Are you just hanging around your sister's house, watching the kids, doing the laundry, or maybe even just playing video games, with no career prospects, and, from a business point of view at least, not contributing much, if anything at all, to the economy?
Then you might be a NEET. Not currently engaged in Employment, Education or Training.
The NEET is usually a college-age male, though it is occasionally used in regards to females. A NEET is either between jobs and down on his luck, an idiot who has failed the entrance exams for college, or a Lazy Bum with no goals in life, freeloading off whoever is around. Occasionally the NEET might also be a shut-in, and shunning society due to being unable to function well in it, because of some debilitating Ambiguous Disorder, agoraphobia or peer pressure. Whether his condition is his fault or not, he is likely to get no respect whatsoever, be called an embarassment to his friends and family, or have "Get a job!" yelled in his face at least once. Probably more than once.
In most stories featuring this trope, the NEET is the designated Butt-Monkey, treated with No Sympathy. The Deadpan Snarker will take every opportunity to remind him that he's useless, while more sentimental characters would, at best, try to motivate him to get a life with a Rousing Speech. Anything else, such as treating his situation as a symptom of a systemic problem of modern society, is uncommon enough to be considered a subversion. Regardless, it must be noted that the modern unfortunate conditions on the job market in many developed countries mean that the unemployed gradually undergo a shift from Acceptable Lifestyle Targets to being considered genuinely unfortunate. Thus, in order to actually deserve mockery, a NEET in modern media is often given other negative qualities such as being a slob.
If he isn't the Plucky Comic Relief, then he is more than likely The Hero, and the premise behind his story involves finding a worthy goal in life and/or public acceptance. An Aesop can develop in two ways from there onwards: he might get into that college after that cram session with The Smart Guy, get together with a crazy girl who would kick his ass into gear, and generally become a fully functional member of society... or he can give said society the finger, prove that Hard Work Hardly Works and find an outlet for his Brilliant, but Lazy tendencies that render him appreciated in other ways than most people are.
Pretty Freeloaders generally manage to dodge this stigma on the account of, well, being pretty, despite the fact that they might not contribute money to the household, as it's more socially acceptable for a female to be without an income than it is for a male (though this is changing). Only a female in these circumstances who is actively being hassled for not having a job or being in school can be considered a NEET.
- The main character of AIKI gets called a NEET by his mother when she shows up... which amuses the hell out of the rest of the main characters, who can't quite connect "NEET" and "Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy" together. Shortly afterwards, though, his mother forces him into a job as a teacher at a school focused on the martial arts.
- The author of Brave10 describes lone ninja Saizo as basically a NEET before he found a master and joined the Braves.
- The apartment neighbor in Crayon Shin-chan is portrayed as a cross between this and hikkikomori, having failed the college entrance exams multiple times.
- In Danganronpa 3, Monaca Towa announces her intention to live in outer space as a NEET. She became disillusioned with the whole hope versus despair debate after hearing Nagito Komaeda ramble on about it and realized she didn't want to end up like him. That, and she realized that hope would likely win out in the end, making the entire conflict too boring and predictable.
- Eden of the East: Some of the characters are NEETs portrayed fairly sympathetically. The 20,000 missing NEETs are a plot point.
- Discussed and joked about briefly during an early chapter in Gakuen Babysitters. While playing house with Kirin, Usaida plays the role of Ryuuichi and Kirin's eldest son, an unrepentant NEET who shows no shame in begging his father for money and asking when his mother will finish with dinner. As Ryuuichi states and how the audience thinks, the role suits Usaida a little ''too'' perfectly.
- Near the end of Girl Friends, Kuno-chin mentions that she may not be able to see her boyfriend often now that he's graduated from university because he said that he's become the Housing Security Officer of his own home... which is just a really fancy way of calling himself a NEET, so Taguchi assures her that she'll be able to see him everyday.
- Onizuka from Great Teacher Onizuka, until deciding he wanted to be a teacher, was a Yankee and a NEET.
- Nagi from Hayate the Combat Butler aspires to be a NEET. Not that it would matter, since her family's fortune is so vast as to be literally almost uncountable.
- Averted for most of I Can't Understand What My Husband Is Saying. Hajime spends all day at home playing video games while his wife works, but he does have an income via his blog, and later works as a web designer and earns more than his wife. There was a brief period during episode 4 between these two where he was a NEET.
