees – chuckle
- Every time Kaho plays games – take a sip