Bartender – Episode 1

  • Title: バーテンダー
  • Title (romaji): Bartender
  • Format: Renzoku
  • Genre: Comedy drama
  • Episodes: TBA
  • Viewership rating: TBA
  • Broadcast network: TV Asahi
  • Broadcast period: 2011-Feb-04 start
  • Air time: Friday 23:15
  • Theme song:Lotus by Arashi

Episode 01 Review



Viewer Ratings: 11%



Welcome! What would you like to drink? How about a glass of Arashi’s Aiba xD  So kicking, or should I say drinking, off this first round is a shot of a certain someone in a lovely trench coat at the airport. Anyone notice the plane was JAL? It would’ve been awesome if they used the Arashi jet instead ne. Anyway, the dude who just got off a plane is none other than ..


Sasakura Ryu!


Where is he? Japan. Why? We shall find out! But first, I’m going to take this chance to pimp out the nice little opening of the drama:


Nice huh!


Getting back on track .. we meet out female protagonist:


Kurushima Miwa and she’s late


And yes, she’s running. I’ve learned that if a girl isn’t running in one of these dramas, then it’s not normal. She has to run, rarely do they bike, and they almost never drive .. they must run! Anyway, the scene changes into a flashback where she recalls a conversation she had with her grandfather a year ago. He asks her “if all the people in the world became your enemy, and you can only have one ally, who would it be?” He answers his own question by saying, “A bartender.” That’s right! Not your spouse, lover, friends, or even kids. It must be a bartender. Let’s take a moment to find our own conclusions as to why this is the correct answer. My theory: you’re gonna die anyway, might as well have a friend who’s got unlimited booze. Am I right? According to Kurushima (this is what I will call the old man from now on), “only the chosen bartender can create the Glass of God.” Do it with me, oooh and ahhh. Cheesy? Yes. Dorky? Absolutely! Then again it is one of those dramas so ..  A bartender will never betray customers sitting opposite of him at the counter. o.O I beg to differ. There are crazy people out there. Apparently that “Glass of God,” can save a person. Well Miwa here thinks she’s found that person!


And she’s got all the info she needs~


So just what was she running late to? A bar-tending/cocktail competition. Supposedly, Ryu was supposed to be the surprise guest speaker at the event; however, her dreams were squashed when he wasn’t there. Why wasn’t he there? Who knows, no one does actually. He’s mysteriously disappared .. MIA. So she leaves and heads back to work dejectedly. What does she do exactly? Why she’s a journalist for some trendy magazine. But why is she looking for Sasakura Ryu anyway? Turns out Kurushima is looking for a bartender who can bake the Glass of God and he’s giving the task to all the bartenders in his many hotels. Oh yeah, forgot to mention Kurushima is LOADEDDD! As Miwa is thinking to herself, her boss walks in asking for her article and knows that she hasn’t done it yet. She constantly wonders why Miwa is so interested in writing about bartending and reminds her that th magazine targets young girls. And what better way to capture a young girl’s attention than to feature various idols and trends. They chat a bit about what makes a bar so interesting, Miwa has no answer and now she’s left to pull an all-nighter since she’s got an article due the next day.


The scene changes to a lovely little restaurant and we’re greeted with ..


OKONOMIYAKI~! I want some!


So why are we here? Other than the fact that they want us to drool over the food. Miwa is friends with the couple who owns/runs the little establishment. She talks to the wife about how much she wants to meet Ryu. Little does she know, he just walked into the kitchen through the back door making a delivery to the very restaurant! Coincidence? Of course, they are fated to meet because if they didn’t then we wouldn’t have a drama. The husband offers Ryu a drink (liquor) before he leaves and he takes it.


Nani!? Drinking on the job?? Tsk tsk tsk.


Miwa is quick to give up and crosses Ryu off her list of bartenders ..


Why hello there MatsuJun. I didn’t know you can bartend!
Don’t you just love how Arashi members seem to cameo in each others’ drama.
And they don’t even have to be physically there!


Miwa packs her things and prepares to leave. At the same time, Ryu leaves through the back and runs straight into Miwa. Pretty obvious it was going to happen right? Well, in their little bump, Miwa’s glasses break and it takes her a while to figure out that standing before her is Sasakura Ryu! He immediately tries to leave as fast as he can, all the while she’s rambling on about him and all the things she knows. She even knows his hobbies. Of course this freaks him out. Congrats! You’ve got yourself a nice little fanatic fan. So, he takes off leaving her in the dust on his bike. The next morning/day, we see Ryu working hard at a liquor store. We finally get to see what happened to Ryu in Paris.


He gets kicked to the curb!


His former employer tells him that he may be a professional bartender, but he doesn’t know what a true bartender is. And here I thought their job is to serve drinks. As he’s reminiscing, Miwa enters the store and walks straight up to him. She introduces herself and he wonders if she’s going around picking up men. We all know that he’s just avoiding her. He goes to help a customer really quick and she’s left staring at him. After helping out the customer, she tells him that she wants compensation for her broken glasses. Ryu tells her to wait until payday, she suggests he pay with his body. Yes, we all are thinking the same thing .. I know it!


These two were thinking the same thing as well LOL


So she sits around waiting for Ryu to show up. When he finally does, she wants him to make her a cocktail. Why didn’t she word it better haha~ she proceeds to pull out a bartending set.  He gives in and stares at her intently. Ryu points out that she’s got dark circles under her eyes and tells her to get some rest. He ponders a little and leaves, telling her to wait. The 3 wait for what seems like forever and he returns. What was he doing? Getting ice. Not just any kind of ice, pretty ice. I swear I have never seen such nice looking ice before LOL. He starts making her a drink ..


looking all pro and what not.


