WORKING!! is a published Yonkoma by Karino Takatsu.Popura Taneshima is a short girl who works at a family restaurant. One day her boss gives her the ultimatum to go out and find some more help, as no one wishes to apply for the job. After spending an entire day asking, she accidentally bumps into Souta Takanashi, who thinks she's a lost child, and proclaims herself to actually be 17, a year older than he is. Souta ends up taking the job and quickly learns about his new dysfunctional co-workers.An anime adaptation aired in the spring of 2010. The series has been picked up by NIS America in their anime collection in an English sub-only format under the title Wagnaria!!, with polarizing reactionsfrom the fans regarding to the title change.A second season was announced, but not before an April Fools' prank making it look like a spinoff show called WORKING!, based on mangaka Karino Takatsu's web version of the manga with a different cast, was getting animated and released on VHS.Both seasons can be watched at Crunchyroll in some countries.Compare to Servant × Service, another Work Com by Karino Takatsu, this time focusing on the misadventures of a group of government employees. Not to be confused with Working, the '90s Work Com starring Fred Savage of Wonder Years fame.
Tropes in WORKING!! include:
Accidental Misnaming: Popura cannot call Takanashi properly by his name, instead calling him "Katanashi". Inami got confused with that until she found out that he only lets Popura call him that.
A-Cup Angst: Being the smallest woman at Wagnaria, Inami falls into this frequently (though not as much in the anime).
It certainly doesn't help that the 12-year old Nazuna is already bigger than her.
The anime doesn't seem to play it up until Takanashi, crossdressing is shown to be larger than her.
A Day In The Lime Light: Maya Matsumoto, who was largely relegated as a Living Prop, gets much more screen time in episode 13 of Season 2. While it's not dedicated solely to her, she has a much bigger speaking role, and helps Popura with an important decision.
The Alcoholic: Souta's older sister, Kozue Takanashi, is practically the anime poster child for AA. It's quite hard to find her actually sober.
Blatant Lies: Yamada during her intro claims a lot of things, but Souta sees right through them. However, he is forced to play along since it seems everyone else believed her claims and probably wouldn't believe him anyway.
Blue with Shock: Satou gets a lot of this when dealing with Yachiyo, especially when she's being particularly clueless about his feelings. Episode 10 takes it to new levels, when she tries to serve him the way she does Kyouko.
Bunny-Ears Lawyer: One has to wonder how some of the characters manage to keep their jobs at the restaurant, or even how it manages to stay running due to their weird quirks, such as Yachiyo carrying around a katana, and Kyouko being a fairly lazy and indifferent manager. Popura mentions in episode 2 that many of their customers like the danger, but Souta is thoroughly confused by it.
Butt Monkey: Aoi, to a degree. The girl never gets even a smidgen of sympathy—except from Souma, of all people.
Calling the Old Man Out: Souta of all people. He lays into Inami's father over his method of parenting that resulted in Inami becoming violently androphobic. This could also count as a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming, but considering Souta may or may not be doing this for Inami, rather for all the abuse he's been forced to take as a result of Inami's fears.
The Cameo: The cellphone lady and her co-worker at the phone store Satou and Yachiyo visit in the second season are actually characters from CU no Oneesan, one of Karino Takatsu's older web comics (found here).
Can Not Spit It Out: One source of tension is Jun's rather obvious crush on Yachiyo, which he absolutely refuses to admit (certainly not in front of Yachiyo herself). Of course, (considering she probably doesn't swing that way) he's permanently stuck in the "friend" zone, so he gets to hear all about how much Yachiyo loves Kyouko. At length. It's pretty much as sad as it sounds, yet still funny thanks to schadenfreude.
Let's see: one is an alcoholic who can't keep a job or a boyfriend (despite being quite attractive); one is a struggling romance writer who is pretty much incapable of taking care of herself; and one is a short-tempered and physically abusive lawyer who enjoys to throw big books at Souta's head. Yeah, good role models, right there.
