Studio: A-1 Pictures
Publisher: Square Enix
Genre: Comedy, Slice of Life, Romance
Release: S1 (2010), S2 (2011), S3 (2015)
Well here’s a comedic slice-of-life anime that completely does away with the cliché school life! I first found out about Working!! (or Wagnaria!! in the US) after looking up Neregate’s list of upcoming anime for the fall of 2011– the setting was quite enticing.
I guess this is because of how this show’s atypical characters with ages ranging from 16-28, all with their own issues in life, try to blend in with the rest of the crew to make their restaurant in top shape. And such attempts would usually end in hilarious confrontations.
Plot: We start out at the family restaurant Wagnaria, where 17-year old yet elementary student-looking Poplar Taneshima is asked by the branch manager to look for a new part-timer since they have been understaffed lately. Upon asking classmates, friends and eventually strangers around town, Taneshima stumbles upon our main guy Souta Takanashi and asks him if he wants the job.
Thinking that the petite girl who approached him is an elementary student, he asked if she was lost and even volunteered to accompany her to the police station- until Taneshima shows her school ID which revealed her to be his senior. Loving all things cute, small and 12-year old below, Takanashi agreed to work as a part-timer purely for Taneshima’s sake. He didn’t know what was waiting for him in Wagnaria.
On his first day, Takanashi learned the basics on how to do his job properly. That of course included meeting the other staff of Wagnaria, which he initially thought of as nice and hardworking people.
It didn’t take awhile day to shatter those first impressions– branch manager Kyouko eats away the restaurant’s food supply and barely does any work, Taneshima is always made fun of because of her height, chef Satou always smokes and has anger management problems, chef Souma awfully knows a lot about the other staff and uses that knowledge as leverage.
Floor chief Todoroki always carries a katana in her waist and Inami is an androphobe who punches any guy that comes near. Takanashi is not exempted from this circle of weirdness either, since he’s labeled as a lolicon by the others due to his unusual liking to anything cute, small, weak and 12-year old below (Taneshima being an exemption).
Being the slice-of-life anime, such a show must have very unique and interesting characters with dynamic yet varying relationships that are mostly comic or romantic– or starts from comic then develops to something romantic. That’s to compensate for the mundane plot and setting the show has. After all, who wants to watch a show about boring people working in a boring restaurant?
To answer that, the image below portrays one of the many fun relationships between the characters where Kyouko (top-left) is always being catered to by Todoroki (top-right) who has a huge girl-crush on her. Todoroki would habitually talk to Satou (bottom-left) about her never-ending admiration for the branch manager, and Satou would get hurt and irritated since he has unrequited feelings for Todoroki. Taneshima (bottom-right) would now become the target of Satou’s anger since she is easy to annoy and never fights back.
The first season would mainly deal on how Takanashi helps Inami with her androphobia, since the branch manager deliberately made their shifts on the same schedule to resolve their issues. Takanashi would get a beating most of the time well because, he’s a guy. But that doesn’t stop him from helping a friend!
Besides Wagnaria, you’ll also sometimes find yourselves in Takanashi’s home. He’s really got it tough, since other than the war-like rampages occurring at work, he also has to deal with three older sisters (Kazue, Izumi, Kozue) who just can’t get along, let alone take care of themselves properly. Good thing he has Nazuna by his side, a responsible little sister who would lend her manipulative powers as the youngest child to his advantage.
Besides the average yet sometimes moe animation that is devoid of deliberate ecchi fan service (thank God), the background music and songs used are also things to watch out for. Those groovy American country-rock style riffs really blend in well when things are going haywire in the restaurant, and the OP and ED songs are also nice.