Yamada loses her teddy Daisy. Yachiyo overhears part of Sato’s conversation with Mashiba #2 and becomes concerned. Nazuna, eager to grow up, drinks lots of milk, gets lots of sleep, and gets advice from all her older sisters. Eventually everyone becomes concerned with the chief’s behavior, forcing Sato to partially clear the air, while pressuring himself to make a move soon, or quit.
Sato’s outward appearance may exude an air of normalcy in the crazy land of Wagnaria, where some days Kyoko eats more of the restaurant’s food than the customers. But he’s no normal dude, and we’re not just talking about his eye-covering yellow hair. How else do you explain his ability to sculpt Popura’s hair into the most amazing forms? Perhaps it’s better to call him the “most” normal of his peers.
He’s the quietest, most introverted and stoic too, but having coworkers such as his inevitably rub off. He gets impatient with things carrying on too long, or people who don’t work when they’re supposed to (read, Yamada and Kyoko). He also dislikes people getting into his business (Soma) and people misjudging him (Mashiba #2). But where he’s most nuanced is in his feelings for Yachiyo. He took a tiny step towards telling her the truth, but her insistence that they are [just] friends and her twisted upbringing at the hands of Kyoko and her thugs, along with the whole dating coworker stigma, makes his an uphill battle.
At Souma’s sly suggestion and with Kyoko’s indifferent blessing, Sato comes with Yachiyo to get her a cell phone, something she’s never had before. Yohei and Mitsuki return to continue helping Kyoko, and Yohei gets snagged by Kozue, who’s lamenting another dumping. Takanashi is tired of Yamada’s lollygagging and tells her to write everything he tells her to do down, but she misses the point.
Mitsuki is quite correct; Yachiyo is cute, and always has been…but so shy, and as this episode indicates, hopeless in all non-work-related social situations. Still, the cell phone sales rep barely conceals her contempt for what looks to anyone like a couple in Sato and Yachiyo, and they would be one if Sato had the guts to set things in motion (and Yachiyo had only the slightest awareness. As things stand, she only has eyes for Kyoko).
As for Kozue, she may be drunk and loose, but her intuition isn’t wrong. Even if she is just teasing Mitsuki, Souma is in fact sadistic, Sato is sweet beneath his rough surface, and despite his oh-so-subtle gestures, he’s definitely into her, even if the crushing futility of ever attaining anything more than friendship weighs him down. When one can’t be direct in their like for someone, they typically tease or otherwise mess with them instead. Oh yeah, there was more Yamada Being Yamada, and for once Inami didn’t punch Takanashi (she was barely in this, though). That is all…
Takanashi and Satou are both sick of manager Kyoko never working and stuffing her face with the restaurant’s food. After they convene with Souma, he agrees to tell Kyoko she’s cut off by feigning an ordering flub. Kyoko is quickly struck by intense food withdrawal, which isn’t helped when Takanashi leaves a lost kid in her care. The girl, possibly sensing Kyoko’s despair, even offers her some of her dessert, but Kyoko declines, showing progress.
So Working’!! keeps chugging along with nice, pleasant, airy slice-of-life in the limited setting of a restaurant, as its predecessor did. Previous episodes of both have touched upon the question of whether Kyoko pulled her weight around Wagnaria, but things came to a head this week. If we were Takanashi, we certainly wouldn’t stand for our manager dropping potato chip crumbs over where we had just cleaned. It’s one thing to be lazy and not doing anything, it’s another to make other peoples’ jobs harder by making messes and eating food meant for customers and not paying for it. Yachiyo has been her chief enabler, but when all is said and done, nobody who works at the restaurant can consider themselves blameless for letting Kyoko continue as she has.
As Takanashi says, someone her age is set in her ways (he should know, having two grown sisters who act like children). But we like Kyoko’s simple philosophy: she likes anyone who gives her food. That’s a girl we can get behind right there. She even shows a little perceptiveness by telling Satou she doesn’t like him as much as Yachiyo does (though he continues to be lame about that) – and we really thought she’d take the kid’s pastry, but she didn’t! She may not do much and she may eat a lot, but her presence is still crucial to Wagnaria’s success. Why, we don’t know. But it just wouldn’t be the same without her.
While returning from the store with Kyoko, Yachiyo finds Otoo’s long-lost wife, but is too slow to catch her, and she vanishes again. She becomes very sullen, which everyone notices. She asks Satou if he likes her while Mahiru is listening, and she becomes aware of the love triangle. Satou makes her promise not to tell everyone, but she feels so bad for Satou, Takanashi starts to think Mahiru likes him. Satou takes Yachiyo aside and promises her no one will ever hate him, including him, and she tells Otoo, who shrugs it off. Takanashi confronts Mahiru as well, and she allays his fear she likes Satou.
Yachiyo, Satou, and Mahiru act a little off this week, and it’s a testament to how well the staff knows each other that they almost instantly sense when they are off (Well, aside from that one waitress we still haven’t met…we wonder what the deal is with her.) Yachiyo, as usual, has the lowest possible opinion of herself, just over some little thing completely out of her control (a wife emerging from a manhole cover than vanishing as if she had disapparated, for instance). Her sudden inquiry to Satou was surprising though, she’s not the most forward person, after all. The ridiculously long pause was classic Satou.
Satou’s an interesting case: on one hand, you could say he’s a fool for not making his feelings perfectly clear to Yachiyo, who is so socially inept anyway. Whatever subtle signals he’s thrown out (and there haven’t been a lot), she’s not going to pick them up; he has to be firm and clear; loud and proud. But his reservations don’t just lie in his fear of rejection or his own shyness, but consideration for his boss, Kyoko. He feels like Yachiyo is off-limits. And in any case, falling in love with someone at work is tricky enough. Actually trying to have a relationship where you see each other all day and work with each other is trickier still.
Taneshima tries to get Takenashi to compliment Inami, to no avail. Yamada misses Otou, and tries to stalk Souma with Taneshima, to no avail. Taneshima tries to get back at Satou for always picking on her, to no avail. Otou returns, and Yamada hangs off him constantly, wanting him to adopt her. When he leaves again, Yamada finds solace in the busts of her co-workers.
This was a pleasant enough episode. There was nothing exceptional about it, but it did execute its various trifling plots competantly. There are some things that worry us, though. First of all, Takenashi and Inami’s relationship actually grew closer quite a bit as last season progressed. So why is it she’s acting pretty much how she did the first day she met him? It would be nice if this season eventually acknowledges the progress they had made. Nothing changes fast in this series, if at all, though.
The second worry: Where is that girl with the weird hair? I thought a new character would show up this week, as the last episode hinted; perhaps she’ll show up later. We don’t watch Working’!! to be blown away by the story or have our sides split. We watch it because it’s relaxing, and for the charm of the myriad characters, and because its lived-in feeling world is essentially limited to a restaraunt. So it’s a relaxing microcosm.