Some Background Once Again
Yasuhiro Imagawa is one of my favorite mecha directors. He has a very distinct sort of story A and direction that is beyond the realms of so many other people. Imagawa knows how to make everything feel big, heavy, lively with a lot of fun inbetween too. Plus, he has a penchant for putting so many references to older anime and films that he just enjoys. You can see that in his versions of Giant Robo, Mazinger Z, and Tetsujin-28 go. Oh, he also worked on G Gundam. So you know that this is a guy who knows something about writing and directing great pieces of art.
So why am I talking about Yasuhiro Imagawa in this post? He has an exceptional writing talent that no one ever talks about. Let me give you an example. Do you know about Berserk 1997? Guess who wrote the screenplay? Yeah, Yasuhiro Imagawa. So you know he has a lot of talent in everything that he has a passion for. Why is that important? He is the one who wrote the script for Bartender. A perfect choice considering that the man loves his alcohol and knows a great detail about drinks. That is what makes Bartender so good.
A Simple, But Great Idea
This show is really the ultimate comfy show. It is an episodic show and that is the point. I was completely confused when some people that talked about Bartender didn’t enjoy the second half. Something which I don’t get because it’s the same thing throughout with one small change. There is nothing that is bigger or disappointing about this show, it’s just good. I guess the thing I get is that people are just weird because it is the ultimate “I’m done with work, I want something to relax before I go to bed” kind of show. Even if you didn’t watch it in that capacity, it’s good.
The simple premise of this show revolves around one singular bar and one singular bartender. In the somewhat mythical bar called Eden’s Hall by a bartender by the name of Ryu Sasakura. A bartender that is known to have served the “Glass of the Gods”. A saying for a bartender that knows the perfect drink to serve for the right situation. Something which sounds simple in concept, but hard in practice. That means knowing the right kind of mood that person is in, what could be the test that they need to have to leave the bar with a happier mood than they have beforehand.
Good Characters and Good Episodes
There are so many diverse sorts of people that make their way to Eden’s Hall. I mean who wouldn’t? How would you feel if there was a charismatic bartender that knew the exact drink to feel better. I love the episode where he is sick and other bartenders helped Ryu and showed their own charisma as well as the episode where Ryu was a newbie that didn’t have the sort of decorum and ability to read people that he has in all of these episodes. It really shows how Ryu is actually a person and not just a perfect character for the right moment.
The narrator and other point of view character for the show is Miwa Kurushima. A bar critiquer who works for a hotel. Her presence is always mysterious. Sometimes, she will be working alongside Ryu to help the situation. Other times, she is there to solve her own problems and maybe connect with Ryu if she can. Obviously, Miwa is a mature woman with great styles in how she carries herself. At the same time, she obviously has a crush on Ryu but she can’t say it out loud at all yet and maybe we are just waiting for her to figure it out.
But other than Ryu himself and Miwa herself, there is such a fun and diverse set of characters that show up. There are people who hate bars and bartenders until they show up at a bar. Or the episode where Ryu worked hard to get a couple together on their first date. Or what about the tv film makers who have aged for a long time and just make shows for commercial products and the two are arguing until the right drink hits them in the right place too. Or what about that scammer that is playing a game with Ryu in order to get his own win. I can keep going despite this only being a one cour series. You can feel the impact that the show has on me.
The Large Amount of Details put into Beverages (Concluding this Post)
My favorite part of this show, even if I am not an alcoholic or much of a drinker at all, are the detail and backstories put into every single drink. This is a mostly cheap built series with characters sitting or standing in one place. The detail is put into every single drink. Not only the detail of a bottle and the color of the alcohol and mixed drinks in question, but the history. Where did the drink come from, what were the wheat fields like, was it before or after a world war, was there a romantic purpose behind the drink itself? The show even ends with the instructions on how to make each drink right before or during the end credits. I love learning about those sorts of details
So yeah, Bartender is such a great, little show. I loved my whole experience with it. Really good concept, great episode with none of them being bad, and some really good stories. What a really chill and comfortable series that is created from Yasuhiro Imagawa’s love of drinks. You can feel that passion throughout all of it. It works for everyone after passing a particular age of maturity and wanting to be interested in those drinks. It’s a show that I’ve been wanting to watch for a long time and it’s on Tubi. I was amazed that it was streaming somewhere and I had to jump on it.