Original Run: October 7, 2019 - December 23, 2019
Number of Episodes: 12
Genre: Comedy, Slice of Life
Based on the Series Created By: Gum
***Warning, the following may contain spoilers for African Office Worker. Reader discretion is advised.***
It is just your typical, average, not-at-all-special day. As is the nature of such days, you can expect the busy office worker to clock in and do their standard nine to five. Assuming, of course, their boss doesn’t make them stay overtime.
Such is the life of three no-thrills desk jockeys, Lion, Lizard, and Toucan (voiced respectively by Akio Ootsuka, Kenjirou Tsuda, and Hiro Shimono).
Monday through Friday, with the occasional weekend work, these three will show up and get their business done. Now and then, either out of frustration or boredom, something a tad quirky may happen to add a little spice to their corporate grind.
The thing that surprised me the most about this series was how much I liked it. I’m not talking ironically. I don’t mean it was so bad it was good either. I’m saying African Office Worker was legitimately a very fun show to sit through.
Granted, this series wasn’t on the same level as Dr. Stone or Fire Force, but it was a delightful little gem from the 2019 fall season that shouldn’t be overlooked.
On the one hand, it would be easy for me to say I liked this show because it made me laugh. Consequently, it would be even easier, as well as cheap of me to add that since my enjoyment of this series was solely based on its comedy, that could serve as the complete review since humor is one of the most subjective topics out there.
On the other hand, I don’t need to do that since I know precisely why I found African Office Worker to be as funny as it was. It all came down to delivery. This show had terrific voice talent to help make already strong writing that much better.
I’ll go ahead and give credit to the entire voice cast, but the three I want to highlight were the actors for Lion, Lizard, and Toucan, Akio Ootsuka, Kenjirou Tsuda, and Hiro Shimono. These three actors brought so much more life to characters who would have probably been decently funny had someone else played them.
Lion was one of those characters who defined the phrase “don’t judge a book by its cover.” He may have looked mean and intimidating, but at heart, he was just a big softy. From an office standpoint, he was one of those managers who earned his position through years of service to the company. He wasn’t so much an expert at his job, but he had plenty of experience to know how to do it adequately.
As a boss, Lion was willing to let a bit too much goofing around slide by, but he kept the respect of his staff because he treated fairly. Therefore, who might play the role of a character who could effortlessly rip your arm off, but who also wouldn’t hurt a fly? I’m not sure if Mr. Akio Ootsuka, whose most iconic role was Batou from the Ghost in the Shell franchise, would have been my first choice, but then again, I’m not a casting director. Mr. Ootsuka killed it as Lion.
Then there was Lizard, who was Lion’s right hand. Although he was a professional, Lizard didn’t live for his work. While at the company, he did his job and did it well. However, when he wasn’t on the clock, he was happy to kick his feet up. Lizard was also the straight man of the trio, and frankly, you couldn’t have found a better person to fill this role than Mr. Kenjirou Tsuda.
The thing with Mr. Tsuda is, if you’re watching an anime from the last decade, then there is a pretty decent chance that you will hear his voice at some point. From just the shows I’ve reviewed from the 2019 fall season so far, he’s already shown up in Fairy Gone and Fire Force. More often than not, Mr. Tsuda plays shadier characters, and he has the voice to do it well. Still, it was great to hear him in a comedy role for once. African Office Worker is proof that Mr. Tsuda can appear anywhere and knock it out of the park.
Lastly, Toucan was my favorite character in this series. He was a pure asshat, but the kind of asshat that would always get what was coming to him. He was lazy, manipulative, greedy, self-centered, and the first to fall when something went wrong. Toucan was that special wild card that can keep a series fresh. He was reactionary, as well as the one quickest to crack a joke. This is a role Mr. Hiro Shimono has proven time and time again he knows how to play.
For anime fans, Mr. Shimono is the voice of Connie Springer from Attack on Titan, and for video gamers, he was Rex from Xenoblade Chronicles 2. In both parts, as well as his many others, Mr. Shimono brings a high level of energy, and it was no different for Toucan.
Thanks to these three characters and their respective voice actors, African Office Worker went from serviceable to unforgettable.
I mean, sure. If you think too hard about this show, you’re going to find a few cracks.
For example, there were pets in this world.
Need I remind you this was an anime with animals for characters. I’m not joking; there was a pig who had a smaller pig for a pet.
Plus, Toucan happily ate toriyaki. For those who don’t know, toriyaki is grilled chicken. Where did they get the chicken? Hell, Lizard even called Toucan out and asked if he had any problem with cannibalism.
Also, were we in Japan, or were we in Africa? There were places called African Ueno, and no matter how you look at it, Lion, Lizard, and Toucan worked for a Japanese company. However, those three had to mentor a new employee who was from Japan.
And don’t even get me started on the animation.
African Office Worker would go from an unremarkable art style to piss-poor CGI in the blink of an eye. Now sometimes, the bad visuals were used for a joke, but not always. Was it easier? Was it cheaper? Was it necessary? I don’t think so, but it happened nonetheless.
Lastly, there were plenty of jokes that felt to be in bad taste. There were a few quips about making bombs, and maybe it’s just me, those moments were a tad uncomfortable.
All that considered, though, I loved this show. Let me repeat myself; I’m shocked by how much I liked African Office Worker.
But I must add, a certain Mouse might get a little lawsuit-happy with this series.
Sometimes coming out of left field can mean something good. That was sure as hell the case here.
This show was hilarious, and it had an outstanding voice cast to take everything to the next level. If you want to know the anime equivalent of a hidden gem, look no further.
I want to know. What did you think of this series? Did I miss some glaring issues?
And if I did, so be it. African Office Worker has earned a recommendation.
But these are just my thoughts. What are yours? Have you seen this series? How would you advise African Office Worker? Leave a comment down below because I would love to hear what you have to say.