Original Run: October 1, 2016 - December 24, 2016 Number of Episodes: 13 Genre: Comedy, Slice of Life Based on the Series Created By: Karino Takatsu
***Warning, the following may contain spoilers for WWW.Working. Reader discretion is advised.***
Like any nationwide eatery, there are some things you can expect to be the same no matter where you are — the food, the seating, and most importantly, the service. For the family restaurant chain Wagnaria, the latter especially is no different.
Needing a way to make some extra spending money, Daisuke Higashida (voiced by Yuichi Nakamura) gets a part-time job as a waiter at his local Wagnaria. Daisuke is entirely averse to working and sees his position only as a necessary evil. Little does he know the kind of hardship he has entered.
Immediately, Daisuke sees that his fellow employees have their own unique quirks. Among the loudest of the bunch is the exceedingly hardworking, and equally abrasive, Hana Miyakoshi (voiced by Haruka Tomatsu).
Although Daisuke and Hana don’t really get along, they are among the best the restaurant has on its payroll. Plus, their constant bickering is not the most unusual thing that goes on at their quaint little establishment.
As I suspected from the conclusive nature of the third Working season, WWW.Working!! could be considered its own separate series. Other than sharing the same name and a few minor details, this final — as of this review — installment to the Working series was noticeably independent from the preceding three seasons.
Thus, for the remainder of this review, I will be referring to the entire Working series as follows:
- The first three seasons of Working — Working!!, Working’!!, and Working!!! (Working 1, Working 2, and Working 3 respectively) — will be bundled together to form Working Series 1.
- WWW.Working!! will become Working 4, or when necessary, Working Series 2.
I apologize for the “Working” overload, and I ask that you please bear with me throughout the rest of this post. I promise I will be as concise and as clear as possible.
Jumping off what I said at the top, Working Series 1 and Working 4 are separate entities. If nothing else, that should be considered a positive.
If Working 4 were a mere copy of what came before it, then what point would there have been in getting to know a new set of characters? Personally speaking: Why would I settle, as an example, for a Popura Taneshima clone? I would much rather have the real Popura; a character I saw grow (to my fellow Working fans, pun not intended) over three outstanding seasons.
Since we’re starting from scratch, what better opportunity is there to start fresh?
I may be reading too deep into this next moment, but there was a great shot at the beginning of this season. Main character Daisuke Higashida was heading to apply for the part-time position at Wagnaria when he passed a brown-haired fellow with glasses who looked suspiciously like Series 1’s protagonist Souta Takanashi. The two said nothing to each other, and it was one of those blink-and-you’ll-miss-it kind of encounters. As quick as it was, though, Working had passed the torch. Series 1 was saying to Series 2, “It is your turn now. This is your show. Good luck.”
Series 2’s response was then an excellent follow-up to the previous three seasons. Not to mention, this proved to be an outstanding standalone slice-of-life anime.
It is worth noting this now. Working 4 was easily the weakest of all the Working seasons; being a far cry away from what I consider to be this series’ pinnacle — Working 3. That said, let’s ask ourselves, “What made Working 3, or rather, Working Series 1 so strong?”
Series 1 was a much larger story which had three full seasons to develop its characters and prepare a fitting conclusion to several engaging storylines. After mixing in some brilliant humor and plenty of enjoyable personalities, we were left with something special.
Working 4 had the humor and the personalities, but what it lacked was the three seasons worth of time to develop.
Besides a two-year gap between the conclusion of Working 4 and the posting of this review – with no Working 5 in sight – this season was a self-contained entity. All plotlines saw their resolutions, and there were no lingering questions. Essentially, Series 2 attempted to accomplish in one season what Series 1 did in three.
This could have been a disaster. The fact that it wasn’t one goes to show how solid Working 4 ended up being.
Is that to say this season was perfect in its execution? Not in the slightest, and where this installment stumbled is why it is the weakest of the bunch.
But that’s a side of Working 4 we’ll talk about momentarily. For now, let’s focus on this series’ best aspect.
Working 4 being its own entity notwithstanding, it did operate under the Working banner. As such, there were elements it needed to have for it to be considered a proper Working season. The main one being a restaurant staff consisting of “unique” individuals.
Here is a perfect example of a spin-off story doing the right thing, and it paying off.
As I said, Working 4 was not a carbon copy of its predecessor. The employees of the two Wagnaria restaurants were their own groups. Adding to that, I would argue there were a few individuals in Working 4 who were more memorable and more interesting than some of the people seen in the original.
Amongst this season’s best, I want to give special acknowledgment to two: Kisaki Kondo and Sayuri Muranushi (voiced by Nana Mizuki and Yoko Hikasa).
Kisaki had the personality of a rough-and-tough delinquent. She refused to do any work and couldn’t be bothered to offer a helping hand. This made it funnier when she displayed her extreme intelligence and her dedication at being a caring mother. She could usually read a situation correctly and was never caught up in everyone’s misunderstandings. As a voice of reason, Kisaki was a wonderful counterbalance to most of her co-worker’s antics.
Concerning Sayuri, she was probably my favorite character of Working 4. Her personality was one of indifference and low energy. However, she was also one of the most popular servers at Wagnaria.
