Welcome to YuriReviews, home of yuri reviews, may I take your order? What’s that? You want an anime review of a comedy dealing with the shenanigans involving the employees of a family restaurant? You are in luck, because that’s the post du jour~
Being short on staff, the family restaurant Wagnaria is seeking new recruits, so the small and cute waitress Poplar is tasked with finding one. After multiple failed attempts at doing so, her desperation leads her to ask anyone in sight, and it just so happens that one of the people she asks is a lover of small and cute things, so he immediately accepts the job. What follows is the random day-to-day operations of the restaurant and its group of eccentric characters.
What ultimately sets Working!! apart from many other slice of life anime out there is the restaurant setting and the situations it provides. To me, any slice of life that largely takes place outside of a classroom is already in my good graces, and thanks to the dynamics between the various characters, there’s rarely a dull moment to be had in this show. Although, to be more specific, it’s the relationships that drive the story in interesting directions.
The relationship that gets the most screen time has to be between Souta and Inami, and due to her crippling androphobia, Inami’s violent outbursts towards Souta are always entertaining and enjoyable. It’s just plain fun to watch him be Inami’s outlet to express her fear of males, and the physical comedy never really got tiring for me. There’s also some potential romance brewing between the two, and this plays a major role in the story as well.
Speaking of romance, everyone’s favorite pairing is surely Yachiyo x Kyouko, and not only is Yachiyo the driving force behind the yuri in this show, she’s also a Yuri Anime Legend to boot! Yachiyo seems normal, if you disregard the fact that she carries a katana everywhere she goes, and while Kyouko is technically the manager, she almost never does any actual work and instead leaves it to the other employees. These two have to play second fiddle to Souta and Inami, but they were every bit as fun to watch as those two were, if not more so. Earlier, I mentioned romance, but that doesn’t actually apply to these two, unless you consider Yachiyo’s desire to always satiate Kyouko… with parfaits as romance. 😛
At twenty-eight, Kyouko’s a bit older than Yachiyo (who’s twenty), though I find it kind of nice that not everyone in this show is a teenager—unlike a majority of characters that you’d find in this genre. Kyouko’s someone who’s easy to like, and if you consider how happy she makes Yachiyo, that’s all the more reason to like her! In reality, it’s a bit of a one-sided relationship that’s almost more of a crush than anything, so if you haven’t already seen it, don’t set your expectations too high.
We see how Yachiyo and Kyouko first met, and how that sets the tone for their relationship, but overall, I was disappointed that those two didn’t get more screen time together. It doesn’t help that this is compounded by the fact that they’re actually involved in a love triangle, since another employee at the restaurant, Satou, happens to be in love with Yachiyo. It’s not actually as bad as it sounds, since Yachiyo still has no idea that Satou really feels that way (Yachiyo is too busy caring for Kyouko to notice anyway, so it shouldn’t matter that he doesn’t outwardly show it in any way). All that said, you get the sense that this is a situation that won’t ultimately have a happy yuri ending, but I’ll cross that bridge when I get there, so let’s just stay focused on this season. Some people might hate Satou for “interfering”, but he’s actually one of the more normal characters, and personally, I didn’t find a legitimate reason to dislike him at all.
Quickly moving on to the other characters, later on, Aoi joins the fray, and while I initially wasn’t a fan of hers, I eventually warmed up to her, and I’ll admit that she was a good addition to the cast. I wasn’t a fan of Souma either, but Satou and Inami often put him in his place, so it’s all good. Poplar was as adorable as can be, and her sensitivity to her height makes her even more adorable. That’s her whole schtick, yet it’s so cute that I don’t even mind whatsoever. All in all, the quality and variety of colorful characters is a major boon that helps make the story in Working!! more than the sum of its parts. And when you take into account the yuri factor, you realize that this anime has quite a few things going for it.
The year this was released was 2010, and visually, Working!! doesn’t really stand out too much. Since so much of the show takes place within the confines of Wagnaria, more often that not, this is a very average-looking slice of life anime. Given the type of anime this is, it’s not a big deal, so it doesn’t make a huge difference anyway. In the grand scheme of things, the adequate visuals are good enough so as to not hinder the rest of the show, and I think that’s about all you can ask for.
From an audio standpoint, you get mostly what you’d expect from something like this. The background music is forgettable and isn’t unlike what you’d typically find in an anime of this type, but the one aspect that I enjoyed the most (by far) was both the OP and ED. With the girls (sans Kyouko) singing the OP and the guys singing the ED, both of these are nice and catchy and are good ways to kick off an episode as well as cap things off. Inami is the only character that got her own ED, but I can imagine how much better things would be if everyone had one, particularly a Yachiyo and Kyouko love song. And with that lovely thought, let’s put a bow on this review.
You don’t get three seasons of an anime series without a winning recipe, and Working!! seems to have discovered it. It has all the ingredients you’d need for a entertaining anime, and since there are two more seasons to review, that’s a very, very good thing~