The final addition to the cast is a cute dog Dino takes care of as per Maika’s request. I love that Maika names the dog “Owner”; it sounds ridiculous but the joke behind it amuses me so much. See, Maika intended the name to be synonymous with Dino’s Manager status but it instead sounds like the dog is a level above Dino in the Stile hierarchy. Evidently, the name fits too since Owner is able to manipulate Dino to do his bidding by threatening to eat his anime figurines.
Later in the episode, Aika decides to visit Stile to see what Maika’s job is like. Being the doting older sister, Aika can’t help but make small talk with Maika while the latter is on the job. Maika naturally gets annoyed but Aika mistakes it as her staying in-character. Perhaps the most amusing moment with Aika was when you find out how much of a stinking psychopath she is. She sees Maika crying over the counter, thinks Dino is behind this (when he’s actually cheering her up), pulls out a naginata and prepares to strike him down. Good grief, what kind of family does Maika have?
Kaho desperately needs to pass a math exam so Mafuyu offers to tutor her. Prior to this episode, there hasn’t really been a subplot focused entirely on Kaho and/or Mafuyu so I welcomed this episode as a nice change of pace.
Mafuyu especially shined in this episode. As entertaining as it is to see Mafuyu switch from her imouto act to her actual, soft-spoken persona, I think I love this hidden yet savage temper of hers the most. The very opening scene won me over as Mafuyu rejects a customer asking her out while staying in work mode. And throughout the rest of the episode, Mafuyu belittles Kaho’s fear of losing her video games if she fails this test and literally beats it into the latter’s head that studying is important. It’s hilariously harsh but it’s also Mafuyu’s way of showing how much she cares about Kaho as a friend. The fact that Mafuyu adjusts her work schedule for Kaho makes it evident that she’s doing this as a labor of friendship. Kaho may have a first world problem but Mafuyu is still willing to help out and seeing the former recognize and appreciate that is great.
There’s also a fun bit where Mafuyu shows off her make-up expertise with Kaho and Maika…and Akizuki. Good grief, Mafuyu made Akizuki look a decade younger after that makeover. Hearing Tatsushisa Suzuki’s voice project out of that babyish face made it even funnier.
Dino and Maika head out to the park with Owner and they practically look like a married couple with a pet dog. It’s interesting that Owner has such a strong affinity towards these two characters as his personality is a mix of both of theirs. Owner is evidently just as hopeless with females as Dino is but he also has those unintentionally menacing eyes that Maika has. It was fun seeing Owner get jealous towards Dino comfortably interacting with Maika and later sharing possibly Blend S‘s best glare scene with Maika.
Once more, Dino tries to make his feelings towards Maika more obvious to her. This time, he decides to try the good old “corner the girl to the wall” trick though the first time, Maika doesn’t recognize the intimacy and the second time, she just gets annoyed. What the segment really nails is that while Dino flat out sucks at making Maika’s heart race, Maika is able to make Dino blush with so much ease. I thought the bit with the cornering was pretty funny but the real kicker turned out to be Maika pulling a reversal and cornering Dino herself. Drawing her face in a more shoujo art style was a nice touch too.
I also want to acknowledge the scene Akizuki and Kaho shared this episode. I have been enjoying how they interact with one another these past few episodes, especially with how Akizuki acts more like tsundere can Kaho does. I initially didn’t care for Akizuki getting flustered over the size of Kaho’s breasts during the beach trip but as time goes on, he’s become more conscious of her as a person. In fact, in this episode, Akizuki realizes he accidentally hurt Kaho’s feelings and tries to apologize for it by making a parfait for her. I’ve largely focused on Maika and Dino as a pair but now, I hope Akizuki and Kaho will hook up at some point as well.
Episode 12 (END)
It’s snowing so the Stile gang decides to take a trip to a skiing resort. For the most part, this episode is all about the cast having fun before the show comes to a close and I quite enjoyed what I watched. It’s astonishing that Dino can snowboard really well; for once, the manager is actually great at something! There’s all sorts of fun visual gags as well from Miu taking “notes” at the resort to Hideri deliberately falling in the snow in a futile attempt to get men swooning over him. Also, Maika and Kaho were seriously rocking those braided twin tails.
The key moment in this episode was actually Dino finally giving an earnest confession to Maika. Unfortunately for him (and much to the chagrin of everyone else), Maika was asleep during all this. She does vaguely recall the confession from a dream though the girls found that her response was saying that she loves everyone at Stile. I suppose I expected Blend S to go the “Ha ha, not yet” route but at this point, I think Maika is up there with Nozaki from Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun for most oblivious love interest ever. I suppose progress was sort of made though. As clueless as Maika can be, she is picking up the clues bit by bit and she certainly did get very flustered around Dino at one point. Who knows, maybe with time, the ship will finally sail.
After the trip, the gang celebrate Christmas Eve together with some cake. Oddly enough, it’s during this final scene where you find out how the Stile staff came together prior to Maika joining them. Turns out, Akizuki and Kaho were pretty polite and modest (that faded away quickly) and unsurprisingly, Mafuyu pressed the panic button when she first met Dino. Not only was it fun to hear these stories, this interaction allows for Maika to reflect on her own time at Stile. This cafe may be a whacky place to work at but it’s here where Maika gained a ton of new friends. Realizing how thankful she is, Maika tells everybody that she loves them; a notion that was played for laughs earlier but is now a perfect way to end this show.
And that concludes Blend S! I’m normally pretty content with a single cour for every cute girls doing cute things anime I watch but I would absolutely love to see another season of this show. Simply put, it was a lot of fun and it even has its fair share of clever jokes. Sequels are always a wild card with anime but I seriously hope that this isn’t the last time I’ve seen of Stile and its charming staff.