When Elbia starts acting suspicious, Shinichi has second thoughts about whether saving her was the right idea.
What They Say
Setting his sights on Elbia’s talent, Shinichi manages to hire her as AmuTec’s personal illustrator. While the rapid pace at which his students absorb his lessons surprises him, Shinichi continues to enjoy teaching them and begins a passionate lecture on his speciality, bishoujo games. Minori is just as happy to the students enjoying her introduction to BL. Yet when Shinichi heads for the classroom again, he hears the sounds of elves and dwarves getting into an argument…
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Each week I dread the seemingly inevitable collapse of Outbreak Company into generic harem piffle, and each week I remain pleasantly surprised by the show’s restraint. But can ‘restraint’ really be used of a series were a werewolf girl goes into “heat”? Whether it’s my standards declining, other series falling lower than Outbreak Company finds itself willing to go, or some sort of Stockholm Syndrome, I find myself enjoying the series every week.
The episode begins with Shinichi giving the students a lecture on the history of bishoujo games, which culminates in him playing one in front of the class. I couldn’t help but find this scene hilarious, with the students rapt in the slow, meandering dialogue of a typical visual novel. A scene where the protagonist and heroine can’t find words to say, back and forth, for about thirty seconds had to be exaggerated from the source material! But Shinichi still grins, remembering his virtual romance with fondness, and a dwarf in the class nods his head sagely in the appreciation of this foreign art piece, and I can’t help but laugh. The elves and dwarves even put aside their racial animus to sublimate the argument on the best bishoujo game, beginning to argue passionately about meaningless things like true fans. It’s when Outbreak Company makes fun of otaku culture when it’s at its best.
There’s even a certain perceptiveness about the show, when it wants to have it, such as how Minori persistently presses Shinichi to add BL material to the curriculum, and finding him unmovable, eventually goes over his head by lending BL manga to Petralka’s brother. It feels rather like the way fujoshi have been kept out of “mainstream” otaku culture, and yet have managed to create channels of their own which are starting to grow and flourish without male otaku help.
But like a lot of otaku comedies, and heck, popular entertainment in general, Outbreak Company wants to have its cake and eat it too (a natural inclination, however – who wants to merely have cake?) While harem bishoujo games are being gently ridiculed, Shinichi is growing his own harem by the episode. Petralka calls him to court to act “tsundere” for him. Shinichi tells Myucel how much he appreciates her and his maid. And Elbia, who has been acting so suspicious that Shinichi thinks she may actually be not just a spy but an assassin, turns out just to have gone in heat and secluded herself to keep herself from licking Shinichi. It’s disappointing, for sure.
Outbreak Company will never have the broad success of something like Genshiken, which manages to be about otaku but keeps the otaku bait to a minimum. The show does manage to keep its worst instincts in check most of the time, and for every harem development, there’s always a clever riff on otaku culture to keep the show’s momentum steady. I still remain interested in where the show’s plot is heading and what the final takeaway will be.
Streamed By: Crunchyroll
Review Equipment: Sony VAIO 17″ HD screen