Summer 2019 Season
Overall this was pretty disappointing season for me. But I wonder if it was because the season itself was bad or if I made it seem relatively bad by rewatching some older shows which were really fun.
Fruits Basket– I’m fairly sure I touched on this in a previous blog but I was really worried about this remake as the original from circa 2001 has a special place in my heart. But goddamn this show was fantastic. I cried every episode for a big stretch because of the emotional magic being weaved as the characters experienced new things and grew. The only bad thing I have to say about this show is that I have to wait for the second half in several months time.
Araburu Kisetsu no Otome-domo yo: a fantastic show looking at the “joys” of puberty through the lens of five young girls in a smutty school literature club. Was really refreshing and interesting to see the ideas of sexual desire and horniness (hornyness?) and attraction to others from a female perspective. It’s not something that is common in media and it’s especially weird coming from a conservative a place as Japan. I found that the five protagonists had varying levels of ROI for the time invested in them. In particular I found I really didn’t like the President’s storyline. Meanwhile I found the storylines for the wannabe manga artist and the “hottie” performer really varied; some episodes they were great and other episodes were a struggle. In particular the bits where, respectively, a teacher really fucked the student-teacher boundary in one and there was a legitimate paedophile in the other were not great. The childhood friend romance character’s storyline (arguably the main story) was pretty great the whole way through. I was disappointed with the last character because… well… nothing really happened with her storyline. They randomly tried to wedge in a lesbian angle but it seemed really ham-fisted. They touched a bit on how fucked boys could be in it but it didn’t really go anywhere. But some of the best parts of the show was where the characters and storylines overlapped and intersected. Really good. Arguably the show peaked about an episode early due to some poor pacing and half of the last episode was just stretching for time. But this is the only one-cour show from this season worth watching.
Machikado Mazoku– this was a fun show, but I’d only recommend it to people who are pretty big fans of the Magical Girl genre. It’s a comedy version of that where we follow the “evil” demon side of a magical girl vs demon fight. And their incredible streak of bad luck in their efforts to get enough power to fight the magical girl at their school. Some friends of mine say the jokes got a bit too repetitive but I didn’t find that a noticeable issue.
UchiMusume– a very niche trope of a show: single bloke adopts a small female child and raises her as a single parent. To, presumably, marry her as an adult when they realise they love each other *in that way*. Fortunately the show doesn’t cover that much of the story. So we just get the heartwarming story of a young bloke discovering the joys of parenthood and children. With the twist being this is a fantasy world and the Dad is an OP adventurer, while the Daughter is an abandoned demon child. A very fun but ultimately forgettable show. Apparently it butchered a story arc to do with the demon girl experiencing racism at her new school but who has time to read manga to see if that’s true. A few bits were overplayed (e.g. the level of love various small animals have for the demon daughter) but it was overall a fun show to watch.
HenSuki– I loved this show ironically the begin with as a piece of art. It was literally a hentai but minus all the actual nudity and sex. It was so weird. All the characters, the outfits, the ‘story’, the camera shots, the voices… all screamed hentai. But it was a broadcast TV show. Then as I kept watching I think I legitimately started to enjoy the detective mystery: who left their panties with the confession letter to the MC? And why?! The answer/ending was kind of obvious in the broad sense but the specific detail was quite unexpected. But yeah, dunno if this show could be called “good” or even “respectable enough to admit you watched it”
DanMachi S2– this was a disappointing sequel. The pacing was so weird, the first arc was squashed into 3-4 episodes when it probably needed 5 episodes to be coherent. While the middle arch was stretched over 6-7 episodes when really it only had 5 episodes of content. And then there was a random arc jammed into the last two episodes which was basically just rushed world building to try set up the next three seasons of storylines. Also despite the name I think they spend about two minutes in the titular Dungeon, and half to that was a post credit scene in the last episode. Also the rampant slut shaming that made up the middle arc was pretty fucked. And then the random line that made it all ok coz ‘the prostitute girl had never had sex and was still a virgin so she’s still ok and clean’ (paraphrasing) was incredibly fucked. Also the weird fat shaming where they made the one fat woman comically stupid and evil for no reason. Such a disappointing sequel, it makes me wonder whether the original show was actually good… especially given how average the movie was.
