Throughout our lives, we’re bound to encounter a situation where we might deal with imposter syndrome. Are we where we are supposed to be? Do we deserve what we have? It can feel especially so if someone might look a certain way, have certain hobbies or be around people who they consider more adept at a position. My Senpai is Annoying does a good job of capturing what life can be like when you might deal with these on a daily basis. Especially since it is handled in a way in which we can see someone who does deserve what she has and is dealing with things as best she can.
My Senpai is Annoying stars a businesswoman named Futaba Igarashi. While a grown woman and quite capable, she’s also quite short, has a sweet tooth and happens to love things that are cute. (For example, in the first episode she wants to order a “Lucky Meal” at a fast food place because the toy is so adorable.) All this means she does stand out a bit in the Itomaki Trading office. She unquestionably deserves to be there. Especially since even in the first episode, she’s capable enough to be picked to perform a presentation for a major client. (And is successful with it.)
However, Igarashi also happens to have a supervisor who, while a good person, is something of the opposite of her. Well, physically, at least. Harumi Takeda is big, boisterous and friendly. He’s the sort of person who might tussle her hair because of the size difference and the relationship they have. Which, well, can get incredibly annoying. Not to mention there’s also another senpai, Souta Kazama, who has a habit of teasing her. Specifically, he’s adept at capturing photos of her that are embarrassing, then sharing them with everyone else. And her other coworkers Touko Sakurai and Mona Tsukishiro both are women who look more mature than her. Which means when standing alongside them, it further accentuates her own traits.
Right from the first episode, My Senpai is Annoying is good at showing what it’s like to face these sorts of fears about yourself. We see Igarashi’s highs and lows. Or in some cases, the lows she imagines she has that are really nothing. There’s the enthusiasm she puts into her job. The effort she puts into a presentation, which is so good that Takeda says she should handle the pitch with the client. The positive interactions where Sakurai and Kazama want to spend time with her. Her taking care of a stranger by giving away her scarf.
But we also see moments where the uncertainties settle in. They show up in the same ways they might in our own lives. An easy-to-make mistake results in a client order being wrong. This leaves Igarashi feeling down on herself and her abilities. She’s in a funk, even though Harumi admits his own part in not checking it as her supervisor and treats her to a coffee. Forgetting a pass for a train. Being afraid of heading somewhere at night alone, even though you’re an adult. An awkward confession, then dealing with it and wondering how someone sees you after. Not knowing if it is or isn’t proper to give someone a gift.
The thing about the show is that each episode keeps presenting situations like this. We see the annoyances we might all deal with. Even when the people around us are well-intentioned, their actions can leave us questioning ourselves. They might play on our own insecurities. Especially if we make a mistake that leaves us self-aware. It’s only from an outside perspective that we could really see that those little things are no big deal. By watching Futaba, it made me realize how often I overanalyze and agonize about the small things that others probably don’t even notice. It makes it easy to enjoy and identify with the anime. And perhaps even offers a little reassurance for when I worry about whether I’m doing okay myself.