Anime Review

Anime Hajime Review: Shachibato! President, It’s Time for Battle!

Original Run: April 5, 2020 - June 28, 2020
Number of Episodes: 12
Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Based on the Video Game: Shachibato! President, It's Time
for Battle

***Warning, the following may contain spoilers for Shachibato! President, It’s Time for Battle. Reader discretion is advised.***

Series Synopsis

The city of Gatepia serves as the central hub for adventurers who are seeking to claim their fortunes. Everywhere you look, guilds delve into the mysterious dungeons that are sprinkled across the land. One such organization is the small business Kibou Company.

One day, Kibou Company’s president heads off on an unknown adventure. Needing a boss, adventurer/employee Yutoria (voiced by Kana Ichinose) seeks out the president’s son, Minato (voiced by Shun Horie).

Although Minato is hesitant to take the top job at Kibou Company, he turns out to be a natural leader. However, he soon realizes that running even a small outfit is a never-ending struggle.

Series Positives

Okay, I am really not trying to do this.

For those counting, Shachibato! President, It’s Time for Battle! (Shachibato) is the third mobile game-based anime I have covered in a row – the first two being Shironeko Project Zero Chronicle and Bungo and Alchemist Gears of Judgment. 2020 is proving to be the year of mobile game adaptations apparently. And looking at what I plan to review soon, this number is only going to grow.

To Shachibato’s credit, throughout most of my watch, I didn’t realize it was based on a mobile game. Much like Princess Connect! Re:Dive, another mobile adaptation from the 2020 spring season, Shachibato focused more on being a separate entity that was in a different entertainment medium, rather than the anime-ification of a video game.

Often when these types of shows try to cram as many game mechanics into their narratives as possible, that doesn’t leave much room for personalities and growth. After all, in a video game, players can infuse their play styles into the choices they make. When a series attempts to adhere to the same sort of rules, the final result is usually ridged and bareboned.

Since I have never played the game version of Shachibato, I can only make assumptions. But based on past experiences, this series decided to lean into the fact that what works in a video game may not work in an anime. Therefore, at the very least, this show felt like it was just that – a show.

Granted, this was a bland, no thrills, not at all remarkable show, but a show nonetheless.

Essentially, what I am getting at is, unlike Shironeko Project Zero Chronicle and Bungo and Alchemist Gears of Judgment, both of which were irritatingly boring and tiresome to sit through, Shachibato had my attention. Not throughout, mind you, but periodically across its run. Trust me; I considered that to be a welcomed improvement.

Now, I should let you know that despite appreciating Shachibato more than other mobile game anime from 2020, that doesn’t mean I liked it. I had a lot of issues with this show. However, I feel it is important to distinguish that I had problems with this series as a series and not as a poorly executed, on-the-nose adaptation.

Series Negatives

As a note: If a series wants me to like its characters, then it better not do what Shachibato did.

Almost instantly, the initial members of the Kibou Company were annoying.

First, the employees were quick to belittle their new president Minato from the moment they met him. They doubted his leadership capabilities, expected him to know what to do from the start, were critical about his lack of adventuring knowledge, and, overall, found him to be unreliable. The team’s fighter, Akari (voiced by Azumi Waki), was particularly harsh.

This level of criticism might have gone over better had, you know, Minato volunteered to be president. Instead, he was dragged into the position with no say in the matter. The rest of the company was just kicking a man, not while he was down, but long before he ever had the opportunity to stand.

Second, Minato. Yeah, he might not have had the chance to say no, but the way he went about expressing his annoyance didn’t do him any favors. Minato would always speak in whispered complaints. He had things he wanted to say, but he never had the spine to confront anyone face to face. This eventually got better over time, but it was then replaced with something much worse.

Minato wasn’t special, despite this series’ insistence to the contrary.

Shachibato kept hinting that Minato was this secret badass who should not be underestimated. He might not have been a fighter, but he was, supposedly, a skilled tactician who could get out of any situation. The show kept playing this angle up, but there wasn’t a single instance where Minato’s “strategic aptitude” came on display. Although he might have led his company to victories, these wins weren’t anything spectacular.

At best, Minato knew how to run an office.

To those who have seen this show, I recognize that that was the overall joke. Shachibato was a parody of Japanese office culture.

Minato’s Kibou Company just happened to specialize in adventuring. Still, its day to day office work was quite ridged with forms, quotas, and potential growth. Plus, the enemies Kibout Company faced were embodiments of toxic corporate environments. This included management that only cared about profits, sacrificing employees’ health and sanity for the sake of efficiency.

This set up didn’t fail, but it was inconsistent.

Sometimes Shachibato would go all-in with its office-like feel. Then there would be long periods when it would not come up once. It got to the point where it seemed as if this show had abandoned the effort.

Putting that aside, when we get right down to it, Shachibato was a forgettable adventure story. There wasn’t a single thing that stood out about it. The fights were anything exciting, the enemies weren’t creative, and the ultimate goal was one that has been used time and time again. This show may have had the freedom to give its characters personalities, except those personalities ended up being frustrating and, at times, unlikable. It was a real shame.

Shachibato may have had more effort put into it than your average mobile game adaptation, but it was still a lackluster series.

Final Thoughts

I won’t say this show was bad. However, I will say that I am already forgetting it.

Through and through, this series was nothing special. The characters weren’t fun, the fights were not exciting, and the story has been done to death.

If you think I am going to tell you that this was good for a mobile game adaptation, you are mistaken. After all, there have been good mobile game anime. This was just a boring one.

Shachibato! President, It’s Time for Battle! can be skipped.

But these are just my thoughts. What are yours? Have you seen this series? How would you advise Shachibato! President, It’s Time for Battle!? Leave a comment down below because I would love to hear what you have to say.

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For Anime Hajime, I’m LofZOdyssey, and I’ll see you next time.

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