Given– a rare exception to the ‘all anime to do with music is garbage’ rule, while I enjoyed the show while watching each episode, as the weak progressed I was less and less motivated to actually watch each episode. To the point that I stopped watching with two episodes to go for no real reason and only finished them just so I could wrap up this blog. Is an interesting boy-on-boy love story through the lens of a band with a friend’s suicide pre-series really fucking one of the MCs up. And the music is actually tolerable, decent even. I suspect I will finish this at some point
Kimetsu no Yaiba– a young guy yells a lot while swinging his water magic sword to kill demons and save his demon sister. I am assured this show is actually the greatest thing ever and around episode 18 has one of the most beautiful battle scenes ever committed to screen. However I didn’t really care. After an interesting training arc we were given basically monster of the week episodes that then led into “oh there are 12 general you’ll need to face before fighting the main guy and there’s no way this is getting done within the 24 episode series”. The world was interesting but I found all the characters to be obnoxious and/or predictable. Maybe I’ll finish it on my iPad while running on a treadmill at the gym or something.
Vinland Saga– the opening arc of this was fantastic, if a little unrealistic with how insanely strong Thors was. But once Thors was killed (in a pretty bull shit way) and it switched to his son it was stupid. I can only put up with two episodes of whiny, rage filled teenage boy but that kept fucking going.
Kanata no Astra– this show wasn’t so much bad as it was clearly just Lost in Space but anime this time. And I’ve already been fucked over by Lost in Space not having an adequate finish twice so I wasn’t game enough to get invested in this. Apparently it has a really well handled character arc of one person being gender-fluid but once it was confirmed to me that the show ends with them still, well, lost in space I decided to not get invested in this.
Dr Stone– everyone is frothing over this show and I am strongly told that it gets fantastic after the first arc. To the point I may go back and look at it. My specific problem was the MC being an arrogant jerk who said ‘10,000%’ too often for a science guy and the three initial side characters were idiots. Like one of them literally punched a lion to death in one blow, but then couldn’t kill another character in a fight even though that character refused to fight back. Also they went to resurrect a girl and got all immodest about seeing her nude, which really doesn’t seem like a priority given their situation. I’m assured by multiple people that the starting arc is the worst part of the story and a few episodes after the point I dropped it the annoying characters literally fuck off to go do some long term mission and way better characters replace them. But I don’t have the time or inclination to see if they’re telling the truth, maybe some day in the future.
Granbelm– this show should be my bread and butter having magical girls and mechs. But for some reason it didn’t quite click for me. The story was just not quite engaging, the characters weren’t quite there, the general world was slightly off somehow, the art and animation were (presumably) not super great. Allegedly it has an excellent moment of emotional pay off circa ep10 so maybe I’ll give it another chance in the future.
Joshikousei no Mudazukai– this just reminded my of Daily Lives of Highschool Boys and how that was way better. But maybe this is a Guren Lagann vs Kill la Kill thing where as a dude I just naturally like the male version of this concept. The thing I found particularly grating was the opening gag of each episode being a) not that funny in the execution and b) identical in every episode.
Lord El-Melloi II Case Files– the first episode of this was great because it reminded me of Fate Zero and how cool Iskandar was. And how great Waver’s character arc was thanks to Iskandar. But then it became a fairly typical detective mystery show… with the exception that unlike a normal detective story there is no fucking way any human viewer could actually piece together the solution. More evidence to my the theory that the further you get away from the Zero+UBW “main” storyline in the Nasuverse; the worse the thing is (noting that Zero wasn’t actually written by Nasu).
Dumbbell Nan Kilo Moteru- low quality ecchi combined with incorrect advice for going to the gym.
Enen no Shouboutai- people seemed to froth over this but I found the characters simultaneously one-dimensional/boring and way over the top. Especially the ‘I frown when I’m happy’ MC. Was a bit inconsistent with how bad these fire things were and the capacity of the Fire Force to effectively fight them. Also I’m 99% sure the church is somehow responsible for the fire demon problems.
