Working is a part of life that is necessary, not only to live but also to be a vital part of society. Characters in anime come to realize this, whether it is begrudgingly or seen as an adventure that will save the world. Working comes in many different forms and while not all are paid they do require a large amount of mental fortitude that can be seen as serious or humorous depending on how it’s presented.
While working may not be the most fun, it does present a situation where the character has to face challenges head-on while meeting new people and learning new skills. By following the characters along on their adventures we are able to experience a thrilling journey through the eyes of the character.
10. Working!! (Wagnaria!!)
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: Apr. 2010- Jun. 2010
When Souta Takanashi is convinced by Popura Taneshima to work in her family’s restaurant, he must learn that working is much more difficult than he initially thought. Only through his hard work is he able to survive working at the restaurant and getting to know the unusual group of people employed alongside him. Quickly, Takanashi begins to grow to accept and love the people he works with as bonds begin to flourish not only between the people Takanashi works with, but also with the loli character, Popura.
While work may be difficult at times for Takanashi, he is able to accept all that his work life offers him. He is able to build bonds and grow as a person alongside Popura which leads to interesting character development in Wagnaria!! While Takanashi may not be doing something as cool as saving the world, he is definitely making an impact with those around him in this comedic anime.
9. Yuusha ni Narenakatta Ore wa Shibushibu Shuushoku wo Ketsui Shimashita (Yusibu: I Couldn’t Become a Hero, So I Reluctantly Decided to Get a Job)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Oct. 2013- Dec. 2013
Living in a war-torn time would be taxing for anyone. However, for Raul Chaser, it is more exciting than terrifying. Chaser dreams of defeating the Demon King and becoming a hero in his own right. A heavy blow comes down on Chaser when the Demon King is defeated and his dreams become all but a fantasy. Instead of becoming a hero, he decides to work at an electronics store. A new hire comes in just as life seems to be at its most boring for Chaser. He is surprised to learn that the new hire he is tasked to train ends up being the daughter of the recently vanquished Demon King. With her arrival, Chaser is no longer bored and finally has something that he feels like he can live for. His life soon takes a most unexpected turn as we witness the interactions between the two characters in Chaser’s daily life.
With life’s unexpected turns, it cannot always turn out the way anyone planned. This unforeseen aspect of life is what makes it interesting and although Chaser dreamed of defeating the Demon King, he is unable to realize this. By introducing the Demon King’s daughter, many unexpected twists and turns appear in Chaser’s life. He must overcome obstacles while also being a model employee. His work-life is thrown into chaos as the Demon King’s daughter, Fino Bloodstone, entwines herself deeper into his life.
8. Tamako Market
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Jan. 2013- Mar. 2013
Life takes the most unexpected turn when a talking bird presents itself to Tamako Kitashirakawa. The bird, announcing that he is actually royalty, states that he is currently seeking a bride. Tamako takes pity on the bird and takes him home to her family-run mochi restaurant. After developing a liking for mochi, the bird, aptly named Dera Mochimazzi, becomes overweight and is no longer able to fly back to his own land. This anime is full of comedy, mochi battles and work ethic.
Mochi drives Mochimazzi and Tamako together. Tamako’s attitude towards mochi and her family’s restaurant business inspires Mochimazzi, in turn, creating a sense of passion and love in Mochimazzi. Through Tamako’s excitement and enthusiasm that she puts into creating mochi, she is able to inspire others. This is an excellent example of a humorous anime that supports a strong work ethic and strives to inspire this in others.
7. Servant x Service
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: Jul. 2013- Sept. 2013
Not all work can be fun and games. Some are forced into jobs because they have to work to live. Assigned into their professions, Servant x Service introduces Lucy Yamagami, Yutaka Hasebe and Saya Miyoshi. Each character is given a job to perform by the government and they all have different feelings about their future. After starting work under an inexperienced manager, they are pushed to the edge of their working abilities. We are also able to see how they respond under pressure in an office environment.
Each individual has their own work ethic, making this show realistic in its own way. Unlike the other shows on this list, Servant x Service follows the daily life with romance, management and everyday problems in the workplace. Shown through a humorous light, Servant x Service is a show that anyone who enjoys a slice of life anime will appreciate.
6. Death Parade
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Jan. 2015- Mar. 2015
Death Parade is a darker look into the hard-working underworld. Once a person dies they are judged by a bartender by the name of Decim. Each person is judged in a pair and neither remember that they are dead. Decim in turn passes judgement on each individual and they are either reincarnated or fall into what is called the void. Kurokami no Onna is presented as a sort of assistant to Decim and questions the viability of judging people accurately when Decim himself had never been human.
