I know this anime, Blend S, aired two years ago, but I still haven’t finished it. I have a lot of notes, so bear with me. Let’s do this!
The main character, Maika, has a hard time finding a part-time job because of her condescending appearance. I know it sounds weird, but her eyes just have that particular look, that makes her seem disdainful when dealing with customers. And since the customer is our bread giver, that’s not exactly a valued trait at most establishments.
This is a problem until she arrives at Stile, a café half full of otaku, where the waitresses act out certain archetypal roles while serving the customers. There’s a tsundere (Kaho-san), an imouto (Mafuyu-san) and Maika-san earns the sadistic role for her eyes.
The whole anime is less about the inner workings of a café and more about the character mechanics. For that reason, let me quickly introduce the five who appear in the first episode.
The main character, Sakuranomiya Maika, is a sheltered youngest child of a wealthy, traditional Japanese family. She tends to speak in polite forms of verbs, making her down-putting edicts even more so. Unfortunately this singular characteristic can’t be translated into English very well.
Dino/Manager-san is the owner of the café Stile. He becomes enamored with Maika and hires her on the spot. He is very much into the ideal of Japanese women—petite snow whites with long, lustrous black hair. Manager-san, as Maika calls him, is an anime otaku, who often stays up late watching late-night anime.
The tsundere, Kaho Hinata, is not really a tsundere in real life. It’s just a role she plays and she constantly has to remind herself of it. Kaho-san is a blonde and busty 17-year-old. She is also a rather hardcore gamer, spending most of her free time gaming and her paycheck at the arcade. She often bonds with the customers over games, forgetting her tsundere role. (In the Stile survey it becomes apparent that this happens quite often.) At the café there is also a male gamer, with whom she might have a little romance…
The imouto, Hoshikawa Mafuyu, is a tiny 20-year-old. She acts all cute and innocent in front of the customers, but in reality her tongue is as sharp as a thousand katanas. She berates the manager on regular basis. I’d say Mafuyu is the most level-headed of the bunch. She only loses her composure when encountering cute things, like anime plushies or figures. She is a kids’ anime enthusiast.
Before Maika starts working at Stile, it’s just the four of them—the manager, Akizuki, Kaho and Mafuyu. I don’t really understand how they could even cover the shifts with just two part-time waitresses. Kaho is in high school and Mafuyu in college, so their time options must be limited.
That would be the introduction, now for my notes:
Starting with the opening sequence, it has become a meme. My favorite frame from the OP is spilled coffee,…
…but for most it was the “S Stands For” part. (Read up on the meme under the link.)
Episode 1 was mostly introductions. Episode 2 starts with Maika trying to do her best at serving the customers with a smile. Without her knowing, her smiles come out even more condescending. And the customers love it!
I forgot to mention that the source material for Blend S is a manga, a yonkoma manga. That means that sometimes there are short character building skits in the anime. Episode two has a couple of those before it delves into something longer, a contest for a new item to be added to the menu. Mafuyu and Maika are up against the rest of the staff (yes, the remaining three). Their parfait is out of this world.
I don’t want to recount the stories. So far we’re getting to know the characters and there is little to comment on. (How am I on 700 words already then?) Like I said though, this anime is mainly character driven, so there won’t be much change to that. Still, I have to draw your attention to the divider cards between skits. Because those are amazing, surprising and add to the story.
Episode 3 develops Maika’s background story, namely her penchant for foreign…everything. At the same time, the Manager tries to woo Maika. She’s oblivious, but it makes for some interesting skits, like their “date”.
The second half of the episode, aptly named “R18”, evolves the plot and culminates in the introduction of a new character, while also touching upon a very interesting problem. How do you inconspicuously search for the rightful owner of an adult doujinshi?
Do you like your women tied up?
What do you think about girls in sailor uniforms?
What a way to end this blogpost! I will definitely finish Blend S, though the going sure got rough around episode 8…