What’s it about? Mujina Najimu is a five year old girl you’ll find anywhere in Japan. She is also the CEO of Mujina Company. Together with her loyal employees and friends, she aims to play as hard as she hardly works. Chaos reigns in this rapid-fire short skit anime that asks “What if Boss Baby was made by the creators of Pop Team Epic instead?”
Content Warning: stereotypical depiction of South East Asians
The moment you start up Cute Executive Officer, you realize you’ve probably made a mistake. A shrill girl’s voice starts shouting at you that she’s the boss like she’s Andy Samberg at a performance review. What follows is pure chaos. Explosions, gross food, a dance number, costumes, alligators and a trip to space. Congratulations, you just got through the OP. That’s a minute and a half down, 26 more to go.
This first and only episode was a series of short skits quickly cut together. Officially, the 13 segments were meant to be released weekly over the cour, but it seems Sentai decided to just release it all in one go—kind of like ripping a bandage off to start out 2021, I guess.
Najimu is a cute kid, innocent to a fault and a five year old who is weirdly precocious without coming off as such. Being the CEO of a major company, she is able to go on errands to the corner bakery to buy some bread…wholesale for the company’s new sandwich shop venture (but she does make a bit of a childish mistake, whoopsie).
Objectively kind of awful and totally unfit to run a major corporation, Najimu still somehow wins out against Alec Baldwin in that she is depicted as a child, rather than a child who needlessly acts like an adult. The absurdity seems to lie more in how her company stays afloat despite their CEO’s flights of fancy, rather than the incongruity of a child acting like a middle-aged executive. No one actually thinks Boss Baby is cute. I’m sorry. There, I said it.
Given the mile-a-minute speed at which the show takes its jokes, Cute Executive Officer does suffer from a bit of information overload. There’s a lot of text on screen, and that’s not just the subtitles for what people are saying. Things flash by so quickly, you’ll probably find yourself going “wait, what just happened” and rewatching things at least twice to get some segments. Whenever there is a particularly text heavy gag, it especially becomes a sloppy mishmash of subtitles. Compounded by someone’s decision to subtitle Najimu in uwu speak, the show becomes exhausting at times to keep up with.
I, a native speaker, eventually turned off the subtitles so that I had less things assaulting my eyes, and it was still a lot.
The show stays relative PG, but one character stands out as a caricature. Garcia, Mujina Company’s janitor/hitwoman, is a woman from a non-descript country that appears to be African or South East Asian. Her foreignness is highlighted by her neck rings and obvious foreign accent. She has a tragic backstory as the sole living survivor of a once-proud tribe of warriors brought to ruin in a war. All of this is played for laughs, however, and Garcia’s very existence becomes more of a joke than anything.
Other moments that seem weirdly concerning: a man cautioned by his doctor to adopt a healthier lifestyle is taken in by Najimu, who proceeds to treat him as a pet dog. In some circles, I guess that’s a little kinky, but hey, he seems happy (and it’s 100% G-rated), so I won’t kink shame.
At the end of the day Najimu inspires all of her employees and friends to get in touch with their inner child. That’s probably not a bad thing. She’s a good kid and innocent to a fault and at the end of the show, you feel like you’ve grown to care about her and everyone around her for being silly, but likeable people.
I like absurd skits like these. I started this show thinking I would thoroughly regret everything about it, but the human element for many of the characters quickly won me over. Exhausting though it may be, Cute Executive Officer was a great way to get me pumped up for the new year.
Editor’s Note: We generally don’t have the funds to add shorts to our review load, but since Sentai released it as a mashed-up full-length episode, nobody figured our it was a short until after the fact. It’s not like we weren’t gonna pay Chiaki for her time. So….here you go.