As we discussed two weeks ago, jobs in anime tend to suck. But there are worse things to be than a teacher or idol singer or salaryman. When reality gets chucked out the window, watch out… there are some occupations or roles that guarantee misery of the sci-fi or supernatural kind. Here are the worst non-RL things to be in anime! As always, take with a grain of salt; there are always exceptions to every rule!
Okay, it’s not a job, and okay, it’s not an anime-only thing, but let’s face it, robots get the shaft in anime. Firstly, let’s point out the fact that many of them end up being the emotional cuddletoy/punching bag of some disturbed individual or other. I’ve lost count of how many robots have been constructed by grieving mad scientists to replace a dead son, sister, dog etc. only to be rejected by their creators for not being as good as the originals… and those are the lucky ones! Then you have an even skeevier side, the robots that were clearly just built for other people’s pleasure (take that as you will) and are pretty much used as disposable toys. I remember having a few moments of intense squick while watching Chobits, and that’s not even the worst out there.
Plus, if you’re a robot, you usually get to enjoy the usual range of angst and metaphysical drama that seems part and parcel of the job. Between the age old questions of Am I Human, What is this Thing Called Love, and Why Are My Friends Mad At Me for Being Logical, a lot of anime robots end up with a lot of misery (or the emotionless equivalent) and trouble, both for themselves and those around them. And don’t forget that there’s usually another corrupt corporation ready to confiscate you at the first chance they get.
All this and you don’t even get health insurance. What a crock.
4. Children’s Card Game Player (or other gamers / collectors)
Holy crap, this $#!+ is hardcore. They don’t care if you are an eight year old kid, if you have cancer, if you only play on the weekends; they will chew you up and spit out your bones. If you have any sort of wish to live to see past your 20th birthday, do not, under any circumstances, attempt to either collect or duel with any of the following:
- Cards with monsters on them
Failure to comply with this advice will result in constant threat of death thanks to corrupt businessmen trying to capture your rare card/monster, evil masterminds attempting to conquer the world through random tournaments, and your best friends getting a lucky draw of the deck and annihilating you down to your component atoms. Children’s card game indeed!
3. Magical Girl
At first glance, you may think that being a magical girl is pretty cool. You get short skirts, a bevy of quirky and fun friends, a talking animal mascot, sparkly accessories, and a chance to save the world and get with a cute guy. No problem, right?
That’s right, and Clark Kent and Bruce Wayne have never EVER suffered any sort of problems in their social lives because of their little extra-curricular activities.
Magical Girls are, in many respects, the anime equivalent of the traditional western superhero, and thus end up slammed with the same problems that superheroes get, particularly those related to having a secret identity. They struggle with their school or work, their social lives suffer, and they constantly have to come up with increasingly ludicrous excuses for their absences, or why they have to dash out a side door, or so on. These problems would be bad enough, but consider that these are happening to schoolgirls who should be off having fun with their friends or enjoying their hobbies or doing their schoolwork or, in general, doing anything other than worrying about the fate of the world. It often seems that superhero problems seem to hit these girls harder than they would their adult counterparts, possibly due to the social environment of high school and the relative immaturity of teenagers. How many magical girls seem to be able to keep close to their non-magical best friend vs. ending up spending more time (by necessity) with their magical girl comrades? (i.e. the “What ever happened to Naru in Sailor Moon?” Syndrome) The path to magical girlhood is often littered with lost friends, shrinking social circles, missed dates, failing grades and disappointed teachers… all pretty big stuff to kids of 13 or 15. No wonder so many of them wish they could be normal, or start resenting their mentors or fellow magical girls.
Now, that’s not to say that magical girls don’t have free time or go to school. Naturally, they do that all the time. The problem is that when they’re not being Clark Kent, they’re being Jessica Fletcher, in that their presence almost *guarantees* a horrible crime in the immediate vicinity. They can’t go to the mall without getting jumped on the way home, they can’t take a field trip without their classmates being attacked, and they can’t check out a new café without it being a front for the Dark Empire’s evil plans. They could go on a vacation on the other side of the world, and somehow the hotel manager will end up being possessed by monsters. Man, I used to think everyone was out to get me back when I was 14… can you imagine how much it would screw up a teenager girl if they really ARE all out to get her?
2. Professional Tentacle Magnet (i.e. woman in a hentai anime)
Not to get into too much detail (we are an all-ages website, after all), but… let’s just say that sex is supposed to be Safe, Sane and Consensual… but many hentai titles treat all of those as very, VERY loose guidelines. If you are a woman and you find yourself in that kind of anime… just run. Trust me on this.
1. Mech pilot
Congratulations, young man! This is Commander M from the BigMech division of the Corporate Government of Whoositstan. You have just been chosen as the new pilot of our experimental humanoid mech!
You are utterly screwed.
For starters, anyone who signs on as our mech pilot must agree to a clause in their contract that states, “Must develop severe emotional and mental issues, including but not limited to: crippling depression, horrifically low self-esteem, PTSD, heroic sociopathy, fugue, traumatic flashbacks, obsession, lack of emotion, multiple personality disorder, suicidal or danger-seeking tendencies, or an unfortunate tendency to scream in a bloodcurdling fashion while grabbing one’s face as if about to rip it off.” This is especially true of any teenage mech pilot – and as we all know, teenagers are much better pilots than soldiers who have had appropriate military and emotional training! No, obviously the boy with the cracking voice belongs in a battlefield rather than going to school and worrying about grades/girls/boys/his future. This is especially true if they have come from some highly traumatizing background such as child soldier, former slave, lone orphan or medical experiment. And don’t worry, we’ve gone out of our way to ensure that our youthful mech pilots do not have any appropriate emotional support from their superiors or adult associates. We feel our pilots function much better when the slightly maternal commander yells at them to get over themselves and go blow things up, rather than checking to see if they’re all right or get them to discuss their feelings with a trained therapist.
But perhaps you may be the exception! We have plenty of eager young men and women with almost no emotional baggage or other issues other than a cheesy sense of humor. If this describes you, then walk tall and proud…. the bullets find you faster that way. You are hereby marked for death and will be duly killed in combat at a dramatically appropriate time in order to provide more emotional development (read: crippling angst leading to a Heroic BSOD) for our more unstable pilots. However, the good news is that this death sentence *can* be avoided! In this event, it will instead be redirected at anyone you ever loved. Thus, if you are a well-balanced individual who wishes to survive, take the time to accrue a girlfriend, best friend, mother, father or other close loved one; you’ll be glad you did when they die in some horrifically tragic manner and spare you the same fate. Failing that, the occasional lucky “happy pilot” may be spared personal tragedy or death if they manage to witness an event of mass death and destruction, thereby fuelling shock, angst, and a potential mental snap and resulting transfer to our unstable and insane division.
Your compatriots will be your closest and only friends, even if you despise them with every fibre of your being. The ones you like will most likely end up dead. Any relationship you will enter into will have high chances of being utterly dysfunctional, involving faction betrayal, or ending with tragic death… sometimes all of the above. The faction you are working for will be morally ambiguous/corrupt and be fighting an equally morally ambiguous/corrupt organization, depriving you of any kind of certainty or reassurance that you are doing the right thing. Oh, and our mechs have a habit of mentally bonding with their pilots, either driving them utterly insane, consuming their souls, or (in the best case scenario) making them prefer the company of their mechs to human beings.
Yes, young man, it’s a great life. Now sign on the dotted line…
… hey, where are you going?
What do you think are some of the worst jobs in anime? Do you think some of these jobs have some nice benefits to make up for the bad stuff? What job would you like to have in an anime?