Africa Salaryman – Anime Preview
Synopsis: Imagine your co-workers–a lion, toucan, and lizard! Hey it can happen right? Africa Salaryman is a comedic take on office life of three African jungle animals who could be your potential co-workers in corporate America. It’s full of ridiculous office place antics and hilarious scenarios, that keeps things quite entertaining, while the animals cope with their working environment. (Official Funimation Synopsis)
1st Episode Review (Warning: Minor Spoilers to Follow):
Tom: Africa Salaryman is probably the most visually unique anime this season. It’s got a much more cartoony, comedy art style that helps to contrast the series’ otherwise more adult, off the wall comedy. That said, the show attempts to balance the 2D interpretation of this visual style with CGI models, possibly animated through motion capture, for when the characters need to get physical and expressive. The trouble is these CGI models look rough, and it’s jarring every time we switch to them from the more standard 2D art.
Linny: Early on, Africa Salaryman’s jokes are pretty predictable. As much as it has a visually unique facade, you aren’t going to be roaring in surprise when it kicks things off with a joke about animal fur getting everywhere and then following that up with our Lion character accidentally scaring the living daylights out of a Rabbit mother and child simply by walking past them. Even its non animal centric jokes end up needing to be reworked as it’s little more than a play on words and while Funimation does a decent job of making it work in English, these low-effort punchlines only further indicate Africa Salaryman’s limited comedy.
Tom: Lion is presented as Africa Salaryman’s main character. We meet him as he wakes up for his day, heads into work and converses with his subordinates. But then the series almost jettisons him as a character, choosing instead to let most of the comedy come from Oohashi, an anthropomorphic Toucan and the office’s resident self-obsessed ass. Alongside that flip in leads comes the show’s insistence on just plain weird comedy. There’s a number of jokes that lack internal logic to them, feeling simply bizarre rather than funny or even a tad humorous.
Linny: Indeed, there’s a lot of logical irregularities in the world of Africa Salaryman. From an opening credit scene where an anthropomorphic bull chef is serving up what looks like beef bowls (gyudon) to his customers to a later gag in the episode that seems to insinuate that not only does an anthropomorphic pig keep a regular pig as a pet but she also sends the pig in her stead on group dates when she isn’t able to attend. Just what kind of world is the world of Africa Salaryman? How and why are some animals fully sapient while others aren’t and let’s not even go into the more morbid aspects of this setup. Africa Salaryman seems more focused on coming up with absurd punchlines rather than ensuring that the punchline actually makes sense.
Tom: My biggest beef is with Oohashi himself. The rest of the show is milquetoast, but Oohashi single-handedly pulls my view of the series into the gutter. Oohashi is this kind of self-obsessed, toxic masculinity character whose comedy seems to often involve a poor view of women. The show’s absolute worst gag is early on, downplaying the train groping problem that plagues Japanese High School Girls. The dialogue actively downplays the entire problem, asserting that Salarymen would never dare grope a girl for reasons. It’s a joke in exceedingly poor taste and what Oohashi continues to bring to the table over the rest of the episode isn’t any better. Africa Salaryman is, put simply, another dud for the Fall season.
Linny: Oohashi is definitely Africa Salaryman’s worst aspect. His sleazy and self centred nature make him thoroughly despicable and disgusting. Even though he often gets himself into trouble, it’s not enough to redeem him or the show. In fact, the show itself showcases this ‘bit’ where Oohashi accuses train groping to be a scam made up by high school girls to extort cash out of innocent salarymen and then has his accusations justified when the two girls, it turns out, indeed tried to scam him. It’s an extremely off colour joke and makes light of a serious issue in a manner that is dismissive and even outright accusatory. Things like this distasteful humour, characters combined with the nonsensical or predictable jokes and bland animation make Africa Salaryman an easy skip for the season.
Africa Salaryman is available for streaming via Funimation.