‘Africa Salaryman‘ known in Japan as ‘Africa no Sararīman’ (literally African Office Worker) is a 2019 comedy series based on the Shojo manga of the same name by Gamu. It was serialized in ‘pixiv Comic’ magazine and was adapted by Hotzipang. Funimation developed the English dub.
The meek Lion (Cris George), also called Big Cat, is the manager at an office where he oversees the pessimistic, but hardworking Lizard (Ian Sinclair) and the imaginative, but slacker Toucan (Larry Brantley). They work for President Turtle (Ben Phillips) who loves to flaunt his wealth by wearing a wad of cash as a hat. Their department is a competition with another led by the explosive Honey Badger (Jeremy Inman) and the insulting Honeyguide (Anthony Bowling) plus the manipulative HR Director Caracal (J. Michael Tatum). Their shenanigans and corporate going-ons are observed by the Lethal Hamster (Jad Saxton), who randomly appears to threaten them with steak knives or baseball bats.
The show uses anthropomorphized animals to satirize the corporate world in the vein of Zootopia. While the majority of the comedy is aimed at Japanese viewers, Funimation does a good job of translating it where other viewers can understand the humor. They did a good job of casting the characters and the original creators did a good of translating the characters over.
For instance, even though Lion is kindhearted and is struggling, his subordinates and neighbors find him scary just for being a lion. Likewise, Caracal appears pleasant, but as the leader of HR, he is extremely manipulative and willing to threaten the employers with transfers or unemployment if they do not do as he says. I have personally known HR managers with such personalities. Also, Toucan as the slacking worker that we all have known, yet somehow never gets fired is hilarious. He has some of the best one-liners of the show as he seems self-aware he is existing in anime.
There is a small subplot that appears post-credits of every episode where Lion’s daughter Shishimura (Amber Lee Connors) and her gorilla friend Gorimi (Monica Rial) who are trying to go “viral” with hilarious pranks. They both seem to have a crush on Lizard, who always ends up losing his tail during their fights for his affection.
The bulk of the humor is similar to The Office, albeit on a smaller scale and more animalistic tendencies. They show the pressure of office life and the effects it has on the personal lives of its employees. It well-written and though the CGI animation is a bit understated, I think it matches the series tone and comedy.
Check out this clip from the episode “Cost Reduction:”
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