|This article is outdated. (June 2011)|
Cover of the first volume of Bartender as published Shueisha featuring Ryū Sasakura
|Genre||Drama, Slice of life story|
|Written by||Araki Joh|
|Illustrated by||Kenji Nagatomo|
|Original run||December 3, 2004 – 2009|
|Anime television series|
|Directed by||Masaki Watanabe|
|Written by||Yasuhiro Imagawa|
|Original run||October 15, 2006 – December 30, 2006|
|Directed by||Katayama Osamu|
|Written by||Takahashi Natsuko, Yamaura Masahiro|
|Original run||4 Feb 2011 – 1 Apr 2011|
Bartender (バーテンダー Bātendā?) is a Japanese manga series written by Araki Joh and illustrated by Kenji Nagatomo. Its focus is a genius bartender who uses his talents to ease the worries and soothe the souls of troubled customers. The manga was first serialized in the Japanese manga magazine Super Jump. The manga was later adapted into an anime which was broadcast between October and December 2006 on Fuji TV. In February 2011, TV Asahi began airing a live action television version starring Masaki Aiba of the Japanese pop group Arashi in the lead role. The Drama has mostly an original plot but follows the manga.
Bartender follows the nightlife of Ryū Sasakura, a bartending prodigy who is said to mix the best cocktails anyone has ever tasted. Sasakura bides his time in a bar named Eden Hall, hidden in a nook of the Ginza district in downtown Tokyo. It is said that normal people cannot simply find and enter Eden Hall, but they must be invited in by the host. Over the course of the anime, various figures of high and low stature, all of whom share unusual troubles and heavy burdens, are "invited" into Eden Hall and are treated to Sasakura's fine drinks, which, with guidance from the young bartender, lead the customers to reflect upon their lives and decide on a course of action to tackle their problems.
- Ryū Sasakura (佐々倉 溜 Sasakura Ryū?) Voiced by: Takahiro Mizushima(anime), Masaki Aiba (live-action)
- Ryū is a genius bartender who helps the people who come into his bar. Although not thoroughly explained at first, Ryū actually runs the bar by himself, and Eden Hall was his first bar. He worked as an assistant for a senior bartender before he opened Eden Hall, and that gave him the experience he needed to handle the job. In episode 9, it is revealed that Ryū has in fact made a mistake by serving a cocktail in an incorrect glass to a lady, as she requested a different drink afterwards, despite his almost flawless outlook. He also served an incorrect cocktail to the man she was accompanying and tried to cheer him up but failed. Due to this, for every year after he opened Eden Hall, Ryū has reserved that one special night for this man whom was Eden Hall's first customer. Often, Ryū maintains his composure and throughout the story, puts on a brave and sincere effort to help the customers who fret and seem disturbed in his bar. He has been shown to handle all sorts of spirits and know most of the history of the drinks he serves. Ryū is also known to serve the "Glass of the Gods", and being entitled to this, made Eden Hall a pleasurable venue for customers seeking the menu of their hearts. According to the manga, Ryū is 26 years old.
- Miwa Kurushima (来島 美和 Kurushima Miwa?) Voiced by: Ayumi Fujimura(anime), Shihori Kanjiya (live-action)
- Miwa initially comes to Eden Hall to ask Ryū to define what spirit was contained within a bottle she broke during her childhood. Miwa, when she was little, was shown to be the only child of the family. Her father decided one day, that he'd propose to Miwa's grandfather to change the inn that he has been running into a fully comfortable hotel-like bar, due to the change in era and customer's requests. However, Miwa's grandfather was hesitant, and decided not to take in his son's proposal. They later became apart and distant from each other, until the day came when Miwa's father called her grandfather and asked him to taste a special drink that he would like to present to him. On that fateful day that Miwa broke the glass as she gripped the bottle and ran towards her grandfather. She tripped and the bottle, which was encased in a bag, broke and its contents spilled. Miwa felt guilty as she thought if only they had the drink together, her father and grandfather wouldn't be apart like they used to. Not long after that, Miwa's parents were killed in a car accident, and this has halted her chance of ever finding out the name of that special drink. After much discussion with Ryū, the mystery of the drink was solved, and Miwa had the chance to finally allow her grandfather to have a taste. The drink was Suntory's Kakubin (referred to in the show as "Kaku"), and shortly after this episode, Miwa appears almost in every other episode as a side or minor character, and she usually narrates part of the story. She has been known to be a regular visitor at Eden Hall, and has invited one of her friends to the bar. In episode 7, Miwa takes care of Ryū after he has fallen sick, although she was unable to fetch a doctor. In the manga version of Bartender, Miwa works for Kamishima, the first customer featured in the anime.
