Shinichi is a hardcore otaku and hikikomori. One night he sees a job listing online looking for the most hardcore otaku. After passing the test with flying colors, he goes in for the interview and is drugged. When he wakes up he finds himself in a fantasy kingdom filled with elves, dwarfs, dragons and other things that you would associate with this setting.
It turns out that the Japanese government has discovered a dimensional tear that links Japan to this world and Japan wants to set up diplomatic relations by introducing them to otaku culture and Shinichi is just the man to do it.
The Good and the Bad
Outbreak Company is a series that I enjoyed the first time around when it was being simulcast on Crunchyroll so I was pretty excited to watch it again on DVD. Now that I’m done I can honestly say that I feel just as strongly about this series as I ever have however I have to admit that this is a flawed series and there is just no getting around that.
It’s not to say that this is a bad series but there are certainly some aspects to it which make it a series that many people will want to pass on. First off, this is another hardcore otaku comedy. Every single episode is littered with references to various manga and anime (which are helpfully pointed out by on screen liner notes so get ready to exercise your pause button frequently). It’s not necessarily a bad thing to have an anime that has so many references to other works in it but I’ve seen at least a couple of anime series in my life and I couldn’t even keep up with all of the references that were being made. If you’re not already deeply aware of anime and manga history and culture, be prepared to get absolutely schooled by this series and miss half the jokes in the process.
The second issue that Outbreak Company has is that while the story is entertaining and the characters are likable, it would be a bit of a stretch to say that there is any real development of the characters throughout the run of the show. Characters are introduced, relationships and bonds occur but very few of the characters really grow beyond their initial personality. There are notable exceptions to that such as the empress who goes from being a loud, whiny, high and mighty brat to a loud, whiny brat with a deeper understanding of equality and friendship but it’s hard to say that this is the case for many more of the other characters. Development does occur here and there but unlike the otaku references, you’re going to have to look for the changes in personality.
I would have loved to see Myucel and Shinichi develop past their initial nice personalities and show new sides to them along the way (I’m not counting Myucel’s bouts of jealousy towards the end of the series) but I just didn’t personally see a particularly noticable amount of growth which was sad to me. Sure, their relationship grows by leaps and bounds (not that it goes anywhere as is often the case with series that have vague harem-esque qualities) but their actual personalities are pretty static.
Beyond those issues though, this is a series that proves to be a good time no matter how many episodes you decide to digest in a sitting. You can take in this series either one at a time or in large doses and it will still be fun to watch.
It’s worth noting however that if you decide to watch this series dubbed in English you should be ready for some of the voices to take some getting used to. While it’s always nice to hear Kira Vincent-Davis playing another loud mouthed brat character and Juliet Simmons is great as Myucel, Tyler Galindo will grate on your nerves for a little while as it sounded to me like he needed an episode or two to get settled into the role and not sound so flat.
The music in Outbreak Company is passable but hardly noteworthy. While it does a decent job of selling the fantasy setting, there is little to say about it and I can honestly say that not once throughout the entire run of the series did I ever take a note remarking about how the music was particularly good or bad… it was just kind of there without ever once establishing itself as a major part of the series.
Sadly there are only clean animations on the first disc.
Outbreak Company isn’t a bad show really but it’s nothing that anyone needs to rush out and add to their collection right away either. It does its job by telling silly otaku jokes and making insider references that only the most hardcore of fans are going to get. In the end though, this does not strike me as a series that will ever be called a classic by a majority of fans. While the series is absolutely worth watching, don’t commit to buying it until you know for certain what you’re getting into.
Final Grade: B-