I've been struggling with this review for the longest time, trying accurately describe my conflicting emotions with regards to this series. In an attempt to ease the writing (typing) process, I've decided to disregard the usual categorical segmentation of Story, Animation, blah blah blah. This is due, in part at least, to my own past struggles with properly segmenting character and story summary, and being forced to hammer out a paragraph about the sometimes lackluster elements of animation and/or sound (certainly the case this time around).
Also, I couldn't think of a way to convey this review without some spoilers, so... yeah. There's only 1 aspect that I feel might have a chance to diminish enjoyment while watching, but it is there.
Right, on to the review proper!
Yay! Terrible Font!
I've never had the misfortune of meeting a cock tease, being a pasty-skinned, bespectacled Chinese guy from Singapore, which was recently named "Geek Central" by CNNgo, who'd sooner fork over 20 bucks for a punch in the gut than be granted entrance to a club on a Saturday night, but I really couldn't find a more apt analogy for metaphorical blue balls the Working!! plot left me with. Coining the term 'plot tease' and uploading a definition to UrbanDictionary might seem a little hasty, but I sorely considered it.
If you didn't already read the synopsis on your way to clicking to this review, Working!! follows the day-to-day antics of a ragtag group of employees at a famires (family restaurant), and neatly falls into the Slice of Life Comedy genre, which is already plagued with titles like Minami-ke, Hidamari Sketch, and Ichigo Mashimaro, that collectively have less plot than your average Tweet. So why would I have a problem with Working!!'s shortcomings in the plot department? Well, the short answer would be because it half-succeeded in having one. Or rather it strung me along, then slammed the door in my face after inviting me in for some hot metaphorical coffee.
Shamelessly stolen from our forums...
The delicious caramel that holds this series firmy together is the quirky cast of characters. Arguably, many stereotypes are represented, and while they don't truly break the mould, they definitely help bore out and deepen it. The protagonist cum straight man of the series, Takanashi Souta, is at a glance your standard protagonist fare, with a side of lolicon meshed with a fondness for small & cute things, juxtaposed with an inherent distaste for older folk (anyone over 12).
Well, okay, maybe not really standard fare in the strictest sense.
Over the course of the series, it's revealed that this stems from 3 looming, less-than-ideal elder sisters, and being raised almost like a daughter by both them, and his father. In order to establish and substantiate his position as a male, he takes to raising his younger sister in his father's stead. But even she is maturing fast and becoming more independent by the day, sinking that little boat he's been keeping afloat in. This leads him to Inami Mahiru, his violently androphobic coworker, and his taking it upon himself to help her overcome her disorder.
All this, wrapped in the guise of a gag series. I know, right? (Excuse me, I need to choke myself for using that.. *gkkt*)
Our dear Main Protagonist: Top-right
The rest of the gang have a fair bit to read into, and most do a good job of pushing the boundries of their respective archtypes. Not only that, the chemistry among the cast is like the chemistry between Mentos & Coke - sweet, frothy, fun, and a bit of a mess. It's been a while since I last saw such a well-thought-out cast attain this level of interaction.
But alas, now that I've sung enough praises of the character design to have them canonized, it's time to get back to my sob story.
This screenshot needs context, doesn't it?
The only proper story arc that develops over the series that isn't exploited for the sole purpose of giggles is one that deals with the potential relationship between androphobic Inami and Takanashi. And while I'm well-aware that many a sitcom (and these days, even regular dramas) relish, and indeed hinge upon teasing viewers with actual story progress, only to yank the plot back via its leash, I felt especially disappointed this time around. With the curtains drawn and no sequel visible on the horizon, it seemed the conflicts and struggles endured by the characters towards their goals had been invalidated, leaving me feeling cheated and in no mood to do anything but sigh in disappointment at the closing scenes.
I'm being overly emotional. Ultimately, Working!! achieved what it was advertised and set out to do, and did so arguably better than any other series I've viewed recently. Plot progress was just a surprising gem to be found in such a series, which only served to disappoint when I realized it was made of plastic. And really, marking this series down because of it would be like penalizing a student for being a myopic, pasty-skinned asian kid with slanty eyes.
Some people can't help it, okay?!
There are no comments - leave one to be the first!