WORKING!! – 13 (END)
「デートと言う名の”決戦”、小鳥遊と伊波のそれから…」 (Deeto to Iu Na no “Kessen”, Takanashi to Inami no Sore kara…)
“Takanashi and Inami in the So-Called “Decisive Battle” of a Date…”
Better late than never I guess, as Matsumoto Maya (Kawase Akiko) finally gets some screen time and lines in the final episode. Though limited, it was easy to get a feel for her quest to remain the normal person out of the strange Wagnaria staff, while the rest of the episode focused on Souta and Mahiru’s first date together. More correctly, I should say Kotori-chan and Mahiru’s first date together, thanks to Aoi and Hiroomi’s ploy to get him to cross-dress whether he wanted to or not. Souta’s first mistake was agreeing to stop by Wagnaria for an outfit check by Popura, whereas his second one was deciding to dress up in drag over heading home for a dry change of clothes. The end result wasn’t too bad however, considering he was able to avoid getting punched by Mahiru for the entire date. That’s not to say there weren’t times when it looked like it that wasn’t going to happen. In contrast to Souta’s close encounters with death, it was nice to see Mahiru earnestly try to ensure that things went smoothly, starting off with a trip to a toy store for all things cute and cuddly. In particular, he was really fond of a pink rabbit none too different from the one Kozue gave him long ago.
I doubt Souta would have any difficulty stepping into a store primarily targeted towards girls even if he wasn’t dressed up as one, but it was a thoughtful showing on Mahiru’s part nonetheless. That goes doubly for her showing concern for Souta putting up with the get-up and offering to just call the date off, which he was appreciative of. All in all, their date was cute simply because Mahiru truly likes Souta and is trying to overcome her androphobia the best she can. With most of their time spent together focusing on trying to hold hands, the humor didn’t take off nearly as much as prior showings, but it was nice in that Souta x Mahiru sense. I did get a chuckle out of how Souta had to abandon the first attempt due to a “cuteness emergency”, which also saved him from feeling the wrath of the Mahiru punch at the same time. Unsurprisingly, they weren’t able to hold hands even at the very end of the date due to interruptions; however, it did end on a pretty sweet yet comedic note with Souta coming to the realization that he finds a big and brash girl like Mahiru cute in a way. It goes completely against his mini complex, which Mahiru had to return in time to overhear him saying he sees her as a dog of sorts. Luckily for him, he amended that statement by saying she’s more of a “cute savage dog” and all Mahiru could care to process was the “cute” portion of what he said.
While their date itself didn’t lead to a whole lot of laughs, Popura’s interpretation of dog and Frisbee had me almost floored from her misunderstanding. Also, during their date it was pretty funny to see Jun lure Aoi and Popura away from tailing them by offering to treat them to food and making Hiroomi buy Aoi fifty thousand yen’s worth of new clothes. Aside from Mahiru whom Hiroomi can’t blackmail, Jun is always there to keep him in check with frying pan and all if need be. Ultimately, not a lot changed in Wagnaria after the thirteen episodes we’ve gone through, but the quirky cast of characters in this relatively unchanging environment has led to some really enjoyable moments in the past three months.
My original outlook on this series coming into it was that it’s a cute slice-of-life comedy with an all-star cast. Looking back, it’s been just that in a lighthearted setting and actually ended up being a lot funnier at times than even I was expecting. I attribute it mostly due to the Wagnaria staff with all their nuances and complexes, which when pitted against one another leads to some pretty hilarious results. At times, it’s like trying to mix water with oil, but it’s that very inability for everyone to get along peacefully that drives the entertainment value. To top it off, an air of romance developed between Souta and Mahiru, which added another angle to approach all the gag-like situations. Evidently, not a whole lot came from the actual relationship aspect, but it’s not something I’d expect to see in a series that’s a comedy first and foremost anyway. I was just happy how they worked it in in some form and used it to depict some resemblance of progress in a series that really doesn’t need any.
There’s no denying that a series like this may grow old viewers over time (myself included), but it’s based on a 4-koma manga just like K-ON and features slice-of-life comedy in much the same fashion. There really isn’t a whole lot of depth here, but that in itself is one of the appeals of the slice-of-life genre all together. I probably wouldn’t have minded if this series ran for another thirteen episodes or so, but am pretty content with what was showcased in its short one-cour run. So with that said, if anyone’s looking for nice and short series that will provide some good laughs without ever taking itself seriously, WORKING should fit the bill perfectly.