The Winter 2022 Preview Guide
Miss Kuroitsu From the Monster Development Department
How would you rate episode 1 of
Miss Kuroitsu From the Monster Development Department ?
Community score: 3.7
What is this?
Kuroitsu is an assistant researcher in the superhuman research & development department of Agastya, a villainous secret organization that battles with heroes who try to save the world. Kuroitsu lives a busy life in Agastya, caught between the absurd requests of her bosses; making presentations; implementing new features into superhumans; and getting results within the allotted time, budget, and spec requests; all without vacation. (from manga)
Miss Kuroitsu From the Monster Development Department is based on Hiroaki Mizusaki's manga and streams on Crunchyroll on Saturdays.
How was the first episode?
Well, this one came out of absolutely nowhere for me! While I usually spend a decent amount of time researching new titles in the lead-up to each season, I knew absolutely nothing about Miss Kuroitsu from the Monster Development Company. Even when reading all the blurbs, my eyes just kind of skimmed past this one. When the episode started and a bunch of suit heroes started posing, I called my resident fan in to watch with me and explain all the in-jokes I undoubtedly wouldn't be getting, and settled in for a long 20+ minutes of a comedy that I assumed would mostly be yelling.
But then I saw Nessie, and the design was so stupid it made me smile. And every time they showed it, I smiled a little more as another horrible detail sunk in. By the end of the segment, I chuckled and had warmed up to the show considerably. Finally, Megistus came into the research office to scold Kuroitsu and the Doctor, not for their ridiculously crappy design, but for failing to take care of themselves leading to subpar work. Turns out, the evil general is actually a solid middle manager who cares for his employees' well-being! It was genuinely unexpected! I won't go on lest this become the kind of review where I list all the jokes and what I thought of them, but I do also want to point out that all the heroes listed in the cold open are real regional heroes, which really speaks to their love of the genre. As a further bonus, Akashic's voice actress, M.A.O., is an experienced tokusatsu actress.
The one downside to the episode is the direction. It's not bad, exactly, it's just kind of nothing. Hisashi Saito has been in the business a long time, but nothing he's personally helmed has proven to have much staying power. When I look at comedies like Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun or Kaguya-sama: Love is War, which use the unique properties of animation to elevate the source material, I wonder if Miss Kuroitsu could have been something truly special. Still, it's funny enough as it already is. Whether you're well-versed in tokusatsu or not, try it and see if it'll give you a chuckle.
Here's an easy litmus test to figure out if you will like Miss Kuroitsu From the Monster Development Department. Do you like Japanese superheroes à la the Power Rangers and Masked Rider? If yes, you're going to have fun with this one. If not, you might want to pass on it.
Basically, there is one joke at the core of this anime: As superheroes kill off the monsters on a weekly basis, being the ones who actually make the monsters is a real pain in the butt. The joke builds from this base by making the monster designers less mad scientists and more 9-to-5 company employees who care more about their pay than taking over the world. From there, the show deftly this framework to mercilessly mock Japanese work culture—often by showing that this “evil organization” actually has better working conditions and cares for their employees more than many modern-day Japanese companies. And when it comes down to it, the Monster Development Department's true enemies are not the heroes, but bad bosses, crunch deadlines, last-minute changes, and half-assed projects made just to hit an arbitrary deadline.
Of course, the show isn't afraid to give the superhero of our tale, Divine Swordsman Blader, the same mocking treatment. After all, he is portrayed as a minimum wage worker who has no life outside of making lunch boxes and being a hero. His total lack of social skills—especially when it comes to women—is his true weakness (which the Monster Development Department accidentally exploits and perverted hilarity ensues).
I don't know if Miss Kuroitsu From the Monster Development Department can sustain its one-note humor for a full season, but this single episode was pretty darn fun to say the least.
Aw, heck yes. Miss Kuroitsu From the Monster Development Department is the kind of show made exactly for me, and for anyone else who has ever geeked out over tokusatsu shows like Super Sentai, Ultraman, or Kamen Rider before. The joke is incredibly simple and straightforward: What if the evil league of nefarious monster makers that send out the baddies to fight the Power Rangers every week was actually staffed by a bunch of loveable dweebs and run like a modern office job? The good news is that the simple and straightforward joke is pretty darned funny, and will hopefully be enough to keep this series chugging along all season.
The bread and butter of Miss Kuroitsu's humor, at least in this episode, comes from flipping old tokusatsu cliches onto their head a little bit, and letting the laughs come from the juxtaposition therein. Sure, we get lots of funny sight gags (like the hilariously dopey Loch Ness Monster design that Kuroitsu has to pitch in a half-baked presentation) and some more risqué sexcapades (the big, bad wolf monster gets turned into a big titty anime girl and keeps shoving her business into other peoples' business), but my favorite parts of the episode were the gentler bits of comedy. Case in point: Absolute Zero Chief Megistus, who is the Evil Leader's ferocious second-in-command that works three times as hard as everyone else and chills Kuroitsu to the bone whenever there's a new monster pitch meeting. It's quite amusing, then, to see him pop by the office and become a regular paragon of worker's rights, insisting that Kuroitsu and the Doctor avoid crunching at the last minute, and also making sure that they take advantage of their paid vacation days and endeavor to prioritize their health over arbitrary deadlines. This dude is the viceroy of an evil organization hellbent on world domination, so if he can figure out how to avoid exploiting his workers, you'd think the higher-ups in the animation and video-game industries would be able to follow suit.
