Anime Review: Working! Episode 2

(Originally published on Livejournal on 4/19/10)

Anime Review Second Look:
Working!! Episode 2

I am currently in the middle of the process of taking a quick look at the first episode of each and every fansubbed anime series of the Spring 2010 season. So far, several shows have already received a “passing grade” based on the first episode; now it’s time to revisit some of those shows for a closer look at the second episode. Will it pass the muster?

Synopsis: Souta has started working at a family restaurant in Hokkaido named Wagnaria, and he soon discovers that most of his co-workers are a bit…unusual. Souta himself has a fetish for all things “small and cute”, and has taken a liking to his very diminutive senior, Poplar. Now he has to deal with Mahiru, who is so terrified of men that her only defense is to immediately attack them and run away. Both of them take an instant dislike towards each other, but try their best to get along for the sake of the restaurant, but Souta ends up getting pummeled into oblivion at every opportunity.

The Skinny: Okay, I knew the restaurant was an Island of Misfit Toys, but I didn’t think that they would be so incredibly dysfunctional that they would be certifiably *insane*. Souta brings his mania for cute and little to a whole new level in a scene where he is fawning over a child customer, and then after she leaves, Souta makes a side-comment that thinking about how the child will eventually grow up makes him want to vomit. I think we have a new Mr. Kimura in the making.

But Souta is practically mainstream compared to the man-hating Mahiru, who is struck with paralyzing fear and then extreme violence whenever she sees a male. The only way she can pick up a dish from the chef’s station is to mentally convince herself the chef is actually a woman; and when she tries to deliver that dish to the customer, it takes every ounce of energy to keep from hitting him. But the brunt of her fear is taken out on the long-suffering Souta, who is battered and bruised , but continues to take the punishment in an effort to “get along” with his co-workers. Good lord, how does someone like this manage to function in society?

There does not appear to be a resolution, as Mahiru decides she is able to tolerate serving male customers by releasing her frustrations on Souta. Yet Souta perseveres, mostly at the urging of Poplar (who remains adorable and chipper throughout), whom Souta follows and obeys like a puppy. At the very end, Souta compliments her, and he still receives a massive knuckle sandwich for his efforts, with Mahiru cowering in the corner confused, wondering, “Wait, he said something nice – why did I hit him?” Hmm, I got an idea where this might be going…

The next episode looks like it is going to tackle the mystery of Yachiyo, and answer why she is always carrying around a katana sword at her side. In this episode, she mostly fawns over the manager, with whom she appears to have a schoolgirl crush. Still a funny anime series, although there doesn’t seem to be any driving plotlines, just a series of jokes based on the unusual nature of each of the characters.

The Verdict: – the first second episode to receive a passing grade.

My original ‘Anime Review in a Minute’ of the first episode: http://matthigh.livejournal.com/455641.html
Random Curiosity’s Review of Episode 2: http://randomc.net/2010/04/11/working-02/
Link to opening theme here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-GZwFM7VifE
View Episode 1 (with subtitles) here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_JgqboslYyI

Up next for a second look: Angel Beats, Kaichou wa Maid-sama, K-On Season 2, Heroman, Arakawa Under the Bridge, Giant Killing

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