For reasons that I've never quite figured out, the slice of life genre in anime has become rather popular over the years. These animated situation comedies tend to be rather formulaic and unfortunately tend to suffer from trope ridden characters that never really undergo any development or exist only in relation to a protagonist with very little personality and development outside of their relationship to that person.

Over the years, I've watched quite a few shows that fall under this genre, mostly looking for something relatively laid back and easy to digest after a tough day of whatever I'm dealing with at the time. I generally know what I'm getting into when I pick something in this genre. I honestly don't expect much at all. Occasionally a show in this genre comes along and surprises me in a positive way like Working. I have to confess that I never quite got a lot of the "must watch" slice of life shows. I generally don't hate what I've watched or anything, but I took them for what they were and didn't get all the hype as honestly, they really didn't seem worth all the praise. I picked up Wagnaria or Working!! as a recommendation not expecting much. I ended up pleasantly surprised by it and think that it is one of the better shows in the genre.

Working is a well drawn anime and the voice acting is good. There are quite a few popular voice actors for this one as well surprisingly enough. The opening and closing themes are catchy and upbeat and set the tone for a show that is generally comedy oriented, kinetic and fun. Technically, the show is above average I would say. The fact that it got three full seasons says quite a bit, as these types of shows, with rare exception, tend to be light novel or manga advertisements at the best of times, cranked out quickly and cheaply to drum up some interest in the source material. While not a masterpiece, it looks and sounds good enough and has a pleasing style that doesn't jar you.

Why do I write a review on what is just a slice of life comedy anime about goofballs working in a restaurant? Well, this slice of life does what few of these shows ever end up doing. Having actual character development and resolutions to various problems throughout the seasons. As mentioned in the previous paragraph, many shows that fall into slice of life comedy have a bad habit of very trope heavy characters that never really go through any real conflict or development and are there to fill a role. At worst, many of these shows devolve directly to harem romance shows too. While there's nothing necessarily wrong with that if that's what you're looking for, it tends to make the show very shallow and predictable in its pacing and resolutions.

Working spares us from that and has most of its characters that undergo growth and change as the show progresses. There are enough men and women in the show so that it doesn't devolve into a harem romp that seems to doom many of these set ups. The characters themselves, for the most part, are interesting and funny enough to overcome the "show about nothing" problem that situation comedies always have to fight against. While this show doesn't really have any deep philosophical message to it, it is compelling and fun to watch because the characters and their issues become fun to watch. With slice of life, that's all that is really demanded of it, and Working will deliver.

That's not to say that this is a problem free show. There are some issues that bothered me while watching it. Without too much in the way of spoilers, one of the original main characters ends up getting shunted off to the side and is one of the few in the show that doesn't really undergo development, quickly becoming somewhat of a punchline character. This is somewhat strange considering how important they seemed at first, that they would devolve into the same joke every time they had any screen time. Some characters could also use more screen time away from the restaurant than they get as well to add some context. I generally feel that some of this was just laziness given the care that some of the characters got in their back story bits. Characters do progress and grow quite a bit, but the story is very episodic at times. There isn't any grand goal or story arc here, the work day ends, people go home, etc. Things can feel a little directionless at times outside of the character development. Those looking for major tension and plot progression outside of the character relationships will likely be more frustrated with the show than I was.

At the end of the day, despite the issues, this is a series in the slice of life genre that deserves your time if you like these types of shows. One of the great barometers for a good anime is whether or not it genuinely entertains you, regardless of the subject matter. Working is genuinely entertaining and a pleasure to watch. It's one of the best that I've seen in the purely situation comedy oriented shows. I did generally turn my brain off and just enjoy the ride for this one, but it definitely exceeded what I was expecting.

This has my full recommendation if one is looking for a light slice of life comedy to enjoy.

78 /100
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