- Yuuya in the two-shot manga Itsuka No Himitsu by Naono Bohra, is a NEET who is fired from his job and evicted, and has to move back in with his parents. Of course, this is written by Naono Bohra, so this sets up a romance with his male neighbor he's known since childhood.
- In K-On!, when asked about what she wants to become, Yui says she wants to become one of these.
- Another BL example is the main character of Konbini-kun, Endou Hiroshi, by JUNKO. He takes up a job as a convenience store worker, but breaks down when helping customers. He does get better after interacting with his co-worker and eventual love interest, Yamai Kouhei.
- Love Lab has Eno's good-for-nothing older brother, who even wears a shirt that says "NEET" on it.
- The Mobile Suit Gundam prequel manga Garma Of The Space Island reveals that Big Bad Gihren Zabi used to be one before he got involved in political activism with Zeon Zum Deikun.
- All six of the Matsuno brothers have become this in Osomatsu-san. They're all unemployed twenty-somethings still living with their parents, and whenever they do manage to get jobs they can't keep them for more than one episode. Their mother goes so far as to address them as NEETs to their faces.
- Jiji, Banba, Mayaya, Chieko, and Tsukimi from Princess Jellyfish are NEETs, though they vigorously deny it when Kuranosuke asks them about it. While it's true that several of them do have what technically qualifies as employment it's still painfully obvious that this is what they are.
- In Recovery of an MMO Junkie, main character Moriko Morioka is a 30-year-old, single woman who has dropped out of the business world to play MMOs all day. She considers herself an "elite NEET" because she chose the lifestyle rather than having it thrust upon her (it's heavily implied that she quit due to the pressures of her work environment being too much for her), but at the same time she's still embarrassed and tries to keep people from finding out.
- In several instances, Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei has depicted a NEET as a middle-aged guy being taken care of by his mother while he plays video games all day. They also discussed the difference between a NEET and a Hikikomori (according to the hikikomori character, it's that she "would like to get a job"). Incidentally, after a while, the English translation of the manga just uses the term Slacker whenever NEET would be used in the original.
- Satou, the main character in Welcome to the N.H.K..
- In The World God Only Knows, Keima Katsuragi heads into this direction at relativistic speeds. Does nothing all day but playing dating sims. At home? Dating sims. In school during period? Dating sims on the roof. In school during class? Dating sims at his desk. In school during PE? Dating sims. Take away his handheld game console and he pulls out another. And another. And another. His mother doesn't really see a reason to change this and he offered the faculty to ace all tests and exams if they let him play during class as they can't technically punish him for seemingly not paying attention in class if said tests and exams prove the contrary. He does exactly that.
- The protagonist of Yuureitou is a NEET with some hikikomori mixed in. After being nearly killed, Taichi is rescued by a man named Tetsuo. He becomes his partner in solving a mystery involving a "ghost tower", where a woman was killed 2 years ago in a similar manner to the way Taichi was to be. Noticeably the story takes place in The '50s so he lacks stereotypical qualities liking constantly being glued to the internet or being anime/game obsessed (he does like mysteries and scifi, which is presented as niche and weird, though).
- Scott Pilgrim freeloads off his friend Wallace for most of the comic, doesn't have a job, isn't in school and is frequently told to get a life. This eventually changes, starting with him getting a job dishwashing at Stephen Stills' restaurant.
- The Unbelievable Gwenpool. Her backstory is revealed in issue 16: she dropped out of high school and has no job, and has very little connection to the outside world. This takes a toll on her home life, as her parents grow more and more openly fed up with her, and this helps push her towards the main Marvel universe.
- Lucifer in The Devil Is a Part-Timer! after his failed betrayal has fallen to being a NEET that resides in his master's (the titular Maou) tiny residence. And is mercilessly mocked as such by various characters.
- Cuuko (Cthuguha) from Haiyore! Nyarko-san, whom Nyarko calls a NEET and a Hikikomori as insults. She refers to herself as a "home security guard" (自宅警備員, jitaku keibiin), which is a term coined by 2ch with pretty much the same meaningnote . Cuuko actually does have a job (Space Cop) and attends a local high school as part of her cover (she's already graduated from Space College), but still chooses to spend all day playing video games and needling Mahiro into cooking for her. She even goes off to play video games during the Beach Episode!
- Most of the characters from Heaven's Memo Pad.
