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[Snack Basue]
AKA: スナックバス江
Genre: Comedy (Seinen)
Length: Television series, 13 episodes, 24 minutes each
Distributor: Currently available streaming on crunchyroll.
Content Rating: TV-14 (Alcohol use, suggestive dialogue, mature situations)
Related Series: N/A
Also Recommended: Excel Saga; Strange+
Notes: Based on manga by Forbidden Shibukawa, published by Shueisha

Snack Basue


Snack Basue is a Japanese "Snack Bar" (Emphasis on "Bar"- snacks have little or nothing to do with it- see Review.) The patrons discuss their eccentricities, obsessions, and random topics with "Basue", AKA "Mama", the owner of the place, but mostly with Akemi, the young "hostess" who tends the bar.


This is supposedly a "Snack Bar", but I kept wondering where the snacks were. The ONE time someone mentions food, they're offered something that's HORRENDOUSLY unhealthful. I would think that an establishment like this would have salty "beer snacks" handy (for an extra charge of course) so the customers could buy MORE drinks before becoming inebriated. As it is, instead, they're drinking watered-down shochu (I'd never heard of it; Wiki says it's 25-35 % alcohol, and another source says it's often made from "sake dregs", so are we talking cheap booze here?) Curiously, when the "bartender" wants to get a customer to leave, she starts making the drinks stiffer.

What we have here is a pared-down version of a Hostess Club, with the roles of Hostess and bartender combined. Basue ("Mama") is the owner and senior hostess (I suspect she's not a blood relative of Akemi, though), though the show's main character is definitely Akemi. Akemi's blonde, has a kind of hair crest, and has a tendency to insult a few of the regulars, though they keep coming back anyway. She's especially harsh toward a guy called Morita, but he sort of deserves it. (More later.) As for "Mama", she gets a few quips in, and sometimes has to gently chide Akemi when Akemi goes a little too far. But the problem is that "Mama" completely lacks sex appeal, which means she's often collateral damage in some of the conversations that occur.

It's a show that's almost completely dialogue, though the episodes always end with one or more of the cast covering some karaoke song. But I got hooked by a wonderfully ridiculous sight gag ("Akemi-chan has gotten cuter!"), and I think "Pinky Unicorn" (who only shows up when one is stressed) sealed the deal; I became committed to seeing it through.

Of course, much of this relies on cultural references that non-Japanese would never get, but there were still many hilarious moments, though the humor often gets pretty raunchy. At one point a bar patron shows up with a collar around his neck, which was apparently placed there while he was drunk. Akemi fears he has been forced into some kind of Death Game, but on further examination it becomes clear that he was recruited into a very different kind of game.

If this review seems a little more random than what I usually do, it's to match the show's own mood. So let's talk about Morita!

Morita has the most screen time among the patrons- and is the most infuriating character as well. I completely agree with one of the Crunchy Commenters here: you WANT to have some sympathy for him, but he's too gross (and persistent in his grossness) for this to be POSSIBLE. He's constantly complaining about being a virgin- and constantly trying to get Akemi to either fall in love with him or, at least, to give him some sexual release. (He'll accept the latter in the crudest, and most perfunctory manner imaginable.) I noticed something interesting: in the show's opener, we have a montage of photos of the patrons, and Morita looks pretty normal there- but he's depicted much more grotesquely (particularly his mouth) in the show itself. There's a motif here that a character's physical appearance in the bar scenes is supposed to mirror his behavior. Same can be said for Kazama, another obnoxious character who looks normal in the montage but much less normal (and ALWAYS sweaty) when actually seen sitting in the bar.

Pretty much the opposite of Morita is a strait-laced guy named Yamada; he and a young woman named Kosame (who's been hired as Akemi's kouhai) are the only characters who embody the usual Japanese reserved personality, and so they serve as detached commentators on much of the insanity of the others. Those others include a smooth-talking guy who's read every advice book by an author named Douglas Hamada- who seems to have written advice books for EVERYTHING. (Our patron himself is named Miki Azuma- but if you blink, you'll miss his name. Seriously. This has also reinforced my impression that the Japanese are VERY big on advice books.) And finally, there's "Tatsu-ni". In his early appearances, we get that he's trying to hit on any new guys in the bar ("Encountering strange men is part of the charm of Snack Bars"), but as the show progresses he's more into trying to represent the wisdom, and melancholy, of being middle-aged. (Oh, I DID forget to say anything more about Kazama- because I was really TRYING to forget him. Originally he accompanied Yamada to the place, and he's second to Morita in being insufferable, though with HIM it's more random acts than any particular obsession.)

The show has plenty of what seemed to me misfires. A bit with Teenage Mutant Ninja...CATS went nowhere, while I'm not really into gaming enough to appreciate the satire and inside jokes when an "adventurer" starts making appearances in the bar. (I gather this is supposed to be a familiar game/anime character.)

On the other hand, the latter discussions do lead to Akemi advising someone pondering an Isekai future to not do so; she says that the ones where the lead gets magic powers and a harem are definitely the exceptions, and that most probably find only disaster in their "new" world. And I bet she's right. Yet another reason (BESIDES the obvious ones) to avoid encounters with "truck-kun".

If you can overlook Morita's schtick (which gets old fast), you've got a show which throws out a lot of punches- but OCCASIONALLY they actually connect. However- and I can't stress this enough- THE HUMOR IS ADULTS ONLY!!! There's no nudity or actual sexual activity- if you, like Morita, were expecting THAT, you'll be disappointed- but the subject certainly gets discussed- and with Morita, to the point of DISGUST. The thing kind of looks like the TV sitcom Cheers might have if done by the creators of Excel Saga. Which is a Rec, by the way.Allen Moody

Recommended Audience: This is Crunchy's list (and MY comments on it): Drug/Alcohol Use (Well, yes, it's in a BAR); Nudity (Not really so much); Profanity (YES, DEFINITELY); Sexualized Imagery (well, YES); Suggestive Dialogue (THROUGH THE ROOF ON THAT ONE, BABY!!!!) And yet Crunchy holds out for age 14. Go figure.

Version(s) Viewed: Digital stream on Crunchyroll.
Review Status: Full (13/13)
Snack Basue © 2024 Forbidden Shibukawa/SHUEISHA/Snack Basue Production Consortium
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