Waitress in training
Kirio Yamada (Brother) Kikuno (Mother)
Ryō Hirohashi, Kana Ueda (drama CD)
Aoi Yamada is a mysterious self-proclaimed 16 year-old girl, good at disguising, who works at Wagnaria Restaurant as a waitress. She is one of main female characters of the story, Working!! She is the younger sister of Kirio Yamada, and the daughter of Kikuno. Yamada is kind of short tempered.
She is often seen wearing their typical waitress uniform like the others but with "trainee" badge in it. She is not that short and taller than Popura Taneshima. She looks like Kyouko Shirafuji, especially with the look on her eyes (as mentioned by Yachiyo Todoroki) which caused Jun Satou's irritation when he first saw her.
She also looks a lot like her brother. When Inami Mahiru first met Kirio, and learned about him looking for his lost sister, Mahiru was able to pick up that he was looking for Aoi because their eyes especially look the same.
Yamada came in late in the series as a last minute edition in episode 7. Otoo-san brought her back from northern Japan and said that she would be working at the restaurant from then on. Yamada claimed to be an orphan since her parents died in a house fire, she also claimed to be the only one to escape. However, Takanashi quickly noticed that it was a lie when he asked her what she managed to save, and she pulled out a fully loaded, luxury suitcase. He also asked her how old she was, Yamada asked him how old he was first, he said 16, so Yamada said she was 16 also. Later, Takanashi called out her name, Yamada, and she didn't respond. However, when he called out "girl who goes by the name Yamada," Yamada looked up and said, "Oh yeah, I'm going by Yamada here..." showing that everything she says is a lie (however, her given name, Aoi, is true). Takanashi gathered that Yamada did not lose her parents in a fire, but most likely ran away from home (which was also confirmed because in the second season her brother confirmed that she left home and he was looking for her for months). She tried to catch a train to leave her home, but when Otoo-san saw her, she made up a lie that she was an orphan and he happily let her accompany him back to the restaurant.
Since Yamada has no place to stay while working at Wagnaria, Otoo-san proposed that Yamada live in the attic of Wagnaria. However, since she lives there, she can sneakily steal food and silverware from the restaurant. After only a few short days, Satou caught on to Yamada's stealing and yelled at her for it. Yamada pulled on her fake act of being an innocent little girl and cried. Although she has been yelled at multiple times for stealing food, she still continues to steal food from the restaurant and hide it in the attic for her to eat.
Yamada is revealed to have fantasies about having the "perfect family." This may hint that her real family have no time for her (as hinted by her brother but he also mentioned that their mom loves them very much), therefore, she wishes to build a new, better family. So far she has deemed Otoo-san her father, Yachiyo her mother, and Souma her brother. Yamada also may be bi-polar, or have a secret personality since she seems to switch from being a sweet, innocent little girl to an evil, tricky girl.
Yamada is very blunt and messes up the status quo of the restaurant. Also, her arrival made Wagnaria unbalanced. Immediately upon realizing Satou's crush on Yachiyo, Yamada bluntly told Yachiyo that she was the one that Satou loved. This threw Yachiyo into turmoil and made her depressed and uneasy. Souma and Takanashi then had to explain to Yamada that she shouldn't always say what she thinks. This bluntness comes with no manners because it was revealed that Yamada does not know right from wrong. She will do things such as call her co-workers at two in the morning to talk or insult someone when she doesn't like them.
Although Yamada is a new part-timer, she actually makes the waitresses busier since she is constantly breaking plates and eating the food. She is very clumsy, but Kyouko can't fire her because technically she's homeless, so she has to work off her rent at the restaurant by being a waitress.
It is also hinted that she is not a very bright student. She mentioned that she has taken five times as many exams as most people and that people should not judge others by merely knowing their grades. She failed the entrance exams she took and when she talked to her mom about this, her mom gave her tons of book for her to read. She took it the wrong way and thought that her mom is forcing her even more to study but it is revealed that Kikuno can't think of any way to comfort her daughter, but she doesn't really want her to hate studying and instead, she tried to find study-aid books that may suit her.
Hiroomi Souma: Yamada became the only person Souma does not have dirt on. Yamada begins to admire Souma as an older brother after he bought her a bear. Souma hates this, but puts up with.
