This is review number two hundred and sixty nine. This anime is part of the Fall 2013 lineup. I’m close in finishing the voting poll I setup so I’ll be plowing through the rest of the long shows I missed real soon. For now, I have a lot of ecchi shows to face. Speaking of ecchi, the anime I’ll be reviewing is called Outbreak Company. It’s a twelve episode anime about an otaku being transported to another world where he teaches people how to be a problem to society like him. It has a more positive story though. Let’s read on.
This show is about a guy named Shinichi Kanou who is a massive otaku. One day, he took a random test in the internet that tells him he can get a job if he can score high on it. He got a perfect score and the company soon interviewed him. He was offered a drink but somehow realized it was drugged and he passed out. When he woke up, he was in a weird world where dragons exist and people speak a different language. Apparently, Shinichi was recruited by the Japanese government to handle its diplomatic interests in this new world. It’s primitive in terms of entertainment and Japan realized that they could achieve a good relationship with this world if they can share its otaku culture. They needed someone like Shinichi, who is a master at this complicated culture, to take charge though. He is now asked to convince people of this new world, including the elves and the dwarves, to learn to love anime, manga, visual novels and everything the otaku light touches. Yes, that includes yaoi.
Taking the Pants Off
Outbreak Company had a really playful premise. Rule the world by spreading the otaku disease. It’s a really interesting concept because you’d get a show with a lot of references in it. I had my doubts about it though. The whole approach sounds a bit preachy and it puts my hobby into a pedestal that I don’t really want it to be in. Seriously, as if the otaku culture is really that fundamental. This is what Outbreak Company was trying to sell to viewers though. It’s a lighthearted show about the fandom but I just find the whole thing a bit iffy. In my mind, it doesn’t sound like it can work. I’ve seen parody shows just alienate its viewers so the references should be contained. Most shows like these though don’t do that. I don’t why I’m so riled up but my otaku gut was just sending me bad vibes. The wonderful thing about light novel adaptations though is that they have a deliberate approach into establishing its appeal. In the first episode, yeah, I had my doubts. I was raising my eyebrow at the premise of the show. This anime had some really great characters though and it had a wonderful balance between playful and serious that ultimately convinced me to keep watching. A story about Japan invading another world using anime and the otaku culture sounds like a tough thing to do but Outbreak Company did it in a wonderful way. It didn’t take me long to finish the show and to enjoy what the anime was trying to present. At the end, a show about Japan spreading the otaku disease is actually more complex than you’d imagine but all the more fun as well.
So this show is about Shinichi trying to get people into liking anime and manga. The first episode was a bit clunky though. It featured Shinichi completely shocked after discovering this new world and he spent most of his time groveling over his new house maid that has cute elf ears. Afterwards, a bunch of shady government officials soon introduced him to the supreme leader of this world and she happens to be a sixteen year old loli. Yeah, it started out as your typical generic ecchi crap where you’ll know our main character is going to have a dirty time with these girls. The story also stalls a bit in the rest of the episodes as it mostly focused on Shinichi just getting close to his maid while he teaches her hiragana and stuff like that. It had a slow deliberate start that is completely riddled with cliché. I guess you’ll keep watching for the interesting concept it keep presenting. You see, it isn’t just a story about a massive otaku being transported in a new world teaching otaku culture. It also has some slight elements of politics and societal hierarchy that the show touches upon. First, it’s a bit light hearted with how the maid would stop her master from treating her as an equal. It’s all friendly and playful but the show would often shift to a really serious tone like when the supreme ruler would undermine the maid for trying to be friendly to her. This is really what got me interested in the show. It can be funny and cute with how it works with certain cliché and referential moments but also had a decent amount of seriousness to get your mind working. It soon became clear to Shinichi that spreading otaku love can bring about equality in this hierarchy based kingdom. Enjoying anime and manga doesn’t require a special status. He would soon make it his mission to make her maid as much as an otaku as the supreme loli ruler of this world.
