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Manga / Servant Service

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In a certain Health and Welfare Department of a certain government office at a certain city in Hokkaido, three newcomers join its ranks as civil servants. They are Lucy (etc.) Yamagami, Saya Miyoshi and Yutaka Hasebe, each of them with distinct and colourful personalities. Now they must confront the perils of their work, be it its mundaneness, or the irate public, or perhaps... even amongst themselves?

Servant × Service is a Work Com Yonkoma by Karino Takatsu, the creator of Wagnaria!!. It was serialized from 2007 to 2014, though it moved between magazines (starting in Zoukan Young Gangan, then moving to Zoukan Young Gangan Big in 2011, and finally to Monthly Big Gangan from 2011 until its conclusion). An anime adaptation by A-1 Pictures aired in the Summer 2013 season. The manga is licensed by Yen Press in North America and all 4 volumes have been released as a digital-first release in November 2015.


This series provides examples of:

  • Actor Allusion: Indirect example in Episode 12, where the audience sees that one of Chihaya's cosplay outfits is the trademark white sundress of Menma from Anohana The Flower We Saw That Day — which happens to be the Star-Making Role of Ai Kayano, Lucy's voice actress.

  • Alternate Character Reading: Discussed. When Lucy says her name is embarrassing, this is the first thing that comes to Hasebe's mind.
  • Animate Inanimate Object: The pink stuffed bunny that appears every now and then turns out in Episode 4 to be no mere Series Mascot — that's the robotic avatar of Kenzou Momoi, their section manager.
  • Bishie Sparkle: Appears around some characters occasionally. Interestingly, Hasebe tends to sport Souma-esque black and grey sparkles.
  • Blue with Shock:
    • Countless ones in Episode 5.
    • Yutaka's reveal about Lucy's name have this spread from him to Taishi and Saya!
  • Break Them by Talking
    • In Episode 2, Touko demonstrates her fearsome reputation in the office as a health and welfare maniac by breaking Ichimiya with her words. However, her attempts to break the trio fail hilariously due to various reasons:
    Touko: What's wrong with this year's newcomers?! Hitting on a girl, summoning an old lady, having a ridiculous name?!!
    • Miyoshi in turn breaks Touko at the end of the episode by telling the latter she is obstructing the office's normal business and does nothing to express her Big Brother Worship.
  • Bridal Carry
    • Yutaka lifted drunk, passed-out Lucy to his sister's house in this way in episode 5.
    • When Miyoshi fell asleep from a sip of wine during their date in episode 11, Jyoji carried her this way, presumably back to Miyoshi's home. She makes a comment about the implication, but Jyoji doesn't catch it.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: A pink stuffed bunny is seen on the desk of the strangely-absent manager during the first three episodes. It is only during Episode 4 that we learn that the bunny is actually the manager's virtual proxy, and that he uses it to communicate from home.
  • Color-Coded Characters: The Roses, titular magical girls in Magical Flowers Show Within the Show. Being fond of the show and being keen on Cosplay, Chihaya has a moment when she decides that Lucy would be a perfect cosplayer for Black and Touko for Blue. Later to push forward on those fronts.
  • Compensated Dating: In episode 2, Taishi was suspected of this, for managing to placate his little sister Touko with a hug and a few yen, before Miyoshi clears up the issue by noticing that they have the same surname.

  • Cultural Cross-Reference: Pinned on Hasebe's bedroom wall in episode 8 during his Nightmare Sequence is a painting of Taylor Swift's Speak Now album cover.

