Bartender is a manga written by Araki Joh and illustrated by Kenji Nagatomo. It tells the story of a talented bartender who uses his knowledge to lighten the burdens and tensions of his customers’ souls. The manga was published in the Super Jump magazine and was eventually adapted into an anime, airing on Japanese TV for the first time on October 15, 2006, on Fuji TV.
A bit of context
The story of Bartender narrates the nightlife of Ryū Sasakura, a bartender with an already significant reputation in the industry, famous for preparing the best cocktails; this earned him the nickname he is known by, “Kami no Glass” or Glass of the Gods. The anime’s story differs in several aspects from the manga, as while the manga follows Sasakura as he practices his craft in different bars, and the Eden Hall does not appear until many chapters after the start of the series, with the plot already well underway, in the anime, Sasakura is none other than the owner of Eden Hall.
In the anime, Sasakura spends his time in Eden Hall, which is “supposedly” hidden at the back of the Ginza district, in the center of Tokyo. It is said on the streets that “normal” people cannot simply find the bar and enter, but must be “invited” by the owner. Throughout the anime, Eden Hall is visited by various characters, of varied appearances and with different and in many cases, peculiar problems, all heavy burdens for their souls. They are “invited” on each occasion to Eden Hall, and delighted with Sasakura‘s drinks, which, with the Bartender’s collaboration, help the customers reflect on their conflicts and make decisions that contribute to the resolution of their problems.
The mystery of Eden Hall
According to the anime, the legend goes that a long, long time ago, fairies were celebrating a grand banquet, when a human appeared, the only one who had managed to get there. The fairies fled in fear, leaving behind a cup, which was picked up by the human. The cup had an inscription: “If you break this cup, the happiness of Eden Hall will die.” This legendary event is what has given the establishment its name, even having an ice sculpture in the freezer, representing the magical cup and the bar’s good fortune.
The 2006 anime was produced by Palm Studios, directed by Masaki Watanabe, and broadcast on Fuji TV in Japan, starting in October 2006. Each of its 11 episodes tells independent stories of Ryū‘s customers and some information about the drink he serves them. It is considered different from most anime, given the “real” scenarios it presents. The stories told in the animated series are adapted in such a way that some of those told in the manga are finely blended, becoming a “not so faithful” adaptation of the original work.
Bartender: Glass of God
On October 21, 2022, the new project was announced, which would later be explained to be another TV series (not a feature film). Bartender: Glass of God will be produced by Liber and directed by Ryōichi Kuraya, with scripts by Mariko Kunisawa, and Yōichi Ueda in charge of character design and chief animation direction. Its premiere is scheduled for April 2024, and the license for distribution outside of Asia is held by Crunchyroll.
What about you? Do you have any problem you would like to tell the Bartender? Come in, get comfortable, relieve that burden on your shoulders while you have a relaxing drink, and tell me in the comments what’s making you so tense 🙂