It’s a common fact: most anime take place in high schools or at least involve characters that are teenagers. So naturally, the number of anime with adult characters and experiences are pretty scarce. There are, however, two anime series I really enjoyed that show adulthood – New Game and Re:Life.
While I love them both dearly, I noticed something about them right away. The characters in both shows have very different experiences when it comes to their job. As someone who has struggled with jobs in the past, I found the experiences in both shows very interesting. Let the discussion begin!
**Warning! This post will contain spoilers.
New Game: Having Your Dream Job
New Game is a slice of life anime about an 18 year-old
loli woman who gets a job at a video game company. Suzukaze Aoba, the main character, gets her job right out of high school, when she’s only 18. No college. No experience. And yet she is given a full-time position in a very niche industry.
As someone living in the US, where we have a terrible job market, at first I found this surprising and kind of hard to believe. I personally know how hard it is to find a full-time job, especially one that is so specialized. Every job requires some kind of degree and/or working experience in that field. It’s the same for careers in the gaming industry. I did some research and saw that employers want an experienced worker. And yet, Aoba gets her job with absolutely no credentials. I’m not sure if this is common in Japan. Maybe it is. Either way, Aoba is extremely lucky! She landed a job that she loves AND it’s full time, probably with benefits and everything.
Update: Crunchyroll actually wrote an article about whether or not Aoba’s workplace experience in New Game was realistic. It’s very interesting and helpful!
Aoba is also very fortunate when it comes her work place’s environment. She feels awkward and uncomfortable at first, but all of her coworkers and senpai are extremely friendly and supportive. Even though she makes some mistakes, her managers and superiors don’t belittle her and actually help her. Yes, she needs to figure some things out on her own, but there is always someone there to give her advice.
This is a great environment. I’ve had experiences where the administration just “throws you to the wolves” without training you and expect you to do everything perfectly. Then, they get irritated when you’ve made a mistake.
When I first watched New Game and had just left a horrendous job, I didn’t think such a positive work environment could actually exist. But they do. They might be few and far between, but they do exist. My current job is very similar to Aoba’s, in terms of the atmosphere.
Never give up hope~
Anyway, another positive aspect of Aoba’s job is the creativity it requires. She has to learn how to use computer programming (which is tedious), but she is able to create art and characters. Finding an outlet that lets you make art for a living and get paid for it is very difficult (again, maybe Japan is different). If I could, I would jump into New Game and get a job working for Eagle Jump – maybe I could help write the games’ plots or dialogue.
In the end, after all of her hard work, the games Aoba was working on gets released and it’s a dream come true for her. She realizes that all of the overtime and commitment was worth it in the end. Although there are times when she gets fatigued or depressed from working long hours, Aoba has a very positive job and workplace overall. I hope everyone is able to find a job that’s meaningful to them 🙂
Re: Life– Things Don’t Always Work Out As Planned
In Re: Life, Kaizaki Arata’s job is the exact opposite of Aoba’s. Kaizaki goes to college, and then attends grad school. He has the credentials and experience to get a full-time job in his field and manages to get one after he graduates. However, his working environment is drastically different from the one in New Game. Kaizaki gets trained by a woman who is very friendly, energetic, and the top sales person in the company. However, the other male employees dislike her and harass her because they are jealous.
Kaizaki witnesses the harassment and confronts the other employees, but this only makes the bullying worse. Eventually, the woman commits suicide. Instead of feeling remorseful, the other employees, including Kaizaki’s boss, act like they are happy she is gone. Fed up, Kaizaki quits the job, even though he was only there for three months. The whole situation was very traumatic for Kaizaki and he falls into a depression. He can’t manage to find any other “real jobs” and ends up getting a part-time position at a convenience store. (I personally hate the concept of a “real job”because working retail is hard). In the eyes of society, Kaizaki is considered a loser, even though he did what was ethically right.
Note: If you suffer from panic attacks, anxiety, and depression, or are contemplating suicide, please seek professional help.
As you can see, his experience in the work industry was extremely negative, so much that he almost quits society all together. To help get him back on his feet, the Re:Life company recruits Kaizaki. The organization allows people to have a “redo.” A special drug makes the person look younger, so they can re-attend high school and hopefully find their purpose again. Kaizaki agrees and “relives” his high school days. As the series goes on, he begins to find hope again.
I don’t want to sound like a bummer, but I feel work places are represented more accurately in Re:Life (not including the suicide part; that’s would be horrible). Of course, not all work places are going to be as terrible as the one in Re: Life, but many of the themes – like over competitiveness – can be true.
I have seen it myself. I’ve witnessed people getting fired or laid off because they were getting paid too much money. I’ve worked my butt off at part-time jobs, only to be paid like crap and get looks from people when I told them I worked in retail. It is very easy to get frustrated and depressed about how the world works.
However, in the end, Re:Life has a very powerful and positive message- there is always a chance to start over. Even though his job was terrible, Kaizaki slowly rebuilds his confidence and comes to terms with what happened with his senpai. Hopefully, Kaizaki will get a good job like in New Game. This literally happened to me. A terrible job led to a great one. Again, it’s important not to give up 🙂
As I described, the working life in both anime are extremely different, one positive and the other. It was nice to see anime that involved people’s careers, and I really enjoyed both shows. Aoba and the cast of New Game are adorable and lovable. I chuckled at the cuteness and held my breath during yuri moments.
On the other hand, when I first watched it, I appreciated Re:Life more on a personal level. Being frustrated about your career is very relatable. I’m 24 (now 27) and some of my experiences working have been very similar to Kaizaki’s. Still, the message of the show – that’s there is always a chance to start over – is very relevant to job-seeking millennials and can help them feel a little better about the future. Remember, I eventually found a full-time job I really like! :3
In the end, I highly recommend both shows. What job experiences have you had?
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