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This episode of Outbreak Company explores the burden of leadership.  As they say, heavy is the head that wears the crown.

Rather than facing her problems, her stress, Petrarca decides to become a shut-in (hikikomori).  She locks herself in her room with a barrier blocking any Eldantians from entering.  This leaves Shinichi to deal with her; but he’s perfect for the job since, as we should all remember, he himself was a hikikomori back in Japan before he got this job.

It’s important to realize that Petrarca, although she’s the supreme ruler of Eldant, is still a child, and an orphan, as we find out in this episode.  Her parents and Galius’s parents killed each other (due to issues of succession, we can assume).  Galius is Petrarca’s cousin, it turns out, and seems to feel guilty about what his parents and Petrarca’s parents did to each other.  While it was pretty obvious that their parents weren’t around, I wasn’t quite expecting their backstories to be so heartbreaking.

Moving on, Shinichi decides that, rather than trying to convince Petrarca that being a hikikomori isn’t worth it, showing her as such is a better option.  This brings up a question that will hopefully be answered in the last episode of Outbreak Company: what will happen to Shinichi when all is said and done?  It’s pretty obvious that he enjoys his time in Eldant, but will he be able to stay?  If not, what will he do when he goes back to Japan?  This job has clearly been a way for him to escape from the life of a hikikomori, but if he’s forced to return to Japan, will he just go back to his shut-in lifestyle?

Through showing Petrarca the hikikomori lifestyle and allowing her a chance to talk through her problems, Shinichi helps her get back to her job as supreme ruler of the Holy Eldant Empire.  What’s really interesting about this episode is that a lot of what seems to be bothering Petrarca isn’t what would bother most stereotypical rulers.  One of her main concerns is that she’s worried about how she treats others when she becomes stressed.  The stereotypical ruler wouldn’t really care about that and would only care about her own problems and her own feelings.  This episode definitely shows how Petrarca’s personality and concerns are changing with Shinichi around.

Outbreak Company Episode 9 Preview

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