Spring 2020 and more COVID stuff

A somewhat disrupted season- it seems like 3/4 of the shows this season were impacted and delayed due to production issues brought on by COVID (very reasonable- people shouldn’t get contagious illnesses so we can watch our Chinese cartoons!). Fortunately most of the delayed shows were shit so didn’t super affect me. And gave me some time to check out some other stuff.

Spring 2020

Good

Hamefura

The unexpected hit of the season. Super enjoyed this reverse harem worst on the isekai genre. Having the protagonist of the show put into the villain role of the isekai game was a bonus twist. For most of the season this was the show that I watched as soon as I could once it was released, although as it began to peter out towards the end that honour did shift to the expected hit of the season. Seeing an anime/iskeai where the protagonist doesn’t have incredible OP powers but does have a multi-year long goal that they have to work towards while balancing a heap of competing factors and relationships was great. And the fact the main character Catarina was an absolute moron (‘Bakarina’) made it quite funny and sweet. In particular the toy snakes, the tree climbing challenge and the friendship bonded over smutty literature. Of course it ended with the power of friendship saving all her friends and such at the end but it was still pretty well executed. The twist of the bonus character was pretty well hidden in terms of specifics but I felt it was clear *something* was up with that specific character when they were introduced. One thing I wasn’t a fan of was how it turned out that one of her new friends was also an isekai reincarnation- of Caterina’s best friend in Japan. Raises a bunch of questions about her dying young too and/or dying normally but never moving on or making new friends. While it did play a role in resolving the final conflict, the two of them never actually twigged about it. Which isn’t surprising since there’s no way a conversation about it could ever happen in universe. Oh also the new best friend Mary has massive fucking tits. Great character. Did like how the anime end was the ‘bad route’ in the game- the friendship route!

Honzuki no Gekokujou

The expected hit of the season, this continued to be fucking great the whole way through. Main’s continued chasing of her passion of books and overcoming the obstacles that pop up within her new church position, her business endeavours and the broader society was great. It got unexpectedly dark with the way it teased some of the problems Main’s (female) retainers in the church has needed to deal with. And the systematic starvation of orphans. Main’s arc did seem to move in a direction where Lutz was no longer relevant to the story… which is perhaps realistic given how many friendship between 7 year old don’t translate into productive adult businesses. Shockingly we actually got up to the opening scene of S1 of the head priest doing mind magic to learn about Main. So at the point the series ends knowledge about the original world and Japan being a thing is known to someone who isn’t the isekai protagonist. And we’re not technically in an extended flashback sequence. As with S1, I got really fucking annoyed when this season ended. Can’t wait for S3.

Kaguya-sama wa Kokurasetai

Another fantastic sequel. Shirogane and Kaguya’s romance takes some key steps forward, led in particular Kaguya as she softens/rounds out as a person through her friendships with the rest of the student council. Perhaps not as many steps forward as one would like, but them getting together would be the end of the show. In particualr the scene where they go stargazing together was a great mix of comedy and squee-ing romance.

Chika continues to be a great mix of comic relief and character prod for both Shirogane and Kaguya. I especially liked the three training montages over the series as she got (comedic) trauma from trying to teach Shirogane how to do things like a normal person (basketball, school anthem and a tradiianl dance). Plus the segments of the rnaodm shit that’s taken her interest (a game she’s developed, horoscopes whatver) provide great fodder by which the characters can interact with each other. Although ending on a random game was a bit anticlimactic (even if it was funny)

The election arc was pretty fun (although I did find it a bit annoying that Shirogane would put himself through the hell of another year of Student Council work when he wasn’t getting extra benefits out of it). A good introduction of Miko (an an opponent who tries to, succeeds in and then regrets poaching Chika; and later new member of Shirogane’s student council) who adds a good dynamic for Ishigami to bounce off. The three episode arc for Ishigami was definitely the high point of the season, finding out about his background and how Shirogane helped him then and seeing how he was able to, with some prodding by his friends, help himself get out of his rut.

The lack of more content with Hayasaka and Kei was sad, but they got some great stuff in what little content they did get. Kei giving her brother advice while Hayasaka tried to seduce Shirogane to prove a point to Kaguya were both great sequences.

Am very eagerly awaiting a hopeful S3 one day.

Okay

Princess Connect Re:Dive

This was just like Konosuba. As it was by the same author or creator. I can’t remember which. Which is funny because those two facts basically made up the entirety of the promo for this show and basis for people recommending it.

It isn’t like Konosuba. Because these are all fundamentally good people who are competent, which is the opposite of Konosuba. And while it was amusing, I wouldn’t say it was super funny, Had a funny gag about the male character continuing being half eaten by monsters who would then run away from him. But that’s about it.

