|Working!! Original Soundtrack
|ANZB-9653 (packaged with DVD)
|June 02, 2010
|1. Welcome to Wagneria
|2. Our Family Restaurant’s Arbait
|3. Shop Assistants of Very Clear-Cut Personality
|4. Working Now
|5. Boring Afternoon
|6. Unrequited Love
|8. Happy Closing
|9. This Month’s Shift
|10. A Certain Place in Hokkaido
|11. Takanashi’s Family’s Reasons
|13. This Day
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[audio:01 Working.mp3]
Our Family Restaurant’s Arbait
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
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[audio:08 Working.mp3]
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.
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!!