Hataraki Man (働きマン) is a manga by Moyoco Anno, serialised in the seinen magazine Morning. It has been adapted into an anime television series, which screened in Japan from October to December 2006 and a drama that aired from October 2007 to December 2007. The story centers on 28-year-old Hiroko Matsukata, editor at the magazine Weekly JIDAI (週刊「JIDΑI」 Shūkan JIDAI). Talented and hard-working, Hiroko’s colleagues refer to her as Hataraki Man (literally “working man” because of her dedication to her job. But despite her successes in the workplace, she struggles with moments of self-doubt and with the challenge of balancing life and career.
Job compliance, overtime, meeting deadlines, pleasing the boss, arguing with a co-worker, preferring work over love, sleepless nights – that’s what Hataraki Man’s all about. As an anime having an episodic style of storytelling, it looks more of an office sitcom rather than a continuous story. Introducing an interesting bunch of characters, with each episode, we get to see them unshadowed one by one. As an anime solely focused on its characters, at first, characters were foreseen as shallow or 2-dimensional, but with an amusing way of character development, the backstories gave them their own identities, setting them apart from the rest.
Though simple and familiar as characters may look, none of them falls into basic archetypes. Each of them has his/her own trait that makes them stand out, unique, loveable, and especially believable. As the catalyst who interacts and further on exposes the reality of the character, Hiroko Matsukata is the center of Hataraki Man. As the side characters mature within a single episode, Matsukata changes gradually, along with the side characters, through the span of 11 episodes. Along with the side characters interesting backstories, Matsukata never falls behind the shadow of other characters instead with great chemistry, they uplift each other hand in hand not dragging away from the anime’s main focus.
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