- Kazuma Satou from Konosuba was one back in the real world, before being Trapped in Another World. Aqua constantly uses this as an insult to him.
- Princess Raynesia of Log Horizon desires nothing more than to sleep the majority of the day in her comfortable flannel pajamas, rather than playing the part of a Princess Classic for stuffy nobles. Krusty is able to handle her easily due to his experience with his NEET sister.
- Sora and Shiro from No Game No Life, are NEET siblings. At the start of the series, their entire world consists of a small room where they play video games all day. They are quite proud of this fact (for some reason) and declare that ""『 』" will never do work!". They are vulnerable to panic attacks if they go outside.
- Subaru Natsuki from Re:Zero is shown to be one, as he references all of the LN's he read and the Games he played before being transported to another world. He eventually, however, becomes what is considered to be the ultimate deconstruction of how such a person would actually work in real life, culminating into one hell of a tearjerking Self inflicted "The Reason You Suck" Speech in Episode 18. All the suffering he goes through up till then has been, to his self-loathing and realization, to be the result of his rotten character, a person who has done absolutely nothing productive his whole life, in spite of having all the time in the world, foolishly thinking that all the knowledge he gained from doing nothing but gaming and bingeing on anime, manga and light novels, that it could get him a better life in another world simply by being teleported there, only to find this to be not at all what happens. He states multiple times at that point that he hates himself for it. Case in point:
Subaru: Before I got into the situation that led me to all of you, do you have any idea what I did? I did nothing. I've never done a single thing. I had all that time, all that freedom... I could have done anything, but I never did a thing! And this is the result! What I am now is the result! All of my powerlessness, all of my incompetence, is the product of my rotten character. That's right. I have no character. Even when I thought I could live here, nothing changed. At heart, I'm just a small, cowardly, filthy piece of trash, who's always worried about how others see me. And nothing... Nothing about me has changed! ...I absolutely hate myself...
- Mae Borowski, the protagonist of Night in the Woods. She drops out of college due to having such severe disassociative episodes that she can't even function at school anymore, which may or may not have been caused by an Eldrtich Abomination known as the Black Goat. Mae spends most of the game running around town, talking to her friends, committing crimes, and doing Womanchild things, while her parents encourage her to have some ambition.
- Jason Brody, protagonist of Far Cry 3: the in-game description says that he has only worked odd jobs since leaving college. We are not told how he has financed a long string of extreme sports trips and a holiday in South East Asia, but it is possible that he is sponging off his "extremely rich friend" Oliver, who, in turn, is probably sponging off his father.
Oliver: [proposing a toast] Here's to my black card, and to my daddy's black card!
- Jason actually comes from a wealthy background. It's possible he funds most of his hobbies via a trust fund. That or he simply asks his mother and/or older brother for money (his father died several year prior to the game's storyline).
- Speaking of fanon, there's a widespread joke/meme in Japanese Raidou Kuzunoha fandom that Narumi is a NEET (in canon he runs a detective agency, but it doesn't seem to be very successful).
- Kaguya from is often depicted as a NEET in fanon. In canon... it depends on whether you consider being technically in charge of a household to be a job. As a princess, it's arguably her job to not have a job.
- Fanon does the same to Patchouli Knowledge, tying in with the canonical facts that she lives in her friend Remilia's house, spends all day in the library, and has very poor health (including asthma and anemia). Fan works that depict both Patchy and Kaguya as NEETs will usually have them being friends as well.
- Arngrim's crippled brother Roland from Valkyrie Profile gets labelled as this when his brother gets tired of his naive attitude of drawing arts for pleasure while it's him who sustains their living. Roland has a sounding excuse for him doing what he wants, causing Arngrim to reflect that everybody, even himself, has something they want to do in their life outside gaining money. Unfortunately, things don't go well for Roland. Arngrim commits suicide and becomes an einherjar while Roland continues to suffer. Then he suddenly disappears from the game.
- The protagonist from ClockUp's ESEX Shikorsky: INTERNEET Security Cloud 2017 is this; it's right in the title!
- Blaster Nation has Rinnie during it's first chapters, as she would rather freeload from her friend Kimmy, lives in her livingroom and doesn nothing but eat junkfood and write Yaoi Fanfiction, with Dan (Kimmy's boyfriend) constantly telling her to get a job or move out. She eventually realizes that she had reached bottom and tries to be a better person (with very slow steps, anyway).