The crux to that was, only Sayuri could see her most loyal customers. Though that was concerning on its own, things got even weirder whenever Sayuri wasn’t around because the restaurant then became a lot more paranormal. And yet, the one person unaware of these strange, supernatural occurrences was Sayuri who didn’t believe in illogical things such as ghosts.
Adding to what made her an excellent individual character, Sayuri was the other half of one of the best romance storylines of the entire Working franchise.
Sayuri, along with Masahiro Adachi (voiced by Koki Uchiyama), was a big reason I’m glad Working 4 wrapped its loose ends up in a single season. Sayuri and Masahiro helped make this installment immensely satisfying.
Setting aside the Sayuri-Masahiro subplot, this season’s primary focus was on Daisuke Higashida and Hana Miyakoshi. Together, they were the critical factor that separated Series 2 from Series 1.
Daisuke and Hana were two powerful forces that drove Working 4 to be what it was. It was incredible to see this pair as rivals instead of potential lovers. Even when Daisuke and Hana engaged in couple-like activities, they did so for selfish reasons. These two were quite antagonistic towards one another, and they were usually arguing rather than getting along.
Although their disagreements often turned rude (Daisuke) or violent (Hana), they evened each other out. Neither was able to dominate a situation, nor would they allow an offense to go unanswered.
This level playing field between Daisuke and Hana, as well as with Sayuri and Masahiro, allowed their respective extremes to flourish.
The Working series has relied on its ability to balance itself. Unfortunately, this harmony hasn’t been easy to maintain. Whenever there was a slight shift, this show ran into some real problems. This was true throughout Series 1, and it was mainly the case in Series 2.
There were two aspects to Working 4 that resulted in it being the weakest installment of the franchise.
First, like Series 1, Series 2 had a full cast of characters. There were a lot of people to get to know. Along with those already mentioned, there was also the half-sickly half-lazy restaurant regular Miri Yanagiba, the ditzy and spontaneous cook Takuya Kono, the server who couldn’t speak a word of Japanese Koki Saiki (voiced respectively by Momo Asakura, Hiro Shimono, and Yoshimasa Hosoya), and plenty more. Working 4 had the foundation to go in many different directions, and for a while, that was what seemed to be happening.
Again, like Series 1, Series 2 wanted a bit of romance and relationship building. Its desire to do as much resulted in two very decent storylines.
The problem was, Working 4 tried to pull off THREE romantic subplots.
Back in Series 1, only two romances were going on, AND there was plenty of time to spread their development out while still including all the other characters. Everyone in Series 1 felt important. In Series 2, once it started focusing on its three couples, about half the cast became irrelevant.
Any potential that might have been there, in the beginning, turned into nothing.
Fortunately, the Daisuke-Hana and Sayuri-Masahiro stories were interesting enough on their own to justify sidelining everyone else. When Working 4 focused on these plots, there wasn’t much to complain about.
HOWEVER, that third love storyline was rough. It took that idea of balance I was talking about and smashed it into the ground.
I found it impossible to enjoy what Working 4 did with the relationship between Shiho Kamakura and Yuta Shindo (voiced by Sora Amamiya and Kensho Ono). This was the definition of mean-spirited.
To sum it up, Shiho was the daughter of a wealthy debt collector and Yuta’s father owed a lot of money to Shiho’s father. When they were younger, Shiho and Yuta were close friends until Yuta rejected Shiho. Since then, out of spite, Shiho had made Yuta’s life a living hell.
Shiho constantly bullied Yuta and treated him like a dog. She used Yuta’s father’s debt as leverage to get Yuta to do whatever she wanted. Shiho constantly berated Yuta and disregarded how he was working three jobs to support his younger siblings and ailing mother.
Over-the-top cruelty has its place and can be funny when the receiver is more deserving of it. In Working 4, Shiho was just a spoiled rich brat who held a petty grudge over something that happened when she was a kid.
Plus, we learned why Yuta rejected Shiho. Other than it being his right to do so, Yuta actually had a perfectly valid reason to say “no” to Shiho based on the offer SHE gave him. That only served to make the case against Shiho stronger.
To make matters worse, the relationship between Shiho and Yuta did get fixed, but it by no means got solved. Piss off show. Don’t just sweep this under the rug.
I won’t lie, this segment of Working 4 left a bad taste in my mouth. I won’t make any excuses, this was THE low point of the season; perhaps of the entire series.
Conversely, I was still able to enjoy the rest of this installment as much as I have any other. I don’t intend for this one aspect that had zero bearing on anything else to ruin what was otherwise a fun watch.
I realize I got a bit irked there at the end, but I honestly did have an enjoyable time with this season.
With this fourth installment following in the wake of an outstanding third season, not to mention, the conclusion to a fantastic series, I don’t know if I could have asked for better.
This season took the risk of being its own thing, and I would say it paid off. Along with that, it still successfully retained the spirit of what made its predecessors great.
I do recommend WWW.Working!!, and now, I can finally say this:
I highly recommend the entire Working series.
But these are just my thoughts. What are yours? Have you seen this show? What would be your advice concerning WWW.Working!!? Leave a comment down below because I would love to hear what you have to say.
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