The anime adaptation of My Senpai is Annoying finally premiered this October on Funimation! The anime was long-awaited by fans of the series based on the popular manga of the same name, or “Senpai ga Urusai Kouhai no Hanashi” in Japanese. As a dedicated fan myself, I was personally excited for the premiere and nervous that the anime wouldn’t live up to the sweet and endearing nature of the original manga. But as I watched the first episode, my fears were utterly dashed, and my hopes began to rise.
Though it was only the first episode, it’s clear that the anime passionately follows through on the manga’s style and character development. The art style was directly copied from the manga with excellent detail, but even the flow of movement of each character fit them uniquely and perfectly. While art style tends to be a concern in manga-to-anime adaptions because of the additional animation, the show perfectly aligned the energy needed to match the characters and how they would genuinely move and react. Igarashi Futaba moved awkwardly or quickly, reaching her clumsiness while exhibiting her struggle as a shorter woman. On the other hand, Takeda Harumi loped around in a heavy gait, with his footsteps ringing out with a solid thud each time.
But while the added animation fit the characters perfectly, it also felt like there wasn’t an overwhelming amount of it in the first place. I genuinely felt like I was still reading the manga, but with some transitions between scenes that encompassed the animation. The anime adaptation feels like they took the scenes straight out of the book, with just a flash of an image as the actual scene, such as when a character was making an emotional facial reaction. While I may still suffer negative flashbacks to the Netflix adaption of The Way of the Househusband, in My Senpai is Annoying, these scenes were well interweaved with the rest of the episode, giving a much better nod to the original manga and providing a happier experience to fans. Overall, the animation is well-done, and they did justice to the manga.
But as we all know, the art style isn’t the only important detail in an anime. Voice actor quality can easily be argued as a make-or-break aspect of any anime show. I was concerned going into this anime that they would use voices that didn’t match the characters or, even worse, take the character voices to the extreme. In the manga, Takeda has an intense voice and large stature, while Igarashi seems like a child, especially with other adults. The contrast between these two characters is supposed to be significant. Still, I was troubled that the anime might take it too far to the point where any relationship between them would be uncomfortable.
I quickly found I had nothing to worry about. The chosen voice actors for every role portrayed so far were perfectly aligned with the characters; it was quite a shock. Specifically, their voices were made for these characters, with Tomori Kusunoki as Igarashi and Shunsuke Takeuchi as Takeda. Takeuchi gave Takeda a deep voice like described, but with a roughness that I didn’t expect and yet felt fit well. Somehow, though, Takeuchi was also able to add a cheerful and charming tilt to his voice, something I had only imagined Takeda’s voice being but could never quite describe. Based on his extensive voice acting experience, I’m not surprised though that Takeuchi was able to portray this uniqueness, with past voice credits including Haikyuu!!, The Idolm@ster Cinderella Girls, and Bungou Stray Dogs.
Of course, Igarashi’s voice was the biggest concern, but Kusunoki gave her a perfectly matching voice that fit precisely where it needed to be for her character. While it was young and high-pitched and inflected in moments with wailing or whining that befitted a childish voice, Kusunoki was still able to make her voice sound mature and soft enough to be for an adult. It was straightforward to connect Igarashi’s voice with her age and personality, a feat that can be very difficult when trying to portray such contrasting characteristics. But Kusunoki is another skilled voice actor, with shows such as Wonder Egg Priority, Love Live! Nijigasaki High School Idol Club, The Misfit of Demon King Academy, Sword Art Online: Gun Gale under her belt.
With the skilled voice acting matching the excellent art and animation style, the first episode of My Senpai is Annoying was a complete win. I’m thrilled with how dedicated the anime’s manga seemed, and I couldn’t be happier with the adaption. This avid fan eagerly awaits the next episode and hopes the show continues to be such a success.
My Senpai is Annoying follows Igarashi Futaba, a small but feisty office worker, and her evolving relationship with her senpai Takeda Harumi, a large-built man with a charming personality. Initially published by Seven Seas Entertainment and with art and story by Shiro Manta, the anime adaptation is directed by Ryouta Itou and features animation work by Doga Kobo. My Senpai is Annoying can be viewed on Funimation.