It ended with the least surprisingly reveal of all time (Pecorine was a Princess) and then a massive cliffhanger “the journey has just begun” thing which was pretty annoying given every episode was basically a self contained (or maybe two episode long) are of fantasy-slice-of-life. No overachring story at all until literally the finale. Which of course wasn’t resolved.

I guess it was fine but damn was it disappointing.

Sing Yesterday for Me

As I saw someone post in a comment somewhere, everyone but Haru needs to get their teeth kicked in.

While on the surface this was a bitter sweet romance-drama, the respective ages of the romances (that were locked in at the official pairings in the finale when the only reasonable pairing formed in ep 11 was broken up halfway through ep12…) were fucked.

Rikuo and Shinako went to College together. She became a teacher. Haru was previously one of Shinako’s students but dropped out. Rou is currently one of her students (and the younger brother of her childhood sweetheart who died of some illness when they were in school). Haru wants to get with Rikuo. Rou wants to get with Shinako. There are significant age difference there, and that’s without adding in the teacher-student dynamics going on. This is fucked Japan. Why bring Rikou and Shinako together officially in the second last ep to then just shit on it in the finale. To be frank, none of th em were good matches for each other and none of them should have gotten together with anyone else as the permanent official couple/pair/ship.

Putting aside these cultural differences, I guess it’s a fairly engaging romance-drama about the folly of love and youth and trying to find your way in the world (all of them are in different career/education streams and stages and have to make some decisions on what to do)

Kashigoto

The other surprising show of the season, this one was a bit of yin-yang for me. I wandered between boredom and hatred towards the ‘flashback’ part of the show detailing the life of a Mangaka trying to hide from his 10 year old daughter her drew smutty manga for a living. The first couple eps I found really cringey content wise in these parts which make up the majority of the episodes. But then the episode would end (and/or start) with a really tense and ominous scene of the grown up daughter digging through the dusty remnants of things trying to find *something* out. These bits were absolutely gripping and made me want to watch to find out what was going on. As I suspected, the reveal had shades of the two moods mixed together but leaned too heavily towards the former type with the dad not being dead (suicide had been implied) but infact in a coma due to a comical manga related injury. I must concede this was pretty well made and engaging anime, but I just can’t recommend it knowing where it decides to end. It’s just… a weak way to resolve the tension.

GITS: SAC_2045

People seem to shit on this a lot due to the style of 3D CGI Netflix went with and while it was jarring for maybe the first half an ep, after that I stopped really noticing it. Far more annoying was basically all the original characters created for this series- primarily Shuirin(?), a pink haired girl who manages the Tachikoma’s and is obsessed with Batou and acts like a child. The America NSA guy was also annoying but he was meant to be a douche that the Major and/or the Chief would outmaneuver so that’s fine. I also don’t remember the Tachikoma robots being as childish and silly in the original SAC series as they are here.

From some very brief research it appears to be that they got the original VA cast back for this sequel which was great. Having the characters all sounds the same probably helped get over the animation change.

I also liked the idea of the Post-humans emerging in this universe of cyber-brains and increasing digitization of people. However the series suffered only being 12 eps long. As with the OG SAC series it had a fairly even mix of main story content and random side stuff, (including a funny episode where Batou got caught up in the first bank robbery for 25 years) although is is hard to quantity as the second and fourth arcs are tied in to post-human stuff part way through. But both the original SAC series were ¬25 episodes long and finished the main story. This ends in a cliffhanger where Togusa disappears in front of Batou when investigating a kid who is co-incidentally connected to their post-human investigation. Which means that of the four arcs in the show, three of them don’t have a fucking resolution by the time you finish the series. Which is extremely fucking annoying.

One thing I didn’t like was that the wide, awesome array of skills the Major and the team have have basically been reduced to shooting guns and kung-fu. None of their cool, signature cyber warfare or any detective-ing or other skills. Yes they are very good with guns and fists but the interesting confrontations were way more than that in the original series.

While I enjoyed this show, it’s hard to recommend it to anyone until it’s actually finished and we know if they do a good or bad job at it.

Why did I watch this

Hachi-nan tte, Sore wa Nai deshou!

I should have known this was trash before starting and honestly should have stopped watching it when I accepted it was trash. But it had a blonde with big tits and some vaguely interesting potential so I kept at it.

Started off well enough- dude is isekai’ed into a new world. But while he has memories and is a ‘noble’, he is also five years old and the 8th child and dirt poor. So no easy adventures for him. What an interesting twist on the iskai genre.