Once he finishes, she gets angry telling him that she wanted a cocktail and that she can see he made her mizuwari (basically a watered down drink with beer & hard liquor). Ryu tells her to just sit down and take a drink. She complies and .. A MIRACLE HAPPENS. Well, not really but she’s stumped as to why the mizuwari tastes so damn good. He explains that this is perfect for a girl who’s tired to drink before sleeping so that it won’t upset their stomach. Awww, how considerate!  With that, he leaves and she chases after him. At the bridge, she calls him out and tells him he’s truly a bartender. Very cliche. The next day, Miwa enters Kurushima’s office, Kurushima is delighted:


uhm .. Spongebob’s eager face?


and they have a nice lunch outside (in the cold no less), eating sandwiches. During their little lunch, she asks him if he’s going “there” again that night. He nods.


Later that evening, we’re at Bar Lapin. Miwa walks in and greets the two bartenders. Bar manager – Mihashi Jyunji and bartender – Sugiyama Kaoru. Upon her arrival, it’s pretty clear that Kaoru has a thing for Miwa and, naturally, she hasn’t a clue. Miwa informs them that there will be another guest later. A little time lapse later, Ryu walks in for the delivery and sees Miwa. Isn’t that nice Ryu? You have yourself a little stalker xD jk~ She tells him to stay a bit and after much refusing, he once again gives in. In fact, Miwa wanted Ryu to meet Kurushima .. obviously. Kurushima takes a seat and the two bartenders make various drinks from a martini to a Jack Rose. Why are they making so many drinks for the old man? None of the drinks satisfied him and he called them all no good. This upsets Ryu a bit and Kurushima tells him that he doesn’t know what it is to be a true bartender. And we all know that he’s really touchy on the subject, so Ryu proposes that if he can make a good cocktail then Kurushima will tell him what a true bartender is. Again .. with the cliche-like dialogue. Ryu makes him the cocktail that won him the prestigious competition in Paris – Reverie.


Couldn’t help but laugh at the look (or lack thereof) on his face.
I wonder if it’s normal for bartenders to have that deer-caught-in-the-headlights gaze.


After taking a sip, Kurushima gets up, says “no good,” and leaves. Ryu soon rushes out as well and Miwa is left sitting there feeling guilty. The next morning, we finally get to take a look at Ryu’s home on a boat.


Sing it with me!
I’m on a boat~


He wakes up and heads outside, wonder why the boat is rocking. As he opens the door, there is Miwa – rocking the boat to wake him up. o.O A simple knock can’t cut it so you have to give him sea sickness? She hands him a bag with a bun inside and he eats it. So why is his little stalker there? She wants to apologize for how things went down last night. She goes on to tell him how she just thinks her grandfather feels lonely and that he was close friends with the former owner of Bar Lapin. It’s all very touching but I’m not going to harp on the details because .. it’s kinda long winded and I’ve heard these kinds of talks before.


Next, Ryu is seen standing outside Bar Lapin waiting for Mihashi. Once inside, Mihashi tells him various facts about Bar Lapin the main point being that it used to be located in Yokohama. You know what that means~ FIELD TRIP! .. By himself. In Yokohama, he goes to various bars asking about Bar Lapin and no one seems to know anything. As he’s searching, he gets hungry and finds a curry shop that’s been in business for more than 36 years. As he’s inhaling his food, he asks for a glass of water. The old lady gives him a refill and he asks for ice. She tells him that the shop is so old, they don’t have any ice. He stares at the glass, looking like he’s come to a revelation.


The scene changes to Miwa and Kurushima entering Bar Lapin. What greets them? Ryu standing behind the counter. He makes a cocktail called Old Pal for the old man and guess what! He likes it~! Naturally, can’t have him fail twice in a row in a drama series. It’s just unnatural in the laws of dramas. Just what is so different? Why it’s the temperature, my dear Watson. Yes, that is the revelation that came to Ryu. You see back when dinosaurs roamed the earth, many places didn’t have freezers or refrigerators. Therefore, the cocktail he made was a “warm” cocktail. According to the drama, younger people will find this cocktail “warm” and would call it no good. So anyone want to conduct an experiment? Give old people “warm” cocktails and a “cold” one, then see which one they prefer. Since Ryu has won the little “bet” they have going on, Kurushima tells him that bartending is a way of life and any bartender can make the drinks taste the same. o.O  kinda vague don’t you think?  Afterwards, Ryu and Miwa are walking on that same bridge in cliched drama style. Nothing important is really being said here.


As they continue on their merry way, we’re taken to Bar K. There, Kurushima informs the bartender, Kuzuhara Ryuichi, that for the first time he found another person’s (other than him) cocktail that tastes good. This catches Kuzuhara’s attention and he proceeds to make Kurushima a drink ..


He just exudes “antagonist” don’tcha think?


Meanwhile, Ryu is pondering to himself on the same bridge. After standing there for a few minutes just staring, he comes to a decision that he “has to do this.” The next morning, Ryu is seen walking off his boat and rides his bike off into the distance, pedaling away. Where is he headed? To BAR LAPIN! Ha~ couldn’t stay away from your true calling Sasakura Ryu!


This concludes episode 1 of Bartender. What lies for our handsome/cute bartender? We shall see in Episode 2 with an appearance by Joshima Shigeru xD  JEs unite? LOL. Overall, this is an okay start. Not superb or amazing, pretty stable and likable. The most fascinating thing about this is when they make the various drinks. They make it look like an art when, normally, bar-tending seems so loud(?) and messy in real life. Of course, it all depends on what kind of bars a person goes to. I still can’t get over the look on their faces when they shake the shaker xD it’s just too funny to me LOL.


Well, until Episode 2~




Rating: 7 out of 10




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