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Review: Hataraki Man

Hataraki Man.

One problem with becoming an expert in any field is that one becomes excruciatingly familiar with all the conventions and expectations of the field. In an information field like anime, a connoisseur quickly gets bored with the normal and the familiar. All a series needs to do to make such a person give all sorts of accolades, then, is stand out and differentiate itself. The only reason that this is uncommon is that truly standing out is very difficult.

Hataraki Man stands out.

One of its major distinctions is that this series is targeted to adults. Most anime considers its target audience to end with teenagers at the oldest, and casts and plots itself accordingly. Not this one: the youngest cast member is in their early 20s, and the average age is in the mid 30s. More tellingly, the fantasy it presents is clearly aimed at adults: the characters have dynamic, interesting jobs that they’re successful at. Romance doesn’t always work out, even between people for whom it probably should. People have natural, human flaws. The art style remains high-quality and consistent throughout the entire series: unexaggerated, natural-looking people. There is no magic whatsoever.

Though the series’ target audience is adult, it doesn’t make an issue of that. There is no fanservice in the classical sense in this series–if there had been, it wouldn’t have scored nearly so high. However, the characters do talk about sex, and the camera does occasionally see female upper-body nudity, though always from the back. There’s more explicit content in any art museum. The only issue I’d have with showing this series to children is that they’d probably be bored; they wouldn’t see the point.

The title character is not a man at all, but an ambitious workaholic woman who loves her job. She’s got so much drive and talent that her peers compliment her by calling her a Hataraki, or Working, Man. The series mainly deals with her dealing with her job, her boyfriend, and the challenges she has dealing with both. It’s a slice of life, and an appealing one.

I suppose the most appropriate way to summarize the experience of watching this series is to note that immediately after finishing it, I looked up the publisher to see if they had made any others like it, because I wanted to put them next on my viewing queue. This series is Recommended.

Genre: workplace drama
Emotion: Jim’s Big Ego – Stress
BTFS: .95

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