For a while after school ended for me I was unemployed and for a long time I was without steady employment that actually paid, sure I was doing costume but that did not pay well or at all, but I’m steadily employed now and it’s going pretty good but during that time I was unemployed it was one of the worst experience’s of my life. The majority of NEETS depicted in anime or manga are shown as happy living there life but the reality is far more depressing especially if you still live with your parents and have no money, not all NEETs have money given to them or have stashes from when they were working. During my daily scrolling through my favourite manga website I stumbled onto this manga called Neeko wa Tsuari yo by Aldehyde basically playing out my life when I was unemployed except the Japanese version.
This manga express all my feelings when I was unemployed a few years back and it is down right depressing to re-visit this subject and reliving it through the heroine Nitto nicknamed Neeko.
From Neeko’s life she’s had it pretty easy in terms of social acceptance among her peers so with her inability to get a job because she just can’t, is depressing to watch compiled with the fact all the people she knew in university have either had jobs, working or married. The most relatable part of this series is her inner monologue about work she wants to work but she also doesn’t want to because she is afraid of work itself, but I can understand this. When you have been unemployed plus being out of school for a long time it freaks you out when you have to work again, complied with the fact that when you have been repeatedly rejected by numerous places or have your resumes ignored by a company you have been sending it to for years it can weigh on you and in Neeko’s case it one of the worst I have seen. This has led her to be stuck in a shame spiral of being glad she isn’t working, upset that she isn’t working, depressed that others younger than her are doing better than her and adding on to that the pressure her family put’s on her wether intentionally or not.
Neeko’s mother is constantly berating on her about getting a job full time and while to her this may seem constructive it’s destructive. When Neeko works up the courage to call a place about work her mother pushes for more days than she is ready for or just pushes when she doesn’t need to or make her ashamed that she can’t find a job when her little sister managed to find part-time work before her even finding any.
Neeko has never had a job, not for the lack of trying but she has just been unlucky like that and this job funk has been going on ever since High School and now because she’s no longer is in school or constantly around friends who are effectively in the same boat as her. There is nothing to distract her from her failures in the job market she has by my accounts become depressed because of this factor, which is funny to me because this manga is supposed to be a comedy not a depressing take on a person unable to find work.
I wouldn’t call this manga a comedy as a lot of the events that happen to the heroine aren’t comical at least from where I stand. For someone who has lived through this and even if they haven’t they might have trouble finding the comedy in the situations that Neeko faces, but I still read it because Neeko is a bit like Tomoko from Watamote in the sense she is a combination of all the job aspirational failures a person can get in their life that it has at least happened to them.
Neeko wa Tsurai yo is not a story for all, much like Watamote is for some but not for everyone. Because while this story can get depressing the desire for her to succeed is strong, from the audience to the backwards way’s the characters try to help her get a job even if their advice is not constructive.