“Lord of the Takanashi”
Not Fantasy, but Family Drama:
And… we’re back! It’s been three months since the last WORKING!!! episode, as this hour-long special came as a surprise to us all (and what a pleasant surprise it was). I remember while watching the previous episode, I didn’t feel like we were approaching the end – right up until the final scenes. Thankfully, that was purposefully done, as everything was wrapped up nicely in this one.
I’ve pretty much said most of what I can say about WORKING!! after blogging the third (and best) season. But I will clarify this: it’s one of the best anime comedies I’ve ever seen. Worth noting however, is the red herring they gave us with the preview for this finale back in September. Surely I wasn’t the only one who thought there would be more fantasy/game scenes like this one? There was no way they could keep that up for a 48 minutes, but I thought we would have gotten more of that, and not just the first few seconds. In saying that, this whole episode felt like a game, as Inami had to pass by each of the sisters (levels) to get to Souta’s mother (the final boss) and rescue Souta (her love interest). It played out nicely, fantasy or not, and gave the Takanashi sisters yet more screentime. I’ve never loved them as much as the main Wagnaria staff, but I thoroughly enjoyed each of them facing off with Inami, considering how non threatening they all were. There was no tension, but that was part of the joke, and it worked.
The core theme of this episode seems to be family. Whether blood-related or not, family ties and family drama was in full swing here. Souta’s mother was being built up as the Big Baddie in the last few episodes, and while her dastardly ways seems more twisted the more you think about them, I’m glad the resolution to all of this was a simple one. There was no epic battle, or exhausting melodrama – this was basically all just to get over the ‘lies’ that the cast were using as a shield, and being honest with their feelings and their words. Similarly, Yamada’s family had some scenes here as well, showing Yamada’s chosen big brother interacting with her mother, and how the Yamada siblings are still not on the best of terms. I never expected anything else, but damn I do love those purple haired dorks. Kirio in particular has been one of the funniest characters this season, and of course, Yamada was already (and is still) the best!
Souta x Inami!:
If you’ve been following my posts for this season, you’ll know that I didn’t initially love the Souta/Inami pairing. I knew it was bound to happen, but I always felt that Souta and Popura were the best pair, and I still do think that. But this episode gave a good explanation for why Inami deserves to ‘win’; calling back to Souta’s father getting a confession by his mother, who looked even tinier than pint-sized Popura. The funniest part of it all is that fact that she apparently willed herself to grow – there’s not logic behind it, and I loved it. That gave me a good chuckle. But the callback of father and son, and their height complex and having to ‘get over it’ was fitting enough for me to go “Ok, I’m fine with this.”
The scene on the bench with Souta and Inami was a wonderful one. The tension, the blushes, the build up to the “I love you“, to a teary-eyed Kirio popping up and giving his congratulations. All that was missing was a kiss, but I don’t think we really needed that. The fact that these two finally confessed to one another is enough of a resolution, along with everything else that was wrapped up this season. Any complaints I have are petty when you consider what we did get this year with WORKING!!!.
Overview – (Final) Final Impressions:
Since I’ve already given my final impressions, so I’ll try to get straight to the point: WORKING!! is great. Each season has been consistently fun, and this was the best one yet. There were so many unfinished character arcs and plot threads that were dangling from the second season that many of us expected to be ignored… but they weren’t! Confessions were made! Wives were found! Lost sisters were found! Love blossomed! So much happened, and most of it was thoroughly entertaining and made me love the characters even more than I already did before.
Bringing it back to the theme of family, the true family here is the workers at Wagnaria. Having been in a similar customer service job, I can empathise with them (though they have it very easy compared to most of us, I’ll tell ya), and the humour always worked. But best of all was the characters. I always gush over Yamada because I truly do think she’s the best and one of the moat endearing characters in all of anime, but make no mistake, I love every single member of this cast. Some got more screentime over the course of the series than others, but that’s the nature of these things; some are more popular than others, but that’s fine, because I love them all. And I’m sad to see them go. Yachiyo may be the only one quitting her job, but it feels like we, the audience, are the ones leaving the restaurant for good. As if this was our last visit before we move away to another city, far away where we’re never likely to run into these familiar faces again.
It’s rare for anime comedies to get three seasons, an hour-long finale, and reach a natural conclusion – yet WORKING!! is a rare sort of series, I suppose. It feels good to see it end like this, yet sad to see it end at all. I wish I could say “this is not the end!”… but it is. And that final scene with Popura hanging up the group shot almost brought a tear to my eye. God, I love this show and all these characters.
Thanks for the laughs, WORKING!!.