  • Design Student's Orgasm: The opening is composed of funky-colored objects moving in slow motion with shots of the protagonists' office as background, while all of actual credits are elaborately typeset into here and there.
  • Diegetic Soundtrack Usage:
    • Lucy hums the theme song in episode 9.
    • Hasebe plays out the opening theme in an arcade Rhythm Game in episode 11.
  • "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune: The opening and ending themes are sung by Ai Kayano, Mai Nakahara and Aki Toyosaki, in-character as Lucy, Miyoshi and Chihaya, respectively.
    • Interestingly, the ending theme in the series has three variants, with Lucy singing for the first four episodes, followed by Miyoshi for the next four and then Chihaya for the four after that.
  • Dragged by the Collar: Jyoji did this to Lucy in episode 8 to coerce her into a false date.
  • Dysfunction Junction: Much like Wagnaria!!, its spiritual predecessor, the story's staple comedy runs on the trivial personal insecurities of every character. The insecurities include:
    • Lucy: She became a civil servant to get revenge for her ridiculous first name actually having been approved.
    • Yutaka: For a person who has been able to excel in anything without much effort, his inability to get the girl (immediately).
    • Saya: All her "regrets" in the past.
    • Megumi: Frustration her boyfriend isn't more open.
    • Taishi: His very generalized lack of self-confidence.
  • Evolving Credits: Starting Episode 6, the ending credits include Kanon, who was introduced as a recurring character during the same episode.
  • False Reassurance: In Episode 2, as Lucy notices Yutaka is pointing his smartphone lens towards her as she trips, she asks him not to take a picture... he asks her not to worry as he's taking a video.
  • Giving Up the Ghost: Chihaya's relentless verbal attacks against Hasebe in episode 13, together with that of Miyoshi and Ichimiya to a lesser extent, caused his soul to exit from his body multiple times!
  • Good Parents: Poor naming sense notwithstanding, Lucy's parents have actually been very kind to her and supportive of her path in life, thus the reason she doesn't vent her frustrations at them for giving her an Overly Long Name as much as she does against that sloppy civil servant.
  • Harsh Word Impact: Saya did that in the It's a Small World, After All segment in episode 11, after her Brutal Honesty comments on Yutaka and Taishi. Taishi, in particular, received four of them consecutively.
  • Headdesk: Miyoshi did that in Episode 6 when she thought about the prospects of marrying.
  • Heroic BSoD: Saya's Brutal Honesty line to Jyoji ("That's not atonement, that's self-satisfaction") caused him to break down in front of the ward office.
  • Hiccup Hijinks: Episode 5, when Lucy has hiccups that don't clear up on their own.
  • Hypocritical Humor:
    • In Episode 1, after a customer complains about how civil servants are sloppy, Yamagami snaps and begins ranting vociferously against civil servants as well, shocking everybody else, including the customer herself.
    • In Episode 8, Lucy, when eating out with Yutaka, wonders if Yutaka's having nutrition problems if he's always eating out. Yutaka says he can cook, be chooses not to do it as it's lonely—then asks about how Lucy cooks. Turns out what Lucy eats at home is pure starch.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: They're all Long Titles in the form of some type of helpful tip.
  • It Runs in the Family / Strong Family Resemblance: Hasebe's older sister Kaoru looks exactly the same as him, making Lucy confused on a Bedmate Reveal in Episode 5. Later she mentions that everyone in their family is a civil servant, all of who share the same carefree personality. And to them, Hasebe's personality is considered tame.
  • It's a Small World, After All: When Miyoshi goes out to town on her off day in episode 11, she muses about the possibility of meeting people she knows and ends up meeting practically the entire cast (with the exception of Touko, who's studying at home) in various places.
  • "Just Joking" Justification: In episode 5, Chihaya tags this after saying Ichimiya is her boyfriend. Yamagami is the only person who buys into it.
  • Last-Name Basis: Everyone except for Touko is referred to by their last names and only Hasebe and Kaoru refer to Lucy by her first name.
  • Long Title: The episode titles are often very long.
    • Episode 1: Be Careful About How You Refer to Someone, and Why
    • Episode 2: Don't Panic, Make a Scene, or Throw Away Your Job
    • Episode 3: Don't Neglect the Safety of You or Your Workplace
    • Episode 4: Beware of Next Week's Unseen Danger
    • Episode 5: Everyone Has Close Calls. Learn from Them and Keep the Workplace Healthy
    • Episode 6: Examine Unexpected Problems and Hide-and-Seek
    • Episode 7: Self-Prevention, There Are People Where You Can't See
    • Episode 8: A Dangerous Sprout, Beware Tanaka's Grandson
    • Episode 9: Do you have it? Mental Capacity and the Accumulation of Feelings
    • Episode 10: It'll Be Good Later, At The Same Time Good Things Can Cause Huge Regrets
    • Episode 11: Beware the Sweet Trap that Tries to Lure You In
    • Episode 12: Wait a Moment, Being Accustomed and Being Unprepared Are Life-Threatening
    • Episode 13: Now We're Set, A Fun Workplace Leading to Tomorrow
  • Lost in Transmission: When Miyoshi congratulated Hasebe for his sister's upcoming marriage in Episode 9, she was interrupted by some loud noises just as she was saying Kaoru's name, causing Hasebe to misunderstand that Lucy was the one getting married and throwing him into a Heroic BSoD. Thankfully for him, he managed to clear that up by the end of the episode.
  • Love Hotel: The end of Episode 4 sets things up so it appears Hasebe's taking a drunk Lucy to one of these to sleep it off. Subverted in Episode 5 - he took her to his sister's house.
    • Bedmate Reveal: What happened the next morning, at least from Lucy's POV.
  • Meaningful Name: "Yamagami" means "god of mountains". Well, two, at least.
  • Miniature Senior Citizens: Most elderly people are depicted as such in this series, most notably Mrs. Tanaka.
  • Mistaken for Gay: In Episode 3, Chihaya outright declared Yutaka as her rival. Yutaka at first wondered if "she's the type who likes other women." He was soon disabused of the belief, though, when she started talking cosplay.
  • Moment Killer: Repeatedly attempted when Jyoji, Touko and the section manager all appeared at the wrong time just as Hasebe was trying to ask Lucy out in episode 13. The trio were (forcefully) escorted away by Miyoshi, Ichimiya and Chihaya though before any damage could be done.
  • Not Blood Siblings: Played for Laughs. When Ichimiya mentions he has a girlfriend, Hasebe immediately suspects this between him and Touko. His actual girlfriend is Megumi.
  • Once an Episode: Every episode has at least one gag that relates to Yamagami's immense mountains.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: At the end of episode 12, Yutaka came back to the office and did not slack at all. The other staff found it weird and questioned him. Turns out there is some serious business—his father is the person who approved Lucy's Overly Long Name, i.e. the person his girlfriend wants to take revenge on.
  • Open Secret: In Episode 3, Lucy's bra hook breaks. Despite her best efforts to keep it a secret, all of her coworkers immediately find out what happened, and provide her with a reasonable excuse to go home for the day. She never finds out that they knew exactly what happened.
  • Rambling Old Lady Monologue: Mrs. Tanaka really loves to complain about her daughter-in-law to Miyoshi.
  • Recycled INSPACE: Wagnaria!! IN A GOVERNMENT OFFICE.
  • Remembered Too Late: Played for Laughs in the second half of Episode 3, when Hasebe tries to ask Lucy for her email address, but he keeps forgetting.
  • Running Gag: Hasebe continually forgets to ask for Lucy's contact information.
  • Shout-Out: Hasebe recognizes Magical Flowers as a Video Game, and goes on to list the games he played: Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, Pokémon, Mario Kart, Tokimeki Memorial, AIR, and Fate/stay night.
    • He also has a copy of Senran Kagura in episode 5.
    • The Quiz at the end of Episode 7 featured Hasebe, Ichimiya, Jouji and Kenzou posing Free!-style.
    • In the Episode 12 we see that among the cosplay outfits Chihaya prepared is the military uniform from Attack on Titan, as well as the trademark white sundress of Menma and the school uniform of the Monogatari series.
  • Show Within a Show: Magical Flowers, a Magical Girl series which bears more than a few similarities to HeartCatch Pretty Cure!. Its five protagonists' color schemes also bring to mind Puella Magi Madoka Magica, while one of them, Rose Black, looks like a recolored and redesigned Blue Rose.

