Anime

First Impressions: Working!!

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Comedic anime usually doesn’t need to try very hard to be pleasing. More often than not, the exaggerated expressions alone deliver a good laugh or two, whether they involve Sunako of Perfect Girl Evolution screaming about her forgotten youth while opening a portal to hell, or Zetsubou-sensei trying to make himself taller by dangling by his neck from the side of a building.

 

…okay, I take that back. They actually do try pretty hard to be funny and imaginative. It’s just that a lot of series are so good at it that we’ve come to expect a certain level of quality from anime humour, and even when everything just “clicks” to make for an entertaining and amusing experience, we tend not to think too deeply about the effort behind it because that’s just what we’re accustomed to.

 

Working!!, based on a four-panel manga series of the same name by Karino Takatsu and produced by A-1 Pictures is no different. Three episodes in, it’s consistently funny, and on average, it takes about 30-45 seconds from the start of each episode for it to draw out that first amused smirk, which then refuses to subside until the end of the episode.

 

Souta Takanashi is your average 16-year-old highschool student who begins his working life at Wagnaria, a popular family restaurant. Recruited by his minuscule senpai, Poplar Taneshima — ironically named after the tall Poplar tree — Takanashi is a self-professed “minicon.” Or to delve into it a little deeper, he likes anything and everything small and cute. Puppies. Kittens. Poplar. Aside from this little quirk, though, Takanashi has a good head on his shoulders and is pretty normal.

 

Too bad for him no one else at Wagnaria is. (If you don’t want character spoilers, don’t read the bulleted list)

 

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Checking off the list, you have:

 

  • Ditzy lesbian girl with a katana strapped to her skirt.
  • Meek, androphobic girl with an uncontrollable tendency to try and fatally wound any man that comes within 3 ft. of her.
  • The ever-hungry, good-for-nothing manager of Wagnaria whose growling stomach speaks louder and more often than her mouth. Ditzy lesbian girl is disturbingly infatuated with her.
  • Two seemingly normal — but presumably far from it — male chefs.
  • The big boss at Wagnaria, currently searching for his missing wife who went missing ages ago during a shopping spree. She has a terrible sense of direction and apparently looks like a Tengu. If you happen to see her, please let him know immediately.

 

And that’s Working!! in a nutshell for you. If it seems like I don’t have much to say about the show, it’s because there really isn’t much to say about it other than that it’s consistently hilarious and rather original. Perhaps it’s because of its origins as a four-panel comic, but every joke leads into another, and then another, and another, and before you know it, the episode is over.

Ishaan Sahdev
Ishaan specializes in game design/sales analysis. He's the former managing editor of Siliconera and wrote the book "The Legend of Zelda - A Complete Development History". He also used to moonlight as a professional manga editor. These days, his day job has nothing to do with games, but the two inform each other nonetheless.