There are three parts to this anime. They aren’t plot points. The show is mostly made up of various scenarios that are the focused of an episode. Even though there is continuity and a story that progress, the presentation is still mostly non-episodic with familiar characters that are featured in the scenarios. The characters really carry this show though because the anime made sure the relationship of the maid and Shinichi was prominently featured. The familiar characters are the one that makes it easy to enjoy the structure of the anime. Anyways, the first part of the show is really just your typical Ecchi setup. Shinichi is surrounded with a lot of women. As I said, the show made sure his relationship with these girls is setup first before it does anything else. It was the usual thing when a guy is with a girl. She’ll mostly be shy and thankful while he goes around having dirty thoughts about her. He slowly gets closer with the girl as he understands her situation and he tries his best to make her happy. The biggest focus is about Shinichi and her elf maid, Miusel. She is a caring maid who is thankful that Shinichi treats her like an equal person. It’s a big thing for a half elf since her kind is mostly treated like garbage. Still, he tries his best to make her happy like eating together with her and even teaching her the Japanese language. As they get closer, more opportunities for Shininchi to get pervy appear and they establish a fluffy relationship that is pretty cute to watch. The first part is your familiar ecchi setup where a guy and a girl that likes her get into certain situations. It’s not just the maid. More girls enter the picture and a lot of colorful interactions ensue. As more characters are introduced, their interactions and the relationship they established make this show really fun to watch. This makes the non-episodic structure all the more interesting to watch.
The best part of this anime though is the references. This is the second part of the show. It has a whole lot of nods on the otaku culture. It has a really good grasp of it, actually. Shinichi eventually decided that in order to spread the otaku disease, he’ll have to create a school where he’ll teach students about popular things. From common otaku terms like absolute territory to how certain visual novels became popular, it presented the otaku culture in a really interesting way. The beautiful part is that Shinichi is an otaku you can relate to and his obsessions can feel similar. The way he appreciates small breasts and the way he goes crazy for neko ears is pretty familiar and I’m sure seeing him go wild is something fun to watch. There are a lot of references in this show. It approaches the culture in different angles that I really appreciate. It has some interesting tidbits about otaku history that is pretty informative. I did not know that Princess Maker was an integral part of the visual novel rise. If you’re a casual otaku, the terms and the tidbits might interest you. It tells just how deep and needlessly complex this otaku culture is. It also has a smart grasp of how to make it interesting and funny at the same time. The lessons come around episode five or six though because the anime was putting the characters first than anything else. It’s not just lessons though. The show also puts references on the various non-episodic stories of the show. It covers all the interesting aspects of otaku culture. From becoming a shut-in, how to be a proper maid and even some BL setups, the show also has some interesting things to say about this stuff. They’re also pretty damn entertaining to watch. These scenarios are pretty well known and the anime adds its own spin on them. Seeing people being introduced to this stuff has a special kind of charm to it. It’s a bit fun how the people of this new world are being introduced to the various things about the culture.
The references don’t stop there though. It also some specific references about various shows and popular mediums as well. I laughed my ass off when one of the dwarves learned how to do a misdirection flow. It’s a special move from Kuroko no Basket. The show singles out a lot of anime or manga or visual novels to create some funny scenes. These things are bit hard to appreciate when you aren’t familiar with the references though. I know that it isn’t as fun when you don’t know the visual novel being played is actually DC Da Capo II and the commentaries about it aren’t as funny if you aren’t familiar with it. The nice things about the specific references though is that they are mostly mainstream and some are even from new anime so you don’t have to dig deep to understand a joke. Studio Feel also digs at some of their work and adds them to the references to make it easier to understand. Some of the stuff is as recent as from two years ago so the references aren’t that overwhelming. Shinichi would recommend certain anime and some characters are rip off from certain shows as well so the references comes in huge numbers. Do not fret though. You can still enjoy the show even if you aren’t familiar with the stuff it’s mentioning. It was the same for me as well back when I was watching more overwhelming parody shows like Pani Poni Dash but you can block all these things out and just enjoy the anime for what it is. It is also a bit unhealthy how I know a lot of the references. God, I watch too much anime and I’m not proud of picking up a huge number of references found in the show.
