HomeAnimeANIME REVIEW | Earnest Hilarity From An Annoying Senpai

ANIME REVIEW | Earnest Hilarity From An Annoying Senpai

ANIME REVIEW | Earnest Hilarity From An Annoying Senpai

It’s always a breath of fresh air when an anime rom-com focuses on adults rather than students. Series like WOTAKOI and Recovery of an MMO Junkie relish on the struggles of finding romance in the real world. But leave it to rom-com kings Doga Kobo (NEW GAME!, The Helpful Fox Senko-san) to truly demonstrate the sweet and funny sides of finding love in the work place in this season’s My Senpai is Annoying.

Based on the manga by Shiro Manta, My Senpai is Annoying focuses on two possible couples in the making. The main is between the short-yet-tough Futaba Igarashi and the big-yet-gentle Harumi Takeda, who often work together on various projects. While Futaba figures out how Takeda sees her, the other duo Toko Sakurai and Sota Kazama attempt to push one another to admit their feelings. This group of friends soldier through the work day, go on retreats, and even offer a helping hand to one another when life gets in the way.

As they are the main focus on the show, Futaba and Harumi’s relationship goes at the snail’s pace we expect from anime romantic comedies. They make some strides though, especially when one helps the other when they come down with a cold or giving chocolates on Valentine’s Day. There’s also the level of closeness the two have, as they often eat together as a reward for a job well done each day. But despite these romantic gains, Futaba and Harumi often drag their feet when the subject of love is in the air.

Thankfully, Sakurai and Kazama are also here to rid us of these will they/won’t they frustrations. The advances these two make — dinner, presents, aquarium trips — are giant leaps compared to many other anime couplings! How Sakurai teases Kazama every time he sneaks a peek at her chest is also sweet when looking at the bigger context, as it’s obvious that she’s flattered by his glances. But it’s when Kazama protects Sakurai from some horn-dogged men where it’s clear that they’re destined for each other. (Watching as Kazama glows red from embarrassment from what he says also is both hilarious and adorable!)

Of course, there are others in these two couples’ corners, as they patiently wait for the magic to happen! Futaba’s friend Natsumi is her confidence booster, on top of being the one to pull the troublemaker side out of the short office worker. Coworker Mona is queen of not giving two craps, as she uses blunt talk to get her point across while drinking from a vodka bottle (which is filled with water, because we can’t have on-the-job drinking here!). Sakurai’s younger brother Yuto also offers some help to get Kazama closer to his sister, albeit unintentionally!

The strength of this ensemble is what makes My Senpai is Annoying a joy to watch every week! Futaba and Harumi aren’t the ones hogging the spotlight; every character has a shining moment that gives viewers a chance to see their strengths and passions. Even Futaba’s motorcycle-riding grandpa gets to play a key role in the narrative, as his means of measuring Harumi’s character results in the ultimate seal of approval a parental figure can give! Be it at a Christmas party, a beachside party, or on the basketball court, every main player of this anime beams with greatness.

These qualities are presented beautifully in its voice cast. Tomori Kusunoki and Shunsuke Takeuchi work off each other terrifically as Futaba and Takeda, with Kusunoki’s loud cuteness meshing with Takeuchi’s loud positivity. Reio Tsuchida and Saori Hayami bring a different kind of humor as Kazama and Sakurai, as Hayami’s sly tone pairs up with Tsuchida’s shy-yet-persevering personality. It’s also very interesting hearing the legendary Yui Horie playing Sakurai’s younger brother Yuto, but she brings the right amount of nervousness to the role, especially when paired with Reina Aoyama’s confidence-defining Natsumi.

Funimation’s English dub also does a terrific job emphasizing the characters’ chemistry. Risa Mei’s Futaba has a delightful charm to her voice, with Patrick Seitz’s Takeda boasting with joy and goodwill with every word uttered. Mark Allen Jr. does a humorous deadpan performance as Kazama, working well with the sweet tone of Jennifer AuBuchon’s Sakurai. Meanwhile R. Bruce Elliot brings the right amount of gruff and kindness as Futaba’s grandfather.

Doga Kobo knows how to bring good rom-coms to life on paper. While it’s not as visually impressing as last year’s Sleepy Princess in the Demon Castle, the animation team does a great job showing off the emotions and actions of these characters. Its greatest strength is in their facial expressions, with the looks & glares Futaba and Sakurai give to their coworkers and hopeful lovers will make anyone laugh their asses off. The physical humor also is captured with wonderful timing, with the basketball game in Episode Ten showcasing the fine usage of anime sight gags.

Composer Hiroaki Tsutsumi is a go-to for rom-com scores, with his work on Karakai Jouzu no Takagi-san being one of the most charming examples of the last few years. Tsustsumi brings a similar tone to My Senpai is Annoying, with simple melodies that bring a good deal of warmth to the heartfelt scenes. The main female cast takes the helm for the poppy opening theme “Annoying! San-san Week!”, a cheery-yet-goofy song that grabs work life by the horns and rides it confidently throughout the work shift. Yui Horie’s end theme “Niji ga Kakaru made No Hanashi” is more calming, with the seiyuu’s vocals bring plenty of magic to the melody on hand.

My Senpai is Annoying is a work-based rom-com done right. With its ability to focus on more than one couple under the same business, the series lets viewers see more than one side of the office romance life. How the coupling of Futaba & Takeda and Sakurai & Kazama will evolve remains to be seen, but the laughs and sweetness each episode delivers makes staying overtime for My Senpai is Annoying all the more worth it. This is one mandatory office party that delivers everything you could want, with promises of a good time guaranteed at around every corner!

Voice Acting: (Japanese & English Dubs)
Final Grade (not an average):

My Senpai is Annoying can be viewed on Funimation, and has been licensed by Funimation. Episodes 1-10 were observed for this review. Promotional consideration provided by Funimation.

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The J-POP king of America, Evan has been bringing the hottest sounds of the Land of the Rising Sun to the English-speaking public since his college radio days. He's also an expert in the gaming, anime, & manga realms, never afraid to get critical when the times call for it. Born & bred in Boston, he achieved his biggest dream yet by making the big move to Tokyo, Japan in Summer 2023! For personal inquiries, contact Evan at evan@b3crew.com. For press/band inquiries, write to us at thebastards@bostonbastardbrigade.com. (Drawing by AFLM of Wicked Anime)