Hataraki Man is a very different kind of anime. Based on the manga of the same name by Moyoco Anno, it’s a very… adult show in many ways. Not in the sense that it has a lot of gratuitous nudity and explicit language, but in the sense that it’s a show about adults doing “adult” things, such as working too much and not having time for fulfilling relationships and sex. I’ve never had a job so I can’t really relate to that, and it’s why the show didn’t really click with me at any point, but I can appreciate it for trying to do something different.
Basically, Hataraki Man is the opposite of escapism, at least at first glance. The message at the end of the show, if aimed at high-school students, would be something like “When all you can feel is crippling, cold loneliness, the best thing you can do is immerse yourself in your homework”. Which is not exactly what you want to hear after school or after work. That said, this is how it seems at first glance only. Thinking about it further, the main character Hiroko has a job that is unlike the stereotypical salaryman-type work. She’s an investigative journalist, and I’d say that dreaming about becoming an investigative journalist is a kind of escapism.
Beside not being able to relate to it, the only thing about the show that I didn’t like were the visuals. First of all, it just wasn’t a very good-looking show. Most importantly, though, the character designs looked… janky. They’re clearly intended to be more realistic than most manga and anime art styles, but the eyes are still huge and shoujo manga-esque. Don’t get me wrong, I think that the freshness of the setting and themes more than make up for this problem, but it still annoyed me.