Wagnaria!! ReviewSasha de Guzman
When I first heard of Wagnaria!! I thought to myself that this anime is right up my alley. I had worked in a restaurant for a few years and I believed that I could totally relate to an anime that took place in one. Boy, was I wrong! Wagnaria (translated to 'working' in English) is far from your typical family restaurant due to its utterly unique cast of employees. This anime incorporates the most overly-exaggerated, almost unbelievable, character personalities that one would ever imagine to find. It plays heavily upon its characters' distinctive traits and combines humor along with slap-stick violence to create a light-hearted, comedic and entertaining series.
If you are looking for an anime with a gripping storyline and serious dramatic scenes, this may not be the anime you are looking for. Wagnaria!! lacks any sort of engaging plot. Instead, it draws the audience in by focusing on each of the characters' somewhat obsessive personalities. The basic premise of Wagnaria!! centers around a 17 year old boy named Takanashi who is unexpectedly recruited to work at Wagnaria by the obscenely adorable Taneshima. Takanashi, who is obsessed with anything that would be considered 'cute', is immediately attracted to Taneshima due to her short stature and childish nature. Thus, he agrees to a part-time job at Wagnaria. This anime series is short, consisting of only 13 episodes, and takes a slice out of the life of Takanashi as well as Wagnaria and its employees.
The characters in Wagnaria!! are all unique in their own way. Almost every character has some sort of obsession or trait that sets them apart from average. As mentioned earlier, the main character, Takanashi, is obsessed with anything that would be considered adorable or cute. This would include his co-worker, Taneshima, who is actually one year his senior but looks and acts as though she is 12 years old. Taneshima is fixated with becoming taller. Another female character, Inami, is extremely androphobic (she has a phobia of men) to the point that she will punch any man she comes into contact with. There is one small story arc within the series which follows Takanashi as he tries to help Inami be rid of her androphobia because she cannot serve male guests within the restaurant in fear she will severely injure them. Takanashi tries his best to help the androphobic Inami, whether it be by allowing Inami to punch him in order to release her aggressions toward the male gender, or dressing as a woman to ease her aggressions. Other memorable characters include Kyoko, a lazy and constantly ravening restaurant manager, as well as Todoroki, head waitress of Wagnaria who always carries a katana (even while at work!) and is infatuated with Kyoko. Among the characters there are romantic interests that arise as well as innocent love triangles that emerge which add to the amusement of the series. All of these rather ridiculous characters are what makes Wagnaria!! an interesting and entertaining anime.
The Wagnaria!! Complete Series: Premium Edition set, courtesy of NIS America, contains an art book as well as all 13 episodes on 2 DVDs. There is no option for English dub. The anime is presented in Japanese dub with the option for English subtitles. The series combines light-hearted humor with a mix of slap-stick violence to create an entertaining and comedic anime. The animation of Wagnaria!! is modest and uses bright colors and smooth animation. The music is simply fun and energetic - playing to the anime's cast of overly eccentric cast of characters. Although lacking in an engaging storyline, Wagnaria!! consists of many good laughs and silly situations which the characters get themselves into. If there is to be another season of Wagnaria!! I would hope that there would be deeper character development and more of a set plot. Because the anime series is so short, it did leave me with many unanswered questions about each of the characters. But, it also leaves me intrigued and interested in what the future holds for the Wagnaria restaurant and its employees.
Disclosure: We are provided copies of games from the game companies for some games that we review.