Working!! Original Soundtrack – Review

Album Title: Working!! Original Soundtrack
Anime Title: Working!!
Artist: Keiichi Okabe
Catalog Number: ANZB-9653 (packaged with DVD)
Release Type: Soundtrack
Release Date: June 02, 2010
Purchase at: CDJapan, Play-Asia


Tracklist:

Show »

Track Title Artist Time
1. Welcome to Wagneria Keiichi Okabe 1:06
2. Our Family Restaurant’s Arbait Keiichi Okabe 2:01
3. Shop Assistants of Very Clear-Cut Personality Keiichi Okabe 1:42
4. Working Now Keiichi Okabe 1:32
5. Boring Afternoon Keiichi Okabe 1:49
6. Unrequited Love Keiichi Okabe 1:40
7. Illness Keiichi Okabe 2:00
8. Happy Closing Keiichi Okabe 1:35
9. This Month’s Shift Keiichi Okabe 1:37
10. A Certain Place in Hokkaido Keiichi Okabe 1:42
11. Takanashi’s Family’s Reasons Keiichi Okabe 1:53
12. VS Keiichi Okabe 1:39
13. This Day Keiichi Okabe 1:40
14. Zure Keiichi Okabe 1:44
15. Anthropophobia Keiichi Okabe 1:06

Review: One of the great things about listening to soundtracks is getting the exposure to many different musical genres. Though my biases tend towards symphonic and piano music, I’ve been delighted by Fairy Tail’s serving of Celtic rock, the awesome electric guitar work in NEEDLESS’s soundtrack, and the electronica presented in Darker Than Black 2’s soundtrack. In short, anime soundtracks cover a large amount of musical breadth, and with the release of Working!!’s soundtrack, ska gets a chance to shine.

The music which accompanies Working!!’s hilarious hijinks generally sticks to the ska sounds you hear in the catchy opening theme “Someone Else,” and on the whole, the BGM does a good job of capturing the show’s light-hearted, zany atmosphere. “Welcome to Wagneria’s” kicks it all off with a fast-paced track, complete with a trumpet fanfare, and through it, we get a glimpse not only of the eponymous restaurant’s intense working environment but also how every workday there is a grand adventure in navigating frustrations in a setting where danger can strike at any time, whether it be from coworkers or the restaurant’s patrons. This notion of adventure and excitement continues in the next few tracks like “Our Family Restaurant’s Arbait” where the saxophones convey the setting’s dynamism as well as the disturbing thought that this ain’t your usual mom and pop restaurant.

Welcome to Wagneria

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Our Family Restaurant’s Arbait

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When I think of music suited for a restaurant environment, my mind immediately jumps to something easygoing and mellow like Ristorante Paradiso’s soundtrack. Keiichi Okabe’s score is far more chaotic, and that’s just a reflection of the setting that Working!! inhabits. Its music exudes its own sense of charm that borders slightly upon being completely unhinged, exemplified in “Shop Assistants of Very Clear-Cut Personality” where you get the feeling that Wagneria Restaurant’s employees are… a unique group of individuals. They might not be the sanest bunch, but you know that working around them won’t be a boring experience since there are enough disasters going on to keep you occupied.

Shop Assistants of Very Clear-Cut Personality

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So all that Okabe does to depict the energy and insanity in Working!! works well within the show’s context; they just aren’t strong enough to leave a lasting impression. Though I liked the way “Welcome to Wagneria” sets the tone for the series, without the zaniness in mind, the track just becomes repetitive. Same goes for “Happy Closing.” Yes, the music is nice and easygoing, but it doesn’t really try to differentiate itself from some of the earlier pieces, and so, doesn’t really put a stamp upon your consciousness. You’d also think that the disc would try to end with something memorable like the last track in volume 1 of Durarara!’s soundtrack. “Anthropophobia” packs some enjoyable guitar shredding, but it is filled with repetitive segments that remain undeveloped. With tracks such as these, I can’t help but wonder whether the music could have been anything more than just straight-up BGM.

Happy Closing

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Anthropophobia

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So with that said, there’s only one track that even managed to get my attention because of its Bolero-like structure. “This Day” starts off with the piano playing a quaint, catchy melody that grows as the piece progresses, adding xylophones, then a bass accompanied by percussion, then having the trumpet take over parts of the melody, before finally letting the electric guitar take over the melody to bring about a rousing climax before leveling off altogether and letting the solo piano close it out. The piece does repeat itself, and the only reason I’d give it a nod of approval is because of how the melody reels me in, cliched with its easygoing slice of life tones though it may be.

This Day

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Taken in sum, it’s good enough in conjunction with the anime, but Working!!’s soundtrack doesn’t do enough to warrant giving it a standalone listen beyond nostalgia reasons. Though it might stand out for being one of the few anime soundtracks that use ska to accompany the action on screen, there are too few tracks that are actually memorable. Almost any musical genre can be adapted for use as soundtrack music, and ska is no exception. It’ll get its chance to shine someday. It just won’t be through Working!!

