“Businesses don’t necessarily stay the same forever” is the wisdom dispensed as Miss Kuroitsu and the Monster Development team sit on the precipice of potential change here in this latest episode of the series. Superhero stories like the ones this show riffs on are usually built on some sort of stockpile status quo, but everything has to be turned upside down in time for a finale. Obviously, this is not the real end of Miss Kuroitsu; the original manga is still ongoing and the episode makes it clear that the weird antics will continue (with several plot threads, as this series has had, still very unresolved). But still, this end of the season plays into the idea of changes in series like these, and the big game-changing finishes that can result from these setups. It’s pretty much the exact kind of ending I could have asked for from this show.
One of the smartest bits of this finale is how they fully integrate the “corporate” and “super-villain” gimmicks for this one. Mergers and acquisitions are an expected part of corporate business, but you’ve probably never seen such a hostile takeover! The story isn’t even singularly opposed to the idea of Agastia being absorbed by Zet Arc at the start either; points are made on the resource advantage they would receive, something we know Monster’s development team has struggled with all season. Instead, the main controversy boils down to the attitude we’ve had before: Agastia may be evil, but they’re trying not to be fools about it, while those Zet Arc guys are downright unpleasant. Every good company has principles they should stick to, and as we’ll find out later in the episode, Zet Arc doesn’t even have any respect for monsters or the fine craft behind them. Truly unforgivable.
All of this is put together quickly in service of a grand final battle that can bring together all of the disparate players, heroes or villains, from this series to unite against Zet Arc. Even average looking like Miss Kuroitsu has always been, the show is still selling pretty well this episode (and it’s looking a lot better than last week’s), mostly due to the amount of stuff that’s thrown onto the screen. There’s this loud “Everyone’s here!” sense, with the Magical Girls, Black Lore, and ultimately Blader himself jumping out not of aligned agendas, but simply because they all agree on how much Zet Arc sucks.
There’s an appreciation here for the motivational relationship between heroes and villains in toku-style shows among all the other elements that Miss Kuroitsu lovingly kissed on the medium. Good or bad, these sides are apparently both beloved by audiences, as they are both essential to entertainment. Besides the main characters on display here, this final battle takes a long time to edit out all the local heroes and their accompanying villains that the series has touched on throughout its run. It’s a nice indulgence in a finale like this, which feels like a true homage to the very institution of tokusatsu action on which this series is based. These kinds of local live performances often depend on the cheers of the audience throughout them, and you get the sense that the creators of Miss Kuroitsu here were trying to get that kind of reaction even from kids and adults watching at home.
Not only does it succeed as a parade of real-life character cameos, but it also harkens back to its own history. Anyone who follows shows like this knows it’s a big deal when a character gets their own new transformation toy, and who but Miss Kuroitsu herself would get such a thing for the big finish here? It even ties into the show’s mechanics, which along with the power-up element is itself a ‘monster’ that we saw the dev team work on earlier, and what d What else could we expect from a villainous group’s final plan than an evil version of the hero they oppose? Maybe Kuroitsu donning the Black Blader costume herself wasn’t the original idea, but any good toku show just knows how to run with quirks that happen thanks to the weirdness of the production. And as expected, it comes off as a total fist moment when she teams up with Blader here instead of fighting him like they always have.
That overarching celebratory metatext is what does it for me with this finale. Zet Arc’s leader denounces the styles of these monsters and heroes as “inefficient” and downplays the small budgets they’re forced to work with, but we know those “limitations” are a big part of what makes tokusatsu what it’s all about. It is. Those outlandish costumes and overt poses for attacks might be “ineffective,” but it’s also cool, and having to work within budget constraints requires a lot of creativity. “Monster development has endless possibilities” is the wisdom that Miss Kuroitsu works with, and until the end, it was a scrappy little show that proves it. It’s not perfect, but it “gets it” and appeals to fans’ appreciation in this very serious way.
Miss Kuroitsu from Monster Development Department currently broadcasting on
Chris is a freelance writer who enjoys anime, action figures, and additional ancillary art. He can be found staying up too late by posting screenshots to his Twitter.