Outbreak Company Episode 2: Petralka excitedly announced she didn't know how to read Japanese.
Anime Best in Show

Outbreak Company Episode 2 Review – Best In Show – Crow’s World of Anime

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Outbreak Company Episode 2 Review – Quick Summary

In Outbreak Company episode 2, “I-I’d better watch it…,” Shinichi Kanou barely escaped his first audience with Empress Petralka Anne Eldant the Third with his head still attached. It seemed the Empress did not like being called a loli. Something about it being disrespectful… Shinichi embraced his new job of spreading anime culture and immediately ran into a huge obstacle: Only noblemen and scribes could read. And the kids don’t even have time to play, even if they could read! What can Shinichi accomplish in such an environment? And how will he react after he was exposed to some of the less idyllic aspects of Eldant society?

Note: This post may include spoilers, so be cautious.

Best in Show Moment for Outbreak Company Ep 2

Outbreak Company Episode 2: Shinichi grabbed Petralka's write to protect Myucel.

Shinichi touched the Empress without her permission. Only the relationship the two were building saved his life. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Setup: Brooke Offers Shinichi a Beating Stick

Shinichi grew up in what we’d think of as modern Japan. Like most of our planet, there are remnants of class structures. Some people look down on others. There’s even institutionalized violence against some classes. But outside those circles of incivility (which I hope are on the decline, though I admit progress is glacial), there’s general agreement that harming people because of class isn’t just impolite. It’s evil.

As in morally impermissible. And yes, there are times when my degree in theology hands me a phrase. I try to keep those times to a minimum.

Shinichi felt bad when he learned that Myucel Folan had to study at night because her duties throughout the day kept her too busy. But he seemed to accept it. He was even more concerned when he learned that many younger folks who would be a natural audience for anime and manga not only didn’t have time to play. They couldn’t read, and besides, they were busy in military training. Yes, military training for children.

Outbreak Company Episode 2: Myucel desperately wanted to learn how to read.

Myucel’s drive to learn amazed Shinichi. He was also chagrined to realized she could only do so at night because of her responsibilities. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

He might have been able to put that aside, but he couldn’t ignore his encounter with Brooke. Shinichi wandered into a dark room. Two huge red eyes terrified him. He punched in fear and scrapped his fists badly on Brooke’s scales. Shinichi tried to apologize as Brooke handed him a club. “If you wish to beat me, please use this,” Brooke said (13:25).

Myucel happened by, and to Shinichi’s sputtering shock, she said, “But it’s only natural for nobles to beat their servants” (13:57).

Those encounters left Shinichi shaken. I don’t think he realized it, but he had a lot of anger simmering just under the surface. He remembered how he had asked a childhood friend to date him, only to be rebuffed dismissively. That set the stage for my Best in Show moment.

Delivery: Shinichi Lays a Hand on the Empress

Petralka had insisted that he read to her. As Empress, she wanted to understand this manga stuff before he put it before her subjects. She had been a bit jealous of Myucel earlier because Shinichi paid more attention to the maid than the Empress. Now, he’d been reading magna to a raptly attentive Petralka for hours when Myucel knocked on the door to deliver some tea and snacks. Unfortunately, she interrupted an exciting part of the story.

Shinichi gently insisted that he’d like a break. Petralka interpreted that as him taking the maid’s side, so Petralka unloaded on the poor half-elf. The nicest thing she said was (17:52), “How could I ever drink tea made by some half-elf?” Then she added something about swamps before she picked up a bun and pulled her arm back to throw it at Myucel.

Outbreak Company Episode 2: Petralka thought she was in her rights to assault Myucel. Shinichi disagreed.

Petralka thought she had every right to hurl food at Myucel. Shinichi thought otherwise. But he tried to leaven his reaction with understanding — after he got his emotions back under control. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Shinichi’s control broke. The young man from Earth grabbed the Empress’ arm to stop her from throwing. For just an instant, his expression twisted into fury. He could barely utter her name. There was so much venom in his voice that even the Empress hesitated.

He quickly realized what he’d done and let go. Shinichi didn’t apologize. The young man explained himself, but what really struck me about this moment was his instant of pure honesty. Even better was how Petralka reacted. She’s the Empress. She could have snapped her fingers and Shinichi’s life would be over. But something about his honesty touched her. It touched her so much that she came clean and explained that she was feeling jealous and why. She didn’t apologize, either, but they were both communicating. That’s a beautiful thing!

What did you think of how much Petralka loved manga? What was your Best in Show moment? Let me know in the comments!

