A well-recognised anime trope is that of the NEET – a character who is Not Employed, in Education or in Training; a character often depicted as a quintessential deadbeat. The trope presents itself in a variety of different shows in different settings and the characters themselves tend to be the conduits of more comedic elements in shows. In celebration of our often shut-in, often socially-inept unemployed faves, we’ve decided to put together a list of 10 anime NEETs with different backgrounds and different preferences in cup ramen flavours. Get your favourite blanket, quit your jobs and stop going to school because we’re about to school you in the ways of the NEET!
10. Kurashita Tsukimi – Kuragehime (Princess Jellyfish)
- Episodes: 11
- Aired: October 2010 – December 2010
19-year-old Kurashita Tsukimi has been obsessed with jellyfish ever since her mother took her to an aquarium when she was a child. She likens their flowing tentacles to a princess’s white dress. Currently, the unemployed Tsukimi lives with five other unemployed women, spending her days dreaming of becoming an illustrator. Her life is shaken to the core when a woman helps her save a jellyfish in a local pet store. Thenceforth the stranger, who is the complete opposite of the socially inept Tsukimi and her roommates, starts visiting them on a regular basis. The trendy woman turns out to be no woman at all, but a rich college student named Koibuchi Kuranosuke! What knowledge will Tsukimi and her roomies learn?
Kurashita Tsukimi is a jellyfish-obsessed eccentric person who is terrified of social interaction, attractive people and the very notion of working a 9-5. She was very close to her mother in her childhood and her mother’s death affected her greatly, possibly being the root of her social aversion. With her low self-esteem, Tsukimi is terrified of judgment, particularly from her fellow otaku roommates. She sees herself as an ugly, otaku girl, but she is quite the kind hearted soul and is completely oblivious to the fact that she’s fairly attractive.
9. Yadomi Jinta - Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae wo Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai (The Flower We Saw that Day)
- Episodes: 11
- Aired: April 2011 – June 2011
Yadomi Jinta lives the life of a recluse; refusing to go to school on most days and playing videogames all day. His long-deceased childhood friend, Honma “Menma” Meiko, appears to him on a hot summer day in order to get him to grant her forgotten wish. Initially thinking himself to be hallucinating, Jinta soon realises that he’s seeing Menma’s ghost. He and his childhood friends grew apart after Menma died but they find themselves patching things up in order to finally lay Menma to rest. Forced to revisit the past, the group must confront their own guilt in addition to granting Menma’s final wish.
In his childhood, Jinta was an energetic and self-assured boy who was the leader of their group, the envy of his friends and the subject of people’s crushes. However, the grief following Menma’s death scarred him severely, rendering him a reclusive husk. At the start of the series, we see Jinta as a high schooler, unable to do so much as make eye contact with other people. He stays home all day and his father doesn’t even encourage him to attend anymore. His absence from school is etched into the minds of the other students at his school – he’s known as the guy who never shows up.
8. Kisaragi Shintarou – Mekakucity Actors
- Episodes: 120
- Aired: April 2014 – June 2014
It’s the 14th of August. Kisaragi Shintarou finds himself having to leave the house for the first time in two years when an argument with the cyber girl living in his computer causes him to accidentally spill soda all over his keyboard. With the Obon Festival underway, all the online vendors are closed, leaving Shintarou with no choice but to go to the local department store. Leaving the house makes him anxious, but rather that than live without his computer. However, as luck would have it, the day he leaves home for the store is the day that he gets caught up in a hostage situation. Luckily, a group of teenagers called the “Mekakushi-Dan”, equipped with mysterious powers appear and help Shintarou in defusing the situation. As a result, both Shintarou and Ene are recruited, with each Mekakushi-Dan members’ powers somehow fitting together with another’s like a puzzle. Shintarou’s involvement begins a revisiting of their pasts, slowly bringing to light the secret that holds them together.
Kisaragi Shintarou’s situation was precarious if we consider the fact that he only left the house because his keyboard was broken. He was an exceptional student in middle school and had an IQ of 168. He became a hikikomori after the girl who sat behind him in class committed suicide. He’d once seen the girl, Ayano, crying in class after school and didn’t approach her to see what was wrong, even though she’d helped him out multiple times before. When she died, he blamed himself and became a hikikomori, believing that he deserves to rot away. Dark.
