Servant x Service is an office comedy yonkoma (four-panel manga read vertically) that follows a quirky cast of civil servants in their early to mid 20s who work for the Health and Welfare Department. Filled with running gags, office humor, hilarious antics, and a group of likable characters, Servant x Service is a fun, short series that will leave readers with a smile on their faces.
The story opens with three new recruits, Yamagami-san, Miyoshi-San, and Hasebe-san, being welcomed by their supervisor, Ichimiya-san, and temp worker Chihaya-san. Each character has an interesting and often humorous backstory or character trait that is expanded upon throughout the series.
Yamagami is a book nerd and very naive when it comes to relationships. Her first name is Lucy Kimiko Akie Airi Shiori Rinne (etc.), and her motivation for becoming a civil servant is to get revenge on the civil servant who approved her parents’ ridiculous name for her.
Miyoshi is loved by the elderly, especially Tanaka-san, who rambles about her daughter-in-law for hours on end and then eventually tries to set Miyoshi up with her grandson. Anyone who has ever worked with the public will be able to relate.
Hasebe is a genius slacker—even his dialogue is translated to reflect him talking like a “slacker”—who consistently tries to get Yamagami to go out with him.
Chihaya is a temp with a fiery passion for anime and cosplay, and is secretly dating Ichimiya. She befriends Ichimiya’s younger sister, Touko, and struggles to keep her relationship with Touko’s brother a secret.
The section boss is too shy to ever show his face, so he talks via microphone attached to a robotic bunny. This allows for some fun, albeit unrealistic, storylines of the staff interacting with a stuffed animal who happens to be the one in charge.
The opening pages are a little slow, as readers are introduced to the main characters and learn alongside the new recruits how the Health and Welfare Department and its various sections work. The pace begins to pick up midway through the first volume of the first omnibus and continues at a more engaging pace throughout the series. As for the structure, each four panel strip has a title to it; some function more independently, while others work together to move the plot along. The art focuses more on the characters, with little to no background or setting details, but this style, along with the cute look of the characters, fits perfectly with the humorous story being told. Bonus material, including notes from the manga-ka and mini stories originally published online, are included within both omnibus volumes.
Servant x Service is most suited for a teen audience. While there is no sex, no nudity and no cursing, there are plenty of jokes about Yamagami’s unusually large breast size and some jokes about the characters sexually harassing each other at work. Servant x Service is a fun, slice-of-life comedy with wide appeal. It will make a great addition to teen manga collections, especially for libraries in need of good, quality series that are short. An anime adaptation is also available on Crunchyroll.com.
Servant x Service, vols. 1-2
by Karino Takatsu
Vol. 1 ISBN: 9780316314879
Vol. 2 ISBN: 9780316272315
Yen Press, 2016
Publisher Age Rating: T