But then it turns out he has magic powers. Incredible magic powers. So that potential story was dumped down the drain. A random powerful mage rocks up to teach him at the same time there are reports of a powerful undead lich in the area. Hmmm I wonder where this is going to go? (Was a little surprised at how well it played the emotional beat of the teacher volunteering to die and the protag Well coming to terms with it).

With these magic powers Well knows he is “in danger” from his eldest brother Kurt who, frankly, couldn’t do shit given Well’s magic. And if Well (or literlly any of the six other brothers) took the line of inheritance off Kurt it’d be a good thing. So he goes off to Adventuring School, where is massive OPness has the potential to be an interesting story of country hick being isolated and disrespected. But that lasts maybe 12 seconds before everyone is in awe of him and desperately trying to get into his team. But he’s too anxious to notice until he accidentally forces a bunch of really powerful people into his school group. And all bar one is a “pretty” girl of some time

Not that they’re ever at school because at this point it just becomes a slice of life harem show where Well and his team cruise around casually stomping incredible threats in a way that minimizes the animation budget. Attacked by a big Bone Lich Dragon? We’ll focus on Well casting the single spell that one-shot-kills it. Huge battle in a forest against tens of thousands of creatures? We’ll focus on the POV of the healing character in the medical tent! Trapped in an ancient labyrinth booby trapped by an incredible mage eons past? We’ll show the first and last levels and spent the time between back at the palace showing people talking about how they must be dead. As he does this he is rewarded with increasingly ludicrous amounts of money and titles by the King, culminating in him being sent home in a transparent plot by some Nobles to have him take the inheritance line from his brother Kurt and get to work developing the 1/3 of the continent his family had apparently not managed well for the last… ever. Paper thing machinations ensue, Kurt conveniently dies by his own hand attacking Well and absolving Well of any guilt and Kurt’s Noble co-conspirators are all killed by a vengeful ghost. Woo!

Utter trash.

Notable Garbage

Appare-Ranman!- Steelball run where you take out all the Jojo and insert an airheaded-scientist-cunt who needs to wipe his mouth after eating.

Arte- a probably decent show about a pretty white girl in Renaissance italy trying to become a painter. Nothing actively bad but if female empowerment stories aren’t enough to keep your interest this, well, won’t be of interest

Bungo to Alchemist – Shinpan no Haguruma- not all all related to Full Metal Alchemist. The word Alchemist should be banned from titles to not pollute it. Another ‘we need to save books coz stories are being destroyed’ show. ANOTHER ONE?! WHY?

Fugou Keiji Balance – UNLIMITED- dick policeman solves problems with his unlimited bank balance. I think this was killed by COVID-19 though

Gal to Kyouryuu- by the people who made Pop Team Epic ;?

Glenpir- trash MC and horndog girl have coin operated super powers. Maybe. Apparently had potential but shit the bed towards the end.

Kitsutsuki Tanteidokoro- Japanese Sherlock Holmes with yaoi undertone.

Listeners- anime about music and mechs. Music anime are all bad.

Nami yo Kiitekure- woman is a belligerent drunkard with no self control, turns that into a talkback radio career?

Sakura Wars the Animation- this is like S3 or S5 of a show from the mid-2000s or something

Shachou, Battle no Jikan desu!- Danmachi but an even more “cucked” MC without the quality of animation, concept, story or girls

Shadowverse- bad YuGiOh

Shironeko Project – Zero Chronicle- bad Romeo And Juliet w Angels vs Demons

Tamayomi- a baseball team of thicc girls, where they stopped paying the animators during episode one.

Tower of God- probably fine, interesting concept but fuck me if I’m going to waste time getting hooked on a show that will never end.

Zashiki Warashi no Tatami-chan- a reasonable quality short (well, not in terms of animation) that would have been good if it either a) cut its 4 minute run time in half or b) got a second joke beyond ‘ghost gets angry and yells coz she’s a country bumpkin)

TV Stuff

The Wire S1

This show has been on the ‘to watch’ list for probably as long as I’ve had it. Is often touted as one of the greatest shows ever, peak HBO and part of the golden age of TV.

I don’t see what the fuss is. It seems very average. Has some really good parts but it isn’t really doing anything that special or different. I’d suspect that I was just coming at it too late, but given I binged The Shield S1 which was a contemporary of The Wire; I wonder if perhaps this is just one of those HBO shows that take a couple seasons to really hit their stride.

