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Are you one of those people who would rather be locked away from society and its self-imposed rules? Yeah, we feel you… Why would you go to school or work 8-10 hours a day if you can just stay at home, play some video games, hang out with your friends, or even go out and travel the world without the need of money? Truth be told, this only works in anime, and that’s why we enjoy NEET anime so much! Even if being a NEET is clearly a no-no in our book.
NEET is the acronym for people "Not in Education, Employment, or Training", which means they have plenty of time to think, think, and rethink —and get depressed— about their precarious situation... or, you know, to forget about everything else and just focus on living an unbelievable and unforgettable adventure! How about checking out how the NEET fantasy works in the world of anime?
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: October 2015 - March 2016
Since the 60’s, when Osomatsu-kun was first published, Fujio Akatsuka's work has become a piece of classic manga and a pop-culture icon. With a fair share of spin-offs, sequels, and anime adaptations, Osomatsu-san is the last entry to this franchise, now with grown-up characters and better animation. Oh, but don't you think with age comes responsibility, maturity, or economic stability.
The story focuses on the Matsuno siblings, six boys in their twenty-somethings living under the same roof, constantly arguing because of their diverse personalities and lifestyles... and because that's what brothers do, right? Although they are indeed very different from each other, there's one thing they all have in common: none of them can get a job! Be it because of bad luck, aversion for work or just a nitpicky attitude, Osomatsu-san is definitely a good place to start when looking for NEET anime.
9. Danna ga Nani wo Itteiru ka Wakaranai Ken (I Can’t Understand What My Husband Is Saying)
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: October 2014 - December 2014
Kaoru Tsunashi is trying to have a normal adult life: she works as an office lady, she lives with her husband, and she kind of has a social life. Hajime, on the other hand, is the perfect opposite to that: he is socially awkward and depends economically on Kaoru, although he tries to earn some money thanks to his blog. What a perfect couple they are!
Danna ga Nani wo Itteiru ka Wakaranai Ken portrays the life of an otaku NEET and his busty, normie wife... but Kaoru doesn't seem to bother about Hajime's situation. Yes, she would like some things to be different, but she still didn't ask for a divorce! This is an awesome three-minute anime that shows us NEET life from the other side, all in terms of love and comedy.
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: April 2017 - June 2017
As you can tell, being a NEET doesn't prevent you from transforming your hobbies into a reliable source of income, especially if you have talent. In this case, we won't talk about a blogger but a wonderfully skilled manga artist who goes by the name Eromanga-sensei, impressing all ecchi fans with her amazing drawings of girls in suggestive poses, and little to no clothes at all. Who would have guessed it was a 13-year-old girl?
Sagiri left school after a tragic incident where her mother and father died, so now she lives locked in her room, from where she rarely comes out. Her source of food and everything she could need is her step-brother Masamune, an aspiring novelist who starts working with Sagiri without knowing since none of them know the other's pen name. If you're cute and talented, you can skip school and still become an internet sensation, just like little Sagiri did.
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: October 2016 - December 2016
Did somebody just say “internet sensation”? Well, that's also Yuuta Gamon's dream! He's a self-proclaimed NEET god who runs a blog about paranormal stuff and all kinds of mysteries, so looking for a good story is what keeps him occupied all day. The thing is, he ended up being part of a complex supernatural event involving gruesome deaths and a big conspiracy.
Yuuta can be considered the main character here, but Occultic;Nine is a show about 9 teenagers who are involved with occultic stuff in one way or another, so you're always expecting how this dark plot will unfold. Like other stories from the Science Adventure saga, this is one of those anime that overwhelm you with lots of details that only make sense at the end, so patience is a must. Although Occultic;Nine is not the best anime in this particular universe created by 5pb, it's definitely worthwhile.
6. Kino no Tabi: The Beautiful World
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: April 2003 - July 2003
We bet when talking about NEET anime, this is one that would never cross your mind, but just bear with us for a minute. We're talking of someone who looks around 16 years old, doesn't have a proper job, doesn't go to school, and just travels the world with a talking motorcycle. Yes, Kino is just as NEET as the others, but at least she makes it look incredibly cool!
Kino travels from one country to another to better understand the world and the circumstances of its people, but she doesn't want to involve too much with foreign troubles. Will she be able to remain unchanged after witnessing life in its pure state? With the enviable scenery, an intelligent plot, interesting philosophical topics, and just the right pace, Kino no Tabi: The Beautiful World is a must watch for every fan of mature slice of life.
