This is a pretty old manga. And I think it is one of the hidden gems of the manga side of things. This manga’s pattern would later go on to inspire stuff like Death Parade. Yes, Bartender is not as psychology-heavy as Death Parade but, the concept is similar. Seriously, I have no idea how I even missed this manga so far.
So welcome back to another edition of our manga recommendation series. This week we are talking about Bartender. I somehow found out about this manga only recently but, I have caught up and I have been enjoying it a lot. It doesn’t have much in terms of plot but, what the author has done here is frankly quite amazing.
Bartender is written by Joh Araki and illustrated by Nagatomo Kenji. It was serialized in Super Jump from 2004 to 2011 and it is 167 chapters or 21 volumes long. There were a few spin-off chapters also published in Grand Jump in 2011 after the regular serialization. There is also an anime adaptation of this manga by Palm Studio, that came out in 2006. I haven’t watched it myself so I won’t comment on how good it is but, you can watch that if you want.
Bartender doesn’t have much in terms of plot as you may imagine. It is literally a manga about a well, bartender doing bartender things. Only invited people can come to his bar and he tries to solve their problems with a good drink. Ryu got his training in France and worked as an assistant for a while in Japan after coming back. He then eventually opened his own shop in Tokyo, in which as I said, customers can only enter if Ryu invites them. That is literally the plot, it is an episodic “adventure” about people finding their relief in the drinks Ryu makes.
Aside from certain characters, you will almost never see the same customer again. But that does not mean that they are not well written or anything. In fact, it’s the opposite. Each customer has a full chapter dedicated to them and their problems. Ryu makes a drink perfect for their problems and their mood to freshen them up. Ryu himself is a good main character for a series like this as he does his job and lets the minor characters shine.
Bartender has some pretty good artwork. Even though you probably won’t see a character again after their chapter is over, the character designs still remain distinct despite having so many characters appear over time. The art really helps in bringing out the emotion of the customer’s story. It is really well used.
Why should you read Bartender?
Quick pointers on why you should check out this manga:
- Simple plot
- Great characters
- Rather short
- Good art
That is all for now. Let me know what you guys think in the comments. Bartender is a really underrated manga and you should definitely give it a chance. With that said, I will take my leave here. See ya!!