Oh, and 29-year-old Famichiki Senpai is also an anthropomorphic piece of fried chicken with beefy human arms.

You might be surprised to learn that Japanese convenience stores sell delicious, cooked-on-site fried chicken, but if you know much about Japanese marketing, you’re probably not surprised that some brands have their own quirky mascot characters. In the case of the Family Mart chain’s Famichiki brand, that character is Famichiki Senpai, who’s basically a piece of breaded deep-fried chicken with human arms and legs, plus a penchant for sneakers and jeans.

▼ Famichiki fried chicken

▼ Famichiki Senpai

As indicated by his name, Famichiki Senpai is a senpai, or senior, to the other clerks at the Family Mart branch he works at. That’s not to say he’s their boss or manager, though; he’s just been at the job longer than many of his fellow clerks. Still, senpai is a respected position in Japanese interpersonal relationships, and you might expect the rest of Famichiki Senpai’s backstory to be filled with the idyllic trappings of dramatized employment in Japan, a country where taking pride in your work is the norm.

But it turns out that Famichiki Senpai’s story is soberingly mundane, and maybe even a little sad.

As pointed out by Japanese Twitter user @shodoku_obutsu, Famichiki Senpai’s official profile, which is shown in the above tweet’s photo and can also be found on the Family Mart website, describes him as:
● 29 years old
● Single
● Lives with his mother
● Has been working part-time at Family Mart for 11 years
● Can play the piano
● Hobby: collecting anime figures
● Dream: To become manager of a Family Mart branch in two years, and president of Family Mart corporation in 10 years

“Looking at Famichiki’s profile makes me feel sad,” tweeted @shodoku_obutsu, and a number of other commenters expressed similar concern for the character.

“His story is overflowing with realism.”
“An example of the darkness of modern society.”
“I can see myself ending up in the same position in the future, so I can’t laugh at it.”
“He’s getting ahead of himself. He needs to worry about getting a full-time position before he starts thinking about becoming a manager.”
“How has he felt watching other people get promoted over the years while he’s still stuck as a clerk?”
“I pray that they make him a full-time employee.”
“I feel bad for the guy. Maybe I’ll buy him some 7-Eleven fried chicken to cheer him up.”

But despite his far-from-idealized lot in life, Famichiki Senpai isn’t portrayed as a loser. If anything, he’s presented as a hardworking, sympathetic guy. Before the start of his shift, he gets a massage to make sure his meat is tender, and sits in a sauna so that he’ll be better able to cope with the heat of the deep fryer and heating lights.

He also follows a meticulous grooming regimen that includes getting regularly sprinkled with pepper.

▼ You know, we’re starting to get confused as to whether Famichiki Senpai is supposed to be a Family Mart employee or an edible Family Mart product himself.

And while he’s still on the very, very bottom rungs of the corporate ladder, some Twitter commenters were impressed by Famichiki Senpai’s grand ambitions. “At least he’s dreaming big,” said one, while another said he looks forward to a future biopic highlighting how he eventually works his way to the top.

Granted, a bit of math tells us that being 29 years old with 11 years of part-time convenience store work on his resume, it’s pretty much the only semi-steady employment Famichiki Senpai has had since graduating high school (though his extended bio mentions that he entered a national comedy contest in 2017, making it to the second round before getting cut). Still, if you want to accomplish anything in life, you need a positive attitude, and since we’ve never seen a frown on Famichiki Senpai’s non-existent face, maybe one day he really will make his dreams come true.

Source: Family Mart via Twitter/@shodoku_obutsu via Hachima Kiko
Top image: Family Mart

Follow Casey on Twitter, where he wishes Family Mart would bring back the Macross Frontier Pineapple Steamed Bread Cake.