Also I expect that the fact that it is mid-2020 and we’re in the midst of a global BLM movement; watching a show where the predominant plot is the hero police trying to crack down on a bunch of African Americans who are in the drug business. Sure ‘drugs are bad’ but they shouldn’t be criminalised. And the show even touches on things like how the people in the drug gang are there due to poverty circumstances not choice and how black-market-drugs get cut with random shit making them more unsafe (due to poor regulation and safety QA not existing). And the pretty fucked things the cops do (corruption, brutality etc). Really hard to view it as a right vs wrong thing as the show tries to portray it. The show got interesting towards the end of S1 where it went beyond the police being fucked to the police investigation beginning to uncover how the broader political system was being fucked by corrupt people/politicians and bribes. But in story the characters decided to not go that way so they could definitely ‘get’ the drug dealers (going for the symptom not the cause) so it went nowhere. And then half the characters get fucked over anyway for no real value- McNulty is demoted to water patrol, the token girl/queer character is hospitalised, the meathead guy doesn’t get promoted to sergeant (ok that one is probably good- the police brutality complaints were cited as why he wasn’t given a command). One of the better people turns out to be a snitch for the corrupt higher ups etc etc.

Oh and the subplot about McNulty and his divorce/infidelity/chold custody battle didn’t really go anywhere and didn’t do much other than show that even though he was a ‘good’ cop he was also kind of a fucked person. His wife wasn’t even fleshed out as a character- was quite a lack of female roles. Although there was a lot of African American actors cast, which was pretty good for an early 2000s show I guess.

Oh also I’d heard that Idris Elba was smoking hot in this but he isn’t really. Looks pretty normal. An attractive normal but still normal.

The Great

Dunno how I stumbled upon this but like most Netflix things it seems like a good idea that was not quite executed properly. And had nothing of substance to leave an impact beyond the 12 hours after viewing.

It had a great few opening episodes which prompted me to marathon it over a few days. Which I guess means it did it’s job. But what exactly prompted that… I can’t recall.

Actors did a really good job, especially Holt as Peter II and Fanning as… his wife… whose name I really should remember. Uhh… The Empress… CATHERINE. The Great.

Was quite surprised that as part of the story the idealistic Catherine didn’t reform her errant and backwards husband with her Enlightenment ideals. Instead she met stubborn refusal and pitched battle the whole way. And was largely unsuccessful as other political forces in Peter’s court (and Peter’s general childishness) opposed any sort of change to the social structure.

I found Peter’s aunt a real fucking chore to deal with. Switching between crazy old lady to sex crazy weirdo to semi-compent political aristocrat. With the former two presumably being, to some degree, a front for the third (I say ‘to some degree’ as she gets a few scenes by herself where is is 110% crazy nympho that don’t do anything to progress any part of the show). Ditto the brief subplot about her son as an alternate but literally insane heir who popped about for like 2-3 eps before Aunt killed him herself.

Also got very annoyed that the Grigor betrayal subplot went nowhere. The whole show it was shown that he was becoming increasingly unstable trying to balance his love for his wife (and friendship with Peter) with the fact the Tsar of Russia (and his friend, Peter) was routinely rooting his wife and emasculating him. And huge amounts of their social capital were based on that. To the point he semi-accidentally poisoned Peter mid-way through the series. But Peter didn’t die, Grigor was never exposed and the struggle never amounted to him doing anything (i.e. making a choice one way or the other).

The other thing that got me irritated was how absolutely botched the rebellion by Catherine was. Like they spelled out the various factions she needed to get (Nobles, Regional Governor, Church maybe, the Military, possibly some others) halfway through the series… but despite only hvaing a third of them they decide to spring the revolution early (to save Catherine’s lover?). But half of her allies were killed by going even earlier before Catherine’s too early move and the rest of them were pretty incompetent. They even got beaten before the final act has her making the call again and it then starts again. With no resolution on screen.

So like, is S2 just going to gloss over this and have her in charge somehow despite the incomptency at all levels of her not-at-all-ready revolution? Or will it fail and we’ll be back at the status-quo with her failing, not being killed and then continuing to plot? Or will it never be resolved coz there is never a S2? Honestly I feel it should have ended with Catherine turning Grigor (through discovery of his poisoning and leveraging his conflicted emotions) thus winning the nobles, getting a key step closer to the revolution. Or succeeding in the revolution and taking the throne (with a potential S2 then dealing with the start of her own rule to become Catherine The Great). As it is, it seemed like it tried to balance plot progression with comedy elements and made neither work.