Cop Craft- generic fantasy combined with a generic buddy cop twist with a generous layering of horrific animation
Isekai Cheat Magician- the epitome of the horror of the isekai craze, SAO has much to answer for
Maou-sama, Retry- episode 2 was interesting (after a meh first episode). The idea of a competent but not OP person in an isekai is definitely my favourite iteration of the genre. But then ep3 it introduced some stupid character switcheroo thing which replaced the MC with an abhorrently annoying alternative and it was immediately dropped for idiocy
Nakanohito Genome [Jikkyouchuu]- this was just weird. And it was such a poorly executed concept- they had to get their livestream to hit a certain number of total views… which means they could just sit back and wait for it to happen. Would have made more sense if they had to hit a (absurdly high) number of concurrent viewers before they could escape to their home world
Okaa-san Online- probably the most trash thing ever made as an Isekai. The idea of having to live in an isekai game world with a parent who is shit at games is a fairly related ‘horror’ version of the genre. But having the parent be a) OP as fuck and b) insanely sexualised and c) a moron completely wasted this great idea.
Sounan desu ka- an interesting idea, four people stranded on an island, made great by the fact one of the characters has Megumi from Saekano’s voice. Then ruined by the characters being boringly absurd and the Megumi voice not being the MC.
Tejina-senpai- dumb, poor quality echhi ruining magic tricks.
Arifureta Shokugyou de Sekai Saikyou: I was hoping this might be an edgy version of DanMachi, maybe something like Grimgar x Made in Abyss. It was just bad. Incoherent story with huge bits being skipped, unlikable characters (including a big titted [tittied? titty-ed?] rabbit girls who’s character trait was wetting herself in terror). I actually dropped this show and then picked up a random episode because I thought people were lying about it: they introduce a dragon girl character who is brought into the building harem by having the MC anally violate her with a massive pole (and then beat the shit out of the pole) which triggers her masochism. It’s fucked.
As mentioned previously, I discovered I could stream anime on my iPad while working out and running on treadmills. And because I’m too cheap to give any streaming service money, I’m using this as an opportunity to rewatch shows or check out things I’d heard were good but not got around to.
Re:Zero– This show has such a strong opening two arcs (initial reincarnation and the mansion stuff) and fantastic closing arcs (white whale and witches cult). But fuck me the middle stretch of episodes is literally unwatchable. Subaru goes from being a likeable MC who is gaining understanding of his ability and the world around him to a complete fuckwit who is actively fucking everything up for everybody around him despite him having already learnt things and dealt with things in previous arcs which make his ridiculous choices make no coherent sense. I really loved rewatching this and getting hyped for future stuff in the world but I recommend giving a hard pass to (approx) episodes 10/11 to ep 16/17. They’re unwatchably bad.
Boku wa Tomodachi S1 + S2 (“Next”) aka ‘Haganai’- peeling back the curtain a bit, Sena in this show was my first hardcore waifu so I have some strong nostalgia glasses for this show. That being said, I think that S1 is still a legitimately awesome piece of TV, the mix of comedy with the very real feelings of loneliness and struggling to make friends and live the “typical” school live is fantastic. The only “bad” part is that Yozora is legitimately an awful person. Given she’s one of the two main heroines for the MC that’s terrible. Sena, and the rest of the girls who are technically also potential love interests, all mean well and want to try help each other and improve themselves. And they’re just naive idiots. But Yozora is an obstinate bully and a bit of a cunt to the others, Sena in particular, which makes her really unlikeable. But given I ‘stan’ Sena, I’m fine with that. S2 unfortunately didn’t hold up as well for me. Some of the comedy got a bit tired and while the Rika character arc was probably the best arc of any character in the whole show; the massive turn in the last couple eps and the idiotic twist, cliff hanger end was atrocious. Although I did like the little story that was told in the mid-episode pre/post ad break clips as the episodes. All up, I would recommend people go back to check it out.
