Servant x Service – Review
Series surrounding the commonalities of everyday life have always been an especially intriguing choice when applied to the medium of anime, a medium that has often prided itself upon leaning towards the unconventional rather than the conventional. Whether this encompasses topics such as working, school, or perhaps even an obscure hobby, finding some correspondence with that of the audience develops a sense of familiarity, in turn creating a further appreciation and understanding of the series – and subject – as a whole. Stemming from author Karino Takatsu’s manga of the same name, Servant x Service is a series that follows such an approach by exploring how individuals function within a particular work field, often coinciding with a slightly humorous touch. Takatsu is certainly not one unfamiliar with this type of premise – her 2005 manga Working!! (which is still an ongoing manga series) details the internal operations of a family restaurant, a work that was also developed into an anime series in 2010. It found much popularity both through its respective manga and anime forms, with Servant x Service attempting to follow suit and succeeding in some respects.
Finding itself ascribing to a more mature premise than its predecessor, Servant x Service deals with the interiors of the health and welfare section in the fictional city of Mitsuba, Hokkaido. Although this may initially not sound like a very enticing premise for a series, it offers an insightful exploration into a rather unconventional working field, easing us into both the professionalism and folly as experienced through the series’ characters. We see this particular juxtaposition strongly in the series protagonist Lucy, a young women just now entering the working arena and struggling to succeed in her newfound employment as a public servant. Due to her naivety and unfamiliarity with such a position, her colleagues jokingly play upon her inexperienced nature, but she slowly begins to mature as the series progresses through her sheer determination to improve her working situation. While these characteristics have been seen countless times before in other series, it appears more befitting here primarily due to its applications towards the working environment, which lends itself to a more modern context that resides outside of wanting to simply be the strongest fighter or best athlete, for example.
Due to its particularly compacting environment – most of the series does indeed takes place within an office workspace – much of the series relies on the communicative qualities of its characters than anything else, which leads to perhaps one of the series’ stronger elements being that of its character interactions. Characters such as Saya, an individual who is very bashful but also very helpful towards Lucy fitting in, stands opposite to that of Kaoru, an individual whose very nonchalant approach to matters makes him appear equally as playful as he is overly sarcastic, making them both stand out as characters influential towards Lucy’s endeavors at work. Even Megumi, who enjoys cosplaying and is an otaku, is another example of just how quirky some of these characters can be. These contrasting personalities balance out the series well, including being an authentic reflection on the diversity of individuals who we perhaps interact with within our own occupational careers. Gender, age, and appearance are all considerable factors into how these characters relate to one another – often times dependent on the humorous antics at the dispense of Lucy – but it does not seem too unconvincing.
Unfortunately, the humor of the series may seem rather tedious for those viewers who may never have had a job or worked in such an environment before. As the series relies heavily upon the practical scenarios of working within the public service sector, there is a lot of satirical comedy throughout the series that may prove to be hard to completely understand to the uninitiated. Whether this stems from significant misunderstandings between fellow co-workers, a scenario that could lead to other co-workers having to choose sides, or office romances that complicate things to a considerable degree, one who has been exposed to such situations will find a stronger connection to what the series conveys more so than those who have not. While this is certainly not the case for the entire series, the humor may appear as simply uninteresting to those viewers who are expecting the series to be something it is not.
Regardless of these perceptions though, it is undoubtedly refreshing to see that Servant x Service is a series unlike many others, with it somewhat readdressing our own misconceptions on what the working environment truly entails. And while mostly directing its attention towards the white collar lifestyle, it also pokes fun at how collaborating with various individuals can lead to some amusing outcomes. For those viewers who have been accustomed to holding a full-time job for quite some time – and even those who have just started working – the series works out much better due to it both providing an eye-opener to this particularly line of work and reminding us just how heterogeneous work can actually be. It is this familiarity that garners the series as one that is rather down to earth, even more so to those viewers who have been in similar albeit less humorous work-related quandaries.
Author: Miguel Douglas
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