Review by: Kiki Van de Kamp
Publisher: NIS America
MSRP: $59.99 US
Running Time: 312 minutes
Release Date: Available Now
You will definitely want to make a reservation to this fun restaurant.
Welcome to Wagnaria, a cozy little family restaurant in Hokkaido, Japan where there’s tasty dishes on the menu and waiting staff is composed of a cute blonde who never parts from her sharp katana or an even cuter girl who will punch you if you happen to be a male customer. These are but a taste of what you will come to expect from the Complete Series Premium Edition of Wagnaria!!
Wagnaria!!, or if you prefer, Working!!, is a 13-episode series that introduces us to a young man named Sota Takanashi who is walking home from school when a very cute and pocket-sized girl named Popura Taneshima comes up to him and offers him a job waiting tables at Wagnaria since the eatery is understaffed at the moment. Since Sota loves cute little things, he says yes to the job offer and thus begins a series of events centered on the restaurant and its staff.
One of the best things about the series is its cast of characters that include a surly manager named Kyoko who was a former bancho (a gang boss) and the cute Yachiyo who carries around a katana and cheerfully takes care of Kyoko’s constant demands for something to eat. In the kitchen, there is the cool and handsome chef Jun Sato and his blackmail-loving assistant, Soma Hiroomi. Then there’s the cute Inami Mahiro who happens to be androphobic to the point that she can’t even look at a man without punching them out first.
Unfortunately for Sota, he quickly becomes Inami’s punching bag at first because of her condition and then because of a more obvious reason as Inami comes to know the young man better. In fact, it is thanks to Sota that Inami goes on a mission to help heal said condition as we discover the roots of her problem, which is actually quite hilarious, by the way. They even explain why the girl is so abnormally strong since half the time we see her cracking the walls with her punches.
Still, Inami isn’t the only one with a quirk or problem and this is part of what makes the cast of characters so interesting and fun to follow. There’s Sato and his growing disappointment that Yachiyo only has eyes for Kyoko or Popura being oversensitive about her short stature or even the restaurant’s branch manager, Hyogo, who is searching for his wife that he says got lost somewhere in Japan. Then there’s Sota who is dealing with his own issues such as living in a home with four imperfect sisters as well as the fact that he was raised dressed up as a girl.
At one point, Sota is asked to dress like a girl after Inami told her overly protective father that the person who gave her a White Day gift wasn’t a boy. Surprisingly enough, Sota manages to pull of the disguise disturbingly well and ends up sticking up for Inami. Meanwhile, a newcomer named Aoi Yamada is the one that reveals to Yachiyo who Chef Sato really likes … after the clueless Yachiyo jumped to too many bad conclusions.
Wagnaria!! possesses a wonderful sense of humor that goes beyond the usual comedic slapstick that makes up the genre since the dialogue is wonderfully written and the story is flawlessly executed to the point that even an obligatory trip to a hot springs doesn’t result in the usual hot springs shenanigans. In fact, they end up doing something else entirely. It’s refreshing to find an anime that aspires to do something different while maintaining all the things we like about this genre.
An absolutely charming and entertaining series from start to finish, The Complete Series Premium Edition of Wagnaria!! is an instant anime classic in every sense. With an loveable cast of characters, gorgeous animation and a great sense of humor, the series serves up everything you can ask for in a comedy anime series. I am definitely giving this one my highest recommendation to anyone looking for a truly funny and likeable anime.
DVD REVIEW BREAKDOWN
There’s a lovely little family restaurant in Hokkaido where the food is excellent and the staff is quite charming in their one unique way. Joining the waiting staff is a young High school student named Sota who comes to be a part of this interesting family that includes a cute girl who has some issues with men that compels her to punch them.
VIDEO QUALITY: A
The animation in this series is simply stunning as the series mixes some gorgeous backgrounds with some familiar character designs. NIS America does a brilliant job making the episodes look great on DVD to the point that you can’t help but think that it would have been perfect for Blu-ray.
AUDIO QUALITY: A
The music in the series is not only cute but also fitting for a series like this and even the opening and closing theme songs are as adorable as the characters because the songs are performed in character by the voice actors themselves. The Japanese voice cast offer up some great performances especially Jun Fukuyama, the seiyuu for Sota.
The second disc contains the clean opening and closing theme songs and nothing else but the Premium Edition not only includes the huge box (that looks really good) but at least the 32-page hardcover book that comes with it more than makes up for the lack of extras. The book contains plenty of artwork and character sketches as well as a few four-panel comics.
The Complete Series Premium Edition of Wagnaria!! aims to please and succeeds in just about every way as it serves up an Instant Classic well worth buying. Simply put: this endearing anime series does a great job bringing us a comedy that feels genuine and will not fail to make you laugh or smile all the way through this 13-episode gem.
Review copy provided by Media Blasters (Anime Works)