Hyougo Otoo: Yamada cares deeply for Otoo-san since he rescued her, and because of his sweet personality. Yamada decided that Otoo-san would make the perfect father, so she made him the father position in her "perfect family."
Souta Takanashi: Takanashi is the only one in the restaurant who can see through Yamada's lies. He is the only one who knows her true past. Yamada seems to have a secret grudge against Takanashi for knowing her secrets and almost exposing them, but she seems to like him in the end.
Jun Satou: Satou, along with Takanashi and Kyouko, know of Yamada's stealing and constantly yell at her for it. Yamada is also the only girl in the restaurant that Satou will inflict pain upon, mostly by pulling her hair or giving her nuggies.
Kyouko Shirafuji: Kyouko, along with Takanashi and Satou, know about Yamada stealing from the restaurant, and yells at her constantly for it. However, when she's not doing this, she doesn't care what happens to Yamada and basically ignores her.
Yachiyo Todoroki: Yachiyo cares deeply about Yamada for one reason, because she has the same eyes as Kyouko. Yachiyo calls Yamada cute because she has similar looks to Kyouko. Yamada liked Yachiyo's personality and deemed her as a perfect mother, adding her to her perfect family. She even told Yachiyo that she should have an affair with Otoo-san (the father in her perfect family).
Inami Mahiru: Inami, along with Taneshima, is a close friend of Yamada and they all stay together in their group of girl friends. Since Inami is older than Yamada, she is Yamada's mentor and shows her the ropes, along with Taneshima. Although Yamada always says what she thinks, she does not speak of Inami's or Taneshima's love for Takanashi because she is afraid that it might cause a fight between them and she wouldn't be able to decide because she likes them both.
Popura Taneshima: Taneshima was quite excited when Yamada came to the restaurant because she could use this chance to act older and more mature towards the girl. She even told her to think of her as her "onee-sama" (older sister). However, upon seeing how short she was, Yamada patted Taneshima's head, looking down on her already.
Kikuno Yamada: Aoi's mother; they didn't get along well since Aoi hardly understand her mother's thoughts; but as the story goes she was able to build a good relationship with her. Aoi describes her mother, including her father, as kind people.
Kirio Yamada: Aoi's brother. They didn't get along well and he's the reason behind Aoi's running away from home. He ate her favorite food, natto. Aoi addresses her brother as a worthless brother.
- Since Yamada arrived late in the season, she does not have her own part in the opening or ending. Yamada was simply edited in to look like she was standing next to someone who was already in the opening and ending. Most of the time, she is seen standing beside Souma or Taneshima.
- Yamada only has two changes of clothes, her waitress uniform and her old school uniform. However, in episode 13, Souma was forced into buying Yamada an expensive designer outfit, which she wore proudly throughout the restaurant.
- Yamada has been caught smuggling dishes and silverware out of the restaurant with a garbage bag.
- It is unknown how Yamada takes a shower since she lives in the attic of the restaurant. However, Yachiyo did mention that Yamada "washes up" using the restaurant's water. She also mentions going to the public bath when going along with Matsumoto.
- It was slightly hinted that Yamada comes from a wealthy family since she owns a luxury suitcase and her school uniform is that of a private school, which is very expensive. It was confirmed on episode 7 of season 3 that Yamada's family are upper-middle class, her mother is an executive assistant to Takanashi's mother and Minegishi's coworker.
- Her real surname was never mentioned as the story unfolded as she still used "Yamada" to call herself by the end, and even her mother began to call her "Yamada". The only clue we get is when Souma made like he was calling someone named "Kiri-" as they were going to the department store, but this was more likely a reference to her brother, Kirio, rather than an indication of her real surname.
- After being reunited with her mother, Yamada is still working at Wagnaria and staying there as usual when her mother does not come home.
- She owns a teddy bear named "Daisy"
- Yamada was more of a freeloader than a waitress.
- "You don't waste your time following someone unless you like him. Stalking is a sign of love."
- "But Satou-san loves Yachiyo-san. While I do hate Satou-san I find him pitiful." (To Yachiyo)
- "All the other staff members are friendly to each other here, but you have no friends." (To Souma)
- "Yachiyo-san, please be my mommy! Otoo-san is my father so please marry him! And then have an ugly love affair with Otoo-san's wife!"