Slice of life is an underrated genre of storytelling. Small condensed stories allow viewers to process their own lives through protagonists or explore new elements of their lives they haven’t experienced yet. For romance, a slice of life offers the tenderness of new love. In comedy, the style of storytelling often highlights the humor in the banal. At other times, it captures the small parts of our lives that we think are unseen. My New Boss Is Goofy (Atarashii Joushi wa Do Tennen) is an adult slice-of-life anime that captures so much of the millennial dejected workforce for the same reasons that Zom 100 was a hit. We all have workplace trauma.
Work isn’t something that you can easily separate yourself or, more specifically, your mental health from. We spend eight hours a day there (if we’re not being crunched), and capitalism has forced our identities to be pushed down through our career titles’ sieve to make perfect workers come out the other end. That also means that when you face trauma at work from a layoff or abusive boss, it changes how you relate to yourself and others.
Animated by A-1 Pictures, My New Boss is Goofy deeply understands the ripples that workplace trauma sends through your lives and into new jobs. The series follows Kentarō Momose (Koutarou Nishiyama) on the first day of his new job. Only his excitement for his new career path is erased when he has an anxiety attack in the middle of the street. Debilitated by the abuse he faced from his power-harassing boss, Momose is doubled over with the ulcer his last job caused. “What should I do if my new boss abuses his power too?” Momose thinks. Walking next to his new boss, he fixates on the worst possibility, scared and in pain.
If you’ve come out of a hostile workplace, you’ve been here. Maybe it wasn’t a panic attack on the way to work, but it was a fleeting thought. We see moments of that throughout the first episode of My New Boss is Goofy, which shows how our old bosses shape how we view a new place.
Momose is accidentally late after his train breaks down. Terrified, he writes a hand-written apology, expecting to be berated. He takes on a large ad account as a lead, only to question if he’s qualified to do it, working late, and repeatedly completing and redoing the entire presentation. Momose also exits a train two stops before his to escape the cologne his last boss wore as panic sets in.
My New Boss is Goofy showcases the anxiety you carry with you after terrible workplace experiences and how it impacts how you see others. These moments often come with humor afterward, but they’re never ignored or made light of themselves. Instead, the series shows Momose the kindness of being seen and understood, even if it’s his new boss, Yūsei Shirosaki (Yûichirô Umehara), buying him stomach medicine or checking in on him when he gets off the train too early.
You don’t always need to explain to others your traumas or why you’re feeling terrible. Good people around you will take note. My New Boss is Goofy’s joke isn’t Momose’s trauma, but rather his boss’s demeanor and how it breaks every negative expectation that Momose has been taught is true.
Shirosaki is goofy. I mean, it’s the title of the show. He accidentally stabs himself with a pencil while twirling it, spins his chair too hard, and absent-mindedly hands over grocery lists instead of memos. But he’s also compassionate and competent. There is a shock that comes when you’re finally treated well in the workplace, and My New Boss is Goofy captures that effortlessly.
“There are companies where you don’t write written apologies?”
It’s a moment where Momose encapsulates his confusion and a point where the audience can deeply identify with him. We don’t know what we don’t know. Before now, Shirosaki and Momose didn’t understand that a workplace could be healthy. Using “Coogle” to search the internet for the banalest updates at work is a way to confirm that a healthy workplace is, in fact, actual.
With a lot of action-forward and fantasy-based anime for this fall season, tune into My New Boss is Goofy. In a time where capitalism is continually grinding us beneath the gears, this slice of life is a piece of media that shows you what is possible and makes you question your own company.