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
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
, 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
) and the 16-but-looks-13 ruler, Petarca Ann Erudanto III
). 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
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.