The Dungeon of Black Company – Episode 1

By: Meru Clewis July 9, 20210 Comments
Kinji sneers at the underlings of the black company as they toil in the minds under brainwashing magic.

What’s It About? Uber Pro NEET Ninomiya Kinji, who’s more than content to lay about, is just that–a layabout–in his day-to-day life. Then, like so many isekai protagonists before him, he finds himself transported to another world. Only, it’s not the ideal fantasy of a kind reception. Rather, Kinji gets immediately put into a terrible job, becoming one of the social dregs tyrannized under the weight of an evil, malicious mining company. Will Kinji learn the meaning of hard work now that he’s to suffer, or… is there another way to get back to his lazy life?

I try, when it comes to picking shows, to pick things that I think I’ll at least kind of like. I’m big on not hate watching, on avoiding series that I’ll outright, flat-out have nothing good to say about: for me, it doesn’t make for a good review, though realistically, sometimes.. you draw the short straw without realizing just how short it is.

Like I did with this show.

I’m sorry to tell you upfront that I really didn’t like The Dungeon of Black Company. Hopefully, in a thousand words or less, I can convey why and ultimately, end things positively, as best I can. So… without further adieu, let’s get into The Dungeon of Black Company’s premiere.

Meet Ninomiya Kinji, an "alpha male" and self-proclaimed Uber Pro NEET who has no job due to insider trading and buying up a bunch of real estate so he could live a laid back, lazy life.

Episode 1, “Welcome to the World of Corporate Grunts” begins rather dismally, with grey skies over (presumably) Tokyo, and its protagonist. Then the music kicks in dramatically, right as blue-haired, banana-hammock sporting Kinji starts to monologue about the mundane dregs meandering their way to work amidst a typhoon: a common sight in Japan during the rainy season and summer. However, Kinji’s not among them: he invested in overseas real estate, which naturally netted him enough money to live the laidback, lazy, uninterrupted life he’s always desired. It helps that he also built three apartments in Tokyo, one of which has a penthouse he calls home.

Then he cackles, and you immediately want to punt this “Uber Pro NEET” (his words, not mine) into the sun. He’s immediately annoying, and I had no sympathy when at minute 1:50, he is yeeted into a fantasy world, underwear and all.

In this new world, Kinji goes from Uber Pro Alpha Neet to Bottom Tier Blue-haired Beta (ugh, sorry for typing any of that) in the change of a scene, and y’all? It’s pitiful. Genuinely pitiful. His fall is in part due to Kinji being a human in a world with demihumans: here, he’s about as lucky as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs.

What ensues is Kinji’s beginnings in a brand new in a black company, a term frequently used to describe companies that use and abuse employees in Japan (though that’s a bit of a simplification). In this case, it’s an evil mining company that… uses and abuses the employees working under them. 

Will Kinji rise up from his current impoverished state? I have to tell you after twenty-four minutes of this show, I earnestly don’t care. Will he most definitely get some girls? Of course, starting with a pink-haired cutie who wants to eat human food. That’s a solid chunk of the premiere, because of course it is.

Kinji and alligator demihuman Wanibe make their way through a dungeon on an expedition.

That’s not to say that the entirety of The Dungeon of Black Company’s premiere is bad, though it is to say it’s not my style. In fact, the animation looks quite nice, and Kinji’s voice actor (Konishi Katsuyuki, who has voiced so many video game characters, as well as multiple Pokemon like Meganium, Zapdos, and Mewtwo) brings a lot of flavor to the role. He also brings a lot of unnecessary shouting to the role, but that’s most likely due to how he was directed and how Kinji’s character is in the source material. Yet that’s not enough to save this NEET in another world from my ire. And before you write that comment: I don’t care if Kinji becomes a more fully formed character in the future. If that happens, trust me: I most likely won’t be around to witness it.

Really, the biggest flaw in The Dungeon of Black Company’s premiere is that it’s actually just kind of boring for an isekai, which is the greatest crime of all. If you’re going to whisk me, the viewer, away to another world, then at least make it interesting. I mean, heck, I almost wished I was watching Combatants Will Be Dispatched!, which I frequently (if unconsciously) started comparing this to, and you know how I felt about that premiere.

Kinji sneers at the underlings of the black company as they toil in the minds under brainwashing magic.

This Galo Thymos ripoff of a lead character ain’t it y’all. Kenji might look like he’s gonna be a himbo, but he’s just a no-go, and it sucks. I can’t stand Kinji, and while that might be the point of his character right now, it’s still hard to stomach, making The Dungeon of Black Company one of the weakest premieres I’ve watched this season.

Worst of all.. The Dungeon of Black Company is just boring. There’s very little meat on the bone, and really, very little happens in the premiere. That’s truly the worst “sin” of this show. It goes nowhere, barely introduces the world we’re in–in fact, we never get a name for it–and just… is twenty-four minutes of “meh” level entertainment. It’s a shame too because once again, isekai anime could try harder. Perhaps the source material is more complex: I’ll never know, because I’m not diving any deeper into this series.

In the end, I’m finding myself struggling to feel happy this exists. It’s such a bland premiere, despite the solid animation and voice acting from Kinji’s VA. But… I suppose that for the fans who like this franchise, for the folks viewing who really, truly like the story of The Dungeon of Black Company… I’m glad this exists. I hope this is everything you’ve been hoping for, and I hope that you really enjoy this cour. I’m sorry that it’s not at all for me, but sometimes, that’s just how things shake out.

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