Meikyuu Black Company

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    Review:

    Meikyuu Black Company is a fantasy comedy/isekai series which was first released in the summer 2021. The story for Meikyuu Black Company revolves around Kinji Ninomiya who is a NEET and has seemingly never worked a day in his life. Unlike other shows however, Kinji, through a series of side hustles and smart investments, has made it financially and is living the high life. His easy life of luxury is suddenly cut short however when he is mysteriously transported to a new world and is forced to work for the Raiza'ha Corporation, a corporation that is run like a black company!

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    A NEET with a difference!

    What one should be clear from the get go is Meikyuu Black Company is an isekai with a difference. Our main man Kinji does not fit your standard model for an Anime protagonist. In fact, I would go as far as saying your enjoyment of this series will largely rest on how you like this character as he is the main driver of the comedy and entertainment in this show. You see Kinji is an unscrupulous anti-hero figure who is prepared to do anything to further his own ends. He is prepared to exploit people by lying, bribing or doing other questionable things. He is a man of loose morals! This will rub some people the wrong way but personally I thought his characterisation was executed well. His money-making schemes and conspiracies are creatively done and always amusing to watch.

    What is more, his antagonist personality fits well with the exploitative nature of the Raiza’ha black company he works for. Both parties are in many ways both as guilty as each other and it is their confrontational attitudes against one another that largely drives the story along. To me, the hypocrisy in some of their positions was a source of amusement as you are left wondering which party is worse working for Raiza’ha or Kinji?!

    With a big focus of the series centring around a black company it should come as no surprise that a big part of the comedy act centres around satire and the common bad practices of black companies and bad management in general. Whilst the jokes in the series take stuff to the extreme, I am sure a lot of viewers, who have worked, can relate to some of the shoddy practices’ companies can get up to. From unreasonable quotas, unpaid overtime or worse we get to witness the horrors of those practices on our characters. In short, there is a lot of dark humour so if that is not your cup of tea then you should give this a miss. If on the other hand you don’t mind dark humour then you will like this series as the jokes often hit the mark.

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    What’s more the show never takes itself very seriously and can at times go off the walls. Meikuu Black Company has a tendency to change course in sudden and dramatic fashion so beware! It can be a bit jarring and it did throw me for loop but the spirit in which to enjoy this show is to take a laidback approach (like Kinji) and view this as easy entertainment not thinking too deeply.

    Like the plot, most of the characters are not particularly complex in this Anime. They do fulfil their roles well though and have their moments we can all relate to. For example, Wanibe is the lonely employee who does not have many friends and is lacking in confidence. There is the keen/talented, hardworking but impressionable Shia that joins the party while Rimu and Ranga are a source of comical relief. If you have experience at work or in school then you can either relate personally or know someone who acts like these characters. It this relatability that allows us to buy into them despite their relatively simple characterisations.

    In terms of character dynamics one can probably guess how these characters interact with each other considering the description I gave for Kinji previously. Before you get your get your panties in a twist, I will say that while Kinji can be a scoundrel but he does have some empathy (if only a little bit). Behind the bravado and massive ego there is a man who cares for his friends so he is not a complete jackass.

    Animation for Meikyuu Black Company is a little substandard. I never really liked the art style and whilst I did make some peace with it, it was not something I ever enjoyed. What’s more the character models were not consistent and could change markedly in certain scenes and that is before we talk about the usual drops in animation littered through the show. It feels that there was a budget constrains in this area. In any case it was distinctly average. The opening and ending theme were better and we got multiple ending animations in this show. I did prefer the first version than the later one which used more CGI though. The opening song is “Shimi” by Howl Be Quiet while the ending is “World is Mine” by Humbreaders.

    Summary

    Meikyuu Black Company was a surprise of hit for me. I didn’t expect much going into this but the show delivers well on satire, dark humour and most important, it manages to deliver a good anti-hero that is likeable despite all his obvious character flaws. His exploits and schemes are entertaining as well as creative so he keeps you engaged throughout the series. Overall, this show delivers on the anti-hero protagonist than other series such as Combatants Will Be Dispatched which tried to go down a similar route but was not nearly as successful at executing the idea.

    If you decide to watch this show beware that the animation will be lacking as whilst it is not terrible it is distinctly average. What’s more the style of animation is unique but it is not something that is likely to appeal to many people. What will be more appealing however is the level of fanservice which is quite prominent with some of the more interesting camera shots of the various characters.

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    The big key in liking this series is your appetite for anti-heroes. If you do not enjoy Kinji’s egomaniac and exploitive behaviour then this show will not be for you. If you are on the fence then my advice is to watch a couple of episodes. However, if you can like mindless dark humour/satire then this is worth checking out. What I can say is this is not your standard isekai so if you want to watch an isekai with a difference then Meikyuu Black Company will be right up your alley!

    Story 7 – We are presented with an isekai that goes off the beaten path. What is more the main protagonist does not follow the usual Anime tropes for a protagonist and it is his personality that forms an entertaining dynamic in the Anime’s storyline. Meikyuu also largely succeeds in delivering a good blend of satire and dark humour.

    The story does go off the deep end at places which can be off putting to some but considering the overall light-hearted tone one should not take things too seriously if you want to gain maximum enjoyment from the series.

    Characters 7 – Kinji Ninomiya is a strong protagonist that does much to prop the cast and the overall story. Despite his unsavoury characteristics he is genuinely a charismatic figure that is easy to root for in spite of all the questionable things he does. What is more he is supported by a cast that people can relate to. Their relatable personalities plus Kinji’s personality make it easy to see how the character dynamics develop but at the same time things are not taken to extreme levels so whilst Kinji is a bit of ass it is never reaches the realm of the series being mean spirited.

    Animation/music 5 – Main weakness of the show. The standard of animation is not high and the quality does often drop with even the characters model varying wildly. The style itself will not be liked by many so don’t expect great things on this front. Fortunately, the opening and ending tracks are enjoyable.

    Overall 7 – Satire, dark humour and anti-heroes is where it is at in Meikyuu Black Company. If those things appeal to you then give this a go as you are likely to enjoy this. People who prefer a more morale and just protagonist will not enjoy this. It is that simple. This is an isekai with a difference so if you like isekai but want to avoid the usual stuff then this is certainly worth a go. It delivers on the whole anti-hero angle better than most shows.

    If you are feeling brave then check out the Meikyuu Black Company gallery. Beware of the skeletons held within!
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