Kokoro Connect– despite some of the absolutely (and ironically) fucked behind the scenes action that accompanied the production of this show, I really liked it. It mixes up the body swap trope in some interesting ways and has some really emotional moments as the characters have to confront each other and themselves about their issues. In particular the arc where Heartseed make Iori jump of a bridge after confessing to/with Taichi and the consequences of that were heartbreaking. I only could watch the first 13 eps through a streaming service which is a bit frustrating since I know there are four more out there that wrap up the story. A very strong recommendation, the music is also quite good.
I Can’t Understand What My Husband Is Saying S1+S2– a fantastic comedy/romance short about an otaku guy and his normal wife. Mainly from the perspective of the wife. It’s almost sickeningly sweet but manages to pull of being so wholesome. Absolutely loved it. Even the ED song is super cute.
Sweetness & Lightning– the only negatively received rewatch this season, when I first watched this is was a lovely story about a father connecting with his daughter through the avenue of cooking (after the recent death of his wife/her mother) while a shy student of his deals with that and her disconnected family situation. This time is was much slower and less wholesome than I remembered. Dunno why it didn’t land this time around. I think I just got shitty at a small child throwing tantrums and people not communicating clearly so problems escalated when they should have been easily resolved.
Bodacious Space Pirates– the name of this absolutely put me off when combined with the image of a female dominate cast. I thought it’d be a horrible ecchi set in space. I’m honestly not 100% sure why I thought I’d give it a crack this time. Turns out it’s actually a pretty funny slice of life combined with a pretty solid sci-fi setting and an action packed story. Some of the gags where thin (like Chiaki’s ice cream love or the songs used to summon the pirate ships) but they’re pretty small jokes. But the characters are unique and interesting, as is the world of these quasi-organised and sanctioned “pirate activities”. The building of stakes as the story progressed happened at a really good point too. That said, it isn’t anything that’ll blow your socks off. This is a ‘if you have time and/or life sci-fi and comedy, check it out’ recommendation.
Beyond the Boundary S1– I remember trying to watch this years ago but couldn’t get past the first episode. I’m not sure why. It’s KyoAni and it looks fantastic. And the set up for the story is really good. In fact, the whole season’s story is really good. The characters are great, the comedy is funny, the action is spectacular (even on a shitty iPad screen). This was a really fun show to watch and I’m annoyed I didn’t watch it earlier when it was coming out and people were frothing over it. Although I didn’t feel the urge to jump into any sequel stuff straight away, which interestingly was the same with another KyoAni show I recently watch ‘Love, Chunibyo & other delusions’ so maybe that’s a trend I should look into a bit more. Although I liked Beyond the Boundary more that Chunibyo. Very much recommend and I plan to hit more in the franchise at some stage.
Psychopass Extended– This is a re-broadcast version of Psychopass S1 which, as far as I can tell, is just making it into eleven 44 minute episodes rather than twenty two 22 minute episodes. Although I’m sure they’ve tweaked bits and pieces throughout. It’s been so long since I saw Psychopass stuff. And this was fucking fantastic. The extra length episodes let them compile the different incidents into single episodes while still building up into the larger Mashima villain arc. Mostly. In some parts the longer episodes has a plotline finish mid ep and then starts on something unrelated which was a bit jarring. I’m still gutted over what happens to Kagari in the middle of the season. And I want to see a satisfying continuation/resolution to Akane and Kogami’s story… the movie doesn’t count. Nor does the misstep that was S2. I very much recommend checking this out.
Random shit I’ve watched, anime and not.
Youjo Senki Movie– really fun watching this show move past WW1 in this alternative universe and make it’s way to a WW2 (in a world where Germany didn’t lose WW1… and there is magic…). Watching Tanya fuck up the Russian Communists was very enjoyable. And running through that entire campaign (I assume) as a feature length film rather than 4-6 TV eps worked really well in terms of being a coherent and well paced storyline.
Masamane-kun no Revenge OVA– a thing that randomly dropped into my lap. Wasn’t particularly great but I wonder how much of that is due to me barely remembering the show. The weird scene where the MCs Mum, Aunt and Cousin all hit on him coz they look identical was quite weird. Probably