Satou towards Yachiyo whenever she's fawning over Kyouko. However, he takes it out on Popura instead, usually by making fun of her height, or playing around with her hair.
Souta invokes this trope in episode 4 of Season 2 when he suspects Inami's constant staring at Satou means she must like him. However, he tells Souma that the feelings he's having are like training a dog not to bite the owner, but the dog does it anyway, then shows affections towards another owner. Souma however, knows it's not true, but plays along anyway because he finds the misunderstanding funny. He also invokes this trope whenever Kirio is around Inami.
Souma, if given the opportunity, will often find out your secrets and cheerfully Black Mail you into doing his work for him. However, it doesn't work for every character, such as Inami, who always punches him whenever she sees him, and Satou, who is immune to anything he does, and often retaliates with a frying pan to the head.
Nazuna, Souta's younger sister, can be seen doing this as well. She managed to get money to help out with their house bills from Kazue, which he was hesitant to ask her for. In episode 3 of Season 2, she is seen manipulating both Yamada and Popura, which causes Souta later in the episode to ask her exactly what she said/did to them.
Date Peepers: Souma, Yamada, and Popura were originally going to spy on Inami and Souta during their date near the end of the first season, but Satou immediately stops all of them, either with bribes, or threats, before they can get anywhere near the two.
Department of Redundancy Department: In episode 13 of Season 2, both Satou and Souma talk about "normal" things, and Matsumoto eventually starts hearing that word in every sentence they say during that scene.
Did I Just Say That Out Loud?: When Nazuna comes by the restaurant to help out in episode 3 of Season 2, she makes Yamada look fairly worthless, as she knows more about the job than the latter despite only working there a few days and not being paid. Yamada then develops a dark aura, and mentions getting rid of her, to which Souma tells her it's not a good thing to be thinking. She then thinks the next sentence, but her aura is so dark Souma knows what she's thinking.
Souma himself sometimes does this, usually when teasing Satou about his lack of progress with Yachiyo.
To further prove it's in her head, she has little problem when a man uses a feminine sentence structure - at first, anyways.
Or just look at when she first meets Otoo-san, she doesn't even care if Souta's a guy when there's another guy around, better the guy you know than the guy you don't...
Deconstructed, or at least discussed, when Souta asks her if she would hit young boys, the elderly, or crossdressing men. It manages to thoroughly confuse her, and she can't give a proper answer other than she'll "use her instincts."
Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male: Double subverted. Inami's called out a bit for hitting men, but otherwise little effort is made on stopping her or helping her get over that. In fact, when Takanashi in the second season gets fed up and calls her out, HE is seen as the bad guy, and Aoi breaking a few plates gets punished much worse than Inami ever gets for breaking faces.
Everyone Meets Everyone: Hilariously done in Chapter 116, which not only revealed how the main cast members got their jobs in Wagnaria, but also the reasons for them being employed were a result of Kyouko taking Otoo-san's specifications for new employees too literally!
Evil Matriarch: Played for Laughs. The mother of the Takanashi siblings appears to them as such (except for Nazuna) as she evokes various fears amongst them.note To Kazue she will mercilessly comment on her failed marriage; to Izumi she will order her to do household chores; to Kozue she will ignore her; to Souta her presence reminds him of his history of cross-dressing. It does not help that she is a politician adept in the art of manipulation.
Evolving Credits: When Aoi Yamada joins the cast, the OP and ED are changed to include her. The same applies in season two for Haruna Otoo, Youhei and Mizuki Mashiba, and Kirio Yamada.
Eyes Always Shut: Yachiyo and Otoo. Hiroomi also does this at times, but keeps his eyes mostly open (so he won't miss any of the interesting stuff happening in the restaurant).
In Yachiyo's case, her eyes open once in episode 7.
Face Doodling: Happens to Popura when Satou is upset, and to Yamada when she's being too ... Yamada.
First Name Basis: Yachiyo to Kyouko. When Kyouko has to leave for business in episode 10, she tries this with Satou-san. It doesn't end well.
