「ワグナリアへようこそ♪小鳥遊、働く。」 (Wagunaria he Youkoso♪ Takanashi, Hataraku.)
“Welcome to Wagnaria♪. Takanashi, Work.”
Clean slice-of-life comedic fun with an all-star casts comes our way from a family restaurant of all places! Given how a lot of anime these days are high school-based, it never hurts to change up the scenery at the very least, which is what we have with WORKING. As you can probably guess already, we’re still dealing with high school students except they’re working at a family restaurant. All the amusement in this series comes from the quirky characters and their time on the job. This first episode follows Takanashi Souta (Fukuyama Jun) as he gets recruited by his sempai Taneshima Popura (Asumi Kana), who’s adorable as hell because she looks like a helpless elementary school girl.
At Wagnaria family restaurant, we’re introduced to Souta’s new manager, Shirafuji Kyouko (Watanabe Kumiko), who’s anything but manager-like. She hardly cares to work and will kick customers’ asses if they cause problems. She also happens to be pretty sensitive about her age (28), which Souta finds out the hard way. Added to the mix are kitchen staff members Souma Hiroomi (Kamiya Hiroshi) and Satou Jun (Ono Daisuke), who are the more level-headed of the bunch, followed by floor manager Todoroki Yachiyo (Kitamura Eri). In Yachiyo’s case, she’s a very kind and gentle person who’s receptive to customers, except she carries a katana around with her that makes you think twice. Finally, there’s Souta’s fellow server Inami Mahiru (Fujita Saki), whom he’ll never want to have to work with because of her fear of men.
What does that all accumulate too? Good times! As this is slice-of-life, there isn’t much in terms of plot, but it’s a nice combination of cuteness and humor. It hasn’t quite been “laugh until you cry” funny, but it’s amusing to watch nonetheless. So far, a lot of the cute humor has come from Popura and her petite size, which Souta absolutely adores as a self-proclaimed “minicon” — his own coined term for being a lover of all things small and helpless. In the more outrageous humor department is their manager Kyouko, who was funny as hell here for kicking a customer over and telling him that they don’t condone violence in the restaurant. Follow that up with her calling some hoodlums to mug them outside right after, and you have the makings of one crazy but utterly awesome manager.
As mentioned above, the cast is pretty noteworthy as well, with Fukuyama Jun starring as Souta. When he’s not going for the Lelouch effect that he’s so well-known for, he actually does lighthearted comedy and is a lot of fun to watch. Asumi Kana on the other hand brings all the cuteness in Popura and I’ve grown quite fond of how she’s able to do that in the characters she plays. Then there’s Kitamura Eri using her soft voice to play Yachiyo, which is all right, but I really love it when she brings on the idiocy like she did as Eve in NEEDLESS. Still, it’s a nice change up and I get to hear her sing in the series’ opening theme song, so I’m not complaining (…not too much anyway). Finally, you have some big name male seiyuus in Ono Daisuke and Kamiya Hiroshi, plus veteran female seiyuu Watanabe Kumiko to round out the package. All in all, I found this first episode enjoyable ever since its early broadcast premiere a month ago (March 6th), so if you’re looking for some lighthearted laughs without the fan-service, you should give this one a try if you haven’t already.
Note: The opening sequence was shown as an ending for this first episode.