7. Satou Tatsuhiro – N.H.K e Youkoso! (Welcome to the N.H.K!)
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: July 2006 – December 2006
22-year-old college dropout Satou Tatsuhiro has been a hikikomori for almost four years and in his time away from other people, he has come to believe multiple obscure conspiracy theories. The one most prevalent in his mind is that of the evil behind his hikikomori status – the nefarious Nihon Hikokomori Kyokai (NHK). He believes that they’re responsible for spreading hikikomori culture. An unexpected meeting with a girl named Nakahara Misaki could turn into a change in fortune for Tatsuhiro, but only if he faces his fear of society.
Tatsuhiro is quite the delusional social recluse after several years without face-to-face human contact. He survives off of his parents’ payroll and at twenty-two years old, he’s all but given up on life. After a panic attack he had one hot summer day on the way to school, he decided to hole himself up in his room. Well aware of the fact that he’s a shut-in, Tatsuhiro is simply too lazy to go through the effort of changing himself. He is also quick to lose hope in things and such personality traits are what keep him from truly leaving the hiki-NEET life behind.
6. Ryuugajou Nanana – Ryuugajou Nanana no Maizoukin (Nanana’s Buried Treasure)
- Episodes: 11
- Aired: April 2014 – June 2014
Located in the Pacific Ocean, Nanae Island is a man-made island which hosts all that is needed for a thorough education and training of children. Created by the Great Seven, a group of adventurers led by one Ryuugajou Nanana, Nanae Island is intended to be a place where young people can pursue their dreams. After being exiled by his family, Yama Juugo arrives on the island and moves into his new room… where he encounters the ghost of none other than the Great Seven leader, Ryuugajou Nanana. Bound to the room after her unsolved murder ten years prior, Nanana informs Juugo of a set of powerful items which each possess incredible power that she has spread all over the island. The items, known to those who are aware of their existence as the “Nanana Collection” could very well be the key to solving the mystery of Nanana’s death, so Juugo, alongside self-proclaimed Master Detective Ikkyuu Tensai and her assistant Hoshino Daruku, sets out to find them and lay Nanana to rest for good.
An incredible mind bound by a body which thirsts for adventure, Ryuugajou Nanana in her death doesn’t seem like the genius leader of the founders of Nanae Island. Sharing a room with Yama Juugo, Nanana seems like the average teenage girl who has incredible stamina for playing videogames and a taste for pudding unlike anyone else. Her happy-go-lucky air makes it seem like Nanana doesn’t grasp the reality of her own death; however, she is simply accepting of it all and chooses to enjoy her time haunting game servers and pudding cups.
5. Sakamoto Ryouta – BTOOOM!
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: October 2012 – December 2012
22-year-old Sakamoto Ryouta is the 10th-ranked player in BTOOOM!, an online game where the weapons of choice are explosives. Unemployed and living with his mother, Ryouta’s peaceful life changes when he wakes up on a strange island in the middle of nowhere, with a green chip embedded in his left hand and no memory of how he got there. Not long after he regains consciousness, he comes to the horrific realisation that someone recreated his favourite game in real life. Armed with a bag of unique explosives called “BIM”, each player on the island is required to kill seven other players and obtain their chips in order to leave the island. Soon realising that pacifism is impossible on the island, Ryouta teams up with fellow BTOOOM! player Himiko in order to find a way off the island together.
When it is revealed that people are placed on the island after basically being sent off by people in their lives who wanted them gone, Ryouta’s parasitic hiki-NEET tendencies are revealed to have been his mother’s reason to sign his life away. Lacking direction as far as his mother was concerned, Ryouta also had incredible disrespect for his step-father. With his offline life in disarray, Ryouta climbed the BTOOOM! rankings and even met Himiko, his in-game wife on the island.
4. Satou Kazuma – Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo! (KonoSuba: God's Blessing on This Wonderful World!)
- Episodes: 10
- Aired: January 2016 – March 2016
After dying a pathetic death on his way back from buying a game, high school student and social recluse Satou Kazuma finds himself in Purgatory, sitting before the beautiful goddess, Aqua. She gives him two options: move on to heaven as one normally would, or get a second chance at life in a fantasy world. Realising that he has the chance to live the life he’d lived in all his favourite games, Kazuma chooses the latter option. Tasked with defeating the evil Demon King in this world, he is given the choice to choose any item to help him in the quest and he chooses the goddess Aqua herself! However, he soon realises just how useless the obnoxious goddess is and to make things even worse, living in this fantasy world is different to how it would be in the games. Kazuma must work to earn a living just like everyone else, living the fantasy version of the kind of life common to the world he left behind!