Some good things:

  • the scene(s) where Peter tortures his Noble Court to try find the traitor who poisoned him (pre-excusing his good friend Grigor and wife as it obviously wasn’t either of them…) and Catherine. But Catherine interrupts the schedule and demands to be tortured to prove her innocence. Combined with the following dinner where she gives a big speech (after Peter’s goes down poorly coz he is an ignorant buffoon with his spoiled upbringing) showed her clearly winning them over
  • The scene(s) where they went to hang out with the Swedish monarchs. Where the King was as much of a buffoon as Peter and the wife was a fair bit more svavy… and could foresee the fact they were likely soon to be overthrown after bringing things like enlightenment to the people and making them see how fucked the monarchy was. Then the was the two Generals had identical, pragmatic outlooks about the horrors of war and the adjutants (led by Catherine) had to coddle the two Monarchs to force them to agree to a peace.

Space Force S1

Hopefully this is like the US Office with Steve Carrell where S1 is terrible but it gets better. I barely finished the first episode. None of the jokes were funny- they were basic, cliche and obvious from a mile away. The “win” the MC got was immediately undercut (i.e. China stealing his satellite with a better satellite) and it had so many goofy decisions that were meant to hook interest for resolution but were just dumb (e.g. his wife being in jail for some reason after the time skip).

Not funny. Not interesting. Not surprising?

UnReal S2

Watched most of awhile ago (and ages after watching S1), then finished the last half of the final episode this week.

Watching it in a post-BLM era, like The Wire, was a bit weird given how it was (in story) taking advantage of African American issues by having a black suitor. Although not going with the ‘all Southerners are racists’ was an unexpected move.

And a lot of the big issues from S1 were kind of swept under the rug (like the Rachel-Adam thing, Jeremy’s entire arc). Or were brought back when they didn’t need to be (e.g. the Chet-Quinn stuff)

But yeah I guess it was fun. The way the new show runner manifested was a bit cliche, as was the clearly suss ‘Yael’ contestant (turned out to be an undercover reporter). The addition of Mr Fantastic (form the Fox Fantastic Four movies) as a big shot billion are buying up TV stations was an interesting addition. The Chet stuff didn’t really go anywhere. The corruption of Madison and the suffering of Rachel were quite gripping to watch. The big reveal about Rachel at the end seemed kind of cheap though- dropping childhood trauma as your finale climax is a bit… yuck…

As with GITS:SAC 2045, the most annoying thing was that S2 didn’t actually finish its story arc. And it wasn’t engrossing enough to warrant me trying to acquire S3 anytime soon.

RWBY Vol 4-7

As with RWBY Vol 1-3, I found this a really fun show and think people should give it a chance past Vol 1 (and the start of Vol 2…). But I’ve kind of fucked myself in writing any review because so fucking much as happened from the end of Vol 3 to end of Vol 7 that thing I noted for Vol 4 are no longer relevant.

One thing that is still relevant is fuck I hate how they end the Volumes literally in the middle of things. In particular both Volume 4 and Volume 7 in the middle of battles (Qrow vs Tyrion and Salem invasion respectively), leaving massive cliffhangers (not to mention the incredibly Vol 3 cliffhanger plus the ominous Vol 6 pseudo-cliffhanger ending). I get that it is to drive people to watch the next volume but damn is it irritating. Especially 4 and 7. The other ones are least are break points in the story, if not the ending of specific arcs.

The inability of the good guys to communicate and co-operate in their own fucking interests is incredibly fucking annoying. Vol 7 has a particularly egregious instance of this where Qrow and Clover are fighting. Clover having been told to arrest Qrow by Ironwood and Clover tries to do this despite a) not wanting to and b) Qrow insisting that they go directly to Ironwood to talk about *plot stuff*. So there was no need for the to fight. More so when the ship they are using to transport serial murderer and known Salem lieutenant Tyrion crashes and the strong political presence and mutual good person ally Robin is injured.. AND THEN Tyrion breaks free of his restraints and joins in the fight to try kill both of them. So rather than doing the obvious fucking things of a) not fighting at all and b) stopping fighting to help Robin and c) 200% stopping to fight each other and team up to re-capture/kill Tyrion; instead we get a ‘cool’ three way fight where Qrow and Clover continue to fight and whoever doesn’t have the upperhand actively cooperates with Tyrion to fight the other one with fancy combo maneuvers and such. WTF Roosterteeth. Given these two were in an active Bromance for the entire Volume; this makes zero sense for both character motivations and story reasons. In the end Tyrion kills Clover with Qrow’s weapon and escapes, because having Salem lose two of her top lieutenants in a single volume would be too much (spoiler- turns out she loses none coz Ironwood doens’t kill Arthur Wells either). And I guess they wanted an emotional moment of Qrow being sad about Clover dying and there being more misunderstandings between the various good forces to overcome.

