「皇帝陛下の憂鬱」 (Koutei Heika no Yuutsu)
“The Melancholy of the Supreme Ruler”

A young ruler, her parents long murdered and the weight of an entire kingdom bearing down on her tiny shoulders, begins to buckle under the stress. And then comes Shinichi…

Show, Don’t Tell, and How Outbreak Company Does It Properly

For those who aren’t aware, I’m a storytelling nerd. I analyze every story I come across, I dissect them to learn more about the form, and use what I learn to write fiction in my free time. I say this because when I (repeatedly) say that Outbreak Company is a very well told story, I come at that from a position of some authority. It does basic storytelling very well every week, and its a strength which is thrown into even more stark relief when Infinite Stratos 2 is the show I most often watch right before this.

Let’s compare these two shows. While in IS2 this week Kanzashi talked out loud about how she was frustrated and feels inferior to her onee-san, when it came time to show how isolated Petrarca was they did it with a surprisingly subdued walk off (last episode) or by surrounding her with overly-deferential maids in a massive bath she’s utterly dwarfed by this time. Outbreak Company tells its story through the situations and environments its characters find themselves in and their reactions to it, not soliloquizing while in the shower or dumping back story in the middle of a fight. It tells its story naturally and without feeling compelled to make itself absolutely clear, which makes what happens far more powerful than it would be otherwise.

Grand Vizier Good Guy Garius

Another great thing about Outbreak Company is that while its embraces and uses tropes often, it also defies them, and in ways that are both interesting and line up well with the characters its introduced. Consider Garius, the supreme ruler’s most trusted adviser and second in line for the throne. If any of you know anything about history ever, you know this is a recipe for murder. By all rights Garius should be a full-on evil Grand Vizier (trope! – and read that page quote, it’s perfect), but he’s not. The punch came when, just as I was about to praise Garius for not being the evil bastard he so easily could be – and I still do that, by the way – he reveals that the scheming grand vizier-types were his parents, and that they murdered Petrarca’s parents to try to put their son on the throne.

Hello Outbreak Company, these are my emotions. Why are you holding a knife? Hurk! This episode revealed plenty of extra depth in Petrarca, but there was some for Garius too. The one thing I regret is that Shinichi didn’t insist that Garius start treating Petrarca less like the supreme ruler and more like his cousin and friend. She needs people she can talk to as equals, and she needs family, and while others can step in on the former point, when it comes to family he’s all she’s got. Maybe he wouldn’t have been able to do it, but I would have liked to see Shinichi try. She needs more than just Shinichi, though he’s a good start.

If The Boss Has To Work Every Single Day, You’re Doing It Wrong!

Permit me to go off on a business rant, but if the supreme ruler can’t take off a single day because everything will pile up too much, then they’ve set up their government wrong. I see this more in private companies (if only because I work in the private sector), but companies that require the boss to be there every single day need to restructure and delegate out some of what the boss does so they don’t suffer a nervous breakdown and immolate themselves alive on a pile of backlogged paperwork. Give the girl a break or you’ll get…well, exactly what happened this episode.

Don’t Fight It – Master Hikikomori Shinichi

Shinichi’s tactic to lift Petrarca out of her hikikomori funk – which was a hilarious turn of events, by the way! – was a very smart one. A little tip on persuasion: if you’re arguing with someone, you’re almost certainly not going to persuade them of anything. Argument is combative, and when people get into a win-lose situation they fight to win, even if they might in a less passionate moment realize their side was wrong. In other words, no one is really convinced by other people, they only convince themselves. Instead of trying to convince Petrarca to stop being a hikikomori, Shinichi decides to push her further.

Brilliant. This is brilliant for two reasons, the first of which is that it lets Petrarca experience the lifestyle without guilt or shame. While it was forbidden it seemed wonderful, but there was a chance – and this is what ended up happening – that once she knew what it was really like she wouldn’t choose it. Petrarca got to unwind, have fun, and Shinichi got to look cool for the dumbest reasons, all without making Petrarca defensive.

