It only took a cliffhanger final episode to make me realize how little I care about the relationships in this show.
What was effective with the first two seasons of Working!! is that it gracefully combined the troubles and tribulations of every staff member together into one giant central plot. Thanks to this, the restaurant itself became important along with those who worked there. The setting and the characters worked hand in hand to create decent comedy, likable characters, and realistic reactions to ridiculous situations. In Working!!’s third season, they decide it was finally high time to move on from that formula and try to incorporate character development within the characters themselves and the characters around them (romantic ties). This was about as effective as putting chocolate syrup on scrambled eggs.
In Working!!! (note the third exclamation point), the narrative begins to take a turn to a more underdeveloped territory: romance. There were minimal bouts of this in previous seasons (more in the second season than the first), so the increase in romantic situations was all but predictable.
Here’s the problem: the characters aren’t made to react romantically. These are comedy players. They do well with comedy scenes and settings. Even when romantic situations are ongoing, they still try to incorporate moderate amounts of humor within, which either cut down on the comedy or the romance. You don’t get an overabundance of one; you get both in skewed fashion. These characters are trained to be funny, not heartfelt and sappy. And it definitely shows. Romantic scenes in this show are tedious to watch, especially if you’re impatient, as no actual confessions arise until a bulk of the way through the season. It’s funny to be vague. It’s funny to lead to misunderstandings. It’s funny to pull the carrot attached to a string back over and over, giggling with satisfaction over the audience’s unquenchable anticipation of SOMETHING HAPPENING. And when something finally does happen and two people get together (and this is a slap in the face to any fans who enjoy adult romance (not porn)), they get so giddy and nervous that they may as well be two virgins before prom night. When the two characters are well into their twenties. Pathetic.
Another negative is the introduction of MORE characters and their impact on the show. One of Takanashi’s sister’s ex-husband (who isn’t funny ever) is a masochist who never shuts up about liking to get hit. HAHA GET IT CAUSE HE’S A MASOCHIST?! He shows up in the beginning of the show to provide humor(?) to the show and to get back together with Takanashi’s sister. He has no point. There’s also the introduction of Yamada’s mother, who is albeit stronger of a character than Takanashi’s sister’s ex-husband, is so outlandishly stereotyped for humor that any genuine likability with her character in a realistic situation (as her character arc is filled to the brim with “feels”) turns to sludge. Finally, Takanashi’s mother rolls into town. And she’s scary and manipulative. Sounds like my kind of woman. Unfortunately, she’s not smart or witty or funny. She’s just there to be a burden to everyone else. That’s three for three characters that either don’t matter or are so saturated in stereotypes that they may as well not matter.
I suppose building up the characters since season one could give a justifiable excuse as to why these characters are likable. Though, it feels so slimy to think that you can slack on a character’s personality/development just because you felt they were adequately highlighted in previous seasons. Souma, Popura, and the manager get little amounts of attention this season and barely share any scenes on their own. Those who get the brunt of the spotlight all have romantic ties or were so underdeveloped that the author felt they had to do something to keep them around (Yamada, Otoo and wife). To say that nobody progressed in this season would be a lie, as many characters progressed. The only issue I had was that they progressed far too slowly and tediously. Like I said above, nervousness, misunderstandings, vague concepts; if people would fucking talk to each other like normal people, half of this shit wouldn’t be “I WONDER WHO ‘X’ LIKES???” By the end of it, Yachiyo may be the most developed character. Then again, she was the most unrealistic character from the beginning, so that’s probably likely. This season ruined Satou for me.
The art of the show is pretty standard. It’s almost no different from the previous seasons, which is both a blessing and a flaw. Though, I couldn’t help but feel like the character’s eyes were less shaded in compared to previous seasons. Like they had less work on them. I think I might be going crazy from all the disappointment from this season. At least I have a one-hour series finale to look forward to… someday. Yay.
If it would’ve stuck to being a comedy, great. If it would’ve stuck to being a romance, great. It decided to do both and now I’m pissed at the quality. It wasn’t as funny as previous seasons and it wasn’t as enjoyable. I stared more at the clock during some episodes than the episodes themselves, because I cared so little about either who was on-screen or what was happening on-screen. There are certain moments that worked as either a romance or a comedy, but never both consistently. It was a slow, grating season, but things actually happened, and I’m appreciative for that at least. I just wish I enjoyed the ride a little more. Fucking romance.
The rating for this title and all others can be found on MyAnimeList.