Episode 8 – Miss Kuroitsu From the Monster Development Department

Miss Kuroitsu has proven to be a pretty hit-or-miss show, but thankfully, this week’s entry comes off as one of the successful ones. And I’m thoroughly convinced it’s Megastus who is the secret sauce. The dude is basically the walking embodiment of a single great joke, that of a villainous commander actually being an excellent, caring boss. But that one joke is just so solid and works well on both Miss Kuroitsu‘s superhero and business-humor levels that it can’t really miss. As well, due to the nature of Megastus and his whole bit, the writing can pretty much just drop him into different situations adjacent to other characters and let his gimmick and personal chemistry carry the scene. All this is to say that while Miss Kuroitsu is fine as a central character, I’d absolutely take a spin-off all about Mr. Megastus’s Middle-Management Blues.

Take the opening half of this episode, for instance. Those magical girls are back, but instead of simply seeing them go to work battling some of Agastia’s monsters, they end up infiltrating the organization as prospective combatant hires, giving them some face-time with Megaistus. Previous passes at mining jokes out of the Magias partaking in pointedly un-Magical-Girl-like behavior boiled down to them having some sharp-tongued speech or honking each other’s boobs, but here, the idea of ​​them engaging in espionage allows for the much more enjoyable absurdity of the duo transforming into their magical girl forms, only to then change out of their frilly outfits and into civilian disguises. Poor Yuto’s “Why are we even here?” reaction sells the ridiculousness of their situation, and that’s before they realize they might have been unprepared to deal with the threat of Megastus, World’s Best Boss.

This breaking down of the role of combatants in supervillain organizations is the kind of observational tokusatsu comedy I come to Miss Kuroitsu for. What do these mooks actually do, since ‘combat’ isn’t really one of their uses, and how rigorous does the hiring process need to be? Something as mundanely absurd as sitting in on a job interview for henchmen run by an overly-polite general bent on world domination is already the sort of thing that could carry out this whole show, but Miss Kuroitsu Sees fit to throw in other wrinkles, like characteristic surprising suggestions that Reo might be specifically interested in Yuto’s transformed Magical Girl form, or a newly solid little fight scene as the girls realize that Megastus has been on to them this whole time. Dude specifically expresses qualms about fighting children being employed as combatants by professional hero organizations, and wishes them luck on their future endeavors. Maybe the world actually would be better if the crew he’s part of managed to conquer it.

The other parts of this episode see Miss Kuroitsu playing with its broader world-building and continuity in ways I appreciate, since it makes it clear that this isn’t going to be a joke-a-minute series. Some of this is simply more of those continued wry observations like Yuto’s hesitance to embrace the monetary aspects of the pro hero business, even as we know that’s one motivation Blader has for trying to step up his own game. Blader himself, meanwhile, gets confronted by Miss Kuroitsu deploying a fully-realized version of the monster concept she BS’d up at the very beginning of the show. The whole sequence that follows is some seemingly stock superhero send-ups, but works because he knows how to play off the tropes it’s riffing. Like of course Blader scores a new form-change as he seems on the verge of defeat – that’s how it always goes for heroes. But then he’s confused afterwards because he actually doesn’t know where the new power-up came from other than, you know, plot necessity. Similarly, you’ve got the lamentations of Kuroitsu and the Monster Development crew over needing to scrap future plots to now plan around Blader’s form changes (I don’t know that I ever appreciated how inconvenient all these new upgrades would be for the bad guys ‘ logistics). And of course, those ponderings converge on the episode-ending shocker that Blader’s secret identity of Kenji is actually the younger brother of Professor Hajime! This show is weaving a tangled web I’d be interested in the following even if it was a ‘serious’ superhero show!

But even amongst those complications, Megastus remains the MVP here. His consolation of Kuroitsu after that latest monster’s failure touches on the unique philosophy of villains I’ve always found myself interested in these kinds of stories: They aren’t the ones fighting a battle they can’t afford to lose. These bad guys can take all the time they need figuring out the best way to beat the heroes and take over the world. It’s an amusing take on the concept of active villains versus reactive heroes, and I appreciate how it is made downright inspirational by this show’s unique slant. But I guess that’s just the power of a great boss like Megaistus. He brings out the best in both the characters and the show itself.

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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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