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7 thoughts on “Outbreak Company Episode 2 Review – Best In Show – Crow’s World of Anime

  1. Sadly, I didn’t much like Outbreak Company. I didn’t really like the character designs, but that’s a minor point. Here’s the thing: I think OC is a likable show that’s got its heart in the right place, and I actively dislike Gate’s military power fantasy. And yet, I enjoyed Gate way, way more. How is this possible?

    This is going to be a post about my morals and how they impact anime viewing. I’m replying to this post, because the scene you’ve chosen is a poster book example of a scene that rubs me the wrong way, because it highlights just how mired this show is in a colonialist mind set, and that’s something that can easily get to me. Now, Gate is mired in a very similar mindset, yet it felt more authoritarian and proud of being powerful, while OC is pushing a narrative of kindness and equality. So why is it Gate that I prefer?

    I’m a relativist to the core. It doesn’t start with morals. I build my entire world view on relativism. It starts with perception: the world I see is not the world you see. My personal history is an integral part of everything I know; my personality informs the kind of world I want to live in. And I assume that’s true for everyone else, too. So the idea that I am right about something is a pretty complex social negotiation of not only what’s true/false or right/wrong, but also an ongoing restructuration of what the underlying terms are that give it all meaning. For example, in this post you use the line: “…there’s general agreement that harming people because of class isn’t just impolite. It’s evil.” If we were to have discussion about whether or not it’s actually “evil” and to what extent, you’d have the home advantage. I’d have to constantly re-adjuct the way I see life and translate in terms of my own practise, so that I can even begin to understand your point. It’s not that I don’t have a concept of “evil”, that it’s gibberish; but it’s not a root concept, and the concept’s only function is one diplomatic connection to other ways of viewing the world. In practise, I’d rather not have a discussion about whether or not something is evil or not, but I’d like to go a few steps down the abstraction ladder, until we find we’re on a page.

    Now, what does this have to do with OC vs. Gate? Gate so obviously leaves me out front, that if I’m watching the show I’m going into guest mode. I may not like it here, but I’ll be leaving anyway, so while I’m here I’ll take things at face value and enjoy what there is to enjoy. It’s not hard. I get away with using token gestures (eyerolls, facepalms, standard complaints…) as a palate cleanser (at least when I’m alone while watching the show). OC, on the other hand, is focussing on values like equality and kindness which I really like, and often does so very well, so that I can’t quite go into guest mode. I feel right at home, but there’s always this irksome feeling that something’s wrong. It’s a Srepford Wives creepiness. I constantly feel ill at ease, so it’s almost a relieve when scenes like the one you choose come along and the seams of difference show up brightly. The downside, though, is that the focus is on what’s wrong with the show. To shake the sense of unease I have to denigrate the show, and to try and put my anime auto filter, so I downplay those elements, eventually leaves me with that feeling of unease again. There are spots in which I can enjoy the show, but it’s a fragile balance that never lasts. Shows that I openly reject are much easier to enjoy.

    Here? What this scene highlights to me is the otaku fantasy of the child queen. She’s a little girl (youjou) first (as established in that horrible scene in the first episode), and a queen second (and, I’d argue, a character third, but I’ll not go there in this reply). Meanwhile, the emotional set-up is carefully crafted to put the otaku audience at ease. Diplomatic blunders are comedy. The moral values (among them equality and kindness) matter more than the unexplored and unknown life before you. Your social animal righteous moral anger really is righteous. Your schoolmasterly reaction is easy to buy, because it’s a little girl who’s been on your lap, you’re talking to (Queen? What Queen? Oh… The narrative won’t make you remember, or maybe just enough is you can feel snug and warm in the familiar.)

    What I hate most about the set-up of this show is that the only competent diplomat is the shifty, manipulative guy. As if keeping straight what both sides want than acting in accordance were emotionally dishonest. And if only you rely on your non-native moral compass, everything’s going to be all right, because you’re genuine and honest and not hateful. Sure, diplomacy is a means to get what you want, but the other side has diplomats, too.

    And that brings me to the Queen: sure, you can interpret her reactions as shrewd diplomacy if you want, but it’s so much easier, and the story works so much better, if you just assume the principle that all the good guys instantly fall for the harem protagonist.

    I’d have enjoyed the show more had it been more openly indulgent. As it is, it’s a mixed bag, and I didn’t have a very coherent experience. When you posted your first episode review, I re-watched the first two episodes to see if I’d have a better experience with the show if I know what I’m getting. No, didn’t work. This show just dwells in my moral uncanny valley.

