Damn you, Outbreak Company…
Over the past month and a half, Outbreak Company has continued to baffle me. It’s surprising, refreshing even, that someone who’s as jaded as I am can be unsure how a show will handle minute to minute. Which is a strength and a weakness of Outbreak Company.
Sometimes, you just want to hit whoever got paid to write this dialogue. Like whoever was in charge had the job of not only making people look foolish, but probably also dresses in a rubber suit while his wife kicks him between the legs.
Other times, you peek into an almost philosophical work about human nature and hope and all those beautiful aspects of humanity. Almost paradoxical in the way it can make you re-evaluate the worth of a character, and by extension human beings, you had given up on.
Which, I guess, makes this series an oddly appropriate metaphor for anime as a medium.
The sports game was amusing. Saw it coming last episode! ADMITTEDLY not in this form.
There was some…I guess we can call it melodramatic tragedy when the Elf and Dwarf teams exhaust themselves into not being able to play. On the one hand, yes, we witnessed something of a mini-war, and the more jaded might observe there are good reasons that Humans emerged as the overclass of this society as “Humans have the temperance to rule”. Shinichi learns that his otaku education may not have prepared him for how sports really are. Matoba’s points about this being “the real world” are…quirky. It’s hard to ignore the fact he is trying to impart this lesson on Shinichi in the middle of a scarred landscape that was blasted apart by a racial rivalry between Elves and Dwarves using mega strength and magic powers to play soccer. I’m reminded of the first pokemon movie and the line “Pokemon aren’t meant to fight like this!” Really? Fucking really? Your actions and previous statements make it hard to take this too seriously, Outbreak Company.
And yet, as silly and almost uncomfortable Petrarca’s little antics are at the end, the truth of the matter is that, ultimately, you have to agree with Shinichi. We witnessed in episode 2 how Petrarca was ready to just beat Miusel for thinking she was equal to Shinichi as a half-breed. And now, she’s still a bit bossy (but as supreme monarch is that really unexpected?), but she has fun with her. The same half elf she was ready to hit across the face because she was mildly inconvenienced, she now hits, palm to palm in a high five, because she shared an experience of joy with her. Even if subconsciously she may not regard Miusel as her equal (I seriously doubt she does yet), she clearly has begun to regard her as a partner in crime. As a friend.
And as Shinichi said, despite the politics, despite all that grown-up shit that says this was not the correct thing to do in a caste society, it was beautiful. That moment was beautiful.
And this is the reason I want to tear my hair out. This show seesaws violently between the two extremes of irritating, “you’re-not-helping” quasi humor, and moments of pure artistry on display for the world. Perhaps I am entirely of the wrong mindset to fully enjoy this brand of storytelling, but I still hold to my belief that getting -slightly- more serious would be in Outbreak Company’s benefit. As I said in Episode 3, the hostage scene was really what this show should strive to be about. Drama, yet within the drama moments of humor that you simply can’t help yourself but laugh.
We’re at the halfway point though, and ended on what’s probably the closest thing to a cliffhanger we’ve had. Will there be fallout from Petrarca’s public display of affection with a half-elf?
God I hope so. Outbreak Company, you have proven time and time again you are up to the challenge of being something magnificent. You need only accept that destiny!