  • Ship Tease
    • Yutaka × Lucy takes off in episode 5 after the "Drunk Pass-Out and Bridal Carry" incident, going full steam in episode 8 when Yutaka experiences a Love Epiphany. However, nothing's solid yet.
    • Jyoji × Saya hilariously takes a similar direction!

  • Snark Ball: Everyone except Jyoji and Kenzou
  • Spell My Name with an "S": The anime uses different Japanese Romanization schemes inconsistently for the two names that were romanized on screen. Touko was shown on-screen as "Tohko," which uses so-called "passport Hepburn." On the other hand, Jyoji, whose name appeared on-screen on a business card, is in the unofficial wapuro which should not have been used in such a situation. Fans alternatively use "Jouji", which is not correct either. Strictly speaking, the name is "Joji" in Hepburn, and "Zyoji" in Kunrei-shiki.
  • Spit Take: Yutaka had one when his father mentioned offhandedly that he approved Lucy's name.
  • Stealth Sequel: Todoroki and Satou from Wagnaria!! appear here Happily Married.
  • Three-Way Sex: When Hasebe brings a drunk Yamagami to his sister Kaoru's apartment, Kaoru initially wonders if Hasebe's going to do this… not that she would mind.
  • Throw the Book at Them: Yamagami's favoured method of attacking Hasebe whenever he gets on her nerves. In fact, this is invoked! In the manga, when Ichimiya complains about Yamagami attacking people with work documents, she replies there's only waste paper in those folders; she deliberately prepared those folders to hit people with.
  • Unsettling Gender Reveal: In the beginning of episode 5, Yamagami woke up from being drunk and saw a woman that looked suspiciously like her coworker Yutaka Hasebe next to her. The latter then said she was indeed Hasebe and asked Yamagami to hide it from their coworkers, causing the latter to go Blue with Shock. As it turned out, it was subverted. Hasebe brought Yamagami to his sister Kaoru's apartment, and it was Kaoru who was sleeping next to Yamagami—and messing with Yamagami for fun.
  • Verbal Backspace: Examples at Quotes.
    • Right in the start of episode 7, Chihaya visited the Ichimiya residence to dress-up, er, see Touko.
    • And she did it again when Taishi returned home.
  • Wardrobe Malfunction: A skit in episode 3 was about Lucy having all the hooks on her bra broken, and how her coworkers resolved the issue while tiptoeing around the issue itself. Eventually Yutaka claimed Lucy had a fever because of her blush and should "go back to rest;" the others immediately got the hint. Fanservice was never intended.
  • Work Com: Par standard in the beginning, but eventually shifts to workplace romance with three couples.
  • Yonkoma