Anime Review: Working! Episodes 10, 11, and 12

(Originally published on Livejournal on 7/7/10)

Anime Review:
Working!! Episodes 10, 11, and 12

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 Inami 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.

ep.10 tl;dr review: Nazuna goes undercover to figure out Souta x Inami; Ridiculous series of misunderstandings leave the wrong impression.

Episode 10 Synopsis: Souta never wanted to cross-dress (from the last episode) in the first place, and now he’s seriously regretting the whole affair. But the dirty deed is done, and he pushes on at work. Meanwhile, the boss is away, and Yachiyo is in a serious funk. As a substitute, she starts to dote on Jun instead, much to his great discomfort. He does his best to put up with it (sort of like a scornful cat that tolerates being petted), but despite his public display of annoyance it seems that he may secretly like the attention. Souta’s younger sister, Nazuna, sees him walking Inami home, and hatches a plan to find out what’s going on between them. Working at the restaurant for a day as a “school project”, she plies Inami for information. Due to a series of unspoken misunderstandings, she interprets Inami’s confession that she secretly likes Souta as an affirmation that Souta is really a closet masochist that enjoys being pummeled.

ep.11 tl;dr review: Poplar goes all ga-ga over Souta’s cross-dressing alter-ego; Scary ghost stories lead Inami and Aoi into a sleepover in the Takanashi household.

Episode 11 Synopsis: Turns out that Poplar just can’t get the cross-dressing Souta out of her mind. She is absolutely nuts about Souta in a wig and dress, much to Souta’s great annoyance. Now the tables are turned; instead of Souta doting over the cute Poplar, the object of his obsession is now doting over how cute *he* is! At the end of the shift, Aoi is reading ghost stories, which gets Inami spooked despite her denials. Unable to head to her house alone out of fear, and with Aoi also alone in the restaurant (also cowering in fear), Souta invites the two of them over to his household for the night. Souta’s sisters are absolutely delighted, and they team up with Aoi to get Souta alone in his room with Inami. But if they were expecting for “nature to take its course”, they hopes would be dashed, as it turns out they engage in nothing racier than playing cards.

ep.12 tl;dr review: Poplar discovers that Souta has several older sisters and gets depressed; To make up for it, she asks that Souta and Inami go on a date.

Episode 12 Synopsis: Poplar’s crush on the cross-dressing Souta is not quite a love-crush; instead, it’s more of an admiration of what Poplar wants to be (read as: “tall”). When Souta drops his ID, she decides to return it to his household, and discovers all of Souta’s taller sisters, which only makes her feel tinier. But even more damning is that she is hurt that Souta has been actively keeping knowledge about his sisters hidden from her, and is depressed that Souta thinks she might be untrustworthy. Saying that he would do anything to make up for it, he braces for the request to cross-dress; instead, Poplar surprises him by asking him to go out on a date with Inami. Surprisingly, they both agree. Inami is absolutely beside herself preparing for her first date, what with her punch-happy fear of men battling against her new-found crush with Souta — how will she survive?

My Thoughts: How I Stopped Worrying And Learned To Love Inami. Since almost the beginning of this show, I’ve been griping non-stop about how Working has turned into a non-stop Mahiru Inami punch-fest, and how her fear of men has pervaded every aspect of the show, to the exclusion of other possible plotlines. Well, okay…so maybe the problem is not with the show itself, perhaps the problem is with *me*. I have been expecting this show to be something it is not. So, instead, I’ve refocused my expectations, and instead viewed everything through a “Souta x Inami” lens — if you look at the show as nothing more than building the relationship between the two of them (everything else just minor side-stories), then it all makes more sense. So, instead of crab-mouthing about the androphobia, I’ve decided to try an embrace it for the final episodes.

We’re working up to the finale, which will culminate in a date between Souta and Inami. These three episodes have been building to that climax, albeit in a fairly roundabout way through Poplar’s obsession with Souta’s cross-dressing and the meddling of his sisters. Even now with the penultimate episode, it doesn’t seem like Inami has gotten even the least bit better with her “fight or flight” response to men. But the 900-pound monkey-wrench thrown into the works is her sudden realization that she’s actually crushing on Souta. How will these two diametrically opposite forces play out without causing Inami to explode?

Oh, and let’s not forget that this is also a first date for Souta as well. And while he may not be having World War Three battle it out in his mind like Inami, it’s clear he’s also anxious about the whole affair. Looking forward to the 13th and final episode to see how it will all play out (as if we can’t already guess).

The Verdict:

Up Next: Angel Beats, Kaichou wa Maid-sama, Arakawa Under the Bridge, Senkou no Night Raid, and The Tatami Galaxy.

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