Masaki Watanabe Bartender

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0 7587 29/1/2008
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Glorifying the trade, Bartender proves something that your parents have been unconsciously trying to teach you for years: alcohol fixes everything.


Bartender is not overly ambitious in its approach. Itís a show about a bartender, Ryuu Sasakura, and his bar, Eden Hall. However, unlike the snobby bar jockeys and incompetent female bartenders who are hired for their bust size that we have all encountered, Ryuu has something very unique about him: he can make the perfect cocktail.

This cocktail, in fact, is not one single recipe, but rather is a drink he prepares based on what the customer wants, which goes far beyond taste, but to an emotional level. He is not psychic, or magical, but rather uses his power of observation to pick up subtle clues, and listens while his patrons share their stories with him. In turn, he uses his vast array of liquor knowledge to give the customer exactly what they want.

This is not a show for fourteen year old boys who want to see giant robots bash each other to pieces. This is a show for a mature audience that appreciates nuance and subtlety in its approach. Itís a show, therefore, that is an endangered species.

Given the short nature of the show, there is not a lot of character development in Ryuu, but there does not have to be. Bartender serves to have a main character who is essentially static, but also without a defining flaw, however it never feels like he is too perfect, as he merely functions in the capacity of his job, which is often to listen patiently and interject his minimal guidance in at crucial points, whether it be answering a riddle posed by a washed up screen writer, or helping a couple on their first date.

Sights and Sounds

The soundtrack is sparing, very sparing, but it executes sparing with a sense of dignity, rather than with a feeling of cheapness. In a way, the familiar melodies that play reinforce the comfortable, safe atmosphere of the Eden Hall bar.

There is not a whole lot of animation in the show. It is a show that showcases its animation with Ryuu mixing a drink in a cocktail shaker, but what is animated, is rendered well. The style is not particularly memorable like Tezuka or Toriyama, but it looks good, and more importantly, mature.

Final Thoughts

Bartender is worth watching if you even have a passing interest in slice of life shows. You may even end up like me and get your bartending license after watching this show! Results may very.

Final Verdict: 9/10

Official Website:
Keywords: water of life, customers, alcohol, bar, skills, eden hall
Sound & Graphics Average
Entertainment Value Excellent
Replay Value Very Good
Plot Excellent
Genre seinen
Episodes 11
Studio Palm Studio


Join Date:
November 2004
Montclair, NJ (School), Severn, MD (Home)

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