Rating: Decent

zzeroparticle

Anime Instrumentality's Founder and Editor-in-Chief. As you can probably guess, I'm a big anime music junkie with a special love for composers who've put out some beautiful melodies to accompany some of my favorite anime series. I tend to gravitate towards music in the classical style with Joe Hisaishi and Yoko Kanno being a few of my favorite composers, but I've come to appreciate jazz and rock as anime music has widened my tastes.

15 thoughts on “Working!! Original Soundtrack – Review

  • July 14, 2010 at 3:05 am
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    Keiichi Okabe – google him, and find his other work (i.e. Nier OST), and you’ll be astonished, very much astonished

    Reply
  • July 15, 2010 at 1:46 am
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    @revthemilk
    Well damn! Good thing I didn’t call him a crappy composer (I think if his goal was immersing you into the setting, he does a good if not memorable job). I’ve (sadly) yet to listen to Nier’s soundtrack, but by all reports, it’s a phenomenal album, so I’ll be sure to get to it at some point.

    So yes, quite astonished, and in a very good way to boot!

    Reply
  • July 15, 2010 at 9:02 am
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    I think the nature of this anime does not give the composer much chance to fully display his talent…but then again, that is a challenge, not an excuse.

    Reply
  • July 16, 2010 at 11:25 pm
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    I think the soundtrack is pretty decent. However, overall it offers much of the same upbeat feel. It packs a lot of energy for sure, but by the time I got to sample This Day, I felt a bit burned out. Still, individually, the songs are really fun.

    Reply
  • July 17, 2010 at 2:03 am
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    @Canne
    Maybe he just took this job on a whim :S Given some of his other stuff I’ve heard (OK, just Nier), he’s certainly got quite a bit of talent. Then again, Working!!’s soundtrack doesn’t call for much and I think he delivers all that he needs to deliver.

    @Yi
    Yeah, they’re all kinda same-y which does make it a bit annoying to listen to. But hey, it’s short! 15 tracks isn’t that bad to get through.

    Reply
  • July 17, 2010 at 7:58 am
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    Haha i actually forgot that there was bg music in Working >.<
    lol hasent really caught my attention

    Reply
  • July 17, 2010 at 7:46 pm
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    @Fabrice – Same here. But then maybe it’s because I was too busy laughing at takanashi

    Reply
  • July 18, 2010 at 11:33 am
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    @Fabrice
    Yeah, it doesn’t really hit you when you watch the series because there’s so much else. That might actually be a good thing since it doesn’t distract from the scenes.

    @mshaydown
    Quite true. Also, you have a blog now?????

    Reply
  • July 18, 2010 at 4:26 pm
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    Good music for the genre of anime it’s meant to accompany. Usually comedy slice of life shows don’t receive the best quality soundtracks for obvious reasons.

    Still, since the style music isn’t what I prefer, I don’t think I would spend money on this.

    Great anime, though. It was underrated.

    Reply
  • July 18, 2010 at 8:01 pm
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    I agree with others have said here. The music in Working!! wasn’t memorable for me since the exchanges between the characters were too amusing.

    I can’t remember when “Anthropophobia” was used during the series though. Hmm…

    Reply
  • July 18, 2010 at 8:05 pm
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    Funny…I never really took notice of the music when I was watching this. That usually says something about the music rather than me. Of course, I loved the OP, though I think the OP does a much better job at showcasing the ska elements than the OST. The OST loses the “punk”-ish feel for funk. Not a bad thing, but I enjoyed when the horns were showcased more than electric guitar.

    Reply
  • July 19, 2010 at 8:48 am
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    I adore “This Day”, easily the standout track from the series.

    Reply
  • July 19, 2010 at 11:08 am
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    @Yu
    I can think of sketchbook as having an awesome soundtrack and Hidamari Sketch’s as being pretty good, but yeah, you’re right about the rest since other stuff like Minami-ke never got my attention at all. It’s just kind of there to get you settled in and not much else.

    I wouldn’t spend money on this either. You have to buy the Japanese DVD/Blu-Rays :\

    Finally, I think the word is under-watched since pretty much everyone I’ve talked to who has seen it has loved it to death. Great cast of characters who never seem to get old + Inami’s character development as the show progressed makes it one of the best slice of life comedies I’ve ever seen.

    @Reltair
    I can’t remember either, which goes to show how memorable that piece was to begin with.

    @lelangir
    Weird thing is that I only started to pay attention to the music after I listened to the soundtrack whereas, like you, it’s typically before. Also +1 for the OP being much much better than the OST.

    @Westlo
    Yeah, of them all, this one seems to be the one that sticks with you the most because of how it progresses. One catchy melody to boot!

    Reply
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