BDSM in Working!! – Some of Them Want To Be Abused

by 21stcenturydigitalboy.

“Some of them want to use you
Some of them want to be used by you
Some of them want to abuse you
Some of them want to be abused”
            – Sweet Dreams by Eurythmics

A lot of physical abuse happens in Working!!, but it’s neither out of sadism nor masochism. Inami Mahiru, who habitually flogs men on site, curses her innate talent for harming others. None of her victims enjoy getting hit, either—not the least bit love-interest protagonist Takanashi Souta, who’s trying to help her learn to stop hitting people. It’s only through comedic misunderstanding that his sister comes to think he’s a masochist. But there’s at least one BDSM relationship in the series.

Working BDSM masochist screenshot
Not quite…

It’s a relationship concerning the D/S part in particular (dominence/submission), between Wagnaria’s manager Shirafuji Kyouko and her chief of staff, Todoroki Yachiyo. Yachiyo has been infatuated with Kyouko since they were in elementary and high school respectively, thanks to a time when Kyouko rescued Yachiyo from some bullies and then asked to be compensated with food. Somehow, the fact that Kyouko demanded compensation seemed cool to Yachiyo, and she fell in love. Now, the two of them work together, and Yachiyo spends much of her time fretting over Kyouko and bringing her parfaits.

Mostly, Yachiyo’s affection appears one-sided, as Kyouko remains aloof. It seems like she’d let anyone be her food slave, and indeed is kinder to anyone who brings her food. However, there’s one instance wherein Kyouko asserts her dominance over Yachiyo specifically.

Working screenshot BDSM

Working BDSM screenshot

Working screenshot BDSM

It’s possible that Kyouko said this just to keep the peace, since the situation was about to turn violent, and is just manipulating Yachiyo’s affection. It’s also possible that Kyouko doesn’t regard her slaves as having exclusivity over her, which Yachiyo probably wouldn’t be happy about. But that’s kind of the point—Kyouko is selfish and manipulative, which is why she’s dominant to begin with. It is the slave’s dilemma that the very things which they find attractive in their master are the things that restrain their own desires. Brutal, and beautiful. Poetic, even.

Working!! is a sadly one-dimensional series that will probably never really explore this relationship at length. However, at least it gives us more than enough concrete evidence that Yachiyo is genuinely in love with Kyouko and not just faux-lesbian by way of comedy. If nothing else, we can leave it to our imagination that these two will continue their long-standing BDSM relationship far into the future, and maybe on a deeper level one day~

__________________________________________________
About the Guest Author:
A prolific and well-established blogger, 21stcenturydigitalboy writes with a passion and a very distinct voice.  His thoughts are always a delight to read, and I am fortunate to have this opportunity to play host to them. 21stcenturydigitalboy blogs at My Sword Is Unbelievably Dull.

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34 Responses to BDSM in Working!! – Some of Them Want To Be Abused

  1. Overlord-G says:

    The deepest this show went on that subject was season 2 episode 7, where Takanashi sees boy Yamada getting close to Inami and he spends the majority of the episode in pain, going so far as to reading books about dogs because he still wants to convince himself that Inami’s like a dog. What’s better is that he even begins to think that maybe he really is a masochist, all of this to deny his true inner emotion…jealousy. Poor Inami though.

    I don’t care about his feelings to be honest, I just want to see him and Satou as miserable as possible until the show’s true finale, with a possible 3rd project in the works after the 2nd season. Only then are they allowed to find happiness. Call me a sadist if you will. I simply enjoy watching male leads in comedies suffer as much as possible in a stylish manner.

    • When Takanashi suffers, though, it’s Inami who really suffers the most, and Poplar who gets all worried. Takanashi, as the tsukommi, just sits a bit too high on the victimization pyramid (http://myswordisunbelievablydull.wordpress.com/2011/09/20/workings-weaker-izaya/ ) for me to feel like he’s really suffering.

      • Overlord-G says:

        And that’s exactly what makes this show so splendid. EVERYONE IS A VICTIM! It’d delicious! no other show this year has made me laugh on a constant basis this year more than Working 2 has.

        Episode 2.8 was so beautiful. Takanashi once again in mental pain and his coworkers questioning his sanity. Such bliss. It’s tough being the shortest in a family of mostly sisters who are taller than you. This also brings to question what secrets the Yamadas are hiding that only Soma knows. Wow, now that’s what you call desperate: Referring to Inami.

        Who the heck cares about relationship development. All that matters is pain.