The last part of this show is about the politics and other other serious elements sprinkled in the anime. This is why I really like this show. It is a comedy with all of the ecchi scenarios and all the references and slight parodies. It’s loaded with quirky characters and a few oddballs that interact in a very colorful way. Despite all of these funny elements though, the show can be pretty serious as well. One thing that stands out first of all is how the Japanese government sends JSDF forces in this land complete with weapons but they seem to be friendly towards it. I think the reason why I didn’t buy the story when I saw it is because the government chose to do friendly diplomatic gestures other than engage in combat like any typical cliché story would. It, instead, opted to go the otaku route and I had a hard time buying it. This doubt of mine though is apparently an actual element of the story. There is a strong political element in this show that reinforces my doubt with the whole story. There are a lot of scenes where rank is busted out and the hierarchical order of power is applied. The Japanese government and its higher ups have a plan in mind and they aren’t telling Shinichi about it. As the story progresses, you realize that all the funny lighthearted scenes about the otaku culture isn’t the only thing the government has in mind. It goes a bit serious in a remarkable fashion but without straying away from the lighthearted things it has established all throughout. It’s not just the whole otaku plan though. This new kingdom can get a bit serious as well. In the first few episodes, the way our loli ruler abuses our elf maid can get a bit real. It explores how hierarchy can be unfair to some. The political status of this kingdom can be a bit serious. Elves and dwarves are treated like dirt being denied of education. Only higher ups are given a chance to learn and read. Those below the totem poles are forced to experience back breaking labor at a young age. It can be very real. The show is smart by establishing it and then using it as a base for the lighthearted nature of the anime to come through. The anime has a nice theme of always having a positive outlook despite all the too real problems one may face. As Shinichi is confronted with all these problems, he just takes it all in and then come up with a nice way to resolve the problem.
The characters are all cliché. They’re generic personalities that have specific roles in the anime. The wonderful part about visual novel adapted shows though is that character development is always present and you can guarantee that they don’t stay cliché in the later parts of the show. They’ll undergo a change. Soon, their personalities become all the more charming and endearing as you slowly get into the anime’s pace. The main character is Shinichi and he is a pretty decent guy. His main appeal is the fact that he is an expert in otaku culture. He would seriously teach people certain terms with a really straight face and seeing him just go wild is a pretty fun thing to watch. He is also the typical ecchi main character. He has a good attitude that attracts girls and makes them want to throw themselves at him. If he isn’t teaching then he’d be with some girl and he’ll get close to her on a personal level. He is a diplomat of Japan so he really spends a lot of time with the supreme loli ruler or alone with his maid in his specially assigned mansion. I also love how cunning this guy is. As I said, the anime goes serious and light hearted as it goes along. The thing that stands out is how Shinchi reacts to the situation and then how he’ll come up with a solution to the problems he faces. He is your typical otaku with his massive love for the medium so it’s easy to underestimate the guy. That’s the wonderful thing though. You won’t expect the plan he’ll come up with and it’s often presented in a really smart way.
The maid, Muisel, is a decent character. She is focused a lot and Shinichi fawn over her a lot. She is among the first to learn Japanese and be in love with the otaku culture. Beyond that, she’s really just your typical ecchi character that has big boobs and a very cute maid costume on. The same goes for our supreme loli ruler. She is the typical loud character type that easily gets jealous. Her relationship with Shinichi is decent enough because of how much the otaku culture appeal to her. Beyond that though, is pretty much the same as the maid. Shinichi and supreme loli ruler just flirt and tease each other when they have the chance. Their relationship is pretty great though when you look back and realize that she trust him a lot because of the good he is doing for her kingdom. There are other girls as well but they don’t have that deep of a relationship with Shinichi. They just have boobs and a sexy figure, which is honestly good enough when you consider how wild the anime can be.
The rest of the characters all had a pretty specific role to play. They are pretty interesting as well because of how the story helped improve their characters. There are the Japanese people that act all strict but they also have a spot for mischief from time to time. These serious thugs would often show sign of their cold hard experience but would also take the time to display their otaku hobby for everyone to see. There are also the students in school. They have a colorful interaction between them. First they bicker over their status but they soon change that and now fights over which anime character is greater. Some of them catch a niche obsession that can get pretty crazy. Some like 2D characters and others prefer 3D while some prefer loli characters with flat breasts. Their fights in the classroom are pretty entertaining because of how active the otaku culture has spread on this kingdom. I also love their wide eyed approach to Shinichi’s teaching wherein he would tell them about otaku terms. I love it when they raise their hands and innocently ask the teacher to expand on the term he just mentioned. As the story progresses, their hobby expands as well and their fights becomes varied as well. It’s also a nice nod to the bickering asshats that proudly wear their love of anime for others to see. Some otaku likes to fight each other and the anime was able to capture this side of the fandom as well. There are also important minor characters from this new kingdom. The prominent ones are the supreme loli ruler’s right hand man and her serious cousin. The right hand man is your typical yes guy but he also provides some advices to our ruler. The serious cousin is a strict dude that is a bit more cautious towards the otaku culture…until he was introduced to yaoi. Yeah, it’s pretty insane because he keeps getting shipped with Shinichi with hilarious results.