The other reason this was brilliant was because it let Petrarca learn about and even experience the dark side of being a hikikomori. Shinichi’s explanation struck me as both kind and sad. He didn’t judge hikikomoris, and the way it happened to him was perfectly natural and even understandable, yet when he talked about how most hikikomori fall into it and can’t get out, or the weight of the bedroom door… I could feel the darkness, and felt it so well I had to step outside so that it didn’t press in too much. Petrarca had her fun and then she delved into the darkness, and she learned a fundamental rule of humanity – it’s hard to run away from work. You can take a break certainly, or choose not to do a particular sort of work, but we humans aren’t happy when we’re idle for too long. That’s why I go to my full-time job, then come home to write here and work on my fiction. It’s an empty life, doing nothing but goofing around, and I think Petrarca realized that, along with how she still cared about all her subordinates and her people, just as those guards cared about her. And thus she grows up a little more and chooses her responsibilities rather than merely having them thrust upon her.

Myuseru is Broken!

Mostly this was a more introspective and even touching episode, and it very much evolved Petrarca’s (and others’) character, but the gag that consistently and unabashedly had me laughing was broken Myuseru. I for one was glad she didn’t go all yandere, but instead succumbed to the shock, blue screened (trope!) and began committing culinary travesties. Much funnier that way! It also subtly emphasized a point – while Elbia may be fond of Shinichi, she wasn’t especially worried that he was going to be gone for the night, whereas Myuseru couldn’t function for it. Elbia may like Shinichi, but Myuseru really does love him. Where Petrarca stands in that continuum is hard to say, but she’s easily closer to Myuseru to my eyes.

Looking Ahead – Swimsuit Episode!

This is becoming an odd show in that its great at telling a story through the development of its characters, and it’s funny as hell besides, but it’s hard to see where the underlying plot is going. With four more episodes and the next one slated to be a swimsuit one, I don’t know where any plot is going to kick in, or whether I even want it to. After all, this is working, right? Either way, next time is swimsuits. I guess I can live with that!

tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – The darkness of hikikomori. Petrarca cracks under the stress, but Shinichi is there to save her. But now Myuseru is broken too! #ob_c 08

Random thoughts:

  • Bluk’s wife! I noticed her in the OP and was wondering when she was going to appear (along with thinking that OP scene was criminally sweet), but for some reason I expected them to meet during the story, not always have been married. This works a lot better though because honestly, we don’t have time for a minor character love story at this point.
  • Jinzaburou is a stellar comedian sometime. For example, when he smoothly says that Shinichi is practically synonymous with hikikomori, ZAM! Beware the middle-aged beleaguered, for he has seen much and has zingers for most situations.
  • I was going to comment during this episode that we weren’t getting much in the way of the political / diplomatic angle, but it popped back up here again. Not too much though. I’m still looking forward to all the crops they’ve been planting being reaped to marvelous effect. Soon, soon…
  • Not important to this episode, but a side note in general: I love Minori’s hairdo. It’s a nice combo of a professional bun + tiny twintails. Professional twintails? I like it!
  • Actually, I take back what I said earlier – probably the best gag was Shinichi distracting those two guards with eromanga…and not once, but twice! Those long pauses, them staring the eromanga down…then “Woohoo!” and pounce! Sometimes the silliest things are the best, haha!
  • The door may be heavy, but it’s easier to just get it over with, if you’re strong enough. Petrarca is strong. And hopefully next episode, in a swimsuit, woohoo!

Check out my blog about storytelling and the fantasy novel I’m writing at stiltsoutloud.com. The last four posts: On writing fast, writing well, One short story, one week – buzzer beater, Writing challenge – one short story, one week, and Novel update: editing & short stories.

Full-length images: 04, 33.



