HILARIOUS – that’s the one word I’d use to describe Outbreak Company. From start to finish, this series did not disappoint. Comedy was the main element of this series and with its clever references as well as deliberate parodies, every episode would not fail to leave me in fits of giggles.
So what is this series about? And why is it so funny? Well, for starters, this anime is about a hikkikomori (Japanese word for shut-in) who gets employed to promote the Japanese otaku culture in a fantasy world, the Holy Eldant Empire, which the Japanese government just so happened to stumble upon. With parents who work in the industry and having been exposed to anime culture since, well.. forever, it’s safe to say that our protagonist, Kanou Shinichi (played by the new & fresh but up & coming Hanae Natsuki), is our leading expert on all things ‘moe’.
Now, as an anime fan, all I can say is that Shinichi’s job is one that I aspire to (lol) and I am pretty sure others would agree. Seriously, getting paid to spread otaku-ism my way? Yes please~ I guess this was one of the main attractions of the series. The fact that a ‘loser’ (I use this word with kind affection) like Shinichi would come out top and pull through for the team when it mattered, really pulled at the heartstrings. It is not often that our hero is a hikkikomori and I suppose this really provides all the hikkikomoris in this world some much needed comfort and (albeit delusional) reassurance.
Of course, otaku culture would not be well received if the inhabitants of Eldant were not first taught to appreciate it. And in the course of spreading said culture, our protagonist educates the locals in the ways of the otaku. Having mentioned that, Shinichi’s students were not the only ones who managed to learn from him. Watching the series expanded my knowledge as well. I fondly recall one very memorable scene, during which Shinichi was giving a short vocabulary lesson – yes, the word ‘zettai ryouiki – 絶対領域’ (of course to that, I say BANZAI!! ^^ ) is one that I am unlikely to forget. In addition, the series also played on other typical otaku aspects – with the obvious (but in my opinion, very deserving) harem going on, all that moe-ness, as well as there being a resident fujoshi in the mix, Outbreak Company really has a LOT to offer, covering a broad spectrum of the otaku culture.
Comedy was the series’ focus, and one thing to look out for if you haven’t already seen this anime, would be the parodies – I mention this with particular reference to Eren’s (Shingeki no Kyojin) “I’m gonna kill them all! Every last one of them! – 駆逐してやる! このようから、一匹残らせ! ”, as reiterated by Shinichi. Noting the vast disparity in the tonality of the voices, as well as the completely different situations in which those words were spoken, that scene was a total LOL moment. The series was also peppered with gags about seiyuus and staff. In one of the episodes, the director made a joke at his own expense – that scene had me in stitches and honestly, there is deep-felt appreciation and respect for a man who can so openly laugh at himself and allow others to laugh along with in the process.
As mentioned earlier, Hanae Natsuki voices our lead role and in my opinion, he did a pretty fine job. Despite being a relative new comer, he not only far exceeded any expectations I might’ve had, but went even further to really impress. Shinichi had all the right amounts of enthusiasm, gentleness, spirit and just that hint of desperation that resulted in a very convincing performance.
Other notable mentions include Uchida Maaya who plays the role of Kogunuma Midori, the resident military (and well-endowed, bespectacled beauty – megane no bishoujo) member of the team; the kyun worthy Miki Shinichirou as the tsundere Galius; Mimori Suzuko as the series’ prized elf, Myucel – because honestly, what is a fantasy show without them elves? Playing off on well-strategised moments of silence and impeccable comedic timing, each seiyuu pulled off their respective roles seamlessly.
Having gone on about all that, it’s probably pretty obvious why Outbreak Company is one of my top picks for the 2013 Autumn season. My suggestion? If you haven’t seen this series, please do. If you are in for a good laugh, why not watch this and see if it tickles your fancy. If you are an anime fan, watch it. If you like manga, try this anime out. If you are into gaming, then why not give this a go? In any case, just watch this series. It’s purely entertaining fun ^^