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5 Anime Series That Get Real About The Struggles of Adulting

Written by: Nicole Castro

Published on: September 5, 2021 at 18:54 PHT (GMT+8)

In the early 2000s, anime was largely popular due to the slice of life genre. The genre practically had a formula. Most of the characters were middle or high school students who dreamed big, believed the future was bright, and formed friendships they thought would conquer all.

Enter the 2010s onwards, with more and more people opening about their personal struggles online, including adulting. "Adulting" is the practice of behaving like a typical responsible adult, with a stable job, possible marriage, and the knowledge of certain tasks such as doing chores and paying taxes.

As many people know, adulting is no easy feat and isn't a one-way street wherein you achieve all of the characteristic adult milestones in a linear fashion. It's super stressful and sometimes we wish there was an instruction manual for it.

So, without further ado, here are five anime series recommended by the AniRadioPlus staff in no particular order so you can laugh, learn, and understand the ups, downs, and many twisting roads when it comes to being an adult.

1. Aggressive Retsuko/Aggretsuko
Aggretsuko | PHOTO CREDIT: Fanworks Inc., Netflix

Aggretsuko features Retsuko, a 25-year-old single anthropomorphic red panda, working in the accounting department of a Japanese trading firm. Her appeal lies in how she's one of the most relatable office worker characters in all of anime (despite not being human). She's overworked, underpaid, and unable to speak up against her manager who gives her a truckload of extra work right before the end of her shift.

Her stress outlet? Singing death metal at karaoke bars. De-stress after a long day at work with Retsuko because she definitely understands how you feel.

2. Osomatsu-san
Osomatsu-san | PHOTO CREDIT: Studio Pierrot

Osomatsu-san follows the misadventures of the sextuplet Matsuno brothers (Osomatsu, Karamatsu, Choromatsu, Ichimatsu, Jyushimatsu, and Todomatsu) who are adult NEETs (Not in Education, Employment, or Training). As the term NEET suggests, the brothers are unemployed, not studying, and bumming around at home. They're incredibly lazy, unmotivated, and horrible at flirting. They're the kind of people society regards as losers.

This is the kind of show that's unapologetic when presenting the downs of adulthood, all with cleverly written slapstick humor. This highly successful anime series has completed three, 25-episode seasons with an all-star cast of voice actors such as Hiroshi Kamiya and Jun Fukuyama.

If you're looking for lots of adult, The Simpsons-style humor, you'll enjoy every second of Osomatsu-san.

ReLIFE | PHOTO CREDIT: TMS Entertainment

ReLIFE revolves around 27-year-old Arata Kaizaki, who's been surviving as a convenience store part-timer after he resigned from a "black company" (a Japanese term used to describe companies with exploitative practices). One day, he meets a mysterious man named Ryō Yoake who offers him the chance to relive his high school life by participating in the ReLIFE experiment. The experiment aims to reform NEETs like him by helping them address personal issues.

ReLIFE is every jaded adult's dream. It presents the fantasy of how it would feel to be young again without all the pressures and responsibilities of adulthood. But more importantly, ReLIFE is a heartwarming lesson to love life no matter how old you are, and that it's never too late to get back up on your feet with good people by your side.

4. Life Lessons with Uramichi-Oniisan (Uramichi-Oniisan)
Uramichi-Oniisan | PHOTO CREDIT: Studio Blanc

Protagonist Uramichi Omota is a 31-year-old former professional gymnast who works as the leader of the exercise segment of the children's show "Together with Maman" (a parody of the Japanese children's program Okaasan to Issho). Watch how he and his fellow miserable adult castmates struggle to remain positive so as not to traumatize the kids.