Come for the Meme, Stay for the Moe
- Episodes: 12
- Genre: Slice of Life, Comedy
- Airing Date: October 2017 to December 2017
- Producers: A-1 Pictures
Blend S Preview (No Spoilers)
Blend S is a charming slice of life anime from the Fall 2017 season that follows the staff of Café Stile – a restaurant where the waitresses play different “characters”, like tsundere or little sister. High schooler Maika Sakuranomiya stumbles into a job at the quirky café because her naturally scary eyes make her a perfect fit to play a sadist character. Throughout the show, we watch her grow closer with her coworkers, accidentally succeed at her sadist persona, and develop a special bond with her clumsy Italian manager.
However, Blend S is perhaps best known in the West for its opening theme, which turned into a meme immediately after the first episode debuted. And according to YouTuber Gigguk, if an anime fan doesn’t say a word beginning with “S” after hearing the phrase “Smile, Sweet, Sister, Sadistic, Surprise, Service”, then their head will implode. What’s great about this is that once you’ve been lured in by the viral videos, you’ll find that Blend S stands on its own as a wonderful little show about the joys of trying new things.
Maika Sakuranomiya Bio
Seiyuu name: Azumi Waki
Maika is the very picture of a traditional Japanese girl – long black hair, a demure personality, and even a rustic home with all the trappings of a Japanese mansion. But because she grew up with her own culture so front and center, she dreams of traveling the world someday. She’d love to save up for the trip by working a customer service job, but everyone rejects her because of her intimidating face. Luckily, when she gets scouted for Café Stile, she finally finds a place where she belongs.
If you’re a moe fan, Maika is a treat to watch. She’s kind-hearted, eager to please, and just all around adorable. And even though Blend S is only 12 episodes long and it’s based on a yonkoma comic, you get to see Maika grow and change naturally over time into a more confident and friendly person. She may play a sadist, but Maika’s real personality has captured our hearts with its earnest charm.
Maika Highlights (Spoilers Beyond This Point)
1. Reverse Weeaboo
Since she grew up in a traditional Japanese household, Maika is disenchanted with her own country. Instead, she obsesses over other cultures and desperately wants to see the world. But hilariously, she has a very poor understanding of how the rest of the world works. It’s like she’s a stereotypical weeaboo who proclaims their love for Japan while knowing next to nothing about it, but the other way around.
When she was a child, her “first love” was a statue of Colonel Sanders in front of a Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant. She stared at it in awe for so long that the employees got scared of the little girl glaring at their statue! She also wanted to dye her hair blonde, tried to capture Santa one Christmas, and got super flustered when an American tourist came into Café Stile and raved about her black hair. It makes us want to scoop her up and teach her about the West ourselves!
2. Self sufficient and driven
The Sakuranomiya family certainly doesn’t want for money. Maika’s older brother and sister have told her that she could go on her around-the-world adventure on their dime, but she believes that she should reach her dream with money that she’s earned herself. And despite being turned down by most places because of her scary aura, Maika keeps searching for jobs anyway. It’s admirable how dedicated she is to supporting herself with her own hard work.
She also never backs down from a challenge. Whether it’s learning to apply makeup or trying to snowboard down a mountain, Maika always gives 110% until she gets it right. If we got to see her as an adult, we’re sure she’d be a powerful and passionate woman! Maika is a cute moe girl on the outside, but she’s got a steel core that keeps her strong no matter what comes her way.
3. Sweet and caring, despite her scary stare
Besides being tenacious and adorably naïve about other cultures, Maika is also the most caring and empathetic person in the Blend S’s cast. Perhaps she developed these traits to offset how frightening her stare is, but if so, we’re glad she did. She gets her manager Dino a present that he was eyeing (because he wanted to give it to her, incidentally), she brings a huge photorealistic tuna to the staff’s outdoor barbeque to get the party going, and she’s always on the lookout for new ways to make her friends and customers happy.
In the final episode, she gives a short speech about how much she loves her friends at Café Stile and how her time with them has been so special that she’ll treasure it forever. She really took the time to get to know all of them, even though they’re quite different from her in terms of age, hobbies, and personality. There’s a serious college girl who looks like a child, a ditzy foreigner, a couple of gaming nerds, a fashion-obsessed boy who wants to be an idol, and even an erotic manga writer, but Maika loves all of them.
4. Genuinely good at playing a sadist
It’s not something she wanted to embrace about herself, but Maika’s intimidating stare makes her a natural at playing a sadist character for Café Stile. Her manager, Dino, recognized her talent immediately and knew she would bring a fresh new flavor to the restaurant. Initially, she tries to just act like a normal waitress, but she keeps messing up. Because of her insuppressible glare, though, the customers see these blunders as part of her sadistic character and can’t get enough of her!
She’s used salt instead of sugar in a parfait, squirted ketchup on patrons while trying to decorate their omurice, called them pigs, and much more. She’s mortified until she hears that customers enjoy it, and then she has a change of heart. By later episodes, she can be seen cheerfully bidding people goodbye by telling them to “never come visit us again!”
5. Actually confesses to her crush (sort of)
In this kind of lighthearted romantic comedy anime, it’s difficult to get a real love confession out of anyone. Even if the main characters are clearly perfect for each other, they won’t get together because the show needs to have a silly ending (lookin’ at you, Monthly Girls Nozaki-kun). Blend S sort of sticks to this convention, but there’s a bit more going on than meets the eye.
By episode 12, Maika and her manager Dino have developed a special relationship. They’re enamored with each other’s cultures, get along famously, and even start to think that they look like a couple while they’re walking Dino’s dog. In the last episode’s ski trip, Dino screws up his love confession to Maika and decides that it’s a sign from above saying that he should spend more time with her before he takes it further. Maika seems to know that Dino loves her and reciprocates by proclaiming her love for the whole group and falling asleep in his lap. They don’t get together exactly, but this exchange and the image in the credits that shows them walking together and smiling implies that they do start dating eventually.
Maika is the kind of cute anime girl who you love for more than just her looks. Her sadistic first impression entertains the Stile customers, but her friends love her for the sweet cinnamon roll she really is. Along with her passion for traveling the world and learning new things, it’s no surprise why Dino is completely smitten with her. Let’s just hope he leaves some room for us!
What did you think of our highlights? What’s your favorite Maika moment? Do you have any favorite Blend S memes? Let us know in the comments below, and thanks so much for reading!