What’s it about? When Minato went to meet his friend Yutoria, he thought she might be confessing her feelings—little did he know her plan was to ask him to be the new president of his father’s company! Kibou Company has only four adventurers and no money, so it’s Minato’s job to lead them to success.
Y’know, this show presents some interesting topics. We learn that Minato is unemployed, and Yutoria cautions him that rushing out to find just “any old job” could leave him vulnerable to predatory employers looking to profit from the sweat of his brow.
Chagrined, comrade Minato agrees that many other guilds in their town have been guilty of overworking and underpaying their laborers, and the system is in dire need of reform. Which convinces him to… agree to step into the role of company president, still warm from the nepotism of his father’s conveniently vacated ass.
Wait. Maybe this series actually has nothing to say about anything.
The biggest problem with Shachibato is that, while it doesn’t do anything egregiously wrong, it doesn’t do anything especially right, either. If you weren’t aware going in that this is an adaptation of a tactics-style mobile game, you will be after Minato finishes sitting through a literal tutorial video about how to navigate the local dungeons in the area.
The worldbuilding is as Generic-Brand Fantasy and slackly designed as it comes, down to a power source that’s about two steps away from being called “unobtanium” and the side-by-side existence of magic and modern-day Japan social concepts like “NEET.” The characters all have two character traits, one of which is their RPG class.
It’s the kind of shorthand that often gets overlooked in video games because gameplay mechanics can supersede an unimpressive narrative. But in a passive medium like anime, the story and world come front and center, while the absence of gameplay often leaves a gaping, visible hole in the story structure. And so, this first episode is spent quite nakedly doing a tutorial dungeon, never managing to make you forget that “The Animation” signifier stamped onto the title in the opening credits.
At the same time, Shachibato is basically competent in everything it does. The characters are archetypal but none of them are loathsome, even player-surrogate Minato (a more difficult task than one might expect). The action scenes are competently executed and the episode clips along at a cheerful pace.
Its jokes about the soul-crushing nature of capitalism might not go anywhere, but the writing also avoids feeling mean-spirited. And while the female characters are all carrying oranges under their shirts for some reason, the episode was one jiggly close-up away from being essentially fanservice-free.
But “basically competent and inoffensive” isn’t enough to encourage people to watch it. The show would be forgettable even in a weaker season, and it’s completely obliterated against Spring’s ultra-lineup. If you’re looking for fantasy video game shenanigans, check out last season’s BOFURI instead.