Working a part-time job at a local restaurant can be frustrating, boring, and exhausting. Three adjectives nobody would ever use to describe the slice-of-life anime, Working!!. The three seasons and spin-off center around the everyday lives of the staff working at Wagnaria, a family restaurant which inexplicably attracts the weirdest waitresses and cooks in the business.
Working!! and WWW.Working!! are slice-of-life comedy anime based on a four-panel comic strip manga created by Harino Takatsu. The former throws in a fair amount of romance, although it is mostly kept for the final season. The entire cast is well developed and given their moment to shine, creating a genuinely consistent and memorable series. Each episode includes at least one laugh-out-loud moment, with a few chuckles sprinkled throughout.
Today, we will be counting down our top 10 picks for the funniest Working!! characters.
10. Yuuta Shindou
While the original series kept the financial circumstances of the main cast relatively tension free, WWW.Working!! introduces a character who works several different jobs to try to get his family out of debt. Such a real-world problem might not seem like an ideal source of comedy, but Shindou ends up being one of the funniest parts in the spin-off series. This entry could almost be a double act with Shiho Kamakura, a rich staff member and the daughter of the man Shindou’s father owes money to. The duo has been together since childhood, with Shiho using her position and deep pockets to get revenge on Shindou for rejecting her.
Shindou is one of the nicest guys in the anime, as he tries to remain optimistic despite the less-than-ideal turn his life has taken. After a while, it does get a bit disheartening seeing this teenager constantly trampled upon by Shiho. Still, Shindou proves to be a source of many laughs, especially when he reacts with unbridled joy to even the smallest acts of kindness. The series also loves to juxtapose the pair’s current relationship with their childhood interactions, often showing a complete reversal of power.
9. Popura Taneshima
This short 17-year-old high-school student is the main reason that Working!! got started. Souta – the protagonist of the original series – loves tiny things, and only takes the job due to Taneshima’s adorable appearance. Despite being on the verge of adulthood, she could easily pass for an elementary school girl, something which the rest of the cast loves to point out.
Taneshima is not really a funny character on her own but tends to be the butt of some of the best jokes. She spends the majority of her time trying to figure out new and exciting ways to force herself to grow taller, but is otherwise one of the more sane members working at Wagnaria!!. Due to her energetic and positive personality, this pint-sized high-school student is lovable and a constant source of comedy.
Her funniest scenes tend to arise from the way she passive-aggressively tries to get back at Souta for treating her like a child. More often than not, this backfires and makes the protagonist fall in love with her tiny appearance all over again.
8. Sayuri Muranushi
Sayuri comes from a family of exorcists and is capable of interacting with youkai, despite not personally believing in their existence. One of her regular customers is an old man who nobody else can see, which terrifies her co-workers, and confuses the hell out of Sayuri. She is a quiet girl, who rarely shows any emotions and tends to react with disinterest towards any given situation.
As most of the other characters tend to be rather loud, her dry delivery is a welcome change of pace and leads to some hilarious interactions. The few times Sayuri actually smiles result in expected reactions from people who happen to witness it, with the cook Masahiro Adachi practically being changed forever after his experience. Despite her sixth sense, Sayuri is one of the hardest workers at Wagnaria, even if not all of her customers are of this world.
7. Daisuke Higashida
The main protagonist in WWW.Working!!, Higashida is forced to get a job at Wagnaria!! to pay for his own expenses after his father files for bankruptcy. He is a hard-working student, who is easily annoyed by the antics of his co-workers and family. Throughout most of the series, Higashida serves as the voice of reason, while managing to deliver a handful of witty lines. His toxic relationship with the powerful but rather slow Hana Miyakoshi often lands Higashida in a world of pain.
Role reversals are prevalent throughout the spin-off, with the girls portrayed as the dominant characters. Higashida is the only male staff member who has a backbone, as he tries and fails to bring a touch of normality to this wacky family restaurant. A running gag is the way he reacts to Miyakoshi’s terrible cooking, which is capable of sending Higashida temporarily to heaven.
6. Kirio Yamada
One of only two people on this list who do not work at Wagnaria!!, Kirio is Aoi Yamada’s brother and a potential love interest for Mahiru Inami. Energetic to a fault, this 17-year-old high school student has spent the last few months frantically searching for his runaway sister, although he often gets distracted by any girl that happens to pass by. As captain of the karate club, Kirio quickly strikes up a friendship with the man-fearing Inami, as he is capable of blocking her punches.
