Wagnaria!! is another "slice of life" anime following the daily goings on at a family-owed restaurant in Japan. Unlike other shows of this type, which seem content to just let events happen with any sort of story, Wagnaria!! attempts to build in some sort of plotting and personality. Characters are much better defined, so even if there isn't a larger plotline tying everything together, knowing each character’s quirks adds some continuity.
The original series set introduced all of the series' main players, so some familiarity is assumed going into Season 2. At the same time, I barely remembered anything about the first set and still had little problem slipping into the staff’s daily lives – so prior knowledge isn't mandatory by any means.
Much of Series 2 revolves around the various relationships between staff members. Nearly everyone has some sort of relationship issue to contend with, though some are of the personal type rather than focusing on romance. I don't have anything against romance, but I am not a fan when shows feel the need to pair every character up into some sort of romantic relationship.
The various relationship issues also provide some sort of slow, steady growth between episodes. The focus on characters and their stories, while still keeping the "day in the life" narrative device is, at least in my view, a fantastic way of handling this sort of series.
As with other NIS anime releases, Wagnaria!! is light on extras. Aside from clean versions of the ending sequence, the only other on disc extras are trailers and commercials. The lack of digital extras is, as usual, made up for by the stellar hardcover artbook. The book is filled with artwork from the series, as well as episode synopses. What helps to set this book apart from others are the "candid" artworks adorned with short character quotes. It helps tie the book to the show a little better and is a trend I wish more of the art books followed. Not that I don’t enjoy character sketches and interviews, but the quotes give the book a little added personality.
Wagnaria!!2: Complete Second Series Premium Edition is a great buy for anime fans, particularly if you’re a fan of slice of life shows. There’s enough personality to quickly pull viewers in and, even though there isn’t a larger mystery to solve, there are still enough interesting, yet subtle, changes to keep you hooked.