WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Episode 1 of My Senpai Is Annoying, "Each Other's Stride," now streaming on Funimation.
The initial trailer for My Senpai Is Annoying promised a cute, fun office rom-com series, and the Season 1 premiere quickly establishes the quirky dynamic between the heroine, Futaba Igarashi, and her much larger office senpai, Harumi Takeda. So far, Futaba has more than one reason to look up to her senior co-worker.
Futaba is a josei heroine -- a 20-something young woman who works hard to prove herself at her company, Itomaki Trading. She already has two years of experience to her name, but in her eyes, being a junior sales rep is small-time. Futaba aims to become a breakout star in the business world, but she has several internal and external challenges to overcome first.
With a modest single-person household and only a few friends, Futuba defines herself mostly by her work at Itomaki Trading. She feels competent at her job, but her ambitious side demands more, and she gives herself a pep talk one morning at work, vowing to graduate to full-fledged sales rep status soon. She carries herself with dignity in the office until she crosses paths with her hulking senpai, Harumi Takeda.
Mr. Takeda finds Futaba endearing, and while he wants her to succeed, he also toys with her and almost treats her like a kid. Futaba finds it patronizing and objects, but Takeda laughs it off before the two of them depart for a sales meeting at a client company. Futaba cannot stand being patronized by anyone, senpai or not, and she feels eager to prove herself a real adult, doing things like drinking black coffee in the morning.
Futaba continues to face benign but annoying patronizing behavior from her senpai, including one evening when they visit a bar and compliment one another. Takeda remarks that he'd want his own family, and would love a polite and charming daughter like Futaba. Futaba reacts poorly, shocked that he wouldn't see her as the model for his wife instead of his daughter, then gets flustered and drops the conversation. Takeda means well, but he inadvertently alienates Futaba with his fatherly attitude, failing to realize she wants him to view her as a peer and an equal. For the foreseeable future, these clashing viewpoints will cause all kinds of humorous hijinks in the office, and a budding romance may soon emerge if Takeda ever changes his view on Futaba.
My Senpai Is Annoying's protagonist has a few clear external challenges -- mainly everyone patronizing her -- but she faces some inner difficulties too. Futaba is a confident employee, but being too eager to prove herself and please others, she sometimes rushes her work and gets sloppy at critical times. Her boss receives a complaint from a client company, and it is clear Futaba is to blame for a clerical error. She takes it hard, and privately almost breaks out in tears. She pressures herself greatly to succeed, and fears failure or rejection from others on a personal or professional level. She also fears that if she makes any mistakes, she cannot fulfill her dream of becoming a full-fledged sales rep.
However, Futaba has the inner strength to counter these insecurities. She takes responsibility for the error, and she and Takeda fix the paperwork and even improve on the original sales pitch when they approach the client. The client company's reps compliment Futaba and Takeda on their work, and Futaba, who has a distinct strong sense of responsibility, treats Takeda to drinks and udon noodles at the bar as an apology for her mistake. Takeda reassures her once again, and Futaba feels ready for a new challenge. Her quest to prove herself in My Senpai Is Annoying is just getting started.
KEEP READING: Platinum End: Mirai Embarks on a Humble Personal Quest
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