Those look standard to me. The saddle you're looking at is designed to pivot as the lever moves to the cable itself isn't bent (because it would fray quickly). The smaller hole on the top is there so you can see what's happening, and on the underside is a larger hole with a slot so that you can get the cable end in and out. How the cable end its once the brakes are set up isn't really important, the system is designed so that the cable/cable end can rotate and your brakes still work.
A wikihow page on changing brake cables has this photo that shows the slot a little more clearly:
I find that sometimes when fitting new cables the saddle will jam on the lever, but once there's tension on the brake cable that will vanish - it's the saddle being out of position that causes the problem.
It's more likely that there's muck around the calipers jamming them up, or the cables need replacing. The brake cable and outer should last at least a year or 5000km (they wear out as well as get old), but it's also possible that especially cheap ones, or ones exposed to salt water, won't last that long. But the bike in those photos looks very clean and new, so it shouldn't be that.
I suggest releasing the cables either from the frame, or if that's not possible, undoing the cable at caliper, and running some chain lube down inside the housing. If you don't know what you're doing this can make your brakes not work, so find some instructions online and follow them if you're not sure. There are a lot of options, and if you can find a set of instructions that match your exact brake it'll be easier.