Kirio is brutally honest and kind of dumb. He could easily have served as a romantic foil for Souta, but instead tries to push the protagonist and Inami together. While his attempts are often not appreciated, there is a good heart hidden underneath his loud and annoying exterior. The karate captain is also the main reason Yamada ran away from home, as he ate her natto without asking. Unsurprisingly, Kirio is oblivious to this fact and goes to great lengths to try and reconnect with his younger sister.
5. Souta Takanashi
Souta is far from your typical slice-of-life protagonist. Despite the overabundance of quirky characters on Wagnaria!!, this 16-year-old high-school freshman is arguably the weirdest of the bunch. Due to having three older sisters, a younger Souta used to wear their hand-me-downs, leading to a history of unintentional crossdressing. He also takes after his older sister and absolutely adores small and cute things.
This is not limited to just Taneshima, as Souta cannot help but hug any animal he might come across. More importantly, he is unashamed and unwilling to change this aspect of his personality. This obsession can put him in hot water, as it includes small children. On his very first day on the job, Souta is punched squarely in the face by Inami, due to her fear of men. Afterward, it is explained that she did not mean any harm by it, Souta takes on the role of helping Inami overcome her irrational phobia. This leads to a lot of bloody noses and black eyes for Working!!’s protagonist.
4. Miri Yanagiba
If there is one criticism we can throw towards the spin-off series, it would be that there is not enough Yanagiba. After forgetting to wear a scarf for the first day of high-school, she ends up getting pneumonia and spends the rest of the day in the nurse's office. As she missed her opportunity to make friends, Yanagiba uses this as an excuse to never attend class.
Do not let her sickly appearance fool you, as Yanagiba is the funniest character in the entire show. Initially introduced as a customer who Higashida believes might be a ghost – due to wearing winter clothes in summer – this lovable delinquent is attracted to people who happen to be weird. As Wagnaria!! is a goldmine of strange characters, she spends most of her free time at the restaurant.
3. Hiroomi Souma
At first glance, Wagnaria’s assistant chef seems like a perfectly nice and polite 20-year-old man. Often with a friendly smile on his face, Souma offers Souta a helping hand during his first few days and appears to get on well with the rest of the staff.
In reality, this is all a front and Souma is the most sadistic and scariest member of the entire crew. He arrogantly declares himself to be a genius and spends most of his time trying to learn everyone’s secrets. While this information is occasionally used to get out of doing some of his work, Souma really just loves seeing what happens after a secret is revealed.
This status-quo is rocked with the introduction of Yamada, who learns that nobody knows anything about Souma and makes it her mission to develop a sibling relationship with the chef. He also goes out of his way to avoid Inami, although they eventually form a friendship by speaking over a phone.
2. Jun Satou
The main chef of the restaurant, Satou is a cool and helpful character who is desperately in love with the oblivious Yachiyo Todoroki. As he is forced to listen to stories about the manager of Wagnaria, who is Todoroki’s idol, Satou lets out his frustration by making fun of Taneshima’s height. The mean-spirited and wryly nature of his jokes are made all that more hilarious as they completely contradict Satou’s typical behavior.
As Souma is the only one aware of Satou’s crush, the chefs are presented as a comedy double-act, as they try to make the other’s life as difficult as humanly possible. The 20-year-old cook is a genuinely hard worker and tends to get annoyed whenever the others waste food or time. Like every guy working at Wagnaria!!, he is terrified of Inami and tries his absolute best to avoid being in a situation where he might be alone with her. Due to his calm persona, Satou pretends to not be scared, despite visibly shaking in his boots.
1. Aoi Yamada
Yamada never fails to be hilarious. After running away from home, she is picked up by Hyougo Otoo, the head of the restaurant, and starts working at Wagnaria!!. Despite claiming to be 16 years-old, Yamada acts like a spoiled elementary school girl, who causes more than a little bit of trouble for her coworkers. When not goofing off or eating natto, she is either annoying Souma or accidentally breaking plates.
Yamada yearns for a family of her own, even going as far as to get adoption papers for Otoo to sign. Referencing herself in the third person, as Yamada is not actually her name, this troublemaker shows an almost admirable amount of self-confidence in her own ability. Souta acts as somewhat of a mentor to Yamada, although his complaints and suggestions tend to go over her head.
In a franchise filled with hilarious characters, Yamada stands out as the best of the bunch. She is unpredictable, lacks any self-awareness, and never fails to be a delight.
Working!! was a fun ride while it lasted, and we would love nothing more than to spend even more time with the dysfunctional staff of Wagnaria. It is rare to discover a cast as consistent or relatable as those found in A1 Pictures’ comedy series. For those looking for a new slice-of-life anime to watch, one filled with hilarious moments and characters, you cannot go wrong with this franchise.
Which character never failed to make you giggle? Please let us know in the comment section below.