In many anime where a protagonist makes it to the top of an organization, they are often seen diligently sitting at a desk signing documents, and often times they will attempt to escape. Sometimes this is only an episode or 2, other times it's a running trope throughout the series. For example, Tessa from Full Metal Panic (MAL), Sion from Legend of Legendary Heroes (MAL), and Bezelbub from Beelzebub-jou no Okinimesu mama. (MAL).

Is this a trope specific to anime, Japanese Culture, or something else? I'm only familiar with it in anime, though I suspect it's a cultural thing from Japan.


1 Answer 1


Pen-Pushing President seems to be the closest equivalent on TVTropes.

Who didn't dream of one day becoming President of a country, executive of a big company, or leader of a big organisation? You can give orders, have a pretty life, and have the most important and spotlight-earning jobs! You can be a hero and a model!
And now that you have won the election, here is a pen and a stamp: warm up your arm, 'cause from now on you will use them a lot. Apparently, the main activity of people in charge is to spend their days with a desk and giant piles of papers as only company. Of course it is Truth in Television to some extent (notably in law-related responsibilities), but naturally, in fiction it tends to be exaggerated to the point of torture. Expect some secretary to occasionally show up in the office with an additional pile, to the dismay of their boss. Usually Played for Laughs to show a less glamourous side of leadership. May be Played for Drama if the effect is to make the character wish they'd never sought or accepted the job in the first place.

The linked page has examples for basically every category so it is not anime specific and as the description says it is loosely based on real life.

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