  2. Smithy says:

    Although it is mostly a superficial but hilarious comedy, Working!! does surprise us now and then with little things like that, though much like an iceberg, we’ll indeed likely not see any more depth to it.
    (If Working!! would seriously delve into that topic and others, it’d have plenty to explore with its quirky characters and the funky Takanashi siblig relationship.)

    But Working!! in itself as a series is a cruel mistress! Torturing me with its impossible choices… do I choose the lovely, dependable Nazuna or the beautiful Kotori-chan? The consequences… jail or trap… the world is a tough place.😄

    • I would love to believe this show would explore any relationship that isn’t Inami and Takanashi’s at length, but when it’s so out of ideas that it keeps introducing more dumb side characters, it’s hard to have any faith in that.

      My impossible choice is Yamada or Poplar… wait no, that’s not difficult at all, I WANT BOTH.

  3. Kuuki says:

    But if you think about it, the relationship between Inami and Takanashi has a lot of similarities with a BDSM one too.
    Except in my opinion the master is Takanashi. He said it himself, he wants to train Inami like a dog. At her request.
    It’s just that she cannot obey the rules and that they’re not aware of that dimension of their relationship.

  4. Fabrice says:

    I doubt there would be any development between any of them tbh, Working is simply not that type of series where you can get serious romance:/

    • It doesn’t have to be serious romance to develop, and actually S2 has done more to develop KyoukoXYachiyo than the first season, though still not a whole lot. The show is constantly developing InamiXTakanashi which I find incredibly boring.

      • Overlord-G says:

        Well DUH! It’s fun to watch Takanashi in agony but seriously if it weren’t for “The Claw”, I wouldn’t take any heed to their relationship as there’s very little to make me actually care about “A guy with an inferiority complex to older/taller women and a girl who no matter how hard Takanashi tries to help, still can’t over her androphobia, despite having a crush on Takanashi. yeesh. Don’t even get me started on Satou, that cowardly wuss. I see much less reason to support his quest than Inami’s. He’s a chicken, simple as that.

  5. Marow says:

    *puts on watch list*

  6. IMSirius says:

    For some reason I enjoyed the first season much more than I’m enjoying the second.

  7. Nopy says:

    I love that song🙂

    While I’m not watching Working!!, I have noticed that BDSM is rather common in anime, at least as a reference if not present in a character’s personality. It makes me wonder what’s going on in the heads of the writers.

  8. kluxorious says:

    I personally think Yachiyo too has experienced character development. Though she is still clueless but she seems kind of aware of Satou’s feelings towards her. I actually hoping to see that she will eventually realized that her affection for Kyoko won’t bring her anywhere.

  9. TheBigN says:

    I am pretty pleased that it seems as if the initial BDSM misunderstanding between Inami and Takanashi has been clarified. Sorta. I really hate when misunderstandings are slowly left to fester like that.

    • So do I which is a problem I have with tons of comedy anime that thrive on them. Hayate the Combat Butler is kind of the king of those but it does it to such extremes that I can’t hate it as much.

      • TheBigN says:

        I think that’s part of Hayate’s charm, because when it pokes fun at how silly they are in addition to stacking several on top of one another, it’s hard to be bothered by that.

        Regarding the Inami/Takanashi misunderstanding, I think what bugged me about it more than anything else was that it brought Nazuna inside of it. As Souta’s one steadfast advocate, for that to put a small wrench into their relationship (where she’s still a supporter of her brother, but it definitely threw a kink [pun intended] into her impression of him) was unforgivable for me. Nazuna’s such a good girl. ;_;

  10. Persocom says:

    I don’t think BSDM plays too much of a role outside the Inami/Takenashi relationship, and maybe with his older sister, but it’s definitely hinted at. A lot of anime is like that these days, perhaps more people have this fetish than we imagine.

  11. MyHatsOffToYou says:

    Truthfully, I’m suprised that you talked about the BDSM part of Working!! since such subject is not really the anime’s forte.

  12. Swordwind says:

    I really ought to watch this. Nice to see you writing again.

    • Yi says:

      I’m assuming “Nice to see you writing again” is directed at me. This is actually a post by a guest author. I have not seen Working! yet.

    • MyHatsOffToYou says:

      And I strongly recommend this anime to you. This one is quite good at bringing out slice of life style comedy (in my opinion).

      I watched the first season twice since I love it so much.

      I can’t wait till the second season finishes, then I’ll spend all night on it with a bag of Ruffles in my hands ^o^

  13. Sas says:

    I just wanted to say that I had just finished listening to that song when I came to this article. Also, I really should be getting back to this anime…

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