Welcome to Wagnaria: The restaurant with the a wacky staff and their wacky hijinks. And yet, among the crazy day-to-day happenings is a healthy, platonic relationship that is a rare sight in anime.
Note: This article contains minor spoilers for WWW.WAGNARIA!!
WWW.WAGNARIA!! is a slice-of-work comedy series about the staff of a small restaurant in the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido. The series, a spinoff of the original Wagnaria!! series, follows protagonist Daisuke Higashida as he is forced to work to earn his own allowance as his father has recently become unemployed.
Of the staff members who work at the restaurant, there isn’t a normal human being among them. From a girl who can see ghosts to a penniless male host who works at the restaurant just for the free food, the cast is varied and altogether weird–including Higashida, it could be argued. Among those characters is Hana Miyakoshi, a spunky girl with a great outgoing attitude as a waitress and a private personality like a Harley Davidson. She’s cute but dim, outgoing but a terrible cook… essentially your template tomboy anime heroine.
From the way she’s introduced, with a bright smile and a cute welcoming voice, we can immediately see that the series is setting her up to be the eventual romantic interest for Higashida. But, the relationship that is formed is everything but that: It’s a perfect, healthy, platonic friendship.
There are no hidden agendas, no clichéd tsundere romance, no misunderstandings, no suppressed longing, no obtuse obliviousness… Higashida and Miyakoshi are the perfect buddies with all cards on the table. They simply don’t see each other as romantic partners–which in turn allows them to be open and frank with each other. They aren’t jumping through hoops to try to get the other’s attention or to prevent the other from realizing one is interested in the other. Even when other characters bring up the topic or try to force the issue onto them, they can both look at each other and go, “…why?”
Even better, the two of them are perfectly comfortable with the friendship they have. Miyakoshi regularly goes to Higashida’s house, the two regularly get paired up for events among the Wagnaria staff, and more without any sort of sexual tension. To them, it’s a non-issue.
In any other anime it would probably have been a “will he/will she” thing, with entire episodes centered on silly misunderstandings and stupid assumptions. As it stands, the relationship is so good that even though, as a viewer, I want them to get together, I’m perfectly happy if they don’t.