Similar shit happens at the start of Volume 7 when a Atlas/Mantle (can’t remember which) military person is introduced specifically to be a roadblock who bickers with a tertiary character who’s tagging along with Team… uhh… RWBYJPRQO) and thus deny them access to a location that they should have been able to easily get access to through like, at least three different avenues.

This is in stark contrast to the arc in Menagerie (yes the place where everyone is an animal-person is called “Menagerie”, unusually on the nose for RWBY naming) has both the good and bad people being actually competent in their various roles. So it is an interesting struggle where, with some suspension of disbelief, it is not clear who will win. Or without the suspension, legitimately anything except the titular RWBY characters could very much be killed because their opponents are good at what they do and won’t go down easily. Over the course of the several volumes that arc evolves through Blake and Sun (featuring alive and competent parent’s clearly showing RWBY is not an anime) the different factions within the Whitefang as well as the general populace are shown (with legit points on both sides) and come together through realistic events/actions when Adam Taurus’ inadequacy/insanity is shown. I’m a little annoyed that Tauros was killed off when/where he was. Yes having Blake and Yang finish him is great for their character arcs but it was too much of a… side event? And made it all seem a waste of time. Having him bounce further into Salem’s factions, maybe augmenting himself with Grimm-bits liek Cinder to revocer from injuries, would have kept a personal stake in the conflict up for Blake and made that whole arc relevant to the overall story. As it is is basically is just a side adventure for Blake who’s only impact on the main story is that it distracted Blake’s attention (aside from her character development).

The other thing that is annoying is how many characters and concepts there are that just aren’t fully fleshed out before disappearing or being sidelined. Basically every student and staff member of any of the Hunter Academies not in Team RWBY or Team JNPR. Or Sun (who’s three teams mates include Neptune, who’s afraid of water, and two other guys whose names I don’t know). All the non-Qrow hunters that are encountered. Any non-Raven people in Raven’ (and Qrows) tribe. The entire concept of ‘dust’- despite Torchwick stealing it being a plot driver to start with what it can/can’t do isn’t really explained and it disappears completely as semblances and Maiden powers and Silver eyes and god-magic are introduced (each of them being not fully fleshed out before the next comes along). On one hand it’s good to see a world full of characters who aren’t the primary protagonists. On the other it is increasingly clear they’re not so much characters as ‘a person with a cool weapon/magic idea someone had’ which get progressively and more silly/stupid/ridiculous as the series progresses. One bloke fights with a fishing rod, and wouldn’t you know the big battle he is in happens to involve a very specific circumstance where that is vitally useful! The exception to needing more fleshing out is Neo(politan)- she is best left as a mystery/enigma. A crazily competent third party with no loyalty to Salem/Cinder or anyone with Torchwick gone. Although if she does stay allied to them the whole show that would be disappointing.

I do like the details and inner-workings we’re getting with Salem’s crew- the origin story of her and Ozpin (what shitty creator gods), the Hazel background for why he hates Oz, the struggles of Cinder to control her stolen Maiden powers plus Salem’s Grimm powers, the second guessing (and maybe betrayal) of Mercury & Emerald, the slow reveal of detail for the shamed scientist Arthur. The only one who isn’t interesting is Tyrion- just a typical madman. Also liked how they turned the Lionheart guy from Ozpin’s side to Salems and how that manifested in the Vol 4-5 story

I also (ironically) love how they try to cast Ozpin as some sort of morally grey person but he hasn’t really done anything wrong. Oh no he gave Raven and Qrow the ability to turn into birds at their discretion to use as they want/needs with no pain or negative side effects. But he didn’t ask them first so it’s terrible and made Qrow a drunkard maybe? Oh no he didn’t tell the global population about the unkillable evil incarnate Salem trying to murder/enslave them… because in a world where every human settlement seems to get overrun by shadow-monsters attracted to negative emotions making that info public surely wouldn’t have any negative effects yeah. The only ‘bad’ thing he does is his reincarnation cycle where he apparently possesses currently alive people rather than being reborn as a new baby (although it is maybe implied him resurrecting into Oscar is unusual). Does he absorb those pre-existing people’s souls and semblances and such? Do they die or are they added into his cycle of eternal life? Is being added in a better or worse fate to be randomly allocated? (Also Oscar and Ruby maybe having the hots for each other is Twilight levels of age difference so that’s maybe a second bad thing Ozpin might do soon)

Loved when the Winter Maiden/Crone kicked Fall Maiden Cinders ass. Also loved when surprise Spring Maiden Raven also kicked Cinder’s ass. Also a bit fan of Cinder’s ass (as of Vol 7 she’s the closest anyone is to having Absolute Territory and seeing a competent villain struggle and improve is quite fresh).

