What’s “Cruising the Crunchy-Catalog”?
Finding new anime to watch may not be as difficult as finding a job, but in either case a little guidance doesn’t hurt. If otaku are the fresh-faced job-hunters in this metaphor, then “Cruising the Crunchy-Catalog” is a career assistance advisor. Each week we provide additional information and cultural context to help anime fans decide whether or not they’d like to take an unknown series for a test drive.
What’s I Couldn’t Become a Hero, So I Reluctantly Decided to Get a Job.?
I Couldn’t Become a Hero, So I Reluctantly Decided to Get a Job (also known as Yu-Sibu, for short) is a 2013 TV anime with direction by Kinji Yoshimoto and animation by Asread. It is based on the light novel series written by Jun Sakyou and illustrated by Masaki Inuzumi that is published by Fujimi Shobo under their Fujimi Fantasia Bunko imprint. Crunchyroll describes the series as follows:
“Raul had always wanted to be a hero, but failed the exams necessary to become one. He reluctantly took a job working at a small electronics store called Magic Shop Leon. His life is dull but busy until a new girl comes applying for a part time job. She’s the daughter of the demon king who defeated him in his exam.”
First a minor correction: Raul didn’t fail his hero exams. Instead the exams were canceled because the demon king was unexpectedly slain, and the hero program – now unneccessary in a world without an imminent demon threat – was abolished.
Otherwise this description gives a strong impression of the central premise of Yu-Sibu: the young adventurers who were training to be heroes must now find employment in a society much like modern Japan where their combat skills and training aren’t conducive to jobs as salarymen and office ladies. Yu-Sibu is one part fantasy adventure, one part office comedy, and one part harem romance.
Fantasy Fan Service.
The Fujimi Fantasia Bunko label assumes that its primary audience is three things: young, male, and heterosexual. As a result, the fan service in Yu-Sibu is as thick as a whale omelet. In every episode, the camera lingers on key areas of the ladies’ bodies in an effort to tease and arouse.
Skin-clinging uniforms, casual nudity, and magic-eating slime monsters that cover our heroines in goo are all par for the course in this show. There are also several scenes where sexual harassment is played for humor, so if that sort of thing makes you uncomfortable, you may want to steer clear.
Real Life Product Placement.
Anime series are no strangers to official product placement, but more often than not popular products and services appear in anime in a disguised form. This is because producers need to acquire various clearances in order to use copyrighted titles and logos, so “WcDonald’s” and “Popsi Cola” are often the order of the day.
Above: A screenshot from WATAMOTE, featuring a thinly-veiled reference to a certain mega-popular fast food chain.
However, Yu-Sibu features the conspicuous inclusion of Lawson, a real life convenience store chain. Originally an American store chain established in 1939 in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, Lawson entered the Japanese market in 1975 and eventually became one of the largest convenience store chains in the nation, second only to 7-Eleven.
The Mitsubishi Corporation is now the majority share-holder in Lawson, which has stores in all 47 prefectures of Japan as well as locations in China, Indonesia, Thailand, and Hawaii. Lawson makes for a convenient setting for an office comedy, but the store’s connection to fantasy adventure and / or harem romance is anybody’s guess.
The Joys of Employment.
If you’re willing to drill deep enough, Yu-Sibu actually has some important things to say about the nature of entering the labor force. Raul Chaser is initially discouraged that he isn’t able to put his hero skills to good use, but as the series continues he learns not only that being a hero isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, but also that finding personal fulfillment in your job is a treasure as valuable as any dragon’s hoard.
Learning that lesson is a journey onto itself, and Yu-Sibu presents plenty of situations where the job-related comedy takes a turn for the cringe-inducing. Whether it be having to wear a dopey costume in an effort to attract customers or trying to tough it out when the shop’s air conditioning breaks, for a fantasy show, Yu-Sibu can be painfully real.
Crunchyroll currently streams I Couldn’t Become a Hero, So I Reluctantly Decided to Get a Job in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, South Africa, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Iceland, the Netherlands, Turkey, Austria, Germany, Liechtenstein, Latin America, Spain, Portugal, and all French-speaking territories. The series is available in the original Japanese with subtitles in English, Spanish, Latin American Spanish, French, Portuguese, and German.
The Yu-Sibu TV series is also released on DVD and Bluray in North America by Sentai Filmworks, but unfortunately as of the time of this writing, no official English language versions of the original light novels or their manga adaptations are currently available.
Yu-Sibu is not as sharply written as Maoyu, another fantasy light novel series with a similar premise, but if you’re in the mood for some heavy fan service and some light comedy with an overall positive message about love, life, and labor, consider giving the series a try.
Is there a series in Crunchyroll’s catalog that you think needs some more love and attention? Please send in your suggestions via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or post a Tweet to @gooberzilla. Your pick could inspire the next installment of “Cruising the Crunchy-Catalog”!
Paul Chapman is the host of The Greatest Movie EVER! Podcast and GME! Anime Fun Time.