Bartender is a 2006 television anime series based on Araki John’s manga of the same name. The anime was directed by Masaki Watanabe, written by Yasuhiro Imagawa and animated by Palm Studio. The series first broadcast in Japan on October 2006 as part of the Autumn season.
“Buried deep within the back streets of Japan’s Ginza district is a small, intimate bar named Eden Hall. Pay it a visit and you’ll find yourself served by Ryu Sasakura, a bartending prodigy who legend has it can mix the best cocktails anybody has ever tasted, and who always knows the ideal cocktail for any patron.
However, Eden Hall isn’t the kind of establishment that just anyone can wander into – instead, it plays home exclusively to those whose lives are plagued with problems and find themselves searching for solace and guidance. Once you find your way to the bar, Ryu’s expertise will find the perfect cocktail to soothe your soul, and provide exactly what you need to console and assist you.
Take a trip to Eden Hall, meet its varied patrons, and listen to their troubles while you sit back and relax. But remember: drink – and watch – responsibly.”Plot Synopsis via Anime Limited, January 2021.
Anime Limited have explored a variety of anime for their catalogue. You have the newer shows like Konosuba, the classics like Millennium Actress, and then you have the niche titles like Belladonna of Sadness and The Tatami Galaxy. Sometimes Anime Limited would acquire a series that is considered so random and manage to release it in the UK on Blu-ray – and in this instance we have Bartender.
Bartender aired in 2006 and ran for 11 episodes. This series much like many anime during that era are often overlooked and nowadays would be left forgotten unless you were one of those who were there at the time to watch them. I personally like the distributor revisiting these forgotten shows and films because it gives them another share in the spotlight for the modern anime fans.
Palm Studio had only worked on a few titles, their most notable was Genshiken, but Bartender does have one notable staff inclusion and that’s Yasuhiro Imagawa who wrote the screenplay for this series. He also wrote the screenplay for the 1997 Berserk series and directed both Giant Robo and Mobile Fighter G Gundam.
Anime Limited first announced their acquisition for Bartender back in MCM London Comic Con in October 2018 and was one of their first to also be brought over to the United States & Canada under Shout! Factory. The UK & US pretty much have identical discs and packaging.
Collector’s Edition Contents:
Anime Limited packaging treatment continues with their release of Bartender, with some interesting physical items.
This package offers a rigid box that houses the series in a digipack alongside a few physical items. Those physical items are 9 cocktail recipe cards and 4 exclusive “Eden Hall” coasters. This is very intriguing but it fits with the show’s concept. The recipe cards also include some stories and character info, so it’s basically like a booklet but split up instead.
The artwork is free of any information or BBFC content and the info sheet covers the information and specification like previous Anime Limited releases. The collector’s edition Blu-ray is limited to 1000 units for an SRP of £59.99. Currently there’s no standard edition Blu-ray but it is expected to follow suit later down the line.
I would have pre-ordered Bartender during its early bird window, but it was on offer during a time where I literally had no money. Fortunately it stayed in print long enough to be on offer for £24.99 during Anime Limited’s 12 Days of Christmas 2021 sale so I immediately picked it up. With the Anime (Un)Limited membership, the price was lowered to £22.50.
- Rigid Box with digipack packaging and clean artwork
- Info sheet for specification and BBFC description
- 9 Cocktail Recipe Cards
- 4 Exclusive “Eden Hall” Coasters
Distributor: Anime Limited
Released: 18th January 2021
The collector’s edition release for Bartender contains all 11 episodes across two Blu-ray discs, with the encode & authoring done by an unknown individual which has worked with Anime Limited on authoring a few other releases. Now this series had never been released on Blu-ray before, not even in Japan, so it has been upscaled for this release.
The audio options available only include Japanese with English subtitles. The white subtitles are locked during playback, and the regions are playable to Blu-ray players set to A & B.
|Audio||Japanese Linear PCM 2.0|
|Video||1080p High Definition Upscale format|
16:9 aspect ratio
Blu-ray On-Disc Extra Features:
- Clean Opening “Bartender”
- Clean Ending “Hajimari no Hito”
Bartender is available to order through multiple retailers in the United Kingdom & Ireland. The collector’s edition can be picked up on Amazon.
(Disclaimer: Amazon links are also included when available. They are affiliated so if you decide to order them, I’ll earn a small percentage if they ship which will help me with any hauls or small bills.)