The Bartender manga is written by Araki Joh and illustrated by Kenji Nagatomo. It was serialised in Shueisha's biweekly seinen Super Jump magazine and the chapters collected into seventeen volumes with first one released on December 3, 2004, and the final one on November 4, 2009.
|01||December 3, 2004||ISBN 978-4-08-859454-5|
|02||May 2, 2005||ISBN 978-4-08-859495-8|
|03||September 2, 2005||ISBN 978-4-08-859528-3|
|04||January 5, 2006||ISBN 978-4-08-859553-5|
|05||May 2, 2006||ISBN 978-4-08-859575-7|
|06||October 4, 2006||ISBN 978-4-08-859599-3|
|07||January 4, 2007||ISBN 978-4-08-859616-7|
|08||May 2, 2007||ISBN 978-4-08-859638-9|
|09||September 4, 2007||ISBN 978-4-08-859666-2|
|10||February 4, 2008||ISBN 978-4-08-859688-4|
|11||May 2, 2008||ISBN 978-4-08-859707-2|
|12||October 2, 2008||ISBN 978-4-08-859732-4|
|13||February 4, 2009||ISBN 978-4-08-859758-4|
|14||July 3, 2009||ISBN 978-4-08-859786-7|
|15||November 4, 2009||ISBN 978-4-08-859799-7|
|16||March 4, 2010||ISBN 978-4-08-859827-7|
|17||August 4, 2010||ISBN 978-4-08-859844-4|
|18||December 29, 2010||ISBN 978-4-08-859866-6|
|19||March 18, 2011||ISBN 978-4-08-859879-6|
|20||September 2, 2011||ISBN 978-4-08-859894-9|
|21||February 17, 2012||ISBN 978-4-08-858786-8|
The anime opening theme "Bartender" (バーテンダー Bātendā?) is sung by Natural High featuring Junpei Shiina while the ending Theme "Hajimari no Hito" (始まりのヒト?) by Natural High. Both themes were released inside the single "Hajimari no Hito/Bartender" produced by Sony Music Entertainment Japan under DefStar Records label on December 13, 2006.
|#||Title||Original air date|
|October 15, 2006|
|At the bar Eden Hall in Ginza, Ryū Sasakura creates cocktails dubbed "The Glass of the Gods." Hotel redesigner Kamishima holds deep disregard for bartenders because of an embarrassing mistake he made as a younger man. He is shown the skill of the profession by Ryū, who creates a simple water-mix (mizuwari) by smashing Eden Hall's signature ice cup. Kamishima's bar redesign incorporates Ryū's explanation of the importance of bars. The featured cocktail is the Grasshopper.|
|02||"Menu of the Heart"
"Kokoro no Menyū" (心のメニュー)
|October 29, 2006|
|Miwa Kurushima comes to Eden Hall to ask Ryū to find her "Menu of the Heart." As a child, she broke a bottle of alcohol intended to mend the rift between her father and Taizō Kurushima, her grandfather. The two had been fighting over modernizing the family hotel. Shortly after this accident, Miwa's parents were killed in a car crash. Ryū extrapolates that the beverage was Suntory's Kakubin (referred to in the show as "Kaku"), a beverage at the crossroad of old and new Japan. The featured cocktail is the Nikolaschka.|
|03||"Glass of Regret"
"Kōkai no Gurasu" (後悔のグラス)
|November 5, 2006|
|Shimaoka, the head of an advertising company, is retiring, and his old love, the actress Mieko Yuzuki, has just died. The two of them wanted to perform together in Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House, until he decided to take over his family's company. Ryū uses the Margarita and its history to show Shimaoka that love can live on. The featured cocktail is the Margarita.|
"Kohaku no Yume" (琥珀の夢)
|November 12, 2006|
|Ryū assists a couple on their first date. Meanwhile, Sayo Yusada is waiting for her husband for their anniversary, however the two have grown apart. Ryū mixes the Bijou Cocktail, then creates an Amber Dream from it. He explains that amber takes time to get its beauty, much like a marriage and the time a couple puts into it. The featured cocktails are the Bijou and Amber Dream.|
|05||"Things Forgotten In a Bar"
"Bā no Wasuremono" (バーの忘れ物)
|November 19, 2006|
|A young salesmen, Shibata, is given a transfer notice from his boss after his sales figures are low. Ryū lifts the young man's spirits by telling him about Ernest Hemingway and the story The Old Man and the Sea. The featured cocktail is the Daiquiri.|
|06||"The Story Inside the Glass"
"Gurasu no Naka no Monogatari" (グラスの中の物語)
|November 26, 2006|
|Shizuo Kasahara, a screenwriter, has been having trouble writing scripts. He poses a riddle to various bartenders, having ordered four brands of single malt Scottish whiskeys (Laphroaig, Miltonduff, Glenburgie, and Ardbeg), asks what should be next. After going to several bars, his long-time friend and director Ryūji Mineyama catches up with Kasahara and they argue over why their productions are no longer original. Ryū answers the riddle, and by doing so helps the two men with their problem. The featured cocktail is the Aberdeen Angus.|
|07||"Closed Day for the Bar"
"Bā no Kyūjitsu" (バーの休日)
|December 2, 2006|
|Ryū has fallen ill and the bar is closed for the day. Two senior bartenders who visit Ryū decide to concoct some drinks to help him. In the meantime, two customers enter the bar: Kōji Sōma, a politician embroiled in a scandalous court case and endlessly pursued by the paparazzi, and a female lawyer who is supposed to meet Kōji to discuss the case but misses the time. The two bartenders separately give the customers "Rusty Nail" and "Bull Shot", who eventually arrange to meet again. The featured drink is the Rusty Nail.|
