by Paul Jensen,
How would you rate episode 6 of
Blend S ?
A change of scenery can make a big difference in a comedy, and Blend-S seems to be banking on that idea in this week's episode. The usual café setting is abandoned in favor of three new locations, starting with a riverside barbecue. Maika's pumped up for a trip into the outdoors, but some of her friends have to be dragged kicking and screaming into the sunshine. This excursion is followed by a swimsuit shopping trip, which naturally paves the way for a day at the beach. Blend-S is clearly going for variety with all of these adventures, but that nagging sense of predictability follows the show from one location to the next.
From a comedic standpoint, the riverside barbecue is the strongest of the three segments. It puts the outdoor setting to good use by playing up the characters' personalities, especially the three “indoor people.” Kaho, Akizuki, and Miu all seem like they'd rather be dead than outside, and their whining and grumbling is delivered well. I also found Dino's culinary faceoff against a giant tuna to be an amusing little scene, thanks in part to the fish's realistic appearance. It looks shockingly (and deliberately) out of place when surrounded by anime characters, and it's hard not to laugh at that stark visual contrast. Blend-S strikes a decent balance between atmosphere and comedy here, and it would be a much more entertaining series if it could find that modest success more often.
Unfortunately, that's a very big “if.” Much like last week, the initial flash of promise gradually fades out over the course of the episode. Maika and Dino's shopping trip has at least one solid joke, courtesy of his text messages to the rest of the cast. The short replies distill each character's personality (and their relationship with Dino) into a handful of sentences, and that forced brevity yields some fun results. Aside from that, this scene leans far too much on Dino's infatuation with Maika. We're well aware by now that Maika is too cute for Dino's brain to handle, and this joke loses more and more of its punch with each retelling. At some point, Blend-S needs to tell us something we don't already know.
The beach trip brings out more of the show's mild fanservice, which is mostly harmless and generally feels appropriate for the story and setting. It also helps set up a fun moment of slapstick comedy as Akizuki takes a volleyball to the face while trying not to stare at Kaho. Even this small comedic highlight suffers from being too predictable, and that problem drains the humor out of many jokes in this scene. Take Dino's attempt to blow up a big inflatable whale as an example: the punchline is that he's really out of breath by the time he's done. There's no big twist or surprise to be found, just the obvious outcome of that particular situation. That's the problem with Blend-S in a nutshell; because it's so easy to see how things are going to play out, the actual jokes often arrive too late to earn any big laughs.
We're getting deep into the season now, and Blend-S is still searching for a way to follow up on its early high points. It's done a solid job of introducing zany characters, but the humor seems to dry up once the viewer figures out what to expect from each new face. With only one waitress yet to appear outside of the opening credits, sustaining this premise for another six weeks could prove difficult. Even a small step forward would be enough to propel this show into more enjoyable territory, but right now it's just not doing enough to hold the audience's attention.
BLEND-S is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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