Anyways, I really loved this silly little show. My only real complaint is that it isn't much to look at, and I think a lot of comedy could be mined if the show manages to capture some of the campy spectacle that makes live-action toku media such a treat. In either case, I'll be sure to check in on Miss Kuroitsu From the Monster Development Department in the coming weeks, whenever I need to kick back and kill some time with wholesome sitcom about a bunch of good folks who are just trying to get through their 9-to-5 and enslave all of humanity to their dark whims. Who can't relate to that?
Well this was a pleasant surprise! Going into this season, I'd only looked at the trailer for this one, and I was less than impressed. My absolute least favorite type of comedy is when they treat characters yelling as its own punchline, and that's all the PV really showed off. On top of that, I'm only passingly familiar with Super Sentai, and the premise sounded like it could wind up playing a lot of inside baseball with references or homages. But in spite of my misgivings, this premiere wound up being a lot more charming and funny than I expected.
Things don't get off to the best start though – the lengthy sequence of our titular Miss Kuroitsu bluffing her way through a board meeting with the bad guy big wigs is easily the weakest and least funny segment of the whole thing, and while it does a good job setting up the premise of this offbeat workplace comedy, it's not a great first impression. Thankfully it turns things around right after, with the reveal that her super scary villain manager is actually a reasonable and empathetic boss who tells her to prioritize her health over deadlines. That's both cute as hell and a genuinely funny subversion of expectations – not because he's a villain, but because you almost never see a kind boss in these kinds of shows.
And from there, I dunno, something clicked and I found myself grinning and chuckling at a lot of the show's punchlines. I already love Wolf Bete and his quest to reclaim his beefy wolfboy body and ditch his more marketable anime tiddies. I like that said tiddies come self-censored with the bad guy group's logo and a message saying to respect privacy. I like that their evil commander seems more concerned with making cute stuffed animals over actually threatening monsters. And I dig the idea that their arch-nemesis sentai hero has a crush on Kuroitsu in her civilian disguise, and I cannot wait for them to go on a date where both have to keep sneaking off for Super Sentai business. Plus it turns out all of the goofy tokusatsu “parodies” from the start of the episode are real-life mascot heroes who do community outreach for their local prefectures. That's just adorable, and evidence that the show is still capable of deep cuts without being impenetrable.
So yeah, this isn't an amazing premiere, but it works out to be a solid, unique little comedy. That's a far cry better than what I expected going in, and I'm more than happy to have a dorky show to laugh with for the season.
If you've ever wondered who was coming up with all of those weird monsters that superheroes fight, this is the show for you. Poor Miss Kuroitsu is the second banana of the evil organization Agastia's R&D department, overworked and very probably underpaid as she tries to fudge her boss' half-assed last-minute monster-making plans. It's not quite as funny as it could be and definitely a little bit predictable, but it's also pure goofiness, and that makes up for some of its deficiencies. It's hard to be upset at a show that doesn't take itself even the least bit seriously.
That Agastia appears to be drowning in superheroes (of the super sentai variety) certainly doesn't help Miss Kuroitsu's situation. As far as we know, there's just the one evil organization led by what appears to be a pre-teen girl, but Japan is positively swarming with costumed heroes, at least one per prefecture if not one per city. That's a lot of pressure for a department consisting of two people, and only one supervisor, Megistus (who is really in charge), seems to be remotely aware of the fact. It's a good setup for a combination workplace comedy/superhero parody, and this episode mostly makes it work. The first monster that Miss Kuroitsu's superior comes up with is laughably awful, something she's completely aware of and is doing her level best to pretend she isn't as she fakes her way through a presentation like a kid whose group never did the project. The second attempt is much better, except that the big boss doesn't think a wolfman is cute enough and changes it to a wolfwoman, much to the monster's dismay. The headwinds against Miss Kuroitsu are strong, and watching her BS her way against them is pretty entertaining.
On the subject of the wolfwoman, Wolf Bete, it's worth noting that the show does employ censorship to avoid showing her evil, evil nipples. It is, however, better done than World’s End Harem, with an Agastia logo entreating us to “respect privacy,” which, while not hugely clever, is at least a little amusing and still manages to show most of her naked body, if that's what you're watching for. It also makes it a little more believable when main hero Divine Swordsman Blader collapses with a bloody nose from seeing a naked woman. He's probably the most predictable piece of this thus far; in his regular guise he interacts with Miss Kuroitsu regularly at her favorite lunch spot, so I'd bet money that if there's a romantic subplot, they'll be it. That's not enough to stop this from being silly fun, though, and this has some promise.
discuss this in the forum (262 posts) |
this article has been modified since it was originally posted; see change history