Maika Sakuranomiya is a regular high school student who dreams of studying abroad, though she has one problem. Despite being a naturally sweet and friendly girl, she tends to look scary and imposing whenever she smiles. Having failed to find a job anywhere else, Maika eventually finds work at Café Stile, where the employees all play specific character types when they interact with the customers, such as the playful little sister or the tsundere. Despite her misgivings, our heroine must adopt the dominant and aggressive role of a sadist. Together with the rest of Café Stile’s wacky crew, Maika will work to make new friends and fulfill her dream!
If you judge a comedy by the ratio of jokes that land to jokes that don’t, Blend-S falls square in the middle. It’s occasionally funny and got a few chuckles out of me, but there were also plenty of jokes that were either annoying or not funny. The jokes here were mostly about the contrast between the girls’ actual personalities and their roles at the café: Maika is quiet and shy but plays a sadist, Kaho is upbeat and friendly but plays a tsundere, and Mafuyu is blunt and cold but plays a cute little sister. The characters actual personalities are pretty one note, with Maika being an especially bland moe girl, but their assumed personalities are actually funny. They’re all plays on common otaku tropes that find the right balance between familiar and exaggerated where good comedy comes from. If the show had devoted more time to that, it would have been much better. Unfortunately, a good chunk of jokes came from the perpetually horny manager. The gags about him falling in love with Maika were both unfunny and annoying. The “guy falls in love with girls and acts goofy” trope has been done before and better in other anime, and it’s currently all that defines the manager as a character. We have no idea why he suddenly became obsessed with Maika to such a degree, and his behavior is mostly typical nosebleeds and yelling without doing anything extreme enough or original enough to be funny. He was by far the most annoying aspect of an otherwise okay premiere. On a side note, a lot of the jokes about Maika’s “mean face” didn’t work very well since she only looks that way in a couple of scenes and usually looks like a typical moe girl. This is a rare case where the aesthetics undermined the potential humor the show could have mined if it had gone for a less moe aesthetic. All in all, Blend-S is a middling comedy that could have been much better, but also could have been much worse. It’s nothing special, but fans of cute girl comedies might enjoy it.
Recommendation: Wait and See
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