    1. “I’m replying to this post, because the scene you’ve chosen is a poster book example of a scene that rubs me the wrong way, because it highlights just how mired this show is in a colonialist mind set, and that’s something that can easily get to me.”

      I’m inclined to split a hair here. I completely agree that the Japanese government in this series absolutely wants to expand its culture into Eldant. We know that’s Shinichi’s job. And I think the show thematically shows that this is not entirely desirable in that it shows the lengths the government is will to go to get their way — including eliminating Shinichi, if need be.

      The hair I’m splitting? In this scene, Shinichi is simply acting out of a combination of affection for Myucel and outage at his own past. It’s the difference in my mind between a thematic statement and a character moment (which I know can be combined, but I don’t know that it is in this case).

      “If we were to have discussion about whether or not it’s actually “evil” and to what extent, you’d have the home advantage. I’d have to constantly re-adjuct the way I see life and translate in terms of my own practise, so that I can even begin to understand your point.”

      That’s interesting, because the idea that conveying my perspective is fraught with the possibility of miscommunication is constantly present in my mind. i’m not a relativist, i the sense that I consider principles relative. I am a relativist in terms of how I think those principles can be applied. This comes back to my basic orientation, which is Aristotelian Thomism. Even if you discard the theological aspects of Thomism, you’re still left with a solid philosophical framework originating (as far as we know) with Aristotle. So when I talk about evil in this case, it’s against that backdrop.

      Not that it makes things any more clear! But it least it offers a starting point.

      “What I hate most about the set-up of this show is that the only competent diplomat is the shifty, manipulative guy. ”

      It sounds like you’ve had some good experiences with at least some diplomats. That’s a huge relief to me. The current US administration has cast all professional diplomats as members of the Deep State (you have to say that with reverb on). That’s nothing like the diplomats I’ve met, or whose work I’ve studied. I will grant you that’s a troublesome aspect of this show. I ascribed it to the theme of Imperialism Bad.

      “sure, you can interpret her reactions as shrewd diplomacy if you want, but it’s so much easier, and the story works so much better, if you just assume the principle that all the good guys instantly fall for the harem protagonist.”

      I’d suggest there’s more to it, and point to moments like the episode that’s coming up when the good guys are held hostage and the Empress negotiates. Shinichi puts her off stride, and she sees something explicable going on between Myucel and Shinichi, so she’s a bit jealous. But beyond that, she sees in him something new and fresh, and she’s curious about his world.

      Now, one thing I can’t argue is her asking him to let her sit in his lap in the first place. I can’t see any Queen/Empress from our world doing that — or even allowing it. That’s where I remember this is a fantasy, and in some respects, a wish-fulfillment fantasy to boot.

      I suspect we might be describing different appendages of the same elephant!

      1. *******The hair I’m splitting? In this scene, Shinichi is simply acting out of a combination of affection for Myucel and outage at his own past. It’s the difference in my mind between a thematic statement and a character moment (which I know can be combined, but I don’t know that it is in this case).*******

        It’s not Shinichi’s reaction I have a problem with, it’s how the scene is set-up and how it plays out, the consequences, and the narrative framing, if you will.

        Vary elements of the scene: Why is the Queen a little girl? Why does she come alone? Why is she openly rude to a servant who’s not hers? I can go on and on. What this all tells me is that the show’s not really interested in the other world other than for praising the modern and refined sensibilities of the present-day otaku. Government sponsored colonialism is bad, because it’s exploitational. Otaku blundering colonialism is good, because Shinichi’s basically a decent kid, and everyone loves manga.

        At the end of the scene, Shinichi is explaining why he was angry. His tone reminds me of that of a patient mother who’s just scolded a child, and it works with what we’re seeing. He’s literally talking down at a little girl. There’s an implicit social hierarchy at play here that makes the scene work, but that also means they have to downplay the fact that she’s Queen.

        It’s generally not a problem. Anime does this a lot, and while I notice these things, I usually don’t much care. Here, however they set up a dichotomy: government sponsored colonialsim good, otaku missionary good.

        A scene like this tells me that the world building is skin deep, and there’s self-congratulatory moralism at play. This is different from the self-indulgence of Slime, which is every bit as colonialist and then some, but doesn’t seem to be much more than a fun romp. I can’t see OC like that, and I think it’s the government conflict that rubs my face in the aspect I don’t like.