|08||"The Lie at the Counter"
"Kauntā no Uso" (カウンターの嘘)
|December 9, 2006|
|Ryū receives a visit from two customers, a woman and a man; the latter claims to be a doctor. While they are having a usual talk, Ryū quietly watches and listens to his conversations, as he serves Angel's Tip to both of them. In later time, Ryū is challenged by the man at the start of the episode to perform a "taste test". He arranges different marked glasses on the counter, pours in water into each of them, and places a drop from several different pastis bottles into each glass. He is to turn facing away from the counter as the man randomly switches the positions of the glasses for him to guess the names of the drinks. As this continues, the episode switches to a flashback scene where it appears that the man on the counter turned out to be a con man after his wish to perform a fake proposal to the woman in the bar is declined by Ryū, whom detected his error playing as a doctor during their early conversations. The man went as far as adding a different pastis into one of the glasses during the taste test. Ryū however, successfully detects his trick and accurately guessed the mixture of which the drink contained. The featured drink is "Pastis Water".|
|09||"The Bar's Face"
"Bā no Kao" (バーの顔)
|December 16, 2006|
|It is raining heavily in Ginza and Miwa is running towards Eden Hall to seek shelter from the storm only to find a "Reserved" sign posted on the front door. Seeing her puzzled look, a nearby street food vendor explains to her that every year on this particular day, the bar is closed for a single customer, the customer who Ryū served a mistaken cocktail. Sensing Miwa's doubt that Ryū could ever make a mistake in fixing a drink, the vendor proceeds to tell the story of Ryū's early days as an apprentice bartender at Bar Saito through an extended flashback. An important looking businessman named Ryūichi Minegishi arrives at Bar Saito with an attractive, younger date, Kanako. Minegishi seems to know the bar's master, Ryū's senior bartender, quite well and gives Ryū his business card which indicates that he is a CEO of his own company. Kanako orders a champagne cocktail and Ryū serves her Champagne Pick-Me-Up in a tall flute glass. Kanako looks displeased and returns it, puzzling Ryū as to what he did wrong.The cocktail featured in this episode is the Gin & Tonic.|
"Kurisumasu no Kiseki" (クリスマスの奇跡)
|December 23, 2006|
|A professor, who calls himself Okita, specialized in computational fluid dynamics comes to Eden Hall on a Christmas night. He claims to follow a star up until she enters Eden Hall. He later gets into an argument with Ryū after declining his recommendation of having a champagne, and downing a cup of Guinness beer instead. Afterward, Ryū offers Okita the Black Velvet, which is a mixture of both beer and champagne. He doubted Ryū and boastfully predicts that the drink will spill out of the glass, generally basing off the idea from his years of thorough research and study of fluid mechanics. This is not the case however, as Ryū successfully pours both the beer and champagne simultaneously, without the mixture pouring out of the cup. It is noted in this episode that Ryū is amongst the very few bartenders in Japan who are able to mix the Black Velvet perfectly without pouring them separately. Thus, the featured drink of episode 10 is the Black Velvet.|
|11||"Water of Life"
"Inochi no Mizu" (命の水)
|December 30, 2006|
|Ryū finally decides to end his apprenticeship at Eden Hall in this final chapter. The episode revolves mostly on the life of a bartender. A few cocktails are featured in the episode, such as the Red Eye, No Name and Rob Roy. "The Macallan 1946" is referred to by Ryū and his senior bartenders as "The Water of Life", and it is mentioned that its bottle is passed through every generation of bartenders who has completed their time at Eden Hall. The main narrator of the series makes an appearance in this episode and visits Eden Hall and sat down by the counter to have a talk with Ryū, although the rest of the episode is told from Ryū and both his senior bartenders' perspective. Ryū mentions that he feels fortunate to be able to live through his job, choosing not the craft of bartending, rather the life of a bartender. Therefore, the final featured drink is "Bartender".|
- "Arashi's Masaki Aiba stars in "Bartender" drama". Sankei Sports via Tokyograph. Retrieved December 13, 2010.
- Joh, Araki; Kenji Nagatomo. "Chapter 1". バーテンダー. Volume 1. Kenji Nagatomo. Shueisha. pp. Page 8. ISBN 978-4-08-859454-5.
- Joh, Araki; Kenji Nagatomo. "Chapter 1". バーテンダー. Volume 1. Kenji Nagatomo. Shueisha. pp. Page 29. ISBN 978-4-08-859454-5.
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