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Final Impressions: Servant x Service

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The laughter in the romance shell

A couple days ago I was in the presence of a couple in the middle of a proposal at a restaurant. To cut to the chase, she said yes and the group around them cheered with applause. It was intense for a moment, but when it was all said and done there wasn't much left as a bystander than a slightly amusing thing to tell my friends.

That's what Servant x Service tries to one-up--giving those ordinary but exciting moments a tinge of laughter, so it's a little more than just a thing people go through. It that way, Servant x Service also tries to be a little more than just a show people watch to pass the time and get a laugh. And in its final act (for now), everything comes together.

In the final broadcast episode, we spend the first chunk of time dealing with the unexpected development after Hasebe and Lucy's date. It feels as trivial as it ever did before--Hasebe's dad was the civil servant responsible for Lucy's name--but Servant x Service spend a considerable amount of time building up just how terrible the situation is for the love-struck young man. The problem is more like a hole he has dug himself. It isn't really even a surprise; Servant x Service has spent enough time building the ground works for this final plot point.

Perhaps rather than plot point, it feels like a layer of jokes being put on one and another, a couple times culminating with a stoic laugh from Chihaya. The jokes have a similar effect on me as it does on Hasebe, who is preoccupied with "what will happen next with Lucy" to really have a good laugh. It's hit and miss.

bots, everywhere

And in a lot of ways that describe the Servant x Service on a weekly basis. The jokes, once all the elaborate set up is put in place, write themselves. It's humorous, but not laugh-out-loud; certainly not the first 4 episodes. Still in the end you end up caring more about what happens next with the freshest pair of relationships forming and what clothes Chihaya will put on her coworkers, and not so much looking for the next laugh. What's amusing is also the intended effect: Servant x Service is more fresh and natural than a story that focuses on the drama. The humor highlighting those climatic moments better as that "easy-going" filler material. Put it in another way, rather than seeing dreamy love birds call each others' names, Servant x Service has the running joke "Lucy" from start to finish.

The final moments and the ending montage for Servant x Service 13 pave a path to sweet bliss. Sure, the story doesn't conclude here; Lucy's half-refusal to Hasebe is not surprising given how two new characters are introduced this final episode. But the previous twelve weeks of laying down the groundwork, I think, paid off handsomely. When Lucy accepts Hasebe for his painful relationship with a hippy-naming situation in the most witless and hapless sort of way, it was a warm vindication of all things good and sensible. The humor flows naturally and the jokes, as you would expect, write themselves.

Damn you, credits!

The delight, personally, continued after the episode ends with a cue for viewers to go to Servant x Service's webpage for a special ending thank-you video. You can see it here, just be aware that it isn't translated, and involves a lot of lemon juice. Watching that clip right as you bask in the series's afterglow is the recommended way to go (it's the video link to the lower right part of the page).

Lol that picture

It's with a strange realization that I report for once, and unlike Wagnaria (aka. Working), I am enjoying Servant x Service because I care about these characters and their daily lives. Maybe this has more to do with these folks being office workers, dealing with issues that I can see myself dealing with, extraordinary exceptions aside. It's about the moments when I actually care about how Lucy respond to Hasebe, or what Miyoshi has to say to Tanaka, and no longer just looking for a laugh. And most definitely: what will Lucy do if she ever meets Hasebe's dad?

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Jeff Chuang
Jeff ChuangAssociate Editor   gamer profile

Yet to be the oldest kid on the block, this East Coast implant writes cryptic things about JP folklore, the industry or dirty moe. Attend cons and lives the "I can buy Aniplex releases" life. ... more + disclosures


 


 


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