End Card


  1. This episode. Was pretty great, we got more character development for Petrarca. Poor Myuceru though, I wanted to hug her ;w;

    Oh and on the note of the OP. I noticed how the kingdoms flag resembled Finland’s flag just a bit altered with the golden lines… WE HAVE HALF ELF MEIDO’S AND WEREWOLF GIRLS?! WHY WASNT I INFORMED OF THIS?! D:

  2. I loved the Metal Gear references (first Shinichi faking a codec conversation and the guards reacting to the eromanga like the guards in the MGS series)

    This episode was a lot deeper then I thought it would be. Garius really starts to grow on me.

    When they approached Miusel to check on her in the kitchen, I first thought she would be stiring in an empty pot like Kaede from Shuffle!.

    All your base are belong to us

    1. Not to mention box as a hiding spot… (they dont have cardboard ones so wooden one had to suffice).
      Also, I am not fan of Rand, but the episode could have been as well subtitled “The Loli Shrugged”.
      Garius surely has it tough considering his parents crime and obvious consequences of him being next in line of succession after Petrarca. I can imagine everyone he meets thinks he IS the trope of Grand Vizier, while he is actually is a subversion.
      And, definitely a world of difference between IS and OC in storytelling. Truly contrasting!

  3. It’s nice that we got a Petrarca episode.

    Also we got another peek at their world’s darker side. So her and Garius’ parents killed each other. It’s not really a big thing unless there’s a reason why they’re telling us that there is someone else in line for the throne should Petrarca bites the dust.

    1. There is someone else in line for the throne; Garius. He’s next in line. And since they’re bringing this up, it’s possibly that Garius could go all Grand Vizier after all, or perhaps someone else will pick up what his parents started…

      1. I don’t believe Garius would do that BUT what if SOMEONE wants Garius to rule instead of Petrarca because they see her as a failure as a leader? (this episode certainly would add to that motive).

      2. One episode mentioned Myuseru’s magic abilities being great.
        We later have an episode utilizing that though that episode ended as a cliffhanger.

        This episode mentions Garius as next in line to the throne.
        No no no, I don’t want a tragedy flag. 🙁
        Though I’m surprisingly warming up to the idea of Garius x Shinichi now…

  4. I hope all the Petrarca supporters are happy now. I had to watch the poor Best Meido suffer from Shinichi withdrawal so Petrarca can be shown in a good light.
    The preview was hilarious though and next week: beach ep. Wohoo!

    1. Truth is, I was planning to post a comment here, where I would give my thoughts on some key events in this episode. But for reasons beyond my control, I haven’t had any dinner yet, and I’m starving, so… I’m sorry. Please wait a little longer.

      Unlucky Star
  5. https://randomc.net/image/Outbreak%20Company/Outbreak%20Company%20-%2008%20-%20Large%2021.jpg

    Hopefully this doesn’t ACTUALLY go anywhere (like Girls und Panzer’s “exploding tank” flower arrangement of Hana’s gave off an ominous feeling that, thankfully, never took place).

    And what’s also nice about this episode is that it can be applied to pretty much all ages; the “work is boring” and “I just wanna stay home and loaf around” feelings.

  6. another great episode from outbreak company.
    I agree with you that outbreak company knows how to tell a story. not only the characters, atmosphere or the story, but the flow. the flow of every EP (and the series) fitting itself to the situation. and things are really dynamic in outbreak company, especially this ep when things were rolling between scenes like Galius story, Petrarca hardships, Hikikomari commandments (and fun XD). but the flow is stable for each scenario and as a whole. it’s dynamic, yet stable. they do know how to tell a story, separate the scenarios, yet keep it as one unit.

    I don’t know where any plot is going to kick in

    I simply don’t think it’s gonna happen. maybe a bit more intriguing “scenario” at the last 2-3 eps, like the scenario which lasts for 2-3 eps when Myuseru almost died defending Petrarca from the scheme.
    outbreak company’s purpose isn’t to kick in plot too much further. it’s more of comedy and parody, rather then kick plot. it’s like maou-sama, although maou-sama did kick a bit more, but in the end..not that much, ’cause everything more or less stayed as it is.