Foreshadowing: The little lost girl from episode 5 of Season 2 can be seen with her mother right after the credits in episode 2 of Season 2.
For the Evulz: When Souma isn't trying to blackmail his co-workers into doing his work for him, he's usually trying to arrange embarrassing or irritating situations for the people around him... pretty much because he thinks it's funny.
Freeze-Frame Bonus: In the second opening, when Popura dashes past the camera as the title card shows up, one can see a tiny Yamada holding onto the end of Popura's ponytail.
During the first season opening song, if you pause it at the right time, you'll notice one of the mini-popura's marching by Souta has a different facial expression than the others. She also moves her arms differently than the rest of them.
Freudian Excuse: The reason for Souta's love of little things (and hatred for huge ones).
To elaborate: Despite being sixteen he's shorter than all of his older sisters, and his younger sister is almost as tall as he. All of his older sisters bully or abuse him in some way, and he suspects his younger sister will eventually turn out the same way.
Frying Pan of Doom: If both Jun and Souma are in the kitchen, and some of what Souma does happens to affect Jun in a bad way, this happens.
Girls Are Really Scared of Horror Movies: Well, it was a scary book Yamada was reading, but it puts Popura in this mood in episode 11 of the first season. Then Satou spooks her by saying he saw a headless woman in the back of his car, then tells her you shrink when you're sleeping, then says he met a bear the other day. She screams during each one, and he wonders if she's easily spooked. Takanashi later scares both Inami and Yamada when they claim they weren't scared staying in Inami's house rather than spend the night with him and his sisters.
Girly Run: Yachiyo is susceptible to this, which is perhaps caused by her carrying a sword.
Gone Horribly Right: Inami's overprotective father did everything in his power to make her completely afraid of men, as well as secretly using weights to increase her strength so she could defend herself. Unfortunately for him, her dislike of men is so bad now that she'll even deck him.
Hopeless Suitor: Souta invokes this trope on Inami in episode 4 of Season 2. After misinterpreting her constantly staring at Satou as her liking him, Souta asks her if she has someone she likes. She says she does, but he tells her she should immediately stop pursuing him, because he already likes someone else. Inami becomes visibly sad, until Souta mentions Satou's name, to which she immediately tries to clarify the situation. She then tells him she does have someone she likes, but Souta is once again surprised, not realizing that she actually likes him, but Cannot Spit It Out.
Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Popura and Souta... and virtually every other male character in the series. The only way you could avert this trope with her is to get some grade school boy to stand next to her. Inverted in that Souta is small compared to his sisters, including his younger sister (see below).
Huge Schoolgirl: Souta's youngest sister, Nazuna, (12 years old) is on her way to being this, and is already kind of this for her age group, being able to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with her brother and sisters despite being in grade school.
Hypocritical Humor: Mahiru fears men because she thinks they're violent and they might have a weapon. She says this while hiding behind Yachiyo.
Not to mention that almost ALL of the violence in the series is Inami hitting a guy, usually before he even finishes a sentence.
In episode 4, Yachiyo tells Jun that walking around with a knife is dangerous when he's looking for the sharpening stone in the kitchen. She says this while sharpening her katana.
In episode 9 of Season 2, Kozue laments to Inami about the latest guy she broke up with not liking violent women, so she gives him a German suplex. Inami immediately thinks about the irony in her statement.
I Didn't Mean to Turn You On: Inami, regarding Souta. Less sexually implicit as it is romantically implicit - but it still gets the same reaction out of her.
Again when Souta finds a lost girl in the parking lot. Given Souta's minicon fetish, there are Unfortunate Implications that may impair your enjoyment of the scene.
Incest Subtext: Not explicitly stated, but it's more of a vague attraction played for laughs and... drama? Perhaps it's even a complex. Anyway, three of the Takanashi sisters do seem a bit too dependent or close to Souta. One grew up for the purpose of helping her older brother, one is an apparently always boyfriend-less, hopeless Hard-Drinking Party Girl, and the last is a romance novelist who can't do anything by herself despite being 28.
