Episode 6 – Miss Kuroitsu From the Monster Development Department

After I last week that Miss Kuroitsu was tacitly moving away from continuous tokusatsu riffs in favor of more real-world business culture commentary, of course This week’s episode jumps right back into the spandex-clad special-effects side of its spectrum. That’s fine with me; I spent far less of my life working in an office than I have gleefully watching people in funny costumes punch each other, so seeing the show’s affectionate way of tackling this material will always appeal to me. It even fits in with the “real time” pacing structure you often see in year-long weekly shows like Super Sentai: we just had Valentine’s Day last week, and thus this week’s episode features Kuroitsu and the team working on a Valentine-themed monster!

One of the key caveats with this holiday-special kaijin is time sensitivity; A monster based on Valentine’s Day isn’t going to be terribly effective if the celebratory date has already passed (ironically, this episode itself aired a few days after V-day!). To make a personal digression, I have a disdain for episodes with holiday theming, specifically Christmas, that don’t actually air in that specific season. The dissonance of any holly-jolly presentation that doesn’t jibe with the weather or social atmosphere of the actual moment is always enough to make every part of my body itch. So to see a trope-wizened series like Miss Kuroitsu enforce that with its in-story mechanics is vindicating. It turns out I was on the right side of history all along!

The road to the introduction of Melty the chocolate monster (the last of the key creatures teased in Miss Kuroitsu‘s opening sequence) is littered with those kinds of wry acknowledgments of the pratfalls of airing children’s entertainment. The idea that the monsters need to be marketable is a neat new angle to discuss, for one. It’s both par the course for franchises like Ultraman, where many of the Kaiju have gone on to become as recognizable as the titular giant heroes, and a frank admission of the fact that the various cute monster-girl designs are definitely meant as an appeal point for this particular series. You just missed this Monday to have artists posting holiday-specific pics of you, Melty, but you’ll get ’em next year! Really though, the most sensible chuckle out of this early run-up is Megastus’s concern that a Holiday-based beastie doesn’t fit with Agastia’s overall theming. But hey, if it’s good enough for online games, it’s good enough for evil organizations!

The rest of the pratfalls of the kaijin-chocolatiering process mostly work as intended. From the cut-rate chocolate supplier that means Melty winds up containing a free jagged metal Krusty-O, to the fact that she can’t be sent after Blader in time due to compromises and delays, and Kuroitsu instead has to present the hero with the toku-monster equivalent of the Star Wars Early Bird Certificate Package. She doesn’t get to do much this week, but I do really enjoy Melty’s distraught little looks as the struggles of her unique existence occuring to her across the short span of her life. It’s the right balance of irreverence and amusement at the behest of genre elements that just feels a bit stronger this time around. That even extends to our usual check-in with Mizuki this week, giving us some real effectual digging into the kinds of cuts and struggles in recruiting henchmen that an economic downturn results in. Those folks really oughta unionize.

Apart from that specific holiday rush, this episode of Miss Kuroitsu also seems keen on actually advancing some elements of plot, or at least reinforcing continuity through what’s otherwise a goofy gag show. Hoen and Elbucky are already back, letting us get a look at more of Black Lore’s inner workings and just how bad a company they really are (evil organization or no, what kind of business has its own re-education camp?!). Their resultant challenge to Sadamaki and Kuroitsu’s monsters also leads to a deeper exploration of an element that crystalizes earlier in this episode: Wolf apparently having developed a precocious crush on Miss Kuroitsu. It’s cute and makes sense given that she’s one of the few people who earnestly, consistently respects his identity he so centrally struggles with. That even factors into the resolution of that monster face-off, as Black Lore’s Purple Mirror monster neglecting to get Wolf’s pronouns right in the illusion he attempts to trap him in instead shatters the effect. I feel like if the series is going to continue mining Wolf’s predicament for humor, that’s a better sort of way to go about it, as opposed to something like the bit earlier in the episode wherein Akashic sticks him in a sexed-up apron outfit and threatens to train him in maidenly virtues.

But yeah, this was an especially fun week for Miss Kuroitsu. I appreciate its angles of social commentary, but if it can make the tokusatsu half of its humor work as effectively as it did in this episode, I’ll have no issue with it continuing to mine that particular vein. This is proof that as long as the series keeps its energy levels up, its jokes can land with the right kind of punch. This might make it work even better if it can further mash up its various commentary and comedy. For now, this one works quite well as a neat little weekend distraction, not dissimilar to those goofy superhero shows its creators clearly love so much.

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Miss Kuroitsu From the Monster Development Department is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

Chris is a freelance writer who appreciates anime, action figures, and additional ancillary artistry. He can be found staying up way too late posting screencaps on his Twitter.

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