    OST is out. guess what? TADADA song
    THO I am not a fan of irritating songs, I guess I can get used to it, only in the episodes.

    1. outbreak company’s purpose isn’t to kick in plot too much further

      that may very well be the case, but I’m still hoping for something to happen. You mentioned Hataraku Mahou-sama, in that case it’s not that there was not so much development, it’s more that it was just the beginning. There’s much more to come (according to the people who read the source material) and the main events and heavy development have yet to start. I’ll be waiting for the eventual second season, that was one beautifully executed anime, despite adapting only the premises of the story.

      So I hope that it may be the case even for Outbreak Company. I didnt’ read the light novel and I don’t know how much of it will be covered by the end of this show, but I won’t be surprised if it’ll end by hinting to a continuation, with such a good storytelling it can easily do that.

      But if anything major is meant to happen, it would be probably in a second season (let’s keep finger crossed for this also) because there’s not that much time left to start it and conclude it in a proper way. As a wild guess, I would think that some contrast between the two worlds may be more probable as a future main theme than internal issues between the different races, that would remain nonetheless as an important parallel theme, along with the cold war between the different kingdoms (remember that Elbia was a spy) … I’m letting my fantasy run here, but just think for a moment to a Shinichi growing into the hero who saves the kingdom from his own people … nah, I know that this is not that kind of show (for the best, I like how it is right now), but there could still be some room for something like a diplomatic resolution of some crisis (I can’t forget the JSD people filming the capabilities of the elves and dwarves during the match …).
      One thing I’m sure of, is that by the end most of the open issues won’t be solved, if not all of them. Which is good, because it would mean more of OC …

      Let’s wait and see, I’m just glad that there are so many possibilities 🙂

    1. Let’s hope that Shinichi is genre savvy enough to defuse a yandere in the making. Imagining Miusel with Yuno Gasai’s yandere tendencies is enough to send chills down my spine…

      1. Shinichi would probably enjoy a yandere’s love and pampering for a short while (then again, I don’t see Shinichi as a nightmare fetishist), but once she becomes clingy and has the desire to murder the hypotenuse(s), Shinichi should be savvy enough not to let the situation escalate any further.

        At least that scene was played for laughs.

  7. Metal Gear Shinichi – where you sneak in a warehouse looking for a hiding head of statem placing “reading materials” to distract guards, and get back to mother base without being detected.

  8. This show never fails to mix fantasy with harsh reality. Racism, politics, family, and obligation was tackled very well. Pushing the obligation of ruling a country to a young princess maybe too much but we’re sure that she’s glad to have her cousin and adviser to support her.

    As for Shinichi, he knows how harsh the Hikikomori life is but he knows how to leave it yet he chose not to. It’s safe to say that the he didn’t choose the Hikikomori life, the Hikikomori life chose him. While Petrarca shaked S.S Miyuseru ship in this episode, I have to say that it is still sailing strong.

    The Story You Don't Know
    1. Shinichi certainly didn’t choose the hikikomori life, he was talking about himself when he spoke of not being able to escape. He wanted to though, which is why he ended up taking even the meager steps that ended with him in this job.

  9. Best ep so far; im actually surprised that outbreak company could have an ep like this; subtle story-telling.and character development in my fantasy comedy??? Yes I actually like that. Just watching Shinichi chill with petralka while she slowly came to her senses was very reflective of both characters n shows how they are alike in some ways. Not only that, but it turns out that this princess is fairly aware of her flaws, to the point that it bothers her and that was really nice to see. Im sorry I know most people like myuseru but despite petrarca’s rough start, I find her the more interesting character of the two, always have and if that preview is telling the truth, it would be a bummer to not have her in the next ep. On a side note, the fact that petrarca was willing to be in the same bath as Shinichi is pretty telling. I don’t know if she’s just used to a mixed bath or she just didn’t mind Shinichi soaking with her.

