Original Run: July 9, 2021 - September 24, 2021 Number of Episode:12 Genre: Comedy, Isekai Based on the Series Created By: Youhei Yasumura
***Warning, the following may contain spoilers for The Dungeon of Black Company. Reader discretion is advised.***
After years of effort, clever planning, and dastardly cunning, Kinji Ninomiya (voiced by Katsuyuki Konishi) has accumulated enough money and has secured a reliable source of income to fulfill his dream and has become the ultimate shut-in. Marveling at his own brilliance, Ninomiya is confident nothing can spoil his well-earned victory.
Then, without warning, a mysterious portal opens and transports Ninomiya to a parallel world. Within mere moments, he finds himself at the bottom of the corporate ladder once again. Facing oppressive workdays, back-breaking labor, and bosses who care more for profits than personnel, Ninomiya’s dream of blissful freedom has never seemed more out of reach.
However, with a bit of perseverance and an unabashed willingness to game the system in one’s favor, someone like Ninomiya might just find themselves on top once more.
The Dungeon of Black Company was an up-and-down affair. Throughout this series, jokes hit home, circumstances were entertainingly absurd, and segments were unmistakably fun. Then there were instances when it was hard to care about what was happening or why anyone did what they did.
That said – and this is crucial – there never came the point where I thought this series was terrible. So, there was that at the very least.
Above all else, though, there was an element to The Dungeon of Black Company that helped it be a step above average. This show employed an interesting take on the standard isekai anime formula.
At its core, The Dungeon of Black Company was a parody of toxic corporate culture – long hours, unfair wages, terrible employee-employer relations, etc. Kinji Ninomiya may have teleported to a world of magic and fantasy, but the plight of the everyday working grunts was anything but fiction.
Hence, despite being an isekai, The Dungeon of Black Company wasn’t about epic battles, adventuring, or overpowered protagonists. While those elements existed, they never followed the tried and true – or, if you want to look at it another way, done to death – formula of the genre. For instance, there were characters in this series who no one could touch in a fight. Except, those characters did NOT include Ninomiya. On the contrary, this series made it a point, quite hilariously, that our “hero” was probably the weakest human in this other world.
This different – or, perhaps more accurately, uncommon – approach to isekai is a selling point for The Dungeon of Black Company.
Along with that, this series had a strong cast of unique and fascinating characters, all of whom played up the we-are-going-to-do-things-our-way aspect of the show. The only other isekai I can think of to have such an enduring, lovably derpy band of misfits is KonoSuba.
Granted, KonoSuba is, far and away, superior to this series. Still, The Dungeon of Black Company tapped into the same goofy, are-we-the-baddies quality that allowed KonoSuba to become one of the best isekai anime out there.
And leading that charge for this show was Ninomiya.
Let’s just get this straight. Though Ninomiya might have been the protagonist, he was no hero. He was slimy, manipulative, and underhanded; he always looked out for himself. But rather than being hindrances, those qualities were a boon.
Yes, Ninomiya was a jerk, but he never pretended to be anything else. Plus, the people he was often up against were equally, if not more, awful than he was. Thus, this series found a perfect balance that kept Ninomiya’s garbage personality from becoming mean-spirited.
Having now said that, The Dungeon of Black Company’s ability not to take things too far aided it immensely. Thus, on the whole, I found myself enjoying this series more often than not; there was a charm to this one. However, ask me if I remember anything about this show in a few weeks. I doubt I can.
The Dungeon of Black Company reached its peak rather quickly. Upon doing so, the good thing was, this show never had any inexcusable dips in quality. Unfortunately, the height this series reached wasn’t all that impressive in the long run. Once getting to a solid foundation, instead of building up, things remained noticeably stagnate.
Although this show had all the tools to deliver something that no one should miss, The Dungeon of Black Company satisfied itself with being an in-the-moment sort of anime.
What I mean by that is, while you are watching this series, you’ll most likely enjoy it. However, the second it finishes, good luck remembering anything about it.
This show has zero staying power.
Along with its unimpressive-ness, The Dungeon of Black Company became hard to follow the closer it got to its conclusion.
Now, I’m not saying the story became confusing. No, from beginning to end, the plot was pretty straightforward; the premise of this show wasn’t exactly difficult to wrap your head around. But what did start to happen was a lack of engagement.
The further along it went, The Dungeon of Black Company began to rely heavily on complex business-speak. To screw one another over, characters enacted intricate webs of corporate bureaucracy, stock terminology, and other board room jargon that didn’t really mean anything.
The most definitive example of this came in the final episode when Ninomiya revealed his grand master plan to take over the company he had been at odds with for the entire series. Do not ask me to explain what he ended up doing because it all went right over my head.
Or, to make a long story short, The Dungeon of Black Company began to grow dull. Had this show continued any longer, I doubt I would have had the energy to stick with it.
If I had to describe this series in the simplest terms, it was better than average but a rather meh affair.
Therefore, this series is worth checking out if you happen to be thinking of it when you are wondering what you should watch next. However, there is no need to drop what you are doing and make it your next anime.
Although The Dungeon of Black Company has a recommendation, it is a show that can wait.
But these were just my thoughts. What are yours? Have you seen this series? How would you advise The Dungeon of Black Company? Leave a comment down below because I would love to hear what you have to say.
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