30 Jun 2010

Working!! (Anime) Review

Working!! (2010)
Format: TV Series, 13 X 22 minutes
Studio: A-1 Pictures
Score: 3 stars
Summary: Another show that started off slow. The characters grow on you and the humor gradually ramps up. It's not LOL funny, but it's funny enough and cute to boot. Rather nice and relaxing show to look forward to every week.

When Wagnaria (a restaurant) is in need of part-timers, Popura (aged 17 despite her looks) goes out looking for a suitable candidate and stumbles upon Takanashi (aka Katanashi, aged 16). Takanashi soon discovers the quirky people who work at Wagnaria and has to adapt in order to survive physical attacks from Miharu Inami and mental attacks from Soma and Yamada.

I have to admit, I have a weakness for funny moe shows. Stuff like Ichigo Mashimaro and Azumanga Daioh are among some of my all-time favourites. Working!! doesn't quite hit that same high, but it's great effort, one of the best in it's genre for the past few years.

What strikes me the most about this series is how one-dimensional the characters are, and yet the writers can come up with many cute and funny situations to put them in. Some jokes might be repeated several times, but it never gets boring to see Popura getting bullied for her shortness or Nazuna suspecting that her brother might be a machoist. The story never gets dull (I'm looking at you K-ON!), the humor gets better over time, and the producers never resort to ecchi or overly moe moments. That's right! No random ecchi (a la Bakemonogatari during the Snake arc) or crazy moe (a la K-ON's moe moe kyun moment) in this series! Must be the first series I've seen where they have a Onsen Episode (TM) where none of the characters actually went into the onsen.

Production values stay consistent and appropriate, with the exception of the last episode. I guess they decided to put more effort into animating the starting of the episode (with some CG) since they going to have excess budget from all the Popura merchandise they are going to sell. A-1 Pictures (Kannagi, Sora no Woto) actually has a pretty good team of animators, but I suppose most of them were working on Senkou no Night Raid and Welcome to the Space Show (which I'm looking forward to!).

I'm quite glad that Working!! managed to mostly avoid the trappings of moe, comedy, and slice-of-life series. I'll now pay more attention to Director Yoshimasa Hiraike, especially if he's working on another comedy slice-of-life series.

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