Content warning: fanservice, toxic work environments, gender dysphoria
What’s it about? The Secret Society: Agastia plots for world domination in a Japan filled with Sentai heroes and other rivaling evil gangs. Toka Kuroitsu, along with her boss, Professor Sadamaki, are charged with the task of designing a never ending queue of new beasts to face their local hero: The Divine Swordsman Blader. Kuroitsu feels pretty good about her latest project, it’s on-time and on-budget. Nothing can possibly go wrong, right?
Before we get started on anything about this show, let me state for the record.
I rest my case.
What, you’re here to read my opinions on whether there’s anything inherently wrong or good about this show? You don’t want to just stare at a magnificent screenshot? Okay, fine…
Miss KUROITSU is a show about the mundane in an extraordinary setting. Like Heaven’s Design Team, Kuroitsu is tasked with conceptualizing and developing new monsters for her shadow organization. Taking a jab at the “monster of the week” trope, the overworked geneticist must design memorable (yet disposable) new villains who will do battle with sentai and magical girl heroes in the Tokyo Metropolitan Area.
The show knows this is all ridiculous, and thus far, the actual “good vs evil” fighting that takes place in the show is hammed up for laughs. Perhaps most notably, the show’s cold opening features Megistus, chief of staff in the evil society, giving a status report to his leader that other secret evil societies have been failing to get a foothold in other regions of Japan.
Over-the-top sentai flourish aside, the charm for KUROITSU comes from the mundane existential dread of working in an office with demanding bosses and a limited budget.
At first glance, Kuroitsu and her boss seem to have it kinda good. After bungling a presentation, the imposing Megistus shows up in her lab to remind her that she should be honest with him if projects are running behind schedule and scolds her for not using her paid vacation days. The extremely caring and healthy work-environment makes one wonders if perhaps it is our society that is truly evil. I mean, those employed by the evil secret society are dedicated to world domination as salaried employees, while the sentai hero defending Tokyo is out there working two jobs by moonlighting as a convenience store clerk when he’s not slashing monsters.
However, all is not rosy for Kuroitsu and her boss. Their projects are complicated by their supreme leader’s whimsy, as the great leader of Agastia introduces last-minute changes that nearly derail Kuroitsu’s otherwise on-target project. In the first episode alone, we’re treated to Kuroitsu and her boss passed out at their desks twice after pulling overtime to cobble together their monsters on time, betraying that perhaps the super secret evil society seeking world domination are, indeed, the baddies after all.
The crunch culture at Agastia also leads to a joke where gender dysphoria is the punchline as Kuroitsu is ordered to change their latest beast man in development into a beast girl. Wolf Bete–who was developed in every way, shape and form as a man–is stuffed into a sexy wolf-girl’s body to serve as the show’s biggest source of fanservice, much to Wolf’s dismay. Read from my-extremely-specific-fetish, this is something I can absolutely relish, but looked the other way (of a man uncomfortable with how his body is fetishized as that of the opposite gender), there is a measure of yikes for Wolf as he becomes the butt (and boobs) of what is likely going to be an ongoing joke, since he is headlining as part of the main cast for the show.
Gender antics notwithstanding, Wolf’s character becomes one big fanservice shtick as he spends most of his screentime naked this episode, and remains scantily clad even while dressed. Kuroitsu even remarks his sexual humility is a feature, “not a bug” like he’s some kind of launch-day Bethesda game.
This last bit might be what keeps most people from watching a comedic show playing off of super sentai themes, but it happens to be my jam as a garbage person, so I’m totally on board with this show for now. Kuroitsu is largely a relatable character for me, for I am no stranger to the dark humor of being overworked into a fugue-state. What’s more, the show is chaotic, but it knows when to show restraint and doesn’t just rely on yelling absurdist humor at you to demand its laughs.
So please, join me if you will, but I will not fault you if you wanted to watch something better this season.