Working has always been an anime comedy with great chops – it could range all over the stylistic palette and deliver spot-on humor. What we’re seeing more than ever this season (though not exclusively this season) is that it can veer pretty far off the comedy template without missing a beat. This was probably one of the more intense episodes in the entire series, and that’s on the heels of what’s been its most “serious” block of episodes so far.
While it’s largely overshadowed now by the Souta-Mahiru thread, life does go on for the rest of the cast. We’re still casting around for what the endgame for Yachiyo and Satou is going to look like, but Kyouko coming to terms with the two of them getting together is probably a big step. I don’t much care who makes her parfaits – even in a comedy, Kyouko is so thoroughly obnoxious that I can’t find it in me to like or care about her – but she is probably the biggest remaining obstacle standing between Yachiyo and Satou so when she shows signs of wanting that to change, it’s news.
“My gut tells me we’re looking at someone who’s going to surprise on the low-key side”? Yeah, great call there, Enzo. Well, we can’t be right all the time, and I definitely whiffed by a mile on this one. Turns out all the consternation in the Takanashi household over the matriarch’s return wasn’t a dramatic feint – those poor kids (and they’re a load to deal with in their own right) had every reason to be on-edge over what was coming. It seems this is one case where the apple of neuroses didn’t fall too far from the tree.
There is one Takanashi child who’s anxious for Mom’s return, and unsurprisingly it’s the baby of the family, Nazuna. But she’s happily prepared for Okaa-san to teach her how to be en “emperor” – which has Souta understandably depressed at the notion of mother perverting the one kid she hasn’t messed up already. It seems as if he and Kozue have drawn the worst hands of all – Souta was dressed up as a girl, and Kozue was so robustly ignored that her mother couldn’t even remember her name.
Getting into the area of really, really bad parenting is an uncomfortable place for a comedy to go (at least for me). But the Working track record here is Inami’s father, and in that case (probably the most serious subplot of the first two seasons) the show didn’t play it for comedy, but rather seemed to be casting Inami-san as the awful person he is. It’s too early to know whether Takanashi Shizuka (the seiyuu legend Orikasa Ai) is going to be portrayed the same way – she is used mostly for laughs in this episode – but my hope is that her awful track record with her kids is not going to be glossed over. She’s certainly a piece of work – in addition to politics she seems to dabbl in the occult (and maybe killed her husband doing so), and she has Kikuno standing in for her on sensationalistic news programs.
This is probably going to be coming to a head through the involvement of Inami, much as it was Souta’s that caused things between Inami and her dad to go on the boil. Shizuka has got wind of the fact that her son is in love, and got the bit in her teeth to put Inami on trial to see if she’s “worthy” of involvement with the Takanashi name. It’s been Souta who’s come to the aid of Inami over and over through the course of Working, but now it may be time for Mahiru-chan to return the favor – Souta could sure use some saving here. Of one thing there can be no doubt – these two are definitely in love. He’s acknowledged it openly, and she’s acting more the giddy schoolgirl than ever (even resorting to lovey-dovey hair clips this week). Even the “training” is losing its sense of artifice, and I expect that extender to be gone altogether pretty soon.