Servant X Service – 05

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The plot certainly thickens.

Is it me, or does this series seem to air at a different time every damn week?  It’s a guessing game trying to find it, but Saturday late-night is about the worst possible time for my schedule so I hope this is just a one-week aberration.  Irrespective of that S x S continues to be a solidly entertaining and often hilarious show, though it has its obvious ups and down.  It’s also managed to well and truly surprise me two straight weeks, and most series go through their entire run without managing to do that once.

It’s becoming clear to me that just as much as there’s a divide in my affection between the Touko and non-Touko moments, I like Servant X Service best when it focuses on Hasebe and Lucy.  The ensemble stuff at the office is often very good, but the show just lights up when the spotlight is on those two – they’re great as individual characters and fascinating as a couple.  This may be a test of the old “opposites attract” adage, as there’s no denying the two of them are very different people, but as is usually the case when that sort of pairing works out the so-called opposites have a lot in common when it comes to the really important things.

As to the cliffhanger, my guess about that woman was right – she is indeed Hasebe’s sister.  An older sister in fact, Kaoru (Kobayashi Yuu).  The twist is that the two ladies weren’t in a hotel bed, but in Kaoru’s apartment.  As you’d expect the troll gene runs deep in the Hasebe family, and Kaoru immediately pulls one over on Lucy by pretending she’s really Yutaka, who’s really a woman.  Lucy is nothing if not spectacularly gullible (letting Hasebe “save up points” for a favor is proof enough of that), but the return of the man himself quickly puts a stop to that jape.  Kaoru is a live wire indeed – she reveals that the Hasebe have a big family, are all civil servants, and that Yutaka in the least genki of the bunch.  This is a bit of a new role for Hasebe, being the put-upon one – but Kaoru doesn’t take things too obnoxiously far.  That’s not to say she doesn’t enjoy her brother’s discomfort, though, and about the worst thing she does is bring Lucy over to his apartment unannounced.  This has the fringe benefit of allowing us to see Yutaka in glasses and hair clips, which gives Lucy rather a start.

There’s nothing so surprising, really, in Hasebe or Lucy or in their interactions.  It was already becoming clear that Hasebe was both a much more considerate person that he appeared and that his feelings for Lucy were quite genuine.  Still, the two of them together are really charming to watch.  In truth the way Hasebe handled Lucy’s condition could hardly have been more chivalrous – not only did he not take advantage in any way but he even brought her to his sister’s for the sake of propriety (even if Lucy was too innocent to understand why at first).  In fact, I rather suspect Lucy’s image of him as a guy who spends most of his evenings on nampa outings with buddies is pretty far off, and that the reality is much closer to what we saw – staying up all night playing games by himself.

No, the real surprise – and it was a real surprise – came with Chihaya’s bombshell that she was Ichimiya’s girlfriend.  I can honestly say that I in no way, shape or form saw that coming.  Again we have a couple that could hardly seem more mismatched, and there’s the added fact that Touko’s reign of terror extends to her brother’s romantic life as well as his workplace.  Because her birthday is Christmas Eve he ends up breaking up with every girlfriend when he chooses her over them, and he and Chihaya have to keep their relationship a secret from her.  I detest these characters for whose convenience the world seems to be expected to change its orbit, especially the imouto ones – but the truth is, this is mostly Ichimiya’s own fault.  He’s in real danger of becoming a pathetic character here – the scene where he practically begs Chihaya to break up with him was painful to watch, and not in a good way.  Still, it does offer up a valid question – just what in the heck does Chihaya see in him, anyway?

This is an interesting turn, and I guess it casts Chihaya’s interest in Lucy in somewhat more innocent terms – seems she really was mainly after her as a cosplay victim.  But it gives us kind of a dichotomy here, with two different orbits – one with characters I really like, and one with characters I don’t.  For now that means I’m going to enjoy Servant X Service a lot more when the camera is on Hasebe and Lucy than when it’s on Ichimiya, Chihaya and Touko.  But given the number of times it’s surprised me already, it’s certainly possible that it will make me rethink my views of them (well, of Ichimiya and Chihaya anyway).  I suspect there must be more surprised to come in that relationship, because it sure doesn’t make sense now.

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  1. G

    Hasabe would be a good guy for Lucy if not for a few undedirable traits (his laziness and trying to avoid doing any work lead the pack).

  2. U

    hahaha…this episode is a riot…just a little bit of question to you enzo (and other)….what if you in ichimiya's shoe? your sister is like that (for added challenge her birthday also on christmas eve)…and there are your girlfriend on the other side…what would you do….?

  3. R

    If my sister was like that, I'd tell her to go fuck herself.

  4. First of all, there's no way my sister would ever have a strangelhold on my life like that – and if she tried to, she wouldn't be a big part of it. I'd send her an E-card and take the GF someplace nice.

    Gary, I think if you watch closely you'll see that Hasebe actually gets all his work done – he just gets it done very quickly, and doesn't do anything unnecessary on top of it.

  5. R

    I've lost a lot of respect for Ichimiya, he seems like he could become just another subservient bitch (pardon my language) like Kyousuke, without the sardonic nature to even make him mildly interesting.
    I agree with you, I'm tired of annoying, selfish anime characters for whom everyone else in the cast bows to their whim without hesitation. Keeping a girlfriend secret because your sister would get upset is pretty pathetic.

