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Patron Pick Spring 2024: Bartender: Kami no Glass – 10

It’s always good to see a series finishing with its best material, even if it’s not a great one overall. That seems to be happening with Bartender: Kami no Glass, though it still has a couple of eps to change my mind. There was a monthlong stretch of episodes there that left me pretty cold, but these past two have been really excellent. This is one of those shows that just doesn’t work when it tries to be conventional. The talky, philosophical nature of this most recent arc is much more attuned to the series’ strengths.

A couple of thoughts cross my mind here. First, of course Sasakura shouldn’t feel guilty about the suicide of one of his customers in Japan. “Leave matters of life and death to a priest” indeed. That’s not to say it isn’t human nature for an empathetic person (as he certainly is) to blame himself over such a tragedy even when it’s misplaced. And second, I wish Gramps would go eff himself and leave Edenhall and Ryuu alone. What he’s doing is unethical (like that ad) and to me, predatory. If Ryuu is happy working at a humble basement bar for a man he respects, that’s his choice. Ambition means different things to different people.

Supporting the Sasakura story is a reprise of Hayase and Kirishima, the cigar couple. Hayase has become a regular at Edenhall, and he tells Sasakura that he’s going to be moving to America after a promotion at work. He then going into an explanation for why ambitious salarymen do what they do, and as depressing as it is it’s probably not far from the truth most of the time. He talks about sacrifice – in his case his family. His wife died when he was out shopping – for a client’s wife. But hey – we all make choices, and choices have consequences, so if Hayase is looking to get a medal pinned to his chest he’s not getting one from me.

Kirishima pops in, much to Hayase’s surprise. She’s back from Sendai, she says, because of a “problem with her family”. The timing is hardly perfect, but he’s clearly still infatuated. He and Ryuu wind up going to Kitakata-san’s bar, where Hayase orders a boilermaker (the way he drinks it I always called a depth charge) for courage. Kitakata has been a nice addition to the cast, and I enjoyed his monologue about dice (and I never knew that bartenders used dice to practice for shaking cocktails).

Kitakata notes that “Instead of hedging your bets and regretting it later, it’s easier to accept losing on a big bet”. To be frank, that’s one of the core principles I live by (and probably the reason I’m in Japan). It’s obvious what Hayase was taking from all this, but between that and the business about the thorn of regrets you carry with you I really felt like this episode was speaking directly to me. Anime don’t get into philosophy too often and when they do, rarely rise above the level of a fortune cookie. So when a series can do  it as competently as this, I have a real respect for it.

As for Sasakura-san, I have a suspicion we’re being encouraged to believe that leaving Edenhall and going to the Cardinal is the right thing for him, so that’s what I expect to happen. I’m not remotely convinced of that myself, but if the reason he’s hesitating is that he’s afraid then sure, that’s not a good situation either. But loyalty and contentment are an entirely different matter, and I’ve seen nothing to convince me that Ryuu isn’t content where he is, or that his loyalty is misplaced.

The post Patron Pick Spring 2024: Bartender: Kami no Glass – 10 appeared first on Lost in Anime.

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