  10. I always watch Outbreak Company after IS2 and Strike the Blood.

    Lets face it, IS2 and Strike are both harem driven anime with a bit of plot just to move things along. Sure, they make up with high quality action scenes, but their character development is lacking and their over all plot is predictable

    Outbreak Company allows me replenish my braincells from heavy moe hammer damage.

    1. Well IS2 is harem show at heart, a really good one, but Strike the Blood is much more plot heavy and the harem is forming but I think the character interactions is main charm. Outbreak Company in the other hand is good mix of a intersting plot and funny as hell charcters, in one word: perfect; but I have to say all those series are excelent in their own way.

      1. indeed they are, but as a fanfic writter, i tend to favor the ones with the best plot for last. Thats why my viewing arrangement is always IS2(what plot?)->Strike The Blood(a bit of everything, not bad)-> Outbreak Company (a bit of everything but done extremely well)

  11. Shinchi, you broke your meido! Bad Shinchi, no cookie! With Myuseru’s level of magic I don’t think we want to see her go yandere. Somebody needs to teach Myuseru how to cook something Japanese besides omelet rice though.

    You made a very good point. Delegate! You’re not managing if you’re doing all the work yourself. Think of all the paperwork she was just stamping in the last episode. “You, I approve all of these! Mark them with my stamp!”

    1. Indeed. It’s the boss’s job to be responsible, not busy. You have to oversee everything and make sure it’s being guided the right way, not do all the day-to-day work. Delegate that shit to Garius or some Zahar or someone.

  12. Well Stilts you think Myuseru just got a little broken? Kaede Fuyou from Shuffle! got a little shock like that and didn´t end really well. Shinichi better not leave any copy of Shuffle at Myuseru´s reach, she might a few dengerous things.

  13. It ’twas a cute episode. Cannot feel much but sadness for the Supreme Leader as she literally has been expected to fill shoes too big for her. When given such responsibilities it’s no wonder she would snap eventually, especially if at heart you have not fully accepted that they are yours. You know she’s incredibly lonely as she cannot ask (demand) Shinichi over all the time due to his job and cannot have anyone else fill the (now official) friendship of Myuseru (as the line of half-elf maids was put there to do).

    Since next week will be the “plot” heavy episode, it appears that any delving into an actual storyline won’t happen, at least for this cour. This is not a bad thing, as OC works best and knows it works best presenting us with reflections on society wrapped up in comedic references and gag tropes. Probably one of few series too to look at the hikikomori lifestyle with critical eyes rather than gloss it over using comedy. The best part, however, imo still remains the subtlety. Certain tropes such as yandere Myuseru and harem boy Shinichi are vaguely hinted at, yet never expanded upon, letting the viewer imagine their own conclusions. This gives OC incredible staying power as allows every individual to see in the show what they want.

    Best example of this? The omelet rice. Myuseru keeps on making it and does all the maid cafe stunts because Shinichi loves them, regardless of what the others (Minori) think. Then when the Master disappears for the night the mental breakdown commences. You can see just enough of the yandere to know it’s there, but not how it’s going to turn out. Thus the imagination runs wild and you have to continue watching to see if your hypotheses are correct. Something for everyone, OC shall deliver ships and genres for all.

    1. Her breakdown seemed comedic at the time to me, but this show does touch on some dark themes. Shinchi is one of the few (if only) people to treat Myuseru with kindness and respect due to her mixed parentage. Petrarca may be jealous but Myuseru may be frantic at the loss of her hero, master and love interest. If she feels she is going to be abandoned she could very well snap.

    2. I still don’t think Myuseru is capable of going yandere. That requires a level of selfishness she does not possess. No, she just blue screen’d because she was afraid of being separated from her beloved master. She’ll be fine when he gets back. Probably.

    3. Oh she’s definitely not a yandere in the typical sense. There will be no knives, blood, and TOTAL SERIOUS confessions of love anytime soon. I agree with Bear, OC is using standard yandere characterizations in this instance to better illuminate how Myuseru feels for Shinichi. Since he effectively is the only one who treats her as an equal (Petrarca is not completely there yet), she’s obviously anxious over anything that may change that.

