BLEND-S

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Tsundere, Imouto (little sister type), etc. are only a few of the personas that the café waitresses play out here. And the new hire Maika, is asked by the store manager to play none other than the super sadist!? As she becomes devoted to her work, her super sadist persona blooms unexpectedly… Everything is a treat – even being stomped on – in this outrageous working comedy.

img_7008.jpgIt is Maika Sakuranomiya’s dream to one day study abroad, so she’s looking for  part-time job in order to start saving up for the opportunity. Unfortunately for the gentle-hearted Maika, she happens so have a natural look in her eyes that causes her to look a lot more menacing than she actually is! This has seriously impacted on her ability to land a customer-facing job, as you can imagine. She’s feeling rather low in spirits when she is approached by Dino, a young Italian man with blond hair, who invites her to work as a waitress at his coffee shop. Maika is thrilled to finally have the part-time job she’s been searching for, but discovers that there’s a catch – the coffee shops has its employees playing characters – and Dino thinks Maika will be perfect as a “sadistic character”.

img_7006.jpgThough Maika practises her persona on the customers, things don’t seem to go to plan. Nevertheless, her natural menacing look makes things easier and suddenly she’s an unlikely hit with the regulars. Cafe Stile also employs other waitresses that are assigned their own personas – Kaho, the tsundere; Mafuyu, the little sister; Miu, the big sister and Hideri the idol character. Alongside manager Dino and cook Akizuki, the group work together to make Cafe Stile a success and experience the crazy day-to-day atmosphere of a popular themed cafe.

img_7013.jpgI really like Maika as a character. Her unlikely sadistic side make me laugh as she unwittingly scares the hell out of the cafe regulars – and they love it. Manager Dino has also developed a soft spot for her and their awkward and often misinterpreted interactions with one another are both silly and adorable. Dino invites Maika out to another cafe under the pretence of rewarding her for all her hard work, but Maika shares the good news with the rest of her colleagues and they all turn up to the date expecting to be treated. Maika is also literally walking over and sitting on her manager when he falls asleep at work from staying up all night watching anime. He has a thing for the quintessential Japanese girl look, which basically describes Maika, and Maika’s love of other countries is something Italian-born Dino can use in order to get to know her better – so I’m hoping that the storyline explores this further as the show continues.

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The supporting characters offer all the entertainment they should – not only with their cafe characters, but also with showing just how different their real personalities are form the ones they assume for work. For example, even though little Mafuyu plays a cute younger sister, she is in fact one of the oldest of the group and rather serious in manner. She’s also the one to deliver a flying kick to Dino whenever his nose starts to bleed from Maika’s innocent/sadistic combination.

img_7014.jpgThere’s something top be said for the laid-back mild humour that often comes in these types of anime centres on colleagues working together in a shop and the antics they get up to. Anime with a similar feel and atmosphere would be Is the Order a Rabbit? and Denki-Gai with cute, amusing characters that’s don’t have to be too over-the-top in order to make themselves memorable. And if you’ve ever worked in the service industry, you can identify with some of the more bizarre, off-the-wall situations that can occur whilst dealing with customers.

img_7011.jpgBlend-S isn’t looking to break any moulds in its particular genre, but the story and characters are pleasant and entertaining and the animation is sharp and fluid and everything is in bright colours and pastels that suit the content whilst staying true to its origins as a 4-panel manga. I’ll want to see how things are tied up at the very end, whether there’s a definite conclusion or just a sudden end to the cafe antics. Obviously, I’m hoping for the former as sometimes anime such as this one tend to not have a ‘real’ ending.

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Posted in Anime, Comedy, Slice of life
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