Also a big fan of Winter Schnee. Seeing her being dangerously competent as everyone around her isn’t, yet maintains a conscious unlike Ironwood (so far at least). Also has huge tits even with her very restrictive military uniform. Penny is ok but I find her childishness a bit grating as it continues to not really change. Until the end of Vol 7 where it did and she was suddenly interesting again.

Touching on ridiculous weapons, the juxtaposiiton of Ironwood vs Arthur being two guys with guns compared to the stupid Qrow-Clover-Tyrion fight and the insanely magic power augmented RWBY+JNRO vs the Ace-Ops Hunters

I don’t love how every volume the characters get a new design for episode 1. Specifically when, in story, they literally haven’t had a chance to go buy new clothes and grow three months worth of extra hair to put into a new style (looking at you Weiss). They better never change Tai’s costume- that man managed to hook up with and impregnate both Raven and Summer within like two years of each other despite (or because of) his love of 3/4 length pants. What a legend.

The mech fight at the end of Vol 5 was pretty unexciting and typical. Maybe them trying to advertise/test the concept of Rooster Teeth mech stuff before Gen:Lock started? The train stuff also dragged on a bit longer than needed, but did get some good bits of lore done including silver eyes and the Salem-Ozpin(-Maiden?) history.

Oh wow, I had no notes for RWBY and I’ve written quite a lot. Cool beans

Stargate SG1 S1 (+Movie)

As part of the COVID shut down, like with RWBY and bunch of mates have started watching/rewatching Stargate. Starting with the movie then SG1, and eventually Atlantis and Universe (even at three eps a week, there’s a long time until we finish SG1).

When I was a kid I watched bits and pieces of SG1, enough to know the overall plot but not the details, and owned all of Atlantis on DVD (I think it was on free-to-air TV in Aus but SG1 wasn’t?) and have never seen Universe. So it was interesting watching the initial movie and then the first season of SG1. I mean, the movie was nothing to crow about but I liked how they used it for the basis of the TV show and then wrapped up it’s various threads (e.g. Jack O’Neil being a cold badass due to family stuff in the film is given emotional closure halfway into S1 to led Richard Dean Anderson make him into a wisecracking smartarse instead). That being said in that particular episode, letting Jack’s estranged ex-wife see an alien life that has taken the form of their dead kid so she can “say goodbye to their son” is surely a) a terrible breach of national security/secrecy and b) a terrible idea for helping her deal with the trauma of her dead child.

Similarly the way they took the main characters form the movie and spread them over the place: Jack and Dan into the main team, Ferretti into a second team off screen until the finale, Catherine… uhh… just getting shunted aside and having that called out in the plot, Sha’re and Skaara used a plot hooks. And Kawalsky used in the second episode to set the stakes as high/real with him being captured and killed by the enemy. A really good use of the various character to tie things in and get storys, arcs and stakes set; while keeping things free enough for the show to find it’s own groove

As one might expect some of the lore is a bit wonky e.g. to start with every time they use the gate there are crazy vibrations and they get covered in ice. Then they stop doing that coz it’s too expensive for a TV effects budget and sort of half address it in three lines of dialogue spread across 3 separate episodes. And the mechanism by how the gate works (co-ordinates and DHDs and such) are pretty inconsistent (e.e. in the pilot the Goa’uld leave earth without dialing out, in Solitudes Sam only trials dialing to earth rather than to any other location)

The effects themselves and CGI are a bit dated in places but generally holds up pretty well for a show that is 20 years old. Similarly dated are some of the early episodes ham-fisted women empowerment issues. But when in the context of a) a TV show in the 90s and b) the real world US airforce only having let women join in the early/mid-90s; it makes sense both in universe and from a production view to establish that Captain Carter is a fucking badass just as much as Jack and Teal’c. Although it does get a bit ridiculous as the episodes roll on just how much stuff she can do/has done. Aside from being in the airforce and getting Captain rank; she’d done several tours of Iraq and got 400+ hours of flight time, done at least one PhD in astrophysics, spent a year working on nanotech at the Pentagon. Possibly had medical training as well. And some other things I can’t remember. The only things she doesn’t appear to have studied are volcanology and childbirth (the latter being used for comic effect as it is assumed by everyone else that as a woman she would know that stuff). Although the bad-ass warriro stuff is a bit undone by Singularity where she beomce aproxy-single mother for a random child who becomes a bomb and nearly explodes. Do get some great Sam-Daniel development there of supportive friends which is great.

