Typically when I think of alcohol, I think of wild college parties and irresponsible antics. I think of the damage it can do to your body and mind alike, along with the damage it could do to your conscience. It’s with this, along with other personal reasons, that I had decided long ago never to touch alcohol, and have still never touched it. Regardless of all of this, Bartender made me at least reconsider it.
The one true strength that Bartender has as a show is its image. This ideal image that bars and bartending are a work of art and require an immense amount of precision in order to get the occupation just right. Hell, the very last episode states that bartending is not just a job, but a way of life. This type of story-telling gives the show a nice mystique to it, almost as if we were being shown a a collection of myths showcasing the healing effects of bartenders. This is Bartender’s one, and frankly only, true strength as a show.
As far as the rest of the show, it’s standard at best. The characters are only developed for a single episode, and are shown variously for the rest of the series. Some of the characters are genuinely interesting, and their stories are truly touching. I was a fan in particular of the professor from episode ten. But in comparison, there is one true star: the bartender himself. If not for episode nine, I would have gone off on quite the rant about how he was nothing but a perfect character who could read the minds of every person that comes in. Episode nine at least attempted to give him a more amateurish appearance, which was refreshing to see. Nevertheless, he’s still too perfect; one who can do no wrong and proves to everyone that he is the greatest person to ever dress in a bartending uniform. For this, I don’t care for him as a realistic character, but that only adds to the romantic image that this show paints for bartending in general.
Speaking of painting an image, the alcohol in this show is breathtaking. It looks so lovely and alluring that it almost made me want to reach inside the screen myself. But alas, the people in comparison are hit and miss. This show is capable of having quality animation, but it’s inconsistent, particularly when the image is zoomed out. People look a little off. Their eyes are droopy. Their skin has odd lines. Their hair seems to sticking out more than it should. Little bits and pieces scattered around aren’t necessarily a distraction, but they’re noticeable. If anything though, it certainly doesn’t hinder the overall beauty of the scenery of the show. It all ties into the ideal image.
I think the biggest problem with this show is that it isn’t entirely realistic. But this is intentional, I would assume, as the point of this show is basically to look at bartending and bars and alcohol and what-not in a more shining light. It’s a sculpture that exaggerates its features. It’s a painting of a Greek goddess with a heavenly hue. For what Bartender is trying to do, it works like a charm; the only reason it wouldn’t work would be for those who choose not to believe in it.
I believe to fully enjoy a show like this, one has to take in everything in a sort of pseudo-fairy tale fashion. Almost as if being read an epic from old times, being told of journeys of grandeur and thrilling plights of man. This is not a show to take seriously, it is a show to view as a love story to the art of bartending. Whether or not this would interest the majority viewers is up to fate.