Death Parade is interesting from a psychological standpoint. Decim lives to work and his passion is matched by none. Decim considers nothing else as important in his life and this could be seen in some ways as impeding his work. His cool demeanor, work ethic and poker face make him a strong contender for one of the most hard-working individuals in anime.
5. Kaichou wa Maid-sama! (Maid Sama!)
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: Apr. 2010- Sept. 2010
As a strong female and class president, no one would suspect Misaki Ayuzawa of working in a maid café. In order to support her family, Misaki works what she sees as a degrading job in her free time. Discovered by Takumi Usui, she is utterly humiliated and expects him to use that knowledge to embarrass her at school. However, he promises to keep her secret as long as she serves him at her maid café. As the two grow closer, a most unlikely relationship develops.
Misaki prides herself on her hard work. She works even to the point of sickness and refuses to stop until Usui forces her to. Her work ethic is exemplary and she forces transformation in all she does. Wherever Misaki is, she inflicts her will to make a change. The hot-tempered Misaki is inspiring to any viewer.
- Episodes: 11
- Aired: Oct. 2006- Dec. 2006
It must be nice to be the best in what you do. Ryuu Sasakura knows that he is a great bartender and mixes drinks that are nothing short of extraordinary. Each person goes to his bar, Eden Hall, for a different reason and he crafts each individual cocktail to help out each individual.
While Ryuu knows that he has a gift for bartending, he is not smug about it. He works hard and truly wishes to improve each of his patron’s lives through their drinks. Ryuu’s passion for his chosen path is inspirational and he is so careful and delicate in his craft that it makes the viewer want to excel in everything they do.
3. Hayate no Gotoku! (Hayate the Combat Butler)
- Episodes: 52
- Aired: Apr. 2007- Mar. 2008
Hayate Ayasaki has the worst luck. Born into a family that accumulated a massive debt, he is sold to the yakuza. Nagi, a young girl who takes pity on him, kidnaps him and has him work as a butler at her family’s estate. Hayate can’t believe his luck, but the job is nothing like what he imagined. His work includes fighting off dangerous enemies and crafting social skills to stand out with those around him.
This comedic harem anime is an entertaining way to see the hard work that Hayate puts into his job. Hayate doesn’t take his job for granted though, he knows that working hard as a butler is a small price to pay as opposed to getting tossed around by the yakuza. While he may have the worst luck, he is blessed with a wonderful job with security and a work ethic to match.
2. Ansatsu Kyoushitsu (Assassination Classroom)
- Episodes: 22
- Aired: Jan. 2015- Jun. 2015
Not all hard work comes from working a paid job. The worst students at Kunugigaoka Middle School are all placed in class 3-E. Written off by the rest of the school as losers and failures, these underdogs are confronted with the challenge of killing their teacher and saving the world. However, it is not as simple as it sounds. Koro-sensei, while an excellent teacher, is planning to annihilate the world after living out his dream of teaching. He is a bio-engineered threat that the children grow to love. After a team of experts is brought in, the students train daily in order to try to assassinate their beloved teacher.
While these students don’t excel academically, they have a passion for becoming assassins. They discover that they have unlikely skills and use them as a class to try and save the world from extinction. Working hard comes in all forms and theirs is not the most conventional, however, it should not be discounted. These students are able to achieve great things in the most bizarre and remarkable conditions.
1. Hataraku Maou-sama! (The Devil is a Part Timer!)
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: Apr. 2013- Jun. 2013
Satan has come to Tokyo, Japan. After being defeated in Ente Isla, Satan is forced to enter a portal to escape certain death. Since there is no magic on Earth, Satan has to live life like any ordinary person, which means, of course, getting a part-time job. He chooses the fast food industry at the local MgRonald’s. Satan approaches every situation with a serious demeanor and no-nonsense attitude. This comedic anime is enough to make anyone laugh and want to work hard.
Satan craves one thing, world domination. By starting at the bottom, he is determined to make his way up. Resolute in his actions, Satan puts his all into his work because it is the only way that he can build up to the power that he once had. His unwavering determination is inspiring in everything that he approaches.
There are many different portrayals of work ethic. While not all are paid, they are no less important nor should they be frowned upon. The anime in this list present many different types of work ethic and work environments.
When approaching any work situation, regardless of the motive, it should be faced with enthusiasm and commitment. While work may be something that is required rather than simply for fun, it presents a situation that allows the character to grow as a person and learn valuable life skills. I hope that you have enjoyed our list. If you have any questions or feel as though there should be any additions to this list, we encourage you to leave them in the comments below.