While drunk and incoherent, the Hard-Drinking Party Girl sometimes asks Souta if he wants to have sex with her. No inhibition indeed.
Izumi is incredibly possessive of Souta because he's so kind to her (read: she can't do anything without him). After hearing he has a girlfriend (supposedly Inami), she becomes even more depressed than usual and decides to clear her mind by going outside for fresh air. Alone. For someone like Izumi, that's an act of suicide. She even leaves a letter that sounds like a final farewell.
It's becoming increasingly clear that Nazuna would do ANYTHING to make her brother happy, no matter the personal troubles it causes. Taken just a little further, her devotion would cross into a unhealthy degree — if it's quietly not there already.
Insistent Terminology: In the first episode, Popura is corrected by Souta Takanashi at first about mispronouncing his name. She tries to say it correctly, but has a really hard time doing it, so ends up sticking with "Katanashi" instead. However, due to her small stature and his attraction to such things, he lets her get away with it. When Inami tried it, he kind of lost it and freaked her out.
It Runs in the Family: According to Izumi, love of small things runs in the Takanashi family. Although only Souta appears to exhibit that love to obsessive levels.
Japanese Delinquents: Kyouko used to be one. The Mashiba twins, being Kyouko's henchmen back in high school, also count as reformed versions of these.
Keigo: Aoi uses very polite speech levels throughout.
The Klutz: Aoi Yamada cleans up plates from the floor on a regular basis.
Lampshaded Double Entendre: Happily subverted. In Episode 11, Kozue forces Inami into Souta's room. She then hears them saying things like "Are you sure? It's my first time doing this..." Yamada is curious as to what they might be doing, and Kozue tells her they're "doing what guys and girls do behind closed doors."
She was seen throughout the show, including in the OP, but did not get a speaking role until the last episode.
This actually ends up being a good gag (despite missing out on using a potentially good character). Maya is obsessed with being straight-laced and sane when stacked against her coworkers. The fact she only appears at the end to berate the rest of the staff on how weird they are shows how steadfast she is in her commitment to be "normal" (though it comes back to bite her because she's developed a normality complex). She shows up to work, does her job, doesn't get involved with her coworkers' eccentricity, and leaves without making much of a fuss. So we see her in the background and ignore her, which is exactly what she wants.
Izumi, one of Souta's older sisters, invokes this trope near the end of Episode 3 in Season 2. A whole day passes by with the various characters going about their day, while she's sitting in the same exact position the entire day. At the end of the night, as the other family members are gathering around the table for dinner, she finally says she has to get stronger first. They all then wonder if that's all she did that day.
Loners Are Freaks: Maya doesn't like to socialize with her colleagues, which makes the others think she's a bit weird.
Love Epiphany: Inami has one at the end of episode 9 after Souta's scathing speech to her father about secretly training her to hate men. Of course, him being a Nice Guy and giving a present on White Day in earlier episodes helped too.
Souta starts to realize he may have feelings for Inami in episode 13 of Season 1, but immediately tries to beat it out of his head, and says out loud that she's just a dog. Just as she returns with some juice.
Also played with. Yamada sees Popura fawning over Souta and thinks one of these is developing between those two and Inami—it turns out that Popura is just admiring "Kotori" for being everything she wants to be.
Lyrical Cold Open: Both opening and ending themes of Season 1 and the opening theme of Season 2.
Made of Iron: With sisters like his, it's no wonder Souta can withstand all of that stuff Inami does to him.
Manipulative Bastard: Souma. Jun's probably only the one who's immune to Souma's schemes. Nazuna's also showing hints of this.
Apparently Aoi is turning into Souma's kryptonite.
Inami was immune due to the fact she would give him a Megaton Punch just for being in range.
Nazuna also seems to enjoy being able to control the behavior of her older siblings.
Jun completely out-manipulates Souma in the last episode.
Mysterious Past: No one is quite sure where Aoi came from (though it's hinted that she ran away from home), no one is sure why she decided to run away and work at the restaurant, and no one knows where she learned how to plant a bug on someone's clothing.