After having his heart broken in middle school, Satou Kazuma became a game-obsessed hikikomori who barely left home. Unfortunately for him; however, the one of his few expeditions beyond the confines of his house ends with his untimely and totally laughable death. We could give him daps for trying to be heroic in his death, but that would be playing too nice to a big, strong adventurer like Kazuma. Despite his hikikomori life before, Kazuma is quite good at talking to people, particularly when it comes to underhanded tactics to get what he wants – perhaps all those games played, uh, paid off.
3. Towa Monaca – Danganronpa 3: The End of Kibougamine Gakuen – Mirai-hen (Danganronpa 3: The End of Kibougamine Gakuen –
- Episodes: 11
- Aired: July 2016 - September 2016
After Naegi Makoto and his fellow survivors escape Hope’s Peak Academy, they join the Future Foundation, an organisation committed to combating despair. Just when everything seems to be going well, Naegi is arrested for betraying the organisation and defending a group of Remnants of Despair. Tried alongside Asahina Aoi and Kirigiri Kyouko, Naegi’s fate hangs in the balance. The situation is worsened when the Future Foundation’s reportedly impenetrable security is infiltrated by Monokuma, who announces a new killing game which promptly takes its first victim. Once again, Naegi must unravel the mystery before him and find a sole killer in a group of 16.
Appearing in episode 4, Towa Monaca is a wheelchair-bound cutesy character who bears the title of Li’l Ultimate Homeroom. As a result of this title, Monaca is extremely charismatic and capable of Machiavellian-esque manipulation. Turning out to be an antagonist of the series, Monaca eventually blasts herself into outer space, where she plans on becoming a space-NEET. Neat.
2. Morioka Moriko – Net-juu no Susume (Recovery of an MMO Junkie)
- Episodes: 10
- Aired: October 2017 – December 2017
Morioka Moriko is a 30-year-old who is unemployed for the first time since she graduated high school, and the very thought excites her. After quitting the job she held down for 11 years, Moriko now spends most of her time playing online games to kill time, living vicariously through her male avatar, “Hayashi” in the MMO Fruits de Mer. Becoming completely engrossed with the game, Moriko soon adopts the hikikomori life, leaving her apartment when it’s only necessary. On the other side of town, 28-year-old Sakurai Yuuta is a Fruits de Mer player whom Moriko meets coincidentally at the convenience store one night. Both brushing off the encounter as mere chance, Moriko and Yuuta are unaware of how small the world can seem.
With her introversion, Moriko has a fairly low self-esteem and tends to avoid human contact as much as she can, causing her to judge herself very harshly. Whenever she does come into contact with other people, she speaks very politely, often over-analysing situations in her own head. She even bursts into tears when people treat her well, which is telling of her lack of human contact. Online, Moriko is her male avatar, Hayashi, who she crafted to be her ideal man. All of this aside; however, it remains admirable in its own way that Moriko left her job of 11 years to spend her time doing something she actually wants to do: play games.
1. Sora/Shiro – No Game No Life
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: April 2014 – June 2014
Brother and sister pair Sora and Shiro are shut-in NEETs who spend all their time playing online games as the duo behind the legendary username “Blank”. Dominating the online sphere begins to become as dreary as real life for them; however, when they receive a strange email challenging them to a chess match, everything changes. They are thrown into an alternate realm, courtesy of Tet, the God of Games. Sora and Shiro are sent to Disboard, a world where all conflict is resolved through high-stakes games and not warfare. The main rule of this world is for both parties in conflict to wager something of equal value. Excited by the challenges presented by this new world, Sora and Shiro play with the intention of uniting the 16 races of Disboard and beating Tet in order to become the new gods of this world.
Top of our list is the brother and sister NEET pair, Sora and Shiro, who we couldn’t separate due to the fact that they simply can’t be separated from each other. They lose all their motivation and bravado, becoming inept messes that resemble human beings. That aside; however, together they are a force to be reckoned with, each boasting incredible intelligence and the dangerous levels of courage. They live for games, which makes them the ultimate threat to the status quo of Disboard. With their help, the human race of Disboard could climb to the top of the chain. It’s almost like Sora and Shiro weren’t cooped up in their room all day everyday just dominating world servers and not entire worlds!
While social reclusion and unemployment are serious issues, anime manages to create protagonists who embody many of these social issues but continue to be likeable and somewhat relatable. Their social ineptitude does bring about humour in their respective anime and it’s comforting to see these characters blossom despite the projections they have about themselves and their own ability. Do you have a favourite NEET character who isn’t on this list? Drop a comment below and let us know all about their walled-off escapades!