As all good things must come to an end, the second season of witty series about working at a restaurant, Working!!, has finally concluded with an episode which shows why lolis are simply integral to a healthy society.
A rare first, this episode of Working continues directly at the stopping point of the previous – the series’ adorable short loli character, Taneshima, has for once somehow succeeded in reaching the highly elevated broken items report which she normally could never even touched in her dreams. Noticing this, a fuse breaks within Katanashi – the only explanation for Taneshima becoming able to reach the sheet must mean his diminutive chibi sized sempai has, as tragic as it is, grown just by a bit.
However he’s not the only one who isn’t able to accept this mentally – Sato as well finds himself stressed and on the verge of depression as stress toy, Taneshima, seems to be getting taller even though he’s been doing all he can so she can stay short. As Yamada comes to see Takanashi acting peculiar, she learns the matter revolves around Taneshima – thus she heads over to the loli in question, only to end up misunderstanding and complicating the matter for everyone, as is typical and expected of Yamada.
The new rumor floating around thanks to the foolishness of Yamada, inciting a situation so idiotic, it could simply be called pulling a “Yamada” is that “Taneshima is going to quit”.
Wagnaria gradually falls to tears – worries, angst, and discontent begin to take hold of each of the staff members in their own way. In a form of déjà vu, just as she did within season one, the girl who believes everyone calls her “Matsumoto Normal Maya” because she is supposedly just that standard and mainstream, yet no one actually calls her that, makes an appearance.
This girl who is so compulsively obsessed with being average and only appears for what is literally fractions of a second within the series up till now, as a seemingly recurring joke, becomes a prominent character right within the last episode. Her role in this installment is rather intriguing – she encounters all of the characters and fits in within interactions of Taneshima’s pseudo-departure as if she’d been a significant part of the anime the entire time. While she actually hasn’t, perhaps she does mingle with the characters off-screen more often than we’d think.
When Wagnaria finally calms down a bit, and everything stops “spinning around” in the terribly confound School Rumble fashion, the matter is finally cleared up as Katanashi gets the truth from Taneshima about her future employment status – also learning that she simply became able to stretch further enough to reach the report, and in fact, she hasn’t grown a bit. As for Yamada, she’s scolded – yet as you can see within a certain image below, she’s neither lost nor gained anything in terms of intellect, learning no lesson whatsoever from the ordeal.
While this is a great episode which showcases the importance of Taneshima to the staff of Wagnaria, Working has yet again, for the second season in a row, ended with so many open plot points that the series would look like Swiss cheese if one were to materialize it in their minds. The love story of Katanashi and Inami was not developed nearly as much as last season, or very much at all for that matter – having merely moved forward the same distance as a car which has backed out of the garage.
In fact, this romantic angle of Inami and Takanashi was left off within this episode just short of being entirely ignored – only having been propelled slightly by a single comment by Katanashi about his devoutness to assisting Inami with her illness. Not to mention, Sato’s relational affairs were totally set aside.
On top of this, nothing was ever further revealed in regards to Yamada’s life and why Soma became so considerate of her. Within a certain episode some time ago, Soma kept her from being spotted by her brother dearly as if his life depended on it – yet why? He even spent all his money on her, and quite curiously, at one point it even appears that he was about to say what was possibly her real name. However nothing more of that is ever touched upon.
Then finally, why did Otoo-san even appear in this episode? His presence was completely meaningless and did nothing for it.
Working!! is definitely an exquisite anime – although the pacing has changed drastically in this season from the last, with this spreading focus across all the characters, rather than only on a single protagonist as with the previous season. Likewise, there is more variety in some regards as we see the issues plaguing all of the characters, not simply a select few. This in turn does give the anime a more dynamic spring to it – a fresh sense of vitality.
The setting however feels far more restricted – in season one, we left Wagnaria on occasion and it resulted in an enjoyable watch, yet the extended adventures in this second season were mainly nothing too impressive. Any instance in which the restaurant is abandoned only brings forth some sub-par display which was not intricately evolved – yet the restaurant is the heart of the anime, and thus this is not necessarily a negative factor or complaint.
However these instances in which the anime did go outside of the restaurant felt to be more a side-story than a substantial contribution to the central plot – a good example of this being the “Kozue nee-san” bit.
Although it was a spectacular shift that Working!! began to deliver more, emphasizing more characters, and expanding its plot to reach more ground, the problem is that it did not elaborate anything upon them – seemingly afraid to go beyond the introductory phases of any single element unless it was comedy or gag related. This left the series feeling truly dull in certain episodes as a more direct effect of the broader story was that some routes were simply uninteresting when compared to the Working we know and love.
To this we refer back to the aforementioned “Kozue nee-san” bit – while it was funny to some extent, it was not the restaurant randomness we fell in love with Working’s original season for, and to add to the negative, it didn’t hold much value in the long run of the series. As there is a meager 13 episodes, that screen time could have been better spent. And simply for sake of a second piece of evidence, Otoo-san’s wife is yet another cancerous facet with little worthwhile consequence.
Nonetheless, the ultimate consensus is that it does exceptionally well – for those who enjoyed season one, or are even entirely new to the series, will certainly not regret watching Working!!