Daniel was a surprising horn-dog of a character for the ‘nerdy arts major geek’ character. He stayed on Abydos to marry his hot slave wife and then hooked up with at least two other women (a cavegirl and Goa’uld queen Hathor) despite his motivation being wanted to rescue his slave wife from the Goa’uld. And I vaguely feel there were maybe a couple other ladies he hit on or fucked. Preety sure there are scenes where Teal’c protects his wife from being alone with Daniel and Dr Janet Frasier doesn’t want to be along in a room treating Daniel… what is that mman doing off screen?! Is also amazing how he happens to know everything about ancient cultures (and very convenient in the extremely boring ‘Fire and Water’ that he is the one abducted coz anyone else would have just been killed by that random alien who doesn’t get mentioned again)

(Not even worth commenting on how randomly everyone speaks English… except the Goa’uld/Jaffa some of the time… regardless of whether they’re talking to other Goa’uld or generic other people.)

Was surprised how much I hated the Nox and the Tollans given how much of a role they, I think, play in the series going forward. The Nox are annoying tree hippies and the Tollan are arrogant cunts who take Sam’s cat! They don’t have animals on their world, the fuck are they gonna feed it?!

A lot of episodes had promise or seeding cool ideas but didn’t really go into the,. Bloodlines introduced Bra’tac and hinted at a larger Jaffa insurrection (and Bra’tac does a cool rapid-fire blast maneuver with his staff no-one else can pull off) but otherwise is a bit meh. Thor’s Hammer and Torment of Tantaslus also hint at other races and larger powers but are kind of disappointing with not much of interest happening in the actual episodes. Solitudes introduced a second earth gate in Antarctica and implications about pre-Goa’uld usage in that area (and some Jack-Sam shipping?) but they don’t mentioned the second gate again (also the random rescue team who saved Jack and Same from dying of hypothermia were, I assume, executed off screen)

Some things are quite frustrating- Hathor is a terrible episode that is somehow both anti-men and anti-women with its storyline. But For The Grace Of God was a great idea but the execution hinged on Daniel being an absolute moron for 2/3 of the episode and not clocking that him taking a weird piece of alien technology may have done something that caused the entire Star Gate Command to be different (i.e. he was in an alternate universe). Politics had some great new characters and concepts split up throughout the rest of the ep being a clip show (which was fair enough from a production point of view- saved budget to be used on the finale, made a clip show make sense in universe/story and was understandably preferable to a bottle episode for an ‘action’ TV show being characters stuck in a boardroom talking). Cor-ai was just a less good version of ‘A few Good Men’ where the court system was stupid and a thin excuse to give Teal’c some clumsy character development (we get a bunch of flashbacks over the course of the episode… and if Teal’c had just explained the full flashback story at the beginning the conflict would have been resolved in 30 seconds. He literally had all the info about both the specific incident and the plants culture to get himself out of trouble, he just didn’t reveal it all at once.)

Perhaps the most annoying episode is Tinman. In previous episode it’s been established that one of the primary purposes of the Stargate program is to find weapons and allies to fight the Goa’uld (and maybe the Russians and Chinese and whatever back on Earth). And in Tinman they come across an almost abandoned advanced civilization tech thing that has the ability to duplicate people and put them in incredibly strong and smart android bodies. As demonstrated by it duplicating the SG1 team and the duplicates being way stronger, healthier, smarter than the originals. However rather than , I dunno, making a mass army of super soldiers to fight their enemy they decide to leave the place and have the one survivor of the original civilization block off their gate.

As an odd note to wrap up, the order of epsiodes on the DVDs I am using is weirdly different to the broadcast order available on streaming services. For example ‘The Nox’ is listed as ep13 for me but is like ep6 or so in broadcast. Which is a much more sensible placement. There’s a few other ones that have moved with suggest at some point they tried moving things around to make more sense in the larger narrative e.g. giving each of the mian characters development, progressing the overal Go’auld story, laying the hooks for larger narratives, wrapping up Movie plot stuff. But I think they fucked it by having two of the worst epsidoes, Emancipation and Broca Divide as the two episodes that immeidately follow the premiere 2 (or 3) episode arc. Like we get all this set up about the Goa’uld being dnageoru and abducting Daniels wife and leading to Kawalsky’s death… to then get a lesson about women’s rights delivered so some awkwardly racial Mongol typed peoples and then an Stargate person going a mad due to sun exposure and thinking he is Jesus reincarnate (or something). Really feel those eps should have been later on.

Anyway, it was a fun if a bit wonky season but definitely did enough to make me look forward to seeing how the broader story beats resolve. Especially as three of the four main charcaters (Jack, Daniel and Teal’c) all have a personal stake in the Earth/SGC vs Goa’uld/Apophis fight; a really good mixing of world building/lore and character arcs.

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