I have come to the conclusion that, as an individual endeavor, the Working!! anime is not worthwhile. Whereas the manga is consistently funny, quick, and manages to pull off mild repetition without getting boring, the anime is instead slow, poorly paced with crappy joke delivery, and gets quickly repetitive. However, I can’t decide if I’m really pissed about the anime being so poor, or glad for it’s great qualities in light of being a fan of the manga.
This isn’t a rare problem, from what I understand. After all, just about every anime to have ever been adapted from a manga has it’s detractors among fans of the latter. I have, however, almost never been one of those people. I can only think of three instances wherein I really didn’t like the anime adaption as much as the source material – Akira, because it’s about 6 times shorter than the manga, but still amazing; Gunslinger Girl Il Treano because it totally went off in it’s own direction from the superb first series and manga; and Jing: King of Bandits because it was a crappy, low-budget adaption that missed all the manga’s good points. Well, with Working!!, I can add a fourth to my list.
Episode 2 of Working!! pissed me off to some degree. All of it was stuff I’d read in the first 18 chapters of the manga (which is how much has been translated so far) however, all of the events were reordered so that the episode could center on one theme. Specifically, ep 2 pulled all of the early strips centered on the conflict between Takanashi and the ‘over 12 pig disgusting’ girl. This was a huge mistake.
The manga breaks up it’s running story threads for a good reason – the jokes get really repetitive really fast if you cram them all together like that. The manga perfectly understands the concept of a ‘running gag’ as something that pops up now and again, and slowly progresses like a subplot in the background. Think of something like the running gag in Lucky Star about Miyuki being what Konata considers the ‘portrait of moe’ because of her clumsiness. Now imagine if instead of a running gag, the writers had crammed every clumsiness joke into one episode. It sounds like it would suck, right? It does.
What’s more, reordering the material hurts the other running gags that ought to be going on during each scenario. For instance, there are a couple of times in episode two where Kyoko orders Yachio to make her a parfait, which she agrees to do with utmost gusto and cheerfulness. However, what we don’t know about Yachio yet, and would if we were reading the manga, is that she is completely hard gay for Kyoko. Not knowing this, it just looks like she’s overly nice, and the would-be background joke about her lesbianism is completely lost.
And it’s not bad enough that jokes are being ruined and made repetitive, but the show has terribad comedic timing. 4-koma, and any kind of strip comics, are meant to be paced as a brief set-up and then a quick punchline. As far as 4-koma go, Working!! is one of the better ones I’ve read, and really makes great use of it’s format. That’s why it’s particularly disappointing that the show doesn’t deliver on the formula. Instead, it grabs a chain of strips that are connected and strings them into one joke with the punchline at the end. However, the punchlines aren’t heavy enough for such a long set-up, so they just fall flat.
With all of that said, though, do I completely resent the anime’s existence? It’s hard to. The anime does a lot to make the character designs come to life much better than the manga does (though I still utterly resent what they did to Kyoko.) The voice acting is pretty great on all accounts. Taneshima is unbelievably moe. I can’t get enough of A-1 Pictures’ top-knotch animation, which made every Hiromi-punching-Takanashi moment astounding. Hell, I’d say the opening animation almost justifies the anime’s whole existence: it’s great.
However, this only makes it more disappointing that the show is no good. Had all that talent and budget been put to a ‘proper’ adaption, then this could quite possibly have been one of the best comedies of 2010. Instead, it will be one of the biggest flops. To be honest, I don’t want to continue watching the show. I’m actually going to mark it as dropped and pick up something else, because as long as I’m reading the manga alongside the anime, I’m only going to be able to think about how disappointing it is. I’ll try it again if I hear it picks up, but only then.
While I agree on pretty much everything you said there was one part I am going to have to disagree.
“For instance, there are a couple of times in episode two where Kyoko orders Yachio to make her a parfait, which she agrees to do with utmost gusto and cheerfulness. However, what we don’t know about Yachio yet, and would if we were reading the manga, is that she is completely hard gay for Kyoko. Not knowing this, it just looks like she’s overly nice, and the would-be background joke about her lesbianism is completely lost.”
I personally thought it was obvious that Yachio was gay for kyoko. I didn’t really feel she was overly nice as much as she was trying to please kyoko. But idk maybe I am just crazy.
Maybe you have strong yuri goggles? hehe. Well, some people may notice, but in the manga it’s pretty explicitly stated by this point.
glasses maybe, but not goggles. those are reversed for shounen lead characters, which I am not.
Shinobu disagrees http://gelbooru.com/index.php?page=post&s=view&id=753986
Thanks for the explanation about the re-ordering versus the 4-koma source. That makes a lot of sense. I can see your point that the jokes work better as a running gag than all crammed into one episode. I haven’t read the manga, so I’m not in a position to compare.
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“Gunslinger Girl Il Treano because it totally went off in it’s own direction from the superb first series and manga”
Not really. It follows the manga fairly well, and captures the atmosphere of the series nicely. Of course, it takes a hit because the character designs and art weren’t as up to snuff as the first season, but I disagree that it went off in it’s own direction, besides maybe focusing more on trying to make characters more sympathetic.
And it all depends on how firmly you want the anime to adhere to the source. In a case like Working!! where the source is a 4koma which isn’t necessarily a serial one, in my case, I wouldn’t care about the order too much as long as it’s entertaining. There are a little rough spots with timing, but for the most part, it has been.
I don’t care that Working doesn’t adhere to the source, but it is because it deviated that it sucks. I don’t think it sucks because I wanted it to be ilke the manga, I’m just saying that it suck sand this is the reason.
I watched about 5 minutes of Gunslinger Girl Il Treano. It began with a scene where the handlers are trying to buy gifts for the girl. In the manga, it was a erally difficult and unsavory task that they handled like it was a huge pain. In Il Treano, they were very happy about buying something nice for the girls.
Maybe it’s because GG is my favorite manga, and maybe it’s because I’ve read GG in the most analytical way possible, and read all of it 10 times and studied it, but I couldn’t handle changes like that.
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