First Impressions Digest – Outbreak Company, Strike the Blood

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After a flying start to Fall, here’s a first look at a couple of titles that weren’t in the pre-season top tier.

Outbreak Company – 01

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My take on Outbreak Company in the Fall Preview was “I hope the author knows just how dumb the premise sounds and is in on the joke.”  After the premiere, I’d say the answer is a qualified “yes”.

The conceit behind this series is a modestly clever one – an inter-dimensional portal has opened up near Mt. Fuji, connecting Japan with the Holy Eldant Empire, a stereotypical land of fantasy cliches.  The Japanese government establishes relations and naturally, the one thing the Eldants (Eldites?) bond with is otaku culture.  The funniest idea here is that The Japanese government tried to market “Cool Japan” to Eldant and failed miserably, so instead they recruit a teen otaku, Kanou Shinichi (Hanae Natsuki, very busy this season) who can speak on such matters with more authenticity, as the President of the company they’ve set up to market otaku swag in Eldant.

The fundamental problem with a series like this is that even if it’s satirizing cliches, those cliches will still make up the bulk of the content and unless the show is utterly ruthless and very clever, cliches will still get tiresome.  Yet this premiere is pretty decent, and there is a fair amount of wit to it.  Shinichi is a pretty stock otaku kid – he loves moe and seems to be a bit of a lolicon, which leaves him torn between his moe half-elf maid Myuseru (Mimori Suzuko) and the 16-but-looks-13 ruler, Petarca Ann Erudanto III (Fuchigami Mai).  There’s also a stock onee-san, an unhip Japanese official played by Fujiwara Keiji and the requisite dragons and non-human sentients.

There are some clever gags here, like the moments when Shinichi declares himself sad when he finds out there are other guys in Eldant (all too accurate) and when he hides his morning visitor from Myuseru.  I also liked the flashback where his elementary-school teacher told him that his manga could be a kind of textbook, if he was open to learning things from it.  In terms of production values, Feel delivers a pretty modest package here – nothing exceptionally impressive or horrendous.  But it seems as if there’s a fairly humanistic sentiment behind Outbreak Company, and while I doubt it’s going to prove exceptional it might have enough spark to make is a modestly entertaining diversion.

Strike the Blood – 01

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I won’t pretend Strike the Blood was ever on top of my most-anticipated list, but given that I rather liked light novelist Mikumo Gakuto’s Dantalian no Shoka (Asura Cryin’ was rather meh) and it’s Silver Link’s first post-Watamote production, I certainly planned on including it in the season preview.  That is, until I noticed that über-hack Hiroyuki Yoshino was handling series composition.  No question he’s one of the worst writers in the business – equally awful with original work and destroying that of others – but Saturdays are slow this season, so I figured I’d give the premiere a look.

I certainly didn’t like it, but if there was any surprise it was that it seems to be more of a problem with the source material than the adaptation.  Plainly put, this tale of a super-vampire called the “Fourth Progenitor” plays as unbelievably generic – not awful, but completely and utterly lacking in any distinctiveness.  Yet another story of a powerful demon slogging through mundane life in the human world, and one seemingly without any interesting twists or original angles.  It’s just a vanilla LN adaptation that figures to sell a few thousand Blu-rays and sell a few extra books.  There will be worse anime this season, but likely few less interesting.



  1. J

    I really really don't understand the hate Hiroyuki Yoshino gets. It's as if he's solely responsible for the failure of Guilty Crown (Araki will never be remembered as the director of Guilty Crown, even though it in my opinion has far more in common with projects he's directed rather than those Yoshino has written for), Code Geass, Gundam SEED (Both of which he was barely involved with) and Macross Frontier (Which knowing nothing about the franchise I can't speak for, but isn't it Kawamori's pet before anything else). Also Fractale which kind of had a shitty director and Okada Mari, so yeah.

    What about the good things he's written for? His three works with Obara Masakazu (Mai-Hime, Mai-Otome and Accel World) are all great and even though I'm pretty sure you disliked Accel World by the end, there was a lot more energy and dynamism in that than SAO. There's also Denpa Teki no Kanajo, which is pretty much a masterpiece.

