Anime of Tomorrow
Tag Archives: Popula Taneshima
Final impression – unchecked misconceptions are hilarious (8/10)
Autumn 2011 (13 episodes) (alternate titles – Working’!! – Wagnaria’!!)
The staff of the family restaurant Wagnaria aren’t your average group of employees. Takanashi grew up in a family of tall women, despite the fact that he has a fixation with small and cute. Popula is a short, high school girl who is sensitive about her height. Inami is an incredibly strong girl with an intense, often violent fear of men. Yachiyo is a hard-working, air-headed waitress who always carries a sword with her. Yamada ran away from home for unknown reasons and leeches off of others’ kindness while living in the restaurant’s attic. Satou is a hard-working chef with an off-putting personality. Souma is Satou’s comrade in the kitchen and has an amazing talent for digging up people’s secrets. And overseeing all of these personalities is Kyouko, a glutton of a manager who constantly eats all the restaurant’s supplies.
Working!! 2 is one of those rare anime where the story is so episodic that it’s hard to imagine a large amount of character growth or a clear conclusion to an overarching story. Normally this would characterize an anime that feels unpolished with no clear goal or motivation—especially for a sequel—but that’s not the case. While the cast has some typical stereotypes, they all have enough depth to be interesting and engaging. Every day is an adventure for the characters as they contend with daily problems and pursue their own goals with great enthusiasm. While it would be nice to see some of the relationships become more defined and start to blossom more fully, it’s not necessary for the series to feel complete. Indeed, many of the most hilarious moments in Working!! 2 stem from compounded misunderstandings and can’t be resolved without drastically altering the spirit of the anime. In the end, Working!! 2—just like the first season—is a unique formula that makes you laugh and smile.
Initial impression – nicely moe, but lacking growth
Autumn 2011 (12 episodes) (more info)
When publishers decide that they’re going to denote a second season’s title with an apostrophe to make it distinct from its prequel, I think it’s high time to bring back subtitles. I’m talking about Clannad After Story, Full Metal Panic Fumoffu, Naruto Shuppuuden, Final Fantasy VII Advent Children, Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood. It’s so much easier on the filing system and provides a convenient cue to quickly tell what you’re talking about in simple conversation.
Ok, now that I’ve got that off my chest, Working!! 2 picks up where season 1 left off. Popula is still short, Inami is still afraid of men, Aoi is still a freeloader, Yachiyo is still carrying a katana, Kyouko is still a lazy manager and Takanashi is still a moe fanboy. It’s a nice, diverse cast that is showing a lack of development, unfortunately. Taking a moe cast out of school and putting it in a restaurant was a good enough change of pace for season 1, but now that it’s already been done, Working!! 2 needs something else to make it stand out from its own past success. The first episode is still funny, but I’m being led to predict stagnation. All the same, I’m hopeful that the rest of season 2 will prove me wrong. If all else fails, I’ll get to enjoy the guilty pleasure I share with Takanashi.