Beautifully drawn anime ad shows the emotional friendships that can come from a part-time job.
Being a medium in which creators have complete control over the visuals, just about anything can look awesomely stylish or emotionally profound in anime. In the past, Japanese animation has gotten us choked up over such mundane subject material as taking a correspondence course, and now it’s working its magic on something even more ordinary: the everyday happenings at a branch of McDonald’s.
Food in anime has been making fans’ mouths water for decades, and indeed the video’s burgers, fries, and shakes do look tasty.
But the goal of the video isn’t to get people to want to eat at McDonald’s, but to get them to want to work there.
Produced by Studio Colorido (the same company that made the touching miso soup anime commercial from last year), and featuring the voices of AKB48 idol singers Yui Yokoyama and Rin Okabe, the video opens with first-year college student Sumire Hibino biking past a branch of the fast food chain when she notices a help-wanted poster. Shortly thereafter, she’s working alongside Ikumi Hoshino, another college student working at the restaurant part-time.
In Japan, the concept of senpai and kohai (senior and junior, literally) exists not only in schools, but in the workplace, too. Thankfully, Ikumi is a caring and helpful senpai who shows new-on-the-job Sumire the ropes. Not only does she demonstrate how to handle customers’ requests for the “free smile” listed on Japanese McDonald’s menus with poise…
…she’s also there to backstop Sumire when mishaps occur in serving customers their food.
▼ Mmm…anime fries…
Some might accuse the video of making a low-level fast food job look more satisfying than such work would be in the long-term, but it does acknowledge that front-line work at McDonald’s isn’t supposed to be a career. Eventually, it’s time for Ikumi to graduate from college and leave McDonald’s for full-time work in which she can put her education to use, but not before a tearful good-bye from her coworkers.
Similarly, McDonald’s Japan’s recruitment website bills these posts as being a good fit for high school students, people looking for a part-time job, university students, housewives, househusbands, and seniors looking to pick up a little extra cash, not someone who needs to support a household single-handedly.
▼ If you’re wondering about those other characters, they’re scheduled to show up in later McDonald’s anime ads from Studio Colorido.
As the video comes to a close, we see that things have come full circle, as it’s now a confident Sumire’s turn to take a new recruit, named Wakaba, under her wing.
The anime’s artwork shows considerable warmth and detail, and it’s all the more impressive when you take into account that fact that it’s a corporate recruiting aid. This being Japan, though, a country in which doing your job well is a source of pride regardless of the status or pay involved, and where hospitality and customer service are always appreciated, it’s not so surprising to see working the register at a fast food joint depicted with such tender emotion.