(Originally published on Livejournal on 6/2/10)
Working!! Episode 5
tl;dr review: Lots of men show up at the restaurant, Inami continually freaks out. Lather, rinse, repeat.
About The Series: Wagnaria is a small family restaurant in Hokkaido that is understaffed, so Poplar recruits Souta as the newest part-time employee. However, Souta soon learns that his fellow co-workers are anything but normal. For example, the manager doesn’t seem to care about her job, Yachiyo is always carrying around a sword, and Mahiru is inexplicably terrified of men. Not that Souta is a bastion of normalcy himself; he has a fetish for small, cute things and the reason he took the job in the first place is because he can’t say no to the diminutive Poplar. Despite all their differences, the employees at Wagnaria do their best to keep the restaurant running smoothly.
In This Episode: Just another day at Wagnaria, whenever a group of men show up Inami’s deathly fear of them means that someone else on the staff has to cover for her. Over, and over, and over again. She says that she is working hard to get over her phobia, but so far that has only resulted in her being able to come within two meters of Souta without instinctively punching him – so much for improvement. Souta muses that the weirdness of the women on the staff is directly proportional to their height, oblivious to his own personal dysfunction.
And yet, it seems that Souta may be the missing piece that the restaurant was lacking in order for it to run smoothly. He is called away suddenly to care for his sick sister, and with Yachiyo also out for the day, everything falls to pieces almost immediately. With Inami physically incapable of serving any man that walks through the door, the kitchen staff are unwillingly pressed into action in the front of the restaurant. Somehow, the manage to survive the day.
My Thoughts: Yes, yes…I know that phobias are irrational (after all, that’s part of what makes it a phobia in the first place), but Inami’s *extreme* fear of men is so beyond the pale that it’s just impossible to relate to her. Inami comes across Souta, she crushes him with a right hook, then runs away apologizing. Ha. Ha. Ha. Funny for the first few times, but increasingly tiresome after the twentieth or thirtieth time. And five episodes in, no apparent improvement. How did this basket-case manage to live to the ripe old age of seventeen, anyway?
The one thing this episode seemed to hammer in place is that Souta has become an important part of the Wagnaria machine for it to function. Sure, they’re all broken pieces of the machine, but the broken pieces fit together in such a way that it works. When he’s gone, everyone now has to scramble to cover not for him, but for useless Inami as well. His role as punching bag actually serves a useful purpose.
(Okay, okay, OKAY…WE GET IT ALREADY! SHE’S AFRAID OF MEN! WE GET IT, OKAY?!!!)
If you couldn’t tell by now, I’m getting sick and tired of the whole Inami-punching gag bit — it almost makes me wish they *would* fall back on Poplar/midget jokes. Get over it, already, or move on to someone else on the staff as the main focus. As cute as she is (and red-headed, too, a double-plus!!), Inami is a useless character that has gone from a one-sided joke to an annoying distraction.
Up Next: Angel Beats, Kaichou wa Maid-sama, K-On Season 2, Arakawa Under the Bridge, Giant Killing and The Tatami Galaxy.