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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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the hunks & babes of final fantasy

7 May

 

for sheer looks and celluloid magnetism, who could resist these gorgeous babes and hunks? i know they’re excellent fighters and all, but to me it hardly mattered at all. as soon as i saw them, i knew was gonna love the premise regardless of how strange or outlandish it would be.

cloud2

hey, this is the final fantasy universe remember? those guys over at square enix and their affiliates couldn’t have just churned out and recycled those many multimedia versions of this very popular and highly profitable franchise if they had no serviceable backstories to fall back on.

aeris

and me being a dyed-in-the-wool fan of fantasy/sci-fi books and movies and all, it wasn’t much of a stretch.

rinoa

suddenly it wasn’t just about the games anymore. i realized that i had began to care more about what happened to cloud strife, aeris gainsborough, tifa lockheart, et al. 

squall

rinoa 1

then FF VIII came barging in, with much improved graphics to boot. i had my gutstrings torn to shreds by the struggle that squall leonhart and rinoa heartilly and their little band of fighters went through (who naturally managed to look great while doing it, too).

yuna

same with tidus and yuna in FF X. i felt somewhat robbed when the ending didn’t even bring the kind of closure i craved. the producers sort of rectified this with FF X-2, but there were so many changes that sometimes it feels like you’ve wandered into a different story.

yuna&tidus

and then there was advent children. i think that graphics-wise it’s the best animated film i’ve seen so far. it was nice to see cloud strife again, although i still grieve about aeris‘s fate. tifa looked great and vincent valentine was cool (this guy wears his inner torment like an impenetrable cloak). as usual, i hated it when the ending credits began to roll. i wanted the story to go on and on until i was ready to move on…

cloud&tifa

oh well, at least i have their images indelibly printed in my caffeine-addled brain.

 

a few updates

25 Mar

in the last month i was able to finish several oldie features: Saiyuki Reload, Blue Seed, and Jubei-chan: The Ninja Girl. Sadly though, i couldn’t find the will nor the inclination to finish a few titles that i’ve started (Outlaw Star, Rune Soldiers, Gokudo, Chobits, King of Bandits Jing) because i either found them too predictable, uninteresting, or strangely flat.

s-reload.jpg

Saiyuki Reload is a great follow-up to Gensomaden Saiyuki, particularly the early episodes which are refreshingly light and funny. the contrast between the short-tempered and sarcastic Genjo Sanzo and his 3 more easygoing companions (the reliable and well-grounded Cho Hakkai, the skirt-chasing Sha Gojyo, and the pesky Son Goku) makes for a rich source of hilarity. The story continues in Saiyuki Gunlock, which i will dwell more on later.

blue-seed.jpg

Blue Seed, one of Megumi Hayashibara‘s early projects, is your typical magical girl series that is occasionally peppered with humor and overwrought angst (for its female protagonist). after a few episodes the routine begins to pall but i managed to get through until the end. side note: i liked the closing song (sung by ms. hayashibara herself).

jubei-chan.jpg

i found Jubei-chan: The Ninja Girl (another oldie) funny and engaging, with its array of fascinating support characters. the fight scenes are refreshingly tight and crisp: the combatants waste little time in posturing and lengthy speeches, and let their swords do the talking (which is even more eloquent, in my opinion).

Yakitate Japan‘s dancing baker

9 Feb

no matter how many times i watch this ending clip of Yakitate Ja-Pan (season 2), it just never fails to crack me up. this prancing beefy Phantasia baker (Ken Matsushiro, Kazuma Azuma‘s zany mentor) — who looks like he can snap your bones with a flick of his finger while eating nails for breakfast — makes a snappy and hilarious finale to a series that delights in taking “absurdity” and “exaggeration” to new heights. ken makes john travolta look like a snirpy wimp. heheh

whew! i can’t believe it took me this long to track down the clip that i really wanted and to fix things up. if ever there’s one compelling reason why you should sit through the closing song of a series, this would be it.

enjoy!