5. Gabriel DropOut
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: January 2017 - March 2017
What would an angel think about us, mere mortals, destroying our position in society just because we don't want to interact with others? It's not that easy for a non-human being to feel the need of locking ourselves in our room, closing the curtains, getting our favorite snacks, and losing ourselves to our favorite TV show or video game... or is it? For Gabriel Tenma White, discovering the perks of being a NEET was like finally finding a reason to live!
When she was just a student, Gabriel was the most promising angel in Heaven, and every other angel wanted to be like her. After being sent to Earth to learn more about humans, her lifestyle changed drastically and only her closest friends —and rivals— could keep up with her. If you want a cute anime, centered around a NEET but with a lot of funnily crazy girls, here you have it!
4. Re:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: April 2016 - September 2016
For mysterious reasons, Subaru Natsuki ends up in a magical world after buying some groceries, with his smartphone and a few more things as a token from our world. The other thing Subaru noticed is that he's now immortal, able to rewind time to a "checkpoint" everytime he dies, without losing his memories. As a NEET, Subaru never had strong reasons to cling to life... Oh, the irony!
Opening the isekai section we have Re:Zero, an anime that starts with a few clichés here and there, but then quickly moves away from the NEET-related part. However, the main character being socially awkward has a lot to do with the plot, especially if you analyze how Subaru went from a guy who didn't care about anything to a more emotional person, always looking after Emilia and Rem.
3. Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo!
- Episodes: 10
- Aired: January 2017 - March 2017
Simply put, KonoSuba is like the exaggerated and comedic version of Re:Zero. The protagonist is Kazuma Satou, a guy who abandoned school after seeing the girl he loves with another man. Now a NEET, the only thing Kazuma worries about are video games, and those same video games are one of the few reasons he goes outside. However, after buying a new RPG, Kazuma saw a girl about to get run over by some kind of truck... thus dying pathetically and being offered a new life in a magical RPG-like world.
The reason Kazuma got a second chance at life was Aqua, an airhead goddess who is now an involuntary sidekick in his quest to kill the Demon King that's menacing the village. Taking advantage of all his experience in fantasy settings, Kazuma also joins forces with a loli mage and a busty, masochistic paladin. Apparently, killing this Demon King and his henchmen is not an easy task... Good thing he can be a NEET in this other world too!
2. No Game No Life
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: April 2014 - June 2014
For our second place, let us introduce you to another set of step-siblings, this time with insane skills for any type of game you could imagine. That's the reason they got contacted by a mysterious entity, which invites them to try their luck and skills in a world called Disboard. How about a god handpicking you to try your best in a parallel dimension?!
Sora and Shiro only live for gaming, and all they need is a dark room, enough food to keep them going, and a good internet connection. Sure, they may be a legend in the virtual world, but they're also a shame for humanity in the real one: they don't have a job, they don't go to school, and they don't even have friends but each other. Now, Disboard is another story, and that's when being a NEET comes in really handy. Why would you work when you can get everything you need by gambling? Game on!
1. Net-juu no Susume (Recovery of an MMO Junkie)
- Episodes: 10
- Aired: October 2017 - December 2017
Here we are, trying to decide what’s the best NEET anime of them all. For us, it has to be Net-juu no Susume not only because it's good but also because of its main character, being a NEET by her own decision. You see, Moriko Morikawa had a pretty good job as an office lady, but that never made her happy... so she quit. With plenty of free time, Moriko decided to try a new MMORPG just to have something to do and relive old times, without knowing that she was about to find true love.
Hey, it's easy to call yourself a NEET when you're a teenager figuring out your future, but how about being 30 and not having a single idea of what to do with your life? That's midlife crisis for you, ladies and gentleman! Aside from the romantic comedy part, this anime reflects how cruel can be not having money as an adult and meticulously calculating every penny you spend. Unless we're talking about spending money on a video game, which is perfectly fine. Priorities, people... priorities!
We would all like to spend all day lying around doing nothing but, for most of us, being a NEET was never an option. To make things worse, it's not like we have real hopes of being transported to a magical world, nor do we have great skills waiting to be discovered by chance. Oh, and parents don't really like the idea of raising lazy bums, you know... no matter your age.
So, what would you do if you could be like the characters in these shows? And more importantly, what's your favorite NEET anime of them all? Leave us a comment!
