Episode 3

by Paul Jensen,

How would you rate episode 3 of
Blend S ?

Another day, another awkward encounter within Café Stile. Maika opens up to Dino about her interest in foreign countries, but the rest of the employees arrive just as the situation starts to look inappropriate. Determined to spend more time with Maika, Dino ends up asking her out on a date. Unfortunately, Maika misinterprets his intent and invites everyone else along for what she thinks is a fun group outing. Back at the café, Kaho and Akizuki both face moral dilemmas when a customer leaves a sexy doujinshi magazine behind. When the item's owner finally returns to claim it, Maika is left speechless from the shock of the encounter.

Blend-S has been pretty vague about Dino's exact age, and that nebulous age gap makes it tough to tell if his infatuation with Maika is relatively harmless comedy or something more uncomfortable. That gray area is less of an issue when the show plays their interactions solely for humor, but it leaves me scratching my head whenever the writing goes for a sentimental moment like this week's matching keychain scene. Perhaps I'm seeing an issue where none actually exists, but it does feel a little weird. In any case, Maika's backstory is a welcome piece of character development, and it makes good use of her personality while providing a plausible explanation for her interest in traveling abroad.

I wasn't entirely sold on fake tsundere Kaho or yuri connoisseur Akizuki in the previous two episodes, but both of them manage to find their comedic sweet spots this week. Their abject terror at the sight of a fashionable saleswoman at the mall is a hoot, especially as the series calls them out for working in a similar customer service role. The doujinshi storyline gives these two another turn in the spotlight, especially as each of them ends up alone in the break room with the forbidden tome. Akizuki's inner conflict is a fun departure from his normally assertive personality, and Blend-S gets some good laughs out of Kaho's frustration over being the only person who doesn't get to see inside the bag. As more of its characters find their particular comedic groove, the show should have an easier time making its jokes flow naturally from each scene.

The funniest bit may be Maika's misguided method of searching for the doujinshi's owner. Her sadistic waitress persona takes already delightfully inappropriate one-liners and makes them seem even more outrageous. The fact that she doesn't quite realize what she's doing improves the scene even further. This is a good example of what Blend-S might be able to do once it gets past the initial introductions of its zany cast. Speaking of introductions, it looks like the young woman who shows up at the end of the episode will be the next waitress to be added to the roster, and it will be interesting to see how the show incorporates her into the café's group dynamic.

Blend-S doesn't feel like it's hit its stride yet, which isn't a huge surprise considering its particular style of comedy. Leisurely pacing is the norm in this genre, so it may be a few more weeks before we get a full picture of what this show has to offer. In the meantime, it continues to struggle with consistency. Some scenes feel unnecessarily awkward, some are a bit too bland, and others hit the mark with just the right amount of silliness. As it introduces its remaining cast members, the key for Blend-S will be finding a way to maintain that balance from one scene to another.

Rating: B-

BLEND-S is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

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