A Mad Job!
- Episodes : 24
- Genre : Comedy, Drama, Parody, Psychological, Seinen
- Airing Date : July 2018 – December 2018
- Studios : Madhouse
Chuukan Kanriroku Tonegawa (Mr. Tonegawa: Middle Management Blues) Introduction and Story
Gyakkyou Burai Kaiji: Ultimate Survivor's spin-off must rank among 2018's most surprising anime. With titles like Death Note and Hunter x Hunter under its belt, Madhouse has earned the right to have its pick of projects to produce. Taking into account the parent story is far from complete, a comedic spin-off starring Tonegawa seems like a strange direction to take the franchise. Yet, Mr. Tonegawa: Middle Management Blues is not only something that exists, but the anime managed to secure a longer than normal 24 episode season. Primarily acting as a prequel to Kaiji's first series, Chuukan Kanriroku Tonegawa is a workplace comedy centering around the challenges faced by the Teiai Corporation's second in command. Along with staging a "game of death" worthy of President Hyoudou's attention, Tonegawa must contend with a group of subordinates who are near impossible to distinguish from one another.
1. More Than a Pair of Sunglasses
Tonegawa's name may grace the anime's title, but an organization of Teiai Corporation's size requires more than a middle manager to function smoothly. Gyakkyou Burai Kaiji: Ultimate Survivor presents the company's foot soldiers, the men in black, as near emotionless goons who exist solely to act as Hyoudou's eyes and arms. Gyakkyou Burai Kaiji: Hakairoku-hen's final episode suggested actual humans may exist beneath those black suits and sunglasses, but Chuukan Kanriroku Tonegawa took this concept and ran with it! The men in black are merely trying to survive in a cut-throat business world. Some like to drink, others love nothing more than to eat barbequed meat. Each and every one of them is terrified of Hyoudou and, to a lesser extent, Tonegawa. Kaiji's faceless goons are people with aspirations, fears, and regrets.
2. Escaping Kaiji’s Shadow
Anyone unfamiliar with Kaiji will presumably struggle to sit through Chuukan Kanriroku Tonegawa's earliest episodes. While not without its share of laughs, the first cour feels like a passion project that requires a thorough knowledge of the main series to truly appreciate. Many of the best gags reference iconic scenes from Kaiji, consequently, the anime is not particularly accessible. Luckily, this issue subsides as the series progresses! As Chuukan Kanriroku Tonegawa's second cour chiefly transpires alongside the events of Gyakkyou Burai Kaiji: Ultimate Survivor, call-backs are unavoidable; however, most jokes begin to primarily rely on the spin-off's own storylines. The men in black continue to be difficult to tell apart, but Madhouse gradually establishes distinguishing quirks for each member. Furthermore, the second cour introduces Tarou Ootsuki as basically a second protagonist, with some of the funniest segments revolving around the hustler's daily excursions away from Teiai's underground labor camp.
3. A Unique Experience
At the end of the day, comedies are judged by their ability to evoke hearty laughs, ones that might require viewers to pause an episode just so they can regain their composure. 2018 generated quite a number of hilarious comedies, but none quite compare to Chuukan Kanriroku Tonegawa. Now, in all fairness, Madhouse's anime was not necessarily the funniest show of the year, but the comedy continuously hits the spot! Rather than rely on exaggerated facial expressions or misunderstandings, Chuukan Kanriroku Tonegawa prefers to allow a situation's absurdity to supply the majority of the humor. Hyoudou's insane demands push Tonegawa to his absolute limit and watching the middle manager attempt to effectively bypass the old man's landmines frequently yields comedy gold!
1. Middle Manager, Supporting Character
Tarou Ootsuki is a welcome addition to the cast, but his introduction comes at the expense of Tonegawa. The second cour improves greatly upon the opening batch of episodes, but any overarching story involving the eponymous character is flung out the window. Essentially, Tonegawa is relegated to a supporting character in his own show! As the rest of the cast is quite entertaining, this is not an irredeemable problem, but Tonegawa never stops being the spin-off's funniest character. Following the first cour's overarching "game of death" storyline, Chuukan Kanriroku Tonegawa's decision to not introduce a similar goal for Tonegawa's team feels like a missed opportunity.
Chuukan Kanriroku Tonegawa is a niche product based on a parent series with a wildly different tone. While some patience is required to experience the anime's high points, Chuukan Kanriroku Tonegawa succeeds in serving as a worthwhile companion piece to Kaiji while simultaneously doing its own thing!
Did you agree with our review? Is Chuukan Kanriroku Tonegawa worth watching? Please let us know in the comments below!