  6. d

    any of you guys paying attention to the coffee shop conversation? While I hate how they've set up Touko's character, there may be some real honest to goodness motivation there (doesn't excuse her being a pain in the ass, but ….). If you've never been poor before it can be easy to dismiss her motivation to not be, hell, she doesn't even allow herself the fantasy of going to college (much less even have fun) because she's so driven by this. I think most of the problems that we see is that she's still a kid when it comes to interacting with others but is very aware that they don't have much as a family and at least one person has found a step up and it's her brother, so she's doing everything she can to follow in his footsteps and make sure he doesn't screw up while he's there (and manage to be completely obtuse as to how she's could be crippling his career while doing so). Doesn't make her any more appealing really but I can at least see a real place as to where the character is coming from. As for Ichimaya's family situation and the girlfriend, well family is complicated and kind of think that within each family that there are some blunt truths that we're not exactly keen to share or admit to.

  7. H

    I really enjoyed Chihaya and Ichimiya's interactions, but do wonder how they even got together if he's that hesitant about everything. I especially liked Chihaya's ability to work around Tohko: getting the time alone with Ichimiya, having a ready excuse for why she's there. And she seems to really care about him, because it's not like Ichimiya is either a great catch, nor does he dote on her.

    Ichimiya's mostly right about office romance, tho. Not that Hasebe will listen to him.

  8. l

    Undoubtedly my favourite episode of SxS so far.

    RE: "there's a divide in my affection between the Touko and non-Touko moments"
    I think your bias is beginning to cloud your judgment a tad here. Probably a fault of other mediocre imouto shows you've watched. Aside from the shouty voice, Touko hasn't done much wrong after the fit she threw in her debut. While her lack of appearance doesn't exactly acquit her, I think you're being unfair on the whole show whenever she appears. You totally disregard any attempts the writer makes (via the other cast members) to decimate her – probably a battle with her editor if one chooses to read in between the lines like that, assuming her editor is a typical RC-Stilts type – which often ends up lifting the scene, not leaving it to rot and grate like in typical imouto anime.

    RE: "I like Servant X Service best when it focuses on Hasebe and Lucy."
    That's what I felt till this episode aired. Chihaya and Ichimiya stole it for me. Ichimiya being pathetic in the office wiggling his tie and averting his eyes while Chihaya gave him that yandere look right after dropping that bombshell had was awesome.

    I like how this series changes focus each episode. We'll probably get Miyoshi next week, though that also means we'll have to trudge through a Touko-heavy episode soon.

    Hasebe's sister was alright. Something about her voice made it all seem very unnatural to me, though. The whole "ara ara" act is way too stiff. Not blaming the voice actress since I think it's done intentionally – she sounded natural while she was talking to her younger brother about a threesome at her apartment's doorstep while Lucy was unconscious, afterall – to show she's in "troll mode" when there's someone else around.

    Chihaya's revelation also went some ways in explaining why she's been acting the way she has the past couple of eps. Actually, I personally find the Chihaya x Ichimiya dynamic more interesting than the Lucy x Hasebe dynamic at this moment in time, partially because Ichimiya is the one we seem to know the most about (financial situation, supporting his sister, possible parent-less family) without actually knowing anything about him, and partly because Hasebe's armour of invincibility came crashing down thanks to the visit his sister and Lucy paid him. Basically, for me, Ichimiya got knocked a peg and Hasebe got knocked down one for almost the same reasons this week.

    Without a doubt my favourite series of the season.

  9. l

    Missed a word – second last sentence.
    I meant "Ichimiya got knocked *up* a peg…."

    Really wish we could edit our posts after posting here. Obviously Blogger's fault, not Enzo's. Maybe Enzo could do the editing for us, to keep it all neat and tidy.

  10. Nope, he can't… Not on Blogger.

  11. l

    Oh, I thought you could since you have "admin" rights. Excuse the ignorance (I don't use Blogger), but does this mean you can delete entire posts but not edit/modify them? Strange, since I've seen those "removed: please refrain from posting spoilers" comments from you a few times, which would constitute an edit.

  12. I can delete the entire body of the post, but not edit it.

  13. C

    Am I the only one more annoyed by the tiny red scowl mark permanently stuck onto Touko's face more then her behavior this episode? Seriosuly! I'm fighting the urge to wipe at my screen…or am I just developing OCD haha

  14. i

    I noticed it too and it is a truly annoying thing. I like the Touka x Loser x Chihaya dynamic as it means a lot of silly romance. Hasebe is awesome but because Lucy is so clueless I don't find it as interesting. This also leaves Miyoshi with the manager for couple of the year.

  15. l

    What are the chances of Touko actually learning to be a more considerate sister that actually is honest with her feelings towards his brother and doesn't lord over his life in this series? Frankly this masochistic relationship is painful to watch..

  16. N

    Chihaya probably egged Ichimiya into being her boyfriend so she'd have someone to do pairing cosplays with, haw haw.

    I'm dying to see what Hasebe finally asks Lucy to do once he's "saved up enough points"

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