What’s it about? Monthly Moso Science is a magazine dedicated to investigating the strange and paranormal. Its editorial staff consists of Taro J. Suzuki, who considers his job treading water until he can become a househusband; and Jiro, a perpetually bored young man with hidden powers. Their daily routine is shaken up by the arrival of young scientist Goro Sato, who claims to have discovered a cover-up around the lost, ancient Mo Continent.
Are you in the mood for an American ‘80s cartoon? Delusional Monthly Magazine feels very much like a throwback to that era, for good or ill. It’s bright, colorful, and silly in a way that’s hard not to be a bit endeared by on some level; but it’s also really loud and a bit flatly written, as if wanting to ensure an eight-year-old will walk away with a good grasp on the concept and cast by the time credits rolled. I, meanwhile, walked away feeling simultaneously annoyed and a bit guilty for that fact.
I can see how the story is meant to function. Goro is a Milo Thatch type whose enthusiasm makes him oblivious of the bad luck that clings to him. Jiro puts on a jaded façade but has a childish excitement about the possibility of supernatural mysteries; and both of them end up dragging would-be slacker Taro in with them, since he’s the one who gets smacked with the supernatural powers stick at the end of the episode. That’s a reasonable setup for wacky shenanigans, and director Miyawaki Chizuru certainly has solid experience working on multiple seasons of Gintama and Cute High Earth Defense Force LOVE.
But nothing here gels. The episode is underscored by brassy oompa music that frequently intrudes when nothing especially wacky is happening. Our three leads go beyond “establishing a baseline” and into feeling paper-thin even for an introduction. The color palette is bright but the actual settings feels pretty drab, with a lot od nondescript interiors. Women do exist, but they don’t have much to do yet beyond briefly telling Taro to get his shit together. There’s so much sedentary exposition about the Mo Continent (which is basically Atlantis) that the actual climax of the episode—Goro almost being murdered by conspiracists—doesn’t kick off until the 16-minute mark. It’s minute 20 before we’re clued into what is, if the opening is to be believed, the show’s main gimmick: pretty boys transforming into extremely muscular furries.
“Abnimals? In MY anime?” Is the kind of baffling decision I can normally get behind, at least for a few episodes. But it comes so late into the actual proceedings and the anthro designs so unappealingly designed (imagine if WereGarurumon was a tiger, then slap some eyeshadow on and perch a wig on top) that it felt more like the episode had wasted my time before delivering an emotional anticlimax. I can see where I should appreciate the archetypes on display and the bravado of the transformation gimmick, but it’s left me utterly cold.
It doesn’t give me much pleasure to feel that way, as I’m always rooting for creative anime-original projects to succeed, especially when there are women in significant creative roles. Maybe this’ll get a handle on its pacing and lean into its own absurdity, but with other strong comedies already off and running it’s hard to muster the enthusiasm to find out.