Working is certainly unusual in anime circles in that stuff actually gets resolved. And in pretty good time, too. How many shows have we seen over the years where even the endings aren’t really endings? But here we are, barely more than halfway through the show’s final season, and most of the major loose ends have been at least partially tied up. There’s still a lot of ground to cover in the shipping department, but even there at least the destined pairings have at least been acknowledged by the invested parties.
This was a pretty serious episode, maybe the most of the entire series (“This has suddenly become a downer” indeed), but under the circumstances I think that was to be expected. I think if we step back and answer honestly, the circumstances behind Aoi’s running away from home can hardly be surprising. She gets away with it because she’s a very good comic character, but Yamada is an incredibly self-obsessed and shallow person. So is it really a shock that she ran away from home because her mother made her study and her brother ate her natto (in my book, the latter is an act of great noble self-sacrifice).
OK, there’s more here. Aoi and Kirio’s father died, and their mother Kikuno (another ironic Working! name) is a comically bad communicator. So bad that their late father gave both of them a huge “Mom Manual” to help deal with her, though neither actually read it (Aoi didn’t even know what it was, assuming it was another study book her mother wanted her to read). Even without taking things to this ridiculous extreme moms bad at communicating can seem like the biggest tragedy in the world to self-absorbed adolescent girls. But really, when push comes to shove, Aoi leaving home was just baka, selfish Yamada being Yamada.
That said, the rest of the Wagnaria gang trying so hard to make things right for her was actually rather touching. Hell, Souta even lets her stay at the Takanashi house – and another dysfunctionally selfish female in the house is the last thing he needs. This being Working! where coincidences don’t exist of course there’s a huge twist here – turns out Kikuno is actually (along with capital-M Minegishi) one of Takanashi’s Mom’s executive assistants (there’s more mysterious allusions to what Takanashi-san might do for a living here, but no real clues). And that’s how she ends up at Wagnaria even though Aoi has refused to meet with her.
Cyborg Mom is certainly a piece of work – even faced with seeing her daughter for the first time in months, she can’t quite bring herself to say a word (Kirio has to interpret). Eventually Aoi flees to the park, but fortunately she bumps into the housewife in the bushes there, and that leads to Kikuno catching up and an eventual reconciliation. Not only that, but Aoi drags the HitB back to Wagnaria with them – and she, as we know out (because again, no coincidences) is actually Otoo-san’s wife. And she even has a name – Haruna – and the brief reunion between husband and wife is arguably more heartwarming than the one between mother and daughter, because Otoo-san has ben trying so hard to find Haruna.
With the meeting of Hyougo and Haruna, all of the major unresolved plots seem to have had their dots connected – with the exception of Taknashi’s mother, which wasn’t even a topic of conversation as far as I can remember until this season. I’m sure that will get some attention before we’re done, but I suspect the major focus of the final five episodes is now going to turn to the various romantic entanglements – which are in their embryonic stages, after all. In normal circumstances I would expect those to be left open-ended, but the way things are going here, who knows?