Of the fall 2021 anime, one of the two main romantic comedy anime series for me was My Senpai Is Annoying, a workplace comedy series with a nice healthy dose of romantic comedy that worked very well for me, as a Geriatric Millennial.
The show follows Futaba Igarashi, a recent college graduate who has just started as a salesperson in a firm, and had has been taken under the wing of her boisterous senpai, Harumi Takeda. However, in addition to Futaba’s insecurities due to the ever-present impostor syndrome of starting their first major job, she also has her existing insecurities based around being particularly short, causing people to often mistake her for a child. Further, Takeda’s boisterousness is heightened by the fact that he is a very physically large and imposing man (like if someone took another pass on a Tetsuo Hara character design to soften them up a little for a more conventional comedy series). Further, Futaba has started to develop a serious crush on Takeda, which she suspects is unrequited, but might not be.
The series also has a side plot involving two of Futaba’s coworkers – Touko Sakurai and Souta Kazama – who also have a similar degree of romantic tension. Theirs is a little more requited, though neither is quite able to spit it out. Touko is more of a conventional office lady (or, at least, we don’t see her pounding the pavement on a sales beat like Futaba and Harumi do). She’s also more conventionally attractive, leading her getting a lot of unwanted attention from male co-workers in the office, also making things tricky for Souta.
My Senpai is Annoying did get some crap for Futaba’s character design, and on the one hand, I get that. She’s designed to look like a minor, in a medium that has real problems with the sexualization of minors, and appearances of characters that are designed to look like minors, but are “really older than they look” as an excuse to get away with that sexualization. On the other hand, I did go to a college with a female friend who looked way younger than her age (and had a couple high school friend with similar issues) – and all of whom absolutely hated it, so that worked for me. It’s helped by the fact that this generally isn’t a fanservice show – the show doesn’t contrive to show Futaba in her underwear or nude. When we have a beach episode, Futaba’s swimsuit tends to be more modest, with any fanservice being reserved for either Touko, or Futaba’s also more athletically figured childhood friend Natsumi Kurobe.
Honestly, I don’t really have much of a gripe for this show. The show does appear to have the problem of going from source material where the creator believes in Moonlighting Syndrome (when, as I got into with Tonikawa – the problem with Moonlighting Syndrome isn’t that the audience doesn’t want to see the characters in a relationship, it’s that Moonlighting Syndrome happens when the relationship is written poorly, or the writers don’t have confidence in how to write a transition to a relationship). So, while there’s character growth, there’s never really that sense of movement in the character relationships.
Still, I liked the show, and it was a really nice, fluffy addition to my anime watching for the season, and I have since added the manga to my to-be-read list. Hopefully this will get a second season.
My Senpai is Annoying is available for streaming on Funimation.
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