Note: This was initially reviewed by Josh, you can see that review here.
Title: Servant x Service Vol 1
Author: Karino Takatsu
Publisher: Yen Press
Genre: Comedy, Slice of Life
Publication Date: April 26, 2016
Servant X Service is not your ordinary slice-of-life manga series. This somewhat short-lived, but hilarious series had its initial anime run in Japan from 2013 to 2014 in 13 episodes. The manga began serialization in 2011 and was published in four volumes. Despite the fact that this series only spans four volumes, you do get an awful lot of content and every page contains at least one laugh-out-loud instance. It is important to note that this is in a four-panel format. There is not much here in terms of traditional manga writing; however, we can still grasp what is happening. We follow the tedious, everyday lives of civil servants working in a fictional Japanese city. The format of this series is not traditional as I mentioned – instead of chapters we are given short comic strips that are shorter or longer depending upon the topic. Gruntwork tends to be shorter and dates or parties are longer. Despite each ‘chapter’ being just a few panels long, they all tie into each other to create a complete story. The characters in this are very important, so let’s dive in!
Lucy etc. seems to be the focus of the story. She becomes a civil servant so she can hunt down the civil servant who allowed her parents to give her such a long and embarrassing name (hint: the “etc.” in this instance is just how people abbreviate her name.) She’s big chested, which everyone notices on her first day at work, and has a permanent bedhead antenna. Since she takes her last name so seriously, her co-workers aren’t sure if she’s just dumb or pathetic. Her whole life revolves around her terrible last name and her need to get revenge. She won’t go on dates because of her name, she thinks her lack of friends stems from her name, and she believes most people tease her because of her name. Despite all of this, she appears to be a very efficient and effective contributor in her office. She finishes her work and doesn’t slack off, unlike other people in the office.
Yutaka is the slacker of the office. He is part of Lucy’s cohort of newcomers and makes it known that he likes to find hiding places and ways to get out of work. He is sexually attracted to Lucy and says things that are definitely not appropriate for work. He asks her out on a date and gets “shot down” immediately. He seems to have genuine feelings for Lucy but their colleagues point him out as someone who isn’t serious. Despite all of this, he is incredibly good at his job and comes from a long line of civil servants.
Chihaya is on board with suggesting that Yutaka is a flirt. She is a part-timer who doesn’t have any interest in progressing her career. This seems strange at first, but when you realize her hobbies trump all, her decision makes sense. She’s an avid cosplayer and loves sewing. She “secretly” dates a colleague and sews cute outfits for his teenage sister for sewing practice. Upon seeing Lucy’s large chest, she sets out immediately to create a cosplay.
Ichimiya is a supervisor and dates Chihaya. He is good at his job but often finds himself being bullied by his teenage sister. He worries that his controlling sister prevents him from having a girlfriend or friends.
Miyoshi is the third newest colleague in Lucy’s cohort and has been assigned to a counter. She’s often subjected to rants from civilians who visit the office or Ichimiya’s annoying sister. Miyoshi keeps to herself and prefers to observe people rather that contribute to conversations.
Toko Ichimiya is the annoying teenage sister I was talking about earlier. She’s the tsundere character of this series because apparently you can’t have a slice-of-life story without this archetype. At this time I can’t really say she adds much to the story. Unlike other tsundere characters, she is at least funny. It helps that she has a weird twitch under her eye that is probably a blood vessel about to burst.
Momoi is the boss of the department. This character really threw me off. After finding every aspect of the manga relatable in some way as an office worker myself, their boss turns out to be a stuffed rabbit. Or at least he chooses to spy on his workers as a stuffed rabbit? I’m honestly not too sure what is going on here. It’s hard to tell if he’s actually been transferred into a rabbit Ghost in the Shell style or if he just has a camera and microphone hooked up to the stuffed bunny.
I really enjoyed this first volume of Servant x Service and I look forward to the rest of the series. If you need a break from high school comedies and you also work in an office, this one is definitely for you. Think of this series as The Office manga style. The characters are a bit cooky but nobody you haven’t seen at your office… except maybe the bunny. I will admit, they definitely do things that you probably can’t get away with in a real office. The breezy format of the series makes it surprisingly easy to learn a lot about everyone. I like how the short strips add up to a much larger story that always brings the events and characters together. This series is well-written and filled with promise.
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