  14. to see where the underlying plot is going…

    I mostly agree. I don’t know if it’s a slice-of-drama series, but I’m
    very happy to see solid growth of its characters – and I have to say they’ve
    done a great job of having the character’s frailties be in-line with the
    characters themselves.

    You might expect a person like Myuseru to show her anxiety the way she did
    just as the stress on Petrarca made her aloof and withdrawn.

    While the primary focus of the episode was Petrarca, we indirectly learned
    quite a bit about Shinichi. Again, his honesty and directness with Petrarca
    is what brought her out of her slump. Because he shared his personal experience
    with being a shut-in himself rather than make something up, he was able to
    reach and more importantly, help her.

    Also, at the end, she had her composure with Garius (and the old guy) – she didn’t
    become all happy and carefree. She still had the same weight of rulership to bear,
    only now she was strong enough to take its yoke again.

    Kudos to Garius as that would have been an opportunity to seize power, so I honestly
    don’t think that’ll be any issue in their future.

    I thought the bath scene was amazing. Her growth as a person – that she wanted
    to interact with her staff as peers is so far beyond their understanding it
    shocked them. The didn’t know how to respond or react to a “please” rather than
    a “command” from her. So well written!

    While the focus has been character-oriented, I’m hoping the series will begin to
    widen the scope of the story and bring some wonderful conclusion to this story…
    …or at least a good segway for another season.

    Who knows…

    @stilts — Thanks for picking this up!

  15. Once again a great episode of Outbreak Company. Ironic that I watched this just before playing Crusader kings 2 and re-arranging my family’s inheritances via a series of totally natural deaths… Being a child ruler is tough; most often your vassals will get away with murder and conspire to put your uncle on the throne of Andalusia, splitting a healthy kingdom into total anarchy and requiring a few well-placed murders or imprisonments to quiet down.

    Back on topic, anyone else notice the half dozen elven meidos? What are you waiting for Japan, open those gates and start importing!!! The metal gear references were great as well, last week was maid in a bag, this week loli in a box. The scene with the guards and the H-manga was hilarious; the temptation is hard to resist (must not look up Myuseru doujin’s, must not…). Myuseru’s breakdown was also funny as hell, the best girls have just a subtle hint of Yandere…

    Petrarca’s character is developing extremely well, she’s certainly a three dimensional character and her interactions with Shinchi and the rest of the cast are great. I still think that Myseru’s in the lead though, it’s pretty clear that while she likes Shinchi and he’s attracted to her, neither of them really consider the other a viable romantic partner. OC’s been a rather realistic show, and an empress marrying a lowborn alien foreigner is… not likely to say the least.

  16. In my view, not quite as light and fluffy as the last episode, but I enjoyed it none the less. It was nice to learn some of the back story of Petralka, and of Galious, and the reasons behind some of their choices. And, the scenes where Shinichi and Petralka snuck in and out of the bath were amusing. Interesting how Shinichi keeps not one, but two or more doujins on him, in case of emergencies.

    P.S. If Mai Fuchigami actually does the voice for Girl in Swimsuit B in the next episode, I’m gonna be in stitches. I’ll be listening very intently at the voices of those extras. :3

    Unlucky Star
  17. It’s not often that you get lines of translated anime script which ring with power, so I just have to flag this one up here:

    “And the bedroom door grows heavy. Heavier and heavier, with each passing day.”

    Damn. Awesome acting, awesome music, awesome scripting in that moment of the episode. I’m actually surprised by how good Outbreak Company is.

    1. Indeed. Good dialogue delivered well with honest emotion makes for a powerful statement, one even more powerful for how subtly and heartfelt it was said. It’s a good moment, and one of the ones I think I’ll remember most from this series.

    1. You can usually get away with using older references more freely than newer ones, if only because the copyright holders are either gone, not paying attention, or have better things to do with whatever they’re making now. That is, if it hasn’t gone into the public domain anyway, though I have no idea how that works in Japan.


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