by Paul Jensen,
How would you rate episode 11 of
After spending a couple of weeks on the sidelines, Higashida and Miyakoshi are back with a vengeance. Miyakoshi is finally starting to realize that there must be more to maintaining a relationship than making Higashida pay for her meals, but her coworkers are unable to offer any useful advice. With nowhere else to turn, she pays another visit to Saint Valentine, and Higashida is forced to break into his hidden stash of chocolate to bring her back. They both regain consciousness, but with drastically different interpretations of what happened. Miyakoshi is wracked with guilt over the mistaken idea that she stole Higashida's first kiss, while he's mortified by the revelation that he hasn't been able to eat all the poisonous confections that Miyakoshi gives him.
Whether it's a result of letting the supporting cast carry the series for a few episodes or simply a matter of gradual character development, the show's main couple brings the comedy in a big way this week. The combative chemistry between Higashida and Miyakoshi has always been one of WWW.Wagnaria's strong points, and it's in fine form here. It even works when they're not in the same place; the scene of Higashida begging his family not to leave him alone with his supposed girlfriend is wrong in all the right ways. As much as the two of them gripe about one another, they also show an endearing desire to get better at being in a relationship. I'm not sure if they'd ultimately be happier staying together or breaking up, but the fact that they're doing their best in their own comically incompetent way is kind of sweet.
Just in case making each other miserable wasn't enough, the dysfunctional duo also wreaks havoc on everyone around them. I can't help but feel bad for Adachi and Muranushi; every time they try to offer advice, they just end up noticing the problems in their own relationship. Saint Valentine also deserves a little pity, and I'm impressed by the way the series has kept his interactions with Higashida and Miyakoshi entertaining. Visiting the poor guy has gone from a trippy near-death experience to a convenient source of romantic advice, and Valentine is clearly starting to develop a justified fear of Miyakoshi. No one is safe whenever these two start to question their relationship, and the chaos they create in this episode is consistently funny.
WWW.Wagnaria also earns some points for successfully pulling off the escalating misunderstanding between Higashida and Miyakoshi. As each of them tries to apologize to the other for what they think they've done wrong, they only deepen the level of miscommunication. It takes a bit of narrative juggling to keep the conflicting versions of the story in balance, but the comedic payoff is worth the effort. I'm glad that the series is continuing to tinker and experiment with its humor, especially this late in the season. It'd be all too easy to start coasting on the audience's goodwill at this point, so it's a good sign that the show is still going out on a limb from time to time.
WWW.Wagnaria can be a very funny show when it gets all of its parts to work together, and that's exactly what it does in this episode. Sure, it benefits from groundwork that's been laid in previous weeks, but that doesn't change the fact that this episode had me laughing from start to finish. For a comedy series like this, that's a clear sign that something's working well.
WWW.WAGNARIA!! is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
Paul Jensen is a freelance writer and editor. You can follow more of his anime-related ramblings on Twitter.
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