ANIME & MANGA - Review
11:49 - 13th January 2016, by NEO Staff

Outbreak Company

Discovered at the base of Mt. Fuji, a rift in time-space joins modern Japan with a parallel fantasy-land. Desperate to keep it concealed, the Japanese government turn to alternative means to curry favour with the locals. So when shut-in Shinichi Kanou puts his otaku knowledge to good use by passing a dubious online test, a job interview was the last thing he expected. Or maybe it was the drugged coffee that followed that was the real shocker. In any case, it proved to be the perfect opportunity to get back out into the world, even if that happens to be an alternate reality.

Coming to, Shinichi’s informed he’s been selected as an ambassador for the wonders of otaku culture, to help break down the differences between the two nations. He starts up a school where all races – elf, dwarf and human – can get their studious fix. Little by little, the natives’ bickering switches from racial differences to more important things: manga, anime and video games. Even teaching his half-elven maid Myucel to read kanji attracts the envious attention of tsundere empress, Petralka, kick-starting his harem and putting him in good stead with the royals. All of this draws the scrutinising gaze of the government officials. Behind their apparent do-gooder motives lies a more sinister intention, with Shinichi at the epicentre.

Though it plays like a tick-list of anime staples, while flashing the satire card, Outbreak Company warbles through its themes of consumerism and cultural whitewashing. What it lacks in visual panache, it makes up for with Natsuki Hanae’s acting, who sounds like he’s having the time of his life voicing Shinichi. Despite, or perhaps because of the unbaiting goofiness and fanservice, it’s a series worth investing in. The myriad references to anime, manga and video games – both obscure and popular – only serve to sweeten the deal.

This adaption of Ichirō Sakaki’s light novel, and subsequent manga, tempers themes of globalisation with in-jokes, fanservice and silliness for a winning formula.
SCORE: 3.5/5
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