What do you think of when you hear the word "NEET"? Do you think of the stereotypical person who spends all their time locked up in their room, geeking out over their niche hobbies? Or do you simply picture someone who just lies around on the couch all day, waiting for the job that will never come?
Actually, a NEET can be both of that, and more. Short for Not in Employment, Education and Training, NEET is a term used to refer to anyone who's perceived as not contributing to the economy in any way. NEETs are usually portrayed as otaku and/or hikikomori, though the three terms aren't necessarily synonymous. Sometimes, a NEET is just an aimless person, or one who's down on his luck, so an anime revolving around this type of character will touch on that character's relationships with society at large. For example, we have:
10. Battle Programmer Shirase (BPS)
9. Rozen Maiden
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Oct 2004 – Dec 2004
After getting traumatized by school-related pressures, Jun Sakurada has lived a hikikomori existence. One day, he orders something online, only to be instructed to put it into his drawer. To his surprise, his order disappears, and is replaced by a beautiful antique doll. The doll, whose name is Shinku, comes to life, and turns Jun into her servant. Jun gets dragged into the so-called Alice game, and learns to overcome his fear of people along the way.
The premise is unique enough: Dolls fighting against other dolls. But there's also an examination of Jun's psychology, as well as that of the other dolls' masters. And for those of you who want action, drama, comedy or a combination of all of the above, this anime has something to offer too.
8. Kamisama no Memochou (Heaven's Memo Pad)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Jul 2011 – Sep 2011
Narumi Fujishima seemed destined to be alone and friendless for the rest of his high school life. That is, until Ayaka, a classmate and the only member of the Gardening Club, introduces him to Alice, a reclusive girl who lives above a ramen shop. As it turns out, there's more to Alice than meets the eye: She's not only a skilled private detective and hacker, but she also runs an agency of NEETs who help her do her work. Narumi gets pulled into their world, and finds himself fighting crime alongside this unlikely group of misfits.
Through Narumi's eyes, we get to see what the NEET are like from a non-NEET perspective. The members of the NEET agency are quite varied: You have an expert gambler, a smooth-talking intelligence gatherer and an armaments specialist. Their interactions with each other are fun to watch, and are one of the strongest elements of this mystery show.
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Oct 2012 – Dec 2012
Btooom! revolves around Ryouta Sakamoto, a 22-year-old NEET who spends most of his time playing the titular video game. In the game, the rules are simple: Kill other players with bombs, or be killed yourself. One day, Ryouta wakes up to find himself on a strange island, armed only with provisions and eight different bombs. He barely remembers anything that happened before current events, but he does realize one thing: He's basically in the real life version of Btooom!
Make no mistake: This isn't a subpar knockoff of shows like Battle Royale and The Hunger Games. Every character gets their fair share of the spotlight, and you're kept guessing who's going to betray who. There are some explicitly violent and sexual scenes that might be off-putting to certain viewers, but if you can stomach those, Btooom! is an exciting watch overall.
6. Kuragehime (Princess Jellyfish)
- Episodes: 11
- Aired: Oct 2010 – Dec 2010
In the Amamizukan, an all-girls apartment complex, everyone is an otaku-slash-NEET. This includes Tsukimi Kurashita, who loves jellyfish — to the point that she gets into trouble with a pet store owner over it. Luckily, she's rescued from said trouble by a beautiful, fashion-savvy young woman — who turns out to be a cross-dressing man named Kuranosuke! Ever since, Kuranosuke decides to invite himself into Tsukimi's life, and turn it upside down.
The series mostly focuses on the Amamizukan residents (and Kuranosuke), plus their respective quirks. These quirks are often played for laughs, but never to the point of mean-spiritedness. Overall, this is a heartwarming comedy about being yourself, and is a unique take on NEET-ness.
5. Gyakkyou Burai Kaiji: Ultimate Survivor
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: Oct 2007 – Apr 2008
Kaiji Itou is what most people would call a "good-for-nothing." Not that it's his fault: After the 1990s recession, he's had a hard time finding work, and resorted to petty crimes to put food on the table. As if that's not bad enough, a "friend" made him a guarantor of a 3,850,000 yen debt to the yakuza! To repay the debt, Kaiji enters the dog-eat-dog world of gambling.
This isn't a lighthearted show, by any means. Kaiji — and, by extension, the audience — learns the hard way that people are willing to do anything when push comes to shove. Still, Kaiji manages to be a likeable main character, since he still tries to maintain his humanity despite his ugly circumstances. If you're looking for a good show about high-stakes gambling, look no further than this.
