I will confess, 13 was not my favorite episode of Working!!. Not surprising, as it dealt primarily with my least favorite character (Inami) and storyline (her overwrought quest not to punch Takanashi-kun, and her crush on him). Nevertheless, we did have a few outstanding new developments:
– The first signs that Takanashi feels something for Inami, too
– More Kotori-chan traptacular goodness
– Adorable Poplar dog-and-frisbee fantasies
Yes, Maya – our mystery “normal” girl finally gets her moment (or two) in the spotlight. And it turns out that Matsumoto Maya takes normal very seriously – abnormally so.
But on balance, this simply wasn’t one of the funnier episodes of a very, very funny series. that’s OK, though – it was a good ride and I still give high marks to the series on the whole. For each problem that I could complain about – most seriously, an overemphasis on Souta-Inami, the lame punching gag and not nearly enough focus on Poplar – there are ten things to celebrate. Slice-of-life is hard to do, but when it works, it’s a great ride. It’s the characters that make all the difference, and the cast of Working!! is one of the funniest and most interesting around. Each of them are odd and have huge quirks, but somehow they’re all sort of believable. There are no cardboard cutouts in this show – everyone stands out. Each is instantly recognizable and totally unique.
Another thing Working!! gets right is the feel of working as a young adult in a restaurant. The sense of family that develops – even when you don’t actually like some of your co-workers that much – really shines through. Those people become your family in a way, comrades-in-arms.
A word, as well, for the OP and ED. Both the music and the animation sequences themselves are perfectly suited to the material.
So in the end, it was a big winner for me. Even though I find Inami to be the most cliched character in a cast of originals, I didn’t dislike anyone here. If ever a series was well-situated for a sequel, this is it – it really feels as though we’re just observing these characters’ lives anyway. We could go away for a while and come back not expecting much to have changed. There are ample plot paths that could be followed (though I think this show is actually better when it doesn’t worry too much about continuity) and lots of source material. Clearly, the show has been popular – DVD sales are pretty good and it’s struck a nice chord with the otaku fan base in Japan. There’s really no downside to a sequel here, and I sincerely hope we see one.