Oblivious to Love: While there is Yachiyo and her blindness to Satou's crush on her, Souta is just as bad in regard to Inami's crush on him. (Though, to be fair, her treatment of him is not helping her case.)
In Souta's case, he tells Kirio about Inami being interested in another guy. He then lists all the things he did for her in previous episodes, and based on that, Kirio is able to figure out that Inami's crush is on Souta himself. However, he decides to play dumb and pretend he doesn't know, if nothing else because he finds it funny.
Off Screen Teleportation: Haruna, Otoo-san's long lost wife, is so elusive that even when she finally appeared in the series, she is still prone to disappearing without a trace. Taken Up to Eleven in one occasion where she managed to leave a completely sealed room without anybody noticing it!
Older Than They Look: Popura is older than Souta. Aside from a sizable chest, you'd be hard pressed to tell.
Episode 3 in Season 2 has Izumi asking her sisters questions about Inami and misinterpreting them as descriptions of Popura. The end result is Izumi mistakenly thinking Popura is an underage girl and her brother being a pedophile. Izumi also fears he'll stop taking care of her since he must have a girlfriend.
Only Sane Man: Souta thinks everyone working in that restaurant's somewhat strange in one way or another, although he himself isn't any different, being the minicon he is.
Paper-Thin Disguise: Aoi once managed to fool (albeit temporarily) Kirio into thinking she's not her by simply wearing a wig.
Parental Abandonment: Souta's father apparently had passed on for quite a long time before the start of the series, and the entire family became extremely awkward and switched conversational topics immediately when their mother was once mentioned.
The mother finally appeared in Chapter 207. And chapter 245 confirmed that the father is deceased.
Psycho Lesbian: Naturally, when in a series like this a girl has feelings for her female boss, she has to have some loose screws.
Real Place Background: The clock tower shown before the On the Next segment of every episode actually exists in real life, being located in Hiraoka Park in Kiyota Ward, Sapporo.
Relationship Upgrade: Jun finally spit it out to Yachiko in Chapter 223, and Souta confesses to Mahiru in Chapter 250.
Replacement Goldfish: Jun Satou becomes one to Yachiyo when Kyouko had to leave for a business trip. It was an unpleasant few days for him.
Souta asks Popura to pretend to be his little sister in episode 8 of Season 2 when he realizes that his real sister Nazuna has grown to be slightly taller than him.
Schmuck Bait: In episode 4, Popura tells Satou that she's jealous at how tall he is. He tells her he can make her taller, then simply raises her hair a little. It annoys her, but he tells her not to get mad, because anger kills cells, and that's why tall, cool guys like him are never mad. She immediately buys his explanation.
Sempai/Kohai: Popura and Souta, respectively. And played for gags.
Shipper on Deck: Yamada, Popura, and Kozue appear to have jumped on the Inami/Souta bandwagon. Even Souma's Bishie Sparkles turn light at the thought of them hooking up.
Izumi also ended up shipping Satou and Inami, though she had no idea about Inami's relationship to Satou; she just appears to Izumi to be a kind person that can look after her as well.
Souma is shipping Satou and Yachiyo too. Mizuki's reluctantly on his team too.
Souta's mother is full of this.
Ship Tease: Despite protests from both, Souta and Inami have been teased as a potential pairing.
And despite the fact that Yachiyo will always go for Kyouko, we have some teasing for Yachiyo and Jun. The poor bastard can't even get let down properly.
Snipe Hunt: Souma tells Aoi to go find something in episode 8 of season 2 when her brother's trying to find her in the restaurant. Like the trope implies, she has no idea what he wants or where to even look for it.
Spit Take: Kyouko does one after seeing Souta cross-dressed in episode 9.
Kozue does one complete with mini-rainbow after Yamada told her Inami was interested in Souta.
Status Quo Is God: Mostly true, as in most Slice of Life comedies, though there are occasional minor shifts: Inami can now at least stand within a few feet of men without hitting them, Aoi Yamada has been added to the team, and Jun almost confessed to Yachiyo. However, for the most part things have remained relatively constant in the show.
