by Paul Jensen,
How would you rate episode 6 of
Love is in the air in this episode of WWW.Wagnaria, though it looks an awful lot like danger, fear, and outright malice. After another chocolate-induced meeting with Saint Valentine, Higashida decides that the only way to survive Miyakoshi's cooking is to try and fall in love with her. That's going to be pretty difficult, since neither one of them actually seems to like the other. Adachi tries to deal with his paralyzing fear of Muranushi, or at least get to the point where he can receive a gift from her without fainting. Kamakura's love-hate relationship with Shindou continues as usual, though her sadistic streak seems to be widening to include her bodyguards.
The series is leaning on its core character dynamics this week, which on paper should help it out. Rather than throwing new jokes at the wall and seeing what sticks, this episode focuses on the routines that have already proven to be funny. In practice, however, the comedic punch of earlier episodes is turning out to be difficult to replicate. It's still entertaining to watch the characters play off one another's quirks, but some of the comedy magic seems to be missing in action.
The show's ongoing problem of jokes playing out exactly as expected continues to rear its head more often than it should. It's all too easy to guess that Nagata won't be able to improve Miyakoshi's cooking skills, or that Kamakura will keep her new bodyguard around just to watch him suffer. Good delivery frequently saves the day, with the process of setting up a joke often proving funnier than the eventual payoff. This series is very good at providing a constant flow of entertaining banter, but it needs to find a way to stick the landing at the end of a scene.
One of the more encouraging signs in this episode is the way in which WWW.Wagnaria seems to be looking for ways to develop the relationships between the main characters. Higashida's attempts to get along with Miyakoshi put a slight twist on the chemistry between them, and their argument at the end of the episode leaves the door open for some fresh humor next week. Having Adachi try to explain himself to Muranushi also raises the possibility of some kind of romance developing between them, which could conceivably add some emotional depth to the series. Much of this is speculation based on best-case scenarios, but at least the show has clear paths to follow when it comes to keeping its recurring jokes fresh.
With an episode like this, WWW.Wagnaria meets the basic requirements of the genre without doing much to exceed them. The characters are quirky, the jokes are mildly amusing, and the experience as a whole is pleasant if largely forgettable. The danger is that the series will get overly comfortable in this middle ground between “average” and “good,” which would be a shame. There are hints that it's on the verge of improving, but it will take until next week to see if it can seal the deal.
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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