First Impressions: Servant x Service

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Manga Adaptation by A-1 Pictures
Simulcast on Crunchyroll

Premise: A group of young adults settle into their new civil service jobs. Hilarity ensues?

Marlin’s Verdict: Like The Office, but only the unfunny part.

Well, considering my thoughts on Working!! start off at mildly frustrated at best, I wasn’t looking forward to this show. I knew even if I liked some of its gags it would just betray me with all its bad ones. That about sums up Servant x Service as well. The slacker is always a good comic relief archetype, and it really is this show’s one ace in the hole when it comes to comedy. Unfortunately, he isn’t the main character, that job relegated to Lucy. While I don’t hate Lucy’s character, a whole lot of her jokes just fall flat. The show also suffers from the same problem as Working!! where every character is a two-dimensional cutout of a specific archetype. That has been this writer’s problem sine day one, so I doubt this is something that will change soon. I’m still willing to give this show a second try, but that will probably be the end of the line for me. As with Working!!, I can see myself enjoying bits and pieces, but I am not going to let myself get suckered into the long haul again. If the next episode doesn’t deliver, I’m going to quit.

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Aqua’s thoughts: Serviceable

Wagnaria!! (or Working!! for those allergic to licensing) was a breezy, enjoyable little comedy that somehow managed to survive an entire season by squeezing every possible joke out of its flock of one trick ponies cast, and it seems as if the suspiciously similar Servant x Service, based on a manga from the same author, seems to be following suite. At first glance, its core cast is just as easy to define as Wagnaria!!‘s. Lucy Yamagami is the ambitious everylady who gets ticked off when you get on her nerves, Hasebe the slacker who happens to be extremely good at his job and Saya the shrinking violet who cannot seem to catch a break. Yet just like its spiritual successor, Servant x Service manages to churn out some pretty lovely jokes when looking at its cardboard cutout characters from a different perspective. Yamagami’s embarrassing name problem and Hasebe’s lax attitude nicely tie the characters’ quirks to the setting, making Servant x Service one of the very few slice of life comedies where the main “schtick” plays an actual role in the way characters interact. It is a breath of fresh air in a genre where the actual theme of the show tends to get shoved aside in favour of more lollygagging rather easily.

Nevertheless, Servant x Service initially starts off rather slow, with an over-reliance on the sort of observational Japanese Humour™ the appeal of which is entirely behind me. Hey, Miyoshi is struggling with a rambling old lady! In case you didn’t get the joke already, let’s explain how she’s struggling with a rambling old lady! Funny, right? Admittedly, smoothly kicking off a gag-based comedy with characters that are still entirely blank slates to the audience is a challenging and ungrateful task, but most of Servant x Service‘s initial attempts ring hollow. It is not until the second half that the show starts establishing its characters and their defining trait(s), firing off some decent jokes that not only managed to make me chuckle, but came across as quite educational as well. Its clever use of its setting is eventually what lifts Servant x Service out of the festering pit of mediocrity that is anime comedies, but it remains to be seen if it can fight off the dreaded drone for as long as Wagnaria!! managed to. At the very least, we now have been treated to an episode of an anime comedy that actually dared to be about something.

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Jel’s Verdict: Quit Your Day Job

If you go outside the realm of anime and into traditional TV, the workplace comedy is a very common thing. Some are funny, some aren’t, but almost all of them avoid showing the cast actually working. That’s because actual work is boring, and sadly that’s what the majority of this episode was. For whatever reason this author (who is also responsible for Working!!) finds the minutiae of daily employment fascinating and while I’m all for his admiration of hard working people, it doesn’t make for good comedy. If you can stay awake long enough to get to Lucy’s silly reason for entering civil service or the one generic looking dude trolling everyone you might get a chuckle, but that’s about it.

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Lifesong’s Verdict: Simply Boring

Not even an army of cute actresses could save this first episode. The troll character who takes it easy was kind of amusing, but I spent most of the episode wondering why it just wasn’t funny. This might become a more interesting show if they can focus in on how hilarious working a support job can really be, but so far I have no confidence that will happen.

One thought on “First Impressions: Servant x Service

  1. I have gone 5 episodes into this anime and it is hilarious (in a Ricky Gervais BBC comedy manner) and as of the 5th episode, I swear never ever to get involve in a relationship with any colleagues in the same department.

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