Paging Sam Malone

Not all anime is geared for teens and kiddies. Hence shows like “Bartender” which originated from a manga for the older male population.
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It’s a slice-of-life anime where regular folks get good drinks and advice or help from Ryu Sasakura, the whiz bartender at a small bar in Ginza called Eden Hall. Now either the fansub I saw had it wrong or I need new glasses because it wasn’t really clear if Ryu is called “The Glass of the Gods” or he creates drinks customers call “The Glass of the Gods.”

Each episode focuses on a specific drink, a customer with a problem and how Mr. Genius Bartender helps them by mixing said drink and dispensing sage advice. And in case you want to make the drink, the show ends with a recipe for that cocktail.

The series tries hard to be different by having characters suddenly address the viewer and by tossing in anecdotes or historical tidbits about the liquor business. Cute but not enough to make the show a must-see.

Most of the characters left me feeling cold and several of the 11 episodes were dull. I didn’t get an insight into Ryu’s character even after an episode that showed him as a new bartender making several mistakes. Who is Ryu really? The viewer only sees this smiling pleasant young man. Where did he come from? Why does he have such skill mixing drinks? Does he even have a life outside Eden Hall? And if he really cared about his customers, he would call a cab for them instead of letting them stumble drunkenly out of his place.

Ryu is no Sam Malone of “Cheers” fame. He has no sassy waitresses at his bar and no funny, interesting bar flies. Too bad. They would certainly liven up Eden Hall. Better pass on this one.

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