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i love Working!!

13 Nov

i love Working!!after watching the first 3 episodes of Working!! (season 1) about a year ago, i started to get that familiar giddy feeling — a good omen after several disappointing shows that barely stirred (and mostly irked) me. and, except for a few kinks in a couple of middle episodes that bored me silly, i loved the series! barely had the last episode ended when i turned right around and watched the whole series again.

so why do i love Working!!? as with my other anime favorites, the thing that made the deal sweet for me was its quirky characters whose weird predilections and warped outlook enliven the series (and to a lesser extent, the minor characters who stamp in their own brand of mayhem) more than they should.

Wagnaria — a restaurant where laughter abounds

Wagnaria is a family restaurant that provides a fitting backdrop to a cast of kooky characters who seem to bring out the worst (or best) in each other. from its lazy, food-loving manager (Kyoko), its male cooks (Sato, whose deadpan delivery of biting sarcasms can scarcely hide a bruised heart; Souma, a junior cook who cheerfully blackmails people into doing his bidding), its new waiter (Souta, with his inordinate love for cute and small things), its colorful waitresses (Yachiyo, a charming but otherwise oblivious, sword-wielding server; Popura, a 17-year-old HS student who looks far too young and small for her age; Mahiru, a man-hating shy girl who has a crush on Souta; Aoi, a runaway who manages to cadge a job at Wagnaria), and an often-absent manager (Otoo-san, who is forever searching for his lost wife), life at Wagnaria is never dull or predictable.

Waganaria staff

right now, my favorite characters are Popura (for her unflagging spirits and indomitable hope that she will soon grow bigger/taller) and Aoi, whose unwitting actions and shrewd-but-wacky view can accomplish things that others can only marvel at. however, this could change as more endearingly zany characters are ushered in and add their own distinctive flavour to the mix.

a new look at things, great characters and snappy dialogue

there’s nothing terribly original about Working!!. Most of the episodes are a mishmash of other shows, but what its makers do well is to present a new twist — or sometimes a new angle — at the way characters deal with their dilemmas. this is often helped by a snappy dialogue, deft characterization, and an occasional look of utter befuddlement in the characters’ faces that the audience can totally relate with. sometimes that look of hapless stupefaction is all it takes to make a scene even more hilarious.

and now, the second season — Working’!!

Working cast

after watching the first episode of this newest season of Working!!, i knew there was no way i could wait for the official copy of this series (that can wait later). i had been spending precious time downloading each episode (uploaded and subbed by some kindred souls who tirelessly make it their life’s mission to share these goodies with the rest of the world). i am now on episode 7 (which left me gasping for breath early this morning) and can’t wait until the next one comes out.

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currently watching: Gosick and Hanasaku Iroha

6 Apr

hanasaku iroha girlsit took me only a few minutes to know that i was going to love Gosick and Hanasaku Iroha, but it took me a while to realize that i like both for almost the same reason: the gorgeous graphics and riveting plot.

the advance press on Hanasaku Iroha offered a tempting glance as to how this series would turn out to be, but i’d been before by high expectations before, so i tempered my enthusiasm.

“we’ll see how it goes…,” cautioned my noncommittal, logical side. anyway, after watching the first episode of Hanasaku Iroha (Hanairo), i think i can now safely put my doubts to rest. Ohana Matsumae, the sassy 16-year-old protagonist of this series, isn’t downright irritating nor gratingly noble (which is a huge relief) — she seems well grounded despite her slightly unfortunate circumstances. the other characters have yet to make their mark, but they’re already shaping up nicely.

hanasaku iroha

hanasaku iroha 2

it’s too early to tell yet, but i’m hoping this series will live up to the standards it has set for itself. i have a feeling that there’s going to be a lot of dramatic moments in Hanairo. hopefully, the producers will counteract this with well-placed humor every now and then.

Gosick, on the other hand, was a bit of a pleasant surprise because it didn’t really appear in my radar until about a couple of months ago. reaction from various critics is rather mixed (although leaning more towards the positive side), but i’ve been in Gosick‘s bandwagon 5 minutes into the first episode.

gosick flowers

the lush, incredible design and animation alone would have been enough to lure me in, but i’m glad the producers made the storyline interesting (although it could use some tweaking). and the characters sparkle in a way that’s hard to ignore. i mean, who can resist a pipe-smoking, irascible, prepubescent girl (Victorique) with a weird laugh and a precocious propensity for solving crimes? Kujo, a japanese student who plays her loyal and protective sidekick does well enough to nudge the story along, but it’s Grevil (Victorique’s half-brother and the local police chief) — and his incomparable hair — who really grabs your attention. when he’s not onscreen, you can’t help but fret and hope that he’d come back soon!

 

grevil's weapon
Grevil’s secret weapon — his magnificent hair!

victorique, kujo & grevil

Gosick is slated for 13 episodes, so it looks like there are only 2 episodes left — which is a pity (i’m really going to miss Grevil’s hair *sigh*) — just enough to gear up for a big finale for this enjoyable series. there are so many strings that need to be tied up in the series, so hopefully the writers are up to the task.

let there be a second season, please.

 

Lucky Star: a winsome gem

14 Jan

i didn’t take to Lucky Star right away. what spurred me on was its fans’ rabid reaction — it made me wonder what the fuss was all about.

after episode 7 (i struggled to maintain my interest), things began to kick in and in a matter of hours i finished the whole series. the next day, i started the whole thing again.

lucky star girls (1)

i even converted (just in case you’re actually having doubts about my enthusiasm) all 26 Lucky Star episodes into .mp4 format so i could play them in my iPod Touch whenever i wanted.

what can i say? i guess Konata‘s zany otaku-flavored zest for life got to me. that, and Kagami‘s hilarious and exasperated reactions, Tsukasa‘s spaced-out cuteness and Miyuki‘s highly refined outlook. heck, after a while, even Soujiro Izumi’s (Konata’s dad) dorky personality and weird tendencies started to seem reasonably normal (and that’s when i knew i had to step back a little to regain my perspective).

lucky star gals

among the minor characters, i liked Yutaka Kobayakawa (name’s rather a mouthful for such a cute little thing); Patricia Martin, the show’s version of an anime-addled gaijin; and Misao Kusakabi, whose laid-back and slyly playful approach to life is guaranteed to drive Kagami nuts.

and oh, the Lucky Star OVA was simply a delight and should not be missed.