    This is probably a misunderstanding how the job is divvied between the director and main writer, but surely all the more controversial decisions about how to handle the adaptation of Magi (The final arc etc) rest with the director? I'd honestly like to know if I'm wrong here or if Yoshno's name is just an excuse to scapegoat anything and everything wrong unto him (Not necessarily something I'm criticizing you of.)

    For the record I thought Strike the Blood was pretty bland too, so yeah.

  2. There's no misunderstanding of roles – I just think the guy is a hack. And if you're going to cite hit original works, I think GC was actually quite well-directed – it had a lot of style and decent pacing in addition to the purely technical brilliance. It just had a horrendous script.

    I don't happen to be a big fan of any of the works you mentioned, but the least bad of them are close to a decade ago now, which says, if anything, the guy has slipped since. And you left out some of his more objectionable series, too.

    I'd rather have the guy who played Shimogamo Yajirou write the adaptation of any manga or LN I cared about. YMMV.

  3. i

    I agree with Enzo, he is a hack. Denpa Teki, Mai-Hime and Mai-Otome were all good (SEED is just a rip off of the original Gundam so Yoshino deserves no praise) to an extent but they were a decade ago. On current form he's probably the writer version of Kaiji Yuki.

  4. Z

    Just about every Gundam series is a rehash of Gundam 0079.

  5. K

    I dislike all that stuff you mentioned Yoshino worked on. Mai Hime is probably the best but the ending ruined it.

    Not a big fan of Araki either though. I think Titans fit his style but I think with a better director it could have been even more than it was. We'll never know.

  6. J

    Any omissions weren't intentional (Sora no Woto would have been a great recent series to use in his defense) and I was mostly going by things I've personally seen, so I can only assume you're talking about Darker than Black S2 and mayyyybe Vampire Bund. I really couldn't comment on either. Only time I've been really disappointed in him was Vividred. GC was at least an interesting trainwreck.

  7. t

    I have no intention right now to start outbreak company. it doesn't seem like my cup of tea..I guess?maybe I am wrong and it's good so I should watch?anyway right now I don't think so S:

    about STB – debut was fair no more no less. yet I know silverlink can do really good job. like that Fate Illya I nearly dropped but eventually battles and interesting stuff came by.
    I'll keep watching a bit more to find out whether to drop or continue.

  8. t

    correction if I may. I ended up watching outbreak, dont even sure why. LOL

    well.. I agree with you about the cliche collection of this show. yet I think about it – an outaku who supposed to spread the "otaku culture"..must be hilarious. yet still missing good comic touch.
    I am willing to give it a chance. not many. only a chance, before I might drop it.

    I agree with your last statement – I doubt it can…surpass that threshold between a good anime to watch and another one of those shitty average ones.

  9. i

    I like both of these shows enough and will continue to watch both. While Strike the Blood is very obvious where the show will go, Outbreak Company has some unique turns it can go and it still not clear how much the show will get into the somewhat darker elements, like the segregation with the half-elf's.

  10. i

    I said from the preview that I would not consider even watching Outbreak Company. It's first impressions being a digest rather than a post on its own, unlike say Hataraku, shows its worth as a comedy. I know you may be busy but I think that if the show was good enough, especially considering this is a first impressions post, you would prefer making a full-length post (going into your a head a bit too much so I apologize for that).

    Rather than what I expect will disappear from LiA within a month (when an inevitable imouto character appears) I thought Strike the Blood wasn't bad. It certainly was by no means a unique or good show but the MC is likeable enough for me to keep watching and the female lead isn't too much of a tsundere. Plus for now there's only one girl in the harem and as long as it doesn't begin pouring with pointless candidates I'll keep up with it for it. Also if I was asked what kind of bland art style I like it would be something like this or Golden Time.

  11. You are psychoanalysing too much – many (well, some) shows I've done digest First Impressons posts for have gone on to be staples of the blogging rotation. There were 27 shows on my preview post this season, and always a few (like StB) that I'll do a F.I. post on top of that. No way I'm doing dedicated F.I. posts for more than 30 shows.

  12. T

    Didn't Hunter x Hunter start and for a while continue to be a digest post?

  13. I did do a few digest posts in the beginning but it didn't last too long.

  14. I did do a few digest posts in the beginning but it didn't last too long.

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