Stealth Hi/Bye: Several characters seem capable of doing this, such as Kyouko and strangely enough, Izumi manages it in episode 3 of Season 2 after her walk outside.
Stealth Pun: When Satou is messing with Popura's hair, he is literally teasing her.
Strange Minds Think Alike: When Mizuki claims Souta would "devour" Yachiyo first chance he got, both Yachiyo and and Kyouko immediately imagine him eating her hair.
Super-Deformed: A large group of mini-Popura's march by Souta in a short scene during the opening for Season 1. Gosh darn it if they don't look adorable too.
Yachiyo claims to not be worrying about Satou when he asks her what's wrong in episode 11 of Season 2, after she overhears that he likes someone, and wonders who it is.
Sustained Misunderstanding: One incident happens in episode 4 of Season 2, involving Yachiyo meeting Otoo's long lost wife, Haruna, then having her vanish the moment her eyes are off the woman. This causes some misunderstandings between her and Satou, which Inami later misinterprets. Inami's misinterpretation of the event causes Popura to also misinterpret, then finally Souta, who confronts Inami about it. Satou finally forces Yachiyo to come clean with why she was going through a Heroic BSOD, and after she does, it turns out no one was going to hate her for losing track of Haruna.
This trope is in play again during episode 13 of Season 2, when Yamada blew a casual conversation she had with Popura out of proportion. Popura mentioned quitting to focus on school, but decided not to. However, Yamada tells everyone she is definitely going to quit, causing all of them to talk to Popura as if she were really going away. Which then causes Popura to start crying and wondering about it.
Taking the Bullet: In episode 12 of Season 2, after going a long time without punching a guy, Yamada tries to speed up curing Inami's androphobia, so she pushes Souma towards her. Inami instinctively starts throwing a punch at the approaching Souma, but Satou throws Yamada's teddy bear to intercept the fist. Souma escapes unharmed, but the teddy bear "dies", and the characters send a farewell to it, until Yamada points out that it's merely lying on the floor.
That Came Out Wrong: When Souta is being told by Kyouko that employee romantic relationships are forbidden, he tries to justify why he's so interested in Popura. He says he likes small things such as kittens and water fleas. Then he says Popura is like a water flea, and therefore it would be wrong for him to date a water flea, right? Except his explanation makes even less sense to Kyouko.
In episode 6, when Inami meets Kazue, one of Souta's older sisters, for the first time, she says she "lays him out all the time". She meant she hits him, but it could also be taken as This and That.
In episode 11, Yamada is looking for someone, which she claims is the product of her and Souma. Both Takanashi and Popura stare at him, wondering what she meant by that. Turns out it was the teddy bear he bought for her in episode 8, which she named Daisy.
Theme Naming: All of Souta's sisters have "zu" in the middle of their names. Kazue, Izumi, Kozue and Nazuna.
Theme Tune Cameo: The opening theme song's melody is playing as background music in the restaurant in episode 9 of the second season.
Yamada doesn't do this at first; it's just when it's becoming painfully clear she can't remember her own (assumed) name.
Throw the Book at Them: According to Souta, Kazue has a penchant for smacking him with her law books at any opportunity. She then demonstrates by hitting him in the forehead with the one she's currently holding.
Apparently that's why she became a lawyer.
Token Mini-Moe: Nazuna is a borderline case, seeing how she is about Souta's height already.
Vague Age: Aoi is dodgy about giving up her age in the anime (when Souta tells her he's 16, she responds that she's 16 as well). She appears to have a 16-year-old brother who refers to her as his younger sister, so she might be the same age or younger.
Hilariously, he looks really good as a girl: he was adorable when he was a child, and he was good-looking enough when he cross-dressed to fool Inami's dad that some guys hit on him. Of course, that makes him like it even less.
Apparently, even Popura liked him as a crossdresser more than normally.
Apparently though, Mahiru's mother doesn't seem to be all that fooled by Souta's disguise.