A typhoon is roaring outside, and disgruntled salarymen are forced to go to work anyway l, to the great satisfaction the muscular Kinji Ninomiya, who stays at home at his luxurious penthouse and looks down on the whole world. Because, unlike them, he is the Uber-Pro-NEET, a real-estate investor and landlord who, through various schemes, has reached his dream of living without working. Little does he knows that he is going to be isekai’d to a world in which the Industrial Revolution is at full force, with all the worst corporate culture has to offer being the law of the land, and will have to work in the demonite mines fourteen hours a day with his demihuman companions for a meager salary. But he finds a way to cheat by manipulating a gullible lizard-man, finding a secret corridor, making a deal with a dragon who turns out to be a teen girl in skimpy clothes and finally, hypnotizing everyone so they would work for him to exhaustion. Add in some mind control, and he is quite close to where he was in the other world. That is, until the spell breaks.
The Industrial Revolution and the corporate culture of Japan are big, complex, interesting themes, and a fantasy take on them is a very interesting idea. These are the gross, ugly injustices that Dickens depicted with such power, that Leo XIII loudly denounced in his Rerum Novarum, that arguably gave way to the rise of Communism, and that changed and disenchanted the world in ways that affect us today. The greatest virtue of Meikyuu Black Company is, in my eyes, to tackle that theme with such decision, while its greatest flaw is how much of a jerk his protagonist is. He is nearly unbearable, a proud sloth who despises those who work and those who protest, who sacrifices everyone around him without a second thought, and who may overwork others to death if given the chance. And for me, the balance ultimately tilts towards that aspect. We may see the forest marching over Isengard, but I don’t think I will be watching the show by then. Beware of some suggestive clothing and questionable jokes, and beware of one of the greediest and most immoral anime antiheroes I have ever met. If that doesn’t dissuade you, Meikyuu Black Company may be your kind of show.
Meikyuu Black Company is streaming at Funimation.