How the Salaryman’s Club is Continuing a Trend Older Otaku Love

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Anime centered around adult characters are hard to find. Here’s what Salaryman’s Club does well and where it may fall short.

As in many other countries, many Japanese place great value on their youthful years. Childhood and adolescence are periods of life that have a significant impact on a person and shape their future life. Since the target audience for most anime is people from these demographics, it makes sense that it largely takes place during this time. Popular sports anime like Haikyu!!, Kuroko’s Basketball and Ace of Diamonds enjoy it by focusing on high school sports teams with characters who dream of Olympic gold or turn their chosen sport into a career.

Yet, even though many anime fans of all ages enjoy these stories, viewers can’t help but want to consume stories they can relate to. For many anime fans, high school is a long way in the past and they want to see more adult-focused titles. In recent years, anime about older characters have been gaining traction across all genres. In the world of sports, Run with the wind, Well done boys and several others have taken place in a collegiate setting. This season, however, there is a sports anime about adults in the corporate world: badminton. Employees club.


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From the start of Episode 1, main character Shiratori Mikoto is faced with a problem that young adults commonly encounter. After being fired from his job, he receives a call from his mother telling him that he cannot expect to stay with his parents. His old room has already been rearranged because his parents thought he wouldn’t come back. He needs to find something new to support himself, and fast. However, the job he lost isn’t just the average Japanese office worker.

A fascinating aspect of Employees club is the fact that Mikoto’s latest position, as well as the new one offered to him, depends on his performance on the badminton court rather than the quality of his work. If he does not deliver results in matches, his career is threatened. This fact makes the stakes higher than any high school sports anime. If the Karasuno Volleyball Club does not make it to the national championships, they still have a place in the school and their basic needs are met. If Mikoto can’t succeed as a badminton player in this league, he might lose his only source of income.


Although Mikoto can find a job that doesn’t depend on a sport, it could mean giving up badminton altogether. Few working adults have the time or energy to be involved in competitive sport in addition to a full-time job and to care for any family they may have. With badminton being something he can do during company time, it’s the best balance Mikoto can strike. Badminton has a professional league and is an Olympic sport, but it seems his desire is just to keep playing rather than become the best in the world at it.

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Since the characters are mostly in their twenties and thirties, it is also possible that different conflicts arise. Sports anime have dealt with characters struggling with injuries or having to leave the team for their own health, but never as an adult might. What a person can do at 15 may not be something they are capable of at 30. She can no longer jump as high as before or move from side to side of the field as quickly. Things like that can be frustrating to notice and could lead to an interesting plot point.


Salarymans Club Tatsuru

There is, however, cause for concern due to some choices the series makes. All of the characters on the team working for the same company are a no-brainer, but some fans are questioning the decision to have them live together in dorms. While companies can and do provide housing for their employees, it gives an otherwise adult-oriented series a more youthful feel. On the one hand, it facilitates character interaction and can help build camaraderie within the team, but on the other hand, dorm life is strongly associated with school rather than professional life. .


Dorms look perfectly natural in Run with the wind because they are a varsity team, or in Ace of Diamonds because children all over Japan attend school to play sports and need a place to stay. In Employees club however, it is an odd choice. Since this anime is an original with no source material, it may give the impression that LIDENFILMS has not fully committed to the characters being working adult males, which raises some concerns. However, since Employees club is an original anime, fans will just have to watch to see how it develops.

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