Africa Salaryman’s second episode is flawed, to the point where it’s difficult to say I’m completely sold on the series’ longevity at this moment in time. For the second half of this episode the show was at its best, surpassing the first episode by not only being funny but by injecting its humor with social commentary on societal issues and by utilising its setting in a way I felt was lacking in my impressions of the series’ opening episode. With this story closing out the episode it definitely left me more positive on the episode as a whole, these praiseworthy elements were not enough to overshadow a boring, lifeless opening that left me feeling like I was watching a different show altogether.
Its first story mostly revolves around the worries about wasting water while bathing. The story begins with Lion lamenting that his daughter won’t bathe after he goes in, before discussing whether you could make soup broth with the animal water leftover. As you may expect from reading that description, this story is about as interesting and as funny as that would lead you to believe. It lacks the dynamism and excitement I had been expecting, with not even the voice actors sounding excited about everything going on. This is definitely a misstep, for sure.
Almost like a second wind, however, its second half completely does away with city life for a story where they search for a mysterious creature that reminds me of everything I liked about that first episode and more. The characters bounce against each other, while a new one-off Kappa character who made me laugh with almost every line they spoke. This is the anime’s humor at its best, as it not only plays into the established personalities of our main cast but it plays into its Saharan setting that I felt was lacking in any of the skits before this point. Not only that, it uses all of it to comment on Japanese society and work balance through comedy, one thing that was missing from the show’s opening episode, enhancing the jokes and injecting the series with a satirical edge I want to see expanded upon going forward.
What you’re left with is a tale of two halves. While its first half felt unfocused and, quite frankly, dull, it managed to pick itself up for a new joke that was not only funny but made comment on the issues of power dynamics and work-life balance within the Japanese workplace in a way that only removing the issue from its source and poking fun at it can do. Through absurdity, you can both laugh and examine these issues in a new light. This comedic commentary is what I want to see more of going forward, and will be what helps to stand it apart from other series even if its humor became less effective over time. With such different episodes so far, however, it’s difficult to say for certain what to expect next week.
Africa Salaryman is currently streaming on Funimation.