There’s a piece of insert music in Working that always reminds me of the opening theme to The Office. Now, a few more things about this show are giving me that vibe, and it has to do with some subtle but effective tonal changes in the show.
For starters, have a look at this screen shot from the first season:
The wall with the holes punched in it features what is the standard Wagnaria wallpaper throughout the season. Now, look at the wallpaper in season two:
I’m watching the first season of Working!! in preparation for the upcoming sequel, and as I look at the character Souma Hiroomi, I can’t help but think of Durarara!!’s Orihara Izaya. As a matter of fact, I’m wondering if Kamiya Hiroshi’s performance as that manipulative bastard landed him the role in Working (which started during Durarara’s second cour).
The primary similarity between these characters is that both have extensive information on everyone in the story and use this knowledge to their advantage, often by way of exploiting others’ misfortune. That’s a pretty definitive connection, considering that Souma is from a comedy wherein each character has just one or two defining traits. Not to mention they’re both voiced by Kamiya Hiroshi (and both of their shows have two exclamation points, but that’s far less relevant here!!) (Aside: If they make a second season of Durarara, I’ll kill someone if they call it Durarara’!!)
Otakon is always about karaoke for me. In 2008, I performed Taiyou no Mannake e by Bivattche (Eureka Seven op 3) and SoulTaker by JAM Project (Op to The SoulTaker, my favorite anison, on accuont of JAM playing at Otakon that year). Sadly, I have no videos of those performances. In 2009, I legendarily and creepily performed Kuusou Rumba by Ootsuki Kenji to Zetsubou Shoujo-tachi (Zoku Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei op 1) which you can watch here. This year, I went all out and did three different songs, with a total of four performances, since I did one twice. I’ll be presenting them in the order they were performed, which is also a convenient gradation of EPIC scale.
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.
I rather enjoyed the first episode of Working!!, but I could see how others might not have cared for it, and having read the 16 currently translated chapters, I can tell exactly why. As a manga, there are some major differences from the anime, but I will clarify upfront that both versions have definite advantages, and I recommend both, especially if the show reconciles some of the differences as it continues (only ep so far, after all.) That said, I think that if the anime seems alright to you but just doesn’t quite cut it, you may enjoy the manga much more.
Taneshima is so moe it hurts. Those sporadic hand gestures, and that infinite wealth of energy! Asumi Kana is perfection in her voice; energetic without once stepping into annoying, and sticking straight to cute (I’m sure the Yunocchi nostalgia helps.) Her design pulls off ‘loli with boobs’ with utmost gusto, and is an adult? Oh, yes please. That living hair is just icing on the god damn cake. I wanted to grab her right out of the screen and just carry her around on my shoulders everywhere I go. She’s the kind of character that reminds me why I have a 2D complex.
And Takanashi is the perfect male lead. There are two kinds of self-insert leads – the boring kind that attempts to be as bland and non-assuming a character as possible so as not to interrupt the energies of characters around them, and then the total ‘out-there’ kind who only exhibits a facsimile of normalcy while actually being as nutty, if not more nutty than the rest of the cast (Nisioisin has a wonderful habit of consistently producing these male leads.) Takanashi is a pleasantly surprising foray into the later, as portrayed by the always-hilarious (albeit sometimes unintentionally) Fukuyama Jun. His ‘minicon’ fantasies and utterly nonchalant explanations and reactions as filtered through his reasoning brought me to tears with laughter. I love that he seems to honestly believe that he is normal, when such is far from true. Plus, I gotta love his taste.
Working!! episode 1 showed potential to be a really fun series, and there was some real promise among the other characters, especially the girl with the sword and the guy with the hairflip (the manager was cool too, but her design and voice were both highly bland). Your mileage may very – it doesn’t take much for me to enjoy a comedy anime so long as it isn’t repetitive and doesn’t sound like it was written by 12 year-olds. I already have the feeling from Taneshima and Takanashi that the two will be more than enough to sustain my enjoyment in the series.
Best moment of the ep: Takanashi pronouncing ‘it’s more like, I want to be her father!’ I cried manly tears.