There was an exact moment in this episode where I went from “this seems all right” to “this anime is great give me more”. The main character is at her first day at her new job as a public service worker and she’s finding it tough dealing with customers who automatically assume all public service workers are trash. Then the phone rings and she answers it. “GODDAMN PUBLIC SERVICE WORKERS THIS IS WHY WE HATE YOU” yells the person on the other end and then instantly hangs up.
It’s a comedy that made me laugh out loud so already we are onto a winner.
I didn’t have big expectations coming into Servant X Service, and not just because its name made it sound like some maid bondage anime. It’s a 4-koma adaptation from the same author as Working/Wagnaria, and I wasn’t too big on that when it came out originally. I did only watch one episode though, and that was 3 years ago and people still talk about Worknaria so maybe it was onto something after all. My clever little 4-koma explained why I thought it was crap. I thought would be the blueprint for all future 4-koma adaptations from there on. That sort of ended up being the case, albeit just replace “unusual character trait” for “secretly a lesbian” and you’ve got most 4-koma adaptations since Wagning aired.
Servant X Service does fall into some of those same 4-koma traps that I dislike. The opening – set up – punchline – reaction format sticks out a bit too much. Once you notice this, it becomes difficult to stop noticing. It’s not too much of an issue by itself. It’s how most sitcoms do gags too. The issue only comes up when the transitions between gags aren’t done well, which does happen in SxS. The animation isn’t particularly inspiring, but it’s a gag comedy so it doesn’t have to be. The boob physics are a little distracting, although that only became a problem when the anime pointed them out to me, because otherwise they were packed tightly under a black turtleneck sweater. Actually there’s something I kinda dug. Female characters wearing trousers in an anime and generally dressing sensibly, what a bizarre concept!
Right right, girls in turtleneck sweaters probably won’t sell you on this anime (although you never know, given there’s a big contingent of anime fans who will watch an anime if it has thigh high stockings), so let’s cover the actually good parts. Firstly, in a world dominated by high schools, it’s got an original setting. The office feels alive with its weird set of one-scene characters popping in and asking for child benefits. It doesn’t feel like a school classroom where the layout is different. Second positive point, it’s a comedy with a purpose and clear direction. It’s focus on the public service is surprisingly well explored for the first episode and its purpose and image in society. It uses the comedy to demonstrate how people treat the industry, as well as some broader jokes about office atmosphere, and that gives it the edge that makes its jokes stick more.
Final positive point? It made me laugh out loud more than once. The lady babbling about her daughter in law, the phone yelling, the goofy laugh the airhead character has. It’s actually funny. Imagine that.