        *********It sounds like you’ve had some good experiences with at least some diplomats. That’s a huge relief to me. The current US administration has cast all professional diplomats as members of the Deep State (you have to say that with reverb on). That’s nothing like the diplomats I’ve met, or whose work I’ve studied. I will grant you that’s a troublesome aspect of this show. I ascribed it to the theme of Imperialism Bad. **************

        I have pretty much no experience with diplomacy at all, and I was really more talking about the skill-set than the job description, though I think I wasn’t exactly consistent, there. For what it’s worth, I think state diplomacy is an important job: you need people who understand your negotiation partners and you need some sort of legal grey zone to facilitate negotiation.

        ************Shinichi puts her off stride, and she sees something explicable going on between Myucel and Shinichi, so she’s a bit jealous. But beyond that, she sees in him something new and fresh, and she’s curious about his world.***************

        But it’s just handled so safely. There’s something at play here that’s just so silly. Oh wow, here’s someone who doesn’t treat half elves as the scum they are, how novel. (You don’t think similar ideas are around in this world? You don’t think there’d be associations with people who say that sort of stuff? Highly visible freedom fighter/terrorists, maybe? Fashionable but unheeded philosophers, maybe?)

        “I, the enlightened otaku, have come to you to say that racism is bad.” – “Oh, wow, now that mention it…”

        It just doesn’t work that way.

        1. “His tone reminds me of that of a patient mother who’s just scolded a child, and it works with what we’re seeing. He’s literally talking down at a little girl.”

          I came away with the impression that he was trying to control himself. And she’s not exactly little — she’s 16, and Shinichi’s not middle-aged. You also asked why she’s a girl, and I suspect that, Koganuma’s sensibilities notwithstanding, having Petralka be a potential romantic interest gives the plot some more interest.

          ““I, the enlightened otaku, have come to you to say that racism is bad.””

          I don’t mind that. Kinda like it, truth be told. Anyone who says racism is bad will get my attention. Even if Shinichi starts out by being enthusiastic about Myucel partly because of her ears, he also recoiled from beating Brooke. It’s not like we could argue Brooke is adorable like Myucel. Heck, I suspect Shinichi could beat Brooke all he wanted, and Brooke would likely not feel it. I like the idea that beating people is simply not acceptable.

          That being said, I admit cultural imperialism is not a good idea in general. I say that as an American whose culture Disney and others has sent around the global for decades. Maybe that’s part of why I don’t begrudge an otaku character being shown in a positive light by standing up for someone of a lower class.

          And at the end of the day, this isn’t the nuanced (well, kinda) politics of Concrete Revolutio. It’s just a pleasant fantasy. It’s world building isn’t up to the standard of Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash, but it’s a fun vehicle for anime and manga humor.

          1. ************….but it’s a fun vehicle for anime and manga humor.*************

            Yes, it is. I don’t mean to argue there’s anything wrong with enjoying the show. I mean, I think Slime has the same problem I criticise here, and I enjoy it almost without interruptions (I dislike that the fantasy races get “prettied up” from their more interesting initial designs for the otaku sensibility, but little esle comes to mind).

            I’m not entirely sure why I’m fine with Slime, find it easy to bracket the distasteful aspects of Gate, but face-palm my way throuch OC, when the problems with all those shows are comparable, but that’s how it is.

            **************I don’t mind that. Kinda like it, truth be told. Anyone who says racism is bad will get my attention.****************

            We’re not talking on the same level here: you’re talking about the character, and I’m talking about the narrative. To you, the person who says “racism” is bad is Shinichi; to me it’s the narrative. I can’t suspend my disbelief to enjoy the story here. In fact, I feel a little uncomfortable typing up these replies (I don’t think I’ll reply to further episodes), because I don’t want to be a spoil sport. But the effect, I think, is that I instinctively wonder, if racism is bad, why do you have to simplify it so drastically to make your point. Are you afraid to examine the topic? And then I remember that elf-exoticism… (That’s not actually what went through my mind when watching the show; it’s much more unconscious and messy. But I think it sort of captures the essence here.)

            [For what it’s worth, I completely forgot that Petralka is 16, but it also doesn’t make much of a difference for me, considering that Shinichi used the word “youjo” when he first met her (it’s the word Benio used for Mashiro in Engaged to the Unindentified).]

    1. You know, it really does! On one hand, you have Myucel’s delicate beauty. On the other, you have Minori’s much more mature allure. And why I’m busily enjoying the sights, I also get to see a strong treatment of important themes.

      Seriously, this is why I love anime. Those things should go together, and I don’t often see it happen outside of this medium.

Please let me know what you think!

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