Feel is a pretty meek studio. They produce wonderful pieces like Minami ke and Mayo Chiki but their works just doesn’t have the big punch to really get them noticed. I fell in love with their steady pacing though and they have a knack to deliver something amazing for its niche audience. They also have a nice grasp of the cute, ecchi and slice of life that is represented in a lot of their works including this one. I like this studio and I say keep producing more awesome shows like this one. I’m not familiar with the director. Kei Oikawa has been a staple at studio Feel for a while now though. Plus, after watching Outbreak Company and the stab he made saying Minami ke’s director sucks, I’m pretty sure you’ll notice this director afterwards. He adds a lot of Feel produced anime in this show and he also slip some mentions about him from time to time. It’s a sign of a smart director and I’ll definitely be looking out for more of his work from now on. Outbreak Company didn’t sound like something I’d like but it took a lot of wonderful things to really make it work and I’m glad smart people handled this anime to bring out its true potential.
Sight and Sound
Yuugen’s character design is pretty amazing. It features an amazing facial structure that emphasizes on the expressive eyes and then accentuates that a lot more by the fantasy elements in the design. The colorful outfits give characters a strong personality while you notice the small intricate details in the work. Yuugen also adds eye candy appeal to the design by employing a color palette similar to a watercolor. The small faded splotches turn an ordinary generic character into one that can easily capture your attention. If you aren’t impressed by the visual appeal then I’m sure the way Yuugen adds emphasis to a sexy character can get your head turning. His versatile design can make flat chested characters look cute and sexy while making his big breasted characters highly sexualized. That’s talent, damn it. It’s a shame Feel wasn’t able to capture the beauty of his designs though. Feel already has an idea on how to make pedo appealing characters and they mostly applied it to Yuugen’s work. It’s not that big of a difference but the small nuances missing can be a bit disappointing. The characters don’t stand out immediately as well. You’ll notice how cute or sexy they are after a few episodes in when the show decides to feature some fan service. You’ll mostly be distracted by their interesting personalities and I think that’s a good thing. I love the RPG elements of the show though. The classic elves and dwarves design along with the typical medieval outfits gives the show the right setting to develop the story in. The references and the parodies are also nicely designed. Some are blatant in capturing the design but that’s really the joke it’s trying to present. It is pretty cool and it makes them easier to spot.
Animation is pretty decent. There aren’t a lot of fight scenes and the few ones lack the special cinematography to really get it going. The show is pretty dialogue heavy and the characters mostly talk. The facial expressions are a nice stand out in the show though. Some jokes would have the characters having a frozen face laced with disbelief and sarcasm that it was nicely executed. The minor expressions of shyness and anger are nicely animated by the show as well. Some characters like to run and fight though and I think the show was able to give it some decent animation. It’s not as flashy as you’d expect but it’s enough to carry the show. There also some episodes that require some complex animation and I just think the show was lacking on this part to really make it more amazing.
The anime’s OP is. It’s a pretty decent song. The lyrics feel a bit dull though and the chorus just didn’t impress me as much. The singer’s voice is wonderful though as she keeps a really steady pacing in the show that is outline by her calm voice. I also love the accordion instruments in the song as it gives off the RPG appeal found in the anime. The OP sequence features all the characters and a small montage of what they do in the show. It also features the relationship between Shinichi and the two main girls of the anime. It does capture the colorful world of the show nicely so you should check it out if you aren’t sure if you want to watch this one.
The anime’s ED is. It’s the same sentimental love song as the OP but I like this one more. It just has a more wonderful arrangement to it than in the OP. It’s a typical love song about admiring someone that has changed your life completely. It has a cute verse and a sentimental chorus that is elevated by the wonderful voice of the singer. The ED sequence features our supreme loli ruler playing around and acting cute by herself all round her kingdom. It ends with her sneaking out of the castle and visiting Shinichi’s house by herself. It’s pretty cute.
6/10 “The smart reference and the wonderfully balanced story makes this an amazing anime to watch.”
I didn’t expect to like this show a lot but the interesting characters, the well balanced story and the funny references really make the experience worthwhile. It has a slow start but it makes up for it towards the end. If you like shows that reference the otaku industry then you’ll love this show. If you like a combination of Ecchi and Comedy then this one is for you. If you like shows full of references and parodies then you’ll enjoy this anime a lot. It’s a really great show. I recommend it.