As the seasons pass by, it becomes difficult to sort what I liked or not. Be one of a kind experience, finding the 2D way or whatever the reason might be, it’s always useful to revisit them to see if those shows still hold solid or the power of nostalgia goggles is really powerful. That’s why I bring another section to the blog where I review shows that I enjoyed in the past and see if I still like them. This section won’t be limited to things I remember fondly, maybe shows I disliked or not cared about can be given a second chance. But only time will tell. For now, let’s inaugurate the section with Outbreak Company.
About the show
Outbreak Company, also known as Outbreak Company: Moeru Shinryakusha (アウトブレイク・カンパニー 萌える侵略者), is based from a fifteen volumes Light Novel of the same name. The adaptation was announced on April 2013 and the show began airing during the 2013 Fall Season. It consists of twelve episodes, 24 min. each.
Shinichi is a NEET otaku that has given the chance of a lifetime: Be the ambassador of Otaku culture to a new fantasy world where elves, dwarves and humans live among dragons and monster girls. He will not work alone as his task was commanded by the Japanese government itself to obtain more influence in the new world via cultural exchange. He will face more than being lost in translation and will encounter difficult situations that will test his devotion to the Otaku lifestyle and his principles.
The first time I watched this show I expected to be another masturbatory NEET harem fantasy. But from the first episode you get a glimpse of the complex issues this show will touch and that will affect all our characters. Outbreak Company is often overshadowed by shows with the same premise like GATE, but I’ll say that Outbreak Company is a better for its smart portrayal of the clash of cultures while being sincere to the genre.
At the center of this anime a question as old as time is the main catalyst for the actions to come: “How to deal with a civilization different than us? We somehow managed to survive and adapt our ways to interact to each others, so what could happen when we encounter a different world that reflects a period of our growth. Without delving much into politics, the show provides a simple answer: Let’s be Otaku together.
Otaku culture, as a medium, is often mocked as a low form of storytelling. If it’s not a Miyazaki work or “your name.”,it is just seen as a bunch of perverted cartoons made by perverted artists for a perverted audience. And I know that a considerable majority falls into that category but nobody will say that novels like “Twilight” or “50 Shades of Grey” tarnished all literature.
In Outbreak Company, the doujinshi is mightier than the sword. If our values are not the same and often times a conflict could arise for our differences, we can discover a better world even if it’s a 2D one.
Other topics covered in this show and that are treated with the seriousness they deserve are class/racial divide and government conspiracies. The magical kingdom is one where humans rule over species they deem inferior and whose only opportunity to achieve status is fighting for a place where they don’t deserve to eat in the same table as humans. The mission of our MC is not without an agenda behind it, a Japanese government anxious to exploit and enrich itself with the fortunes of the new world decides that a cultural invasion is preferable over a war. Now it doesn’t sound as your average NEET fantasy.
Let’s not forget that Outbreak Company is foremost a comedy, and it also excels in that regard. Overturning tropes while also playing into them is what makes this show entertaining. All characters serve a purpose and the chemistry is present during the entire season. It’s also one of the rare cases where All Girls Are Best Girls.
In conclusion, Outbreak Company is a love letter to the media. Anime, manga, light novels, doujinshi, visual novels, games, etc. could be seen as form of escape for the hardships of the real world but all them are just different ways to tell us those stories that there might be an alternative to this and it doesn’t matter if you are an elf, a dwarf or a wise old men, we are all perverts… I mean, enthusiasts.
Outbreak Company is available wherever you can find anime. I recommend it thoroughly and if you already saw the show, not too late to watch it again.