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Patron Pick Fall 2023: Atarashii Joushi wa Do Tennen – 09

In reality, people aren’t this nice.  As a rule, anyway.  But while Atarashii Joushi wa Do Tennen is obviously a fantasy, it’s funny how personal circumstances can impact our perspective on a series.  In a sense I’m living the Momose experience, having recently fled a black company environment for one where (so far, at least) everyone seems nice.  When you’re in that situation, even normal feels like Nirvana (never mind a place like Minette).  That gives this material a lot more resonance than it would normally have, and makes the underlying intent of the mangaka much easier to see.

Aoyama-san takes center stage here, along with Kinjou.  The latter was totally absent last week, and I found that he was missed.  He’s a little edgier than the rest of the cast, and given that Atarashii Joushii can come off a little oversweet on the palate sometimes, a kick of acidity is a nice addition.  In fact the couples get shuffled this week, as Shirosaki asks Kinjou out for drinks after the latter reveals that he’s a big anime fan.  The agency has been getting a lot more anime-style ad requests (this reflects reality to be sure), and the ever-majime Shirosaki wants to bone up.

Momose, being the kind soul he is, asks Aoyama out for drinks so he won’t feel excluded.  Thus we have Kinjou dispensing otaku lingo (he’s a huge idol anime fan) to a dazed Shirosaki, and Aoyama and Momose reminiscing about the past.  Aoyama has his own battle scars, having had his first trainee quit on him (hard to believe it could have been his fault).  Shirosaki was the means by which his confidence was restored.  Meanwhile the other two wind up at a karaoke room where Kinjou teaches Shirosaki some cat idol dance moves and shares a pic of his waifu (Shirosaki’s reaction to this is the funniest moment of the episode).

After that, the four lads get invited to a mixer (that takes some steel, inviting your boss to be part of your mixer).  Momose has yet more PTSD here, having literally been kicked by Kurono (that guy really needs to be locked up) after his last one.  Just the mere thought of a mixer fills me with dread, but Aoyama (who’s brought Kumatte along as a prop in more ways than one) pulls out all his dad joke splendor as a means of keeping Momose from freaking out.  And Kinjou winds up sitting on the other side of the table, the symbolism being hard to miss.  Which one of the guys is his type, I wonder?  He did call Shirosaki’s invite to a solo outing the “best night of my life”…

All this is, again, heavily slanted in the direction of fantasy.  But setting aside the otome-baiting side of the equation, I think the fact that a series like this is a kind of wish-fulfilment reflects a fundamental reality of Japanese society.  Hostile work environments are, if not the norm, at the very least not remotely uncommon here.  That the Japanese need series like these to reassure them that it doesn’t have to be like that is sad as Hell, but it’s nice to have one as winning as Atarashii Joushi to do the job.

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