- Elliot Torres, the protagonist of Blood Stain, is a more serious approach to how a NEET would exist in a realistic setting. She never decided to work due to her older sister, Clara, taking care of financial responsibilities, so she instead slacks off, gets kicked out from any job applied, and plays game after college until the age of 27. When their mother lands in the hospital, the Torres' expenses shoots up to the point where they need to cut corners. Once Clara points out that she'll have to cancel internet service for Elliot's games, Elliot makes a genuine effort to hold onto a job. However, due to her employers' own financial struggle, Elliot is let go, so she desperately reapplies to a shady job opening, which sets up the main story of the webcomic.
- A strip of Homo Sexience featured a King whose method of deterring assassins was to build a tower with him at the top, and 4 of the most beautiful women from history on the floors below him, trusting that they would tire the assassins out before they could reach him. One finally got to the top, explaining that "They didn't even glance at me when I told them I was unemployed."
- For a while after quitting his job as a journalist, Matt from Mac Hall is unemployed and hanging around their house just playing video games, until he is randomly called on the phone and offered a job managing a comic book store.
- Riff in Sluggy Freelance gets described as a "freelance bum" by Torg when the latter notices he's not actually doing anything besides being a Mad Scientist Gadgeteer Genius. Subverted later when it turns out he's being secretly employed to do just that by a dodgy corporation that funds such people to get the occasional brilliant invention they make. Later, after Torg's freelance web design career goes under and Riff leaves his job with guns blazing and stuff, several characters all find themselves in this position. Chapter 41 is even called "Freelance Bums". At one point, Zoë's roommates are all living on her pay and playing videogames all day until she forces them to come up with ways to make money for the "'avoid having your console sledgehammered' tax." Luckily, they get to live in a big house for free after their landlord is eaten by a giant monster in a hellish alternative dimension.
- The lyrics to the famous Astroemeria remix of Bad Apple!! are about NEET/hikikomori depression.
- Sparadrap has made himself look like one until one of his guildmates found out what his job was. His guildmates either have a job or are students and Sparadrap has frequently been playing for a long time when they come home.
- Arthéon transited through this between leaving a Boarding School he didn't like and getting a job related to the game everyone is playing.
- Fantöm is this as of the first Wham Episode. The comic version of the story shows him giving the employment office a try, but his experience as professional gamer, which is the only job he ever had, isn't taken seriously and the person in charge of him has no idea what to offer him.
- Todd Chavez, Bojack's "roommate" in Bojack Horseman, is essentially this. He came to a party Bojack held five years ago and never left, and currently sleeps on Bojack's couch. He doesn't have any education past high school and is rarely ever employed anywhere for long.
- In The Looney Tunes Show, Daffy Duck has been living in Bugs Bunny's house for five years, has no job, credit, or social skills, and gets all his money from Porky Pig, almost always without his consent.
- The two main characters in Megas XLR, Coop and his best friend Jamie, pretty much hang out in Coop's parents' basement playing video games all day everyday and do not appear to have jobs, at least not for long. Kiva is horrified by their Lazy Bum lifestyles.
- In My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, Fluttershy's younger brother Zephyr Breeze is unable to hold a job for anything more than a few days at most and instead spends much of his time at their parents' house, leeching off their resources. He is an egotist: whomever he lives with, he will take over that residence by force, and when concerted efforts are made to get him a job, he considers himself above effort and will immediately look for a way to pass the duties to someone else. He is also crippled by a fear of failure — only by Fluttershy making him commit himself to one thing for a period of time (he chooses styling hair) and swallow his pride by following established guidelines does he become good enough at something to earn his own accomplishments.
- Steven Universe:
- When living in the barn, Peridot would at least go on missions with the other Crystal Gems, but Lapis Lazuli preferred to lounge around while either watching Camp Pining Hearts, sleeping, or reading. Their species don't need to eat, so there's nothing pressuring her to work (the Crystal Gems don't bother with any income source either). Eventually she started growing crops with Peridot, though it's not clear what they did with all the food they made. Lapis returns to an idle lifestyle when she leaves the Earth and takes the entire barn with her, but finally graduates to being an official Crystal Gem in "Reunited".
- While Blue Diamond is one of distinguished Gems that command everything on Homeworld and other Gem-controlled planets, nowadays she does nothing but wallow in her own grief, something Yellow Diamond calls her out on.