4. Danna ga Nani wo Itteiru ka Wakaranai Ken (I Can't Understand What My Husband Is Saying)
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: Oct 2014 – Dec 2014
Kaoru and Hajime couldn't be any more different: She's an office lady, while he's a hardcore NEET-otaku. Kaoru doesn't really understand the appeal of her husband's lifestyle, so she bugs him every now and then to get a job. Because of his devotion to his hobbies, however, finding employment is much easier said than done for Hajime.
This is, first and foremost, a comedy. The humor mostly stems out from Kaoru and Hajime's interactions, which highlight their differences. For example, when Kaoru asks Hajime about his opinion on a movie, she was probably expecting him to give an answer like "Oh, it's awesome/okay/terrible," and leave it at that. Instead, he reviews it in all its glory, otaku-style.
In spite of this, it's clear that the two of them love each other (in their own way), and the anime does a great job of showing how this love more than makes up for their differences. And since each of the 13 episodes is only 3 minutes long, you can finish this funny-yet-heartwarming series in a jiffy!
3. No Game, No Life
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Apr 2014 – Jun 2014
NEET siblings Shiro and Sora play online under the username "Kuuhaku," which they use to blaze through every single game they come across. Their skills were great enough, to the point that a mysterious stranger sends them an e-mail challenging them to a chess match. They accept, and the next thing they know, they're transported into a world where everything is decided by games.
Whenever NGNL rolls out a game, you know you'll be in for a ride. Even if you know the siblings will win, you're still at the edge of your seat, wondering what trick they'll pull off next. As for the siblings themselves, they're pretty awesome characters: Shiro has that chessmaster charm about her, while Sora keeps the atmosphere light with him deadpan way of delivering humorous lines. There's also a ton of references to other anime, so have fun catching all of them!
2. Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae wo Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai (We Still Don't Know the Name of the Flower We Saw That Day)
- Episodes: 11
- Aired: Apr 2011 – Jun 2011
Best known as "Ano Hana," this was one of the most well-known Spring 2011 anime. It follows Jinta "Jintan" Yadomi, who drifts away from his friends after one of them, Meiko "Menma" Honma, dies in a tragic accident. Becoming a hikikomori, Jintan is pulled out of his gloomy state one day when Menma's ghost visits him, and asks him to help her make a wish come true. Problem is, she doesn't remember what the wish is, and Jintan is the only one who can see her!
Although the show revolves around Jintan's group of friends, rather than just Jintan himself, it's still a sympathetic look at what NEETs are like in real life. Jintan may be a socially awkward and self-pitying guy, but he's not necessarily a bad person. He feels responsible enough for Menma's death to let it flip his personality by 180 degrees. Luckily, as the show goes on, he learns to come to terms with what happened, and so does everyone else, and it's something most people can relate to.
1. NHK ni Youkoso! (Welcome to the NHK)
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: Jul 2006 – Dec 2006
Of all the shows on this list, this has the most realistic portrayal of NEETs — hence its ranking at No. 1. Here, we have Tatsuhiro Satou, a young man who's been a hikikomori for so long, he actually believes there's an organization called the Nihon Hikikomori Kyokai (NHK), which is responsible for the spread of the shut-in lifestyle. As he sat brooding in a park one night, he meets a girl named Misaki Nakahara, who promises to "cure" him of his condition. After going along with her, he encounters other people who are in the same situation as he is — and gains some valuable life insights in the process.
With funny moments in the first few episodes, you'd think the rest of the series would have the same tone. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it), it later segues into a no-holds-barred portrayal of the darker side of Japanese society. There's suicide, poverty and drug addiction, among other things. These depressing themes aside, the show takes care to flesh out Satou and the rest of the cast, so you're able to empathize with them in spite of their human failings.
As you can see, the portrayals of NEETs in anime vary. Some glorify the lifestyle, others make fun of it, and a few attempt to show it for what it truly is (or, at least, what the anime creators think it is).
Also, this list attempts to show the best of anime where one or all of the main characters are NEETs, and where the NEET-ness is important to the story/character in one way or another. So if you know of other shows that fit these criteria, or you're wondering why the likes of "Watamote," "Mekakucity Actors," "The World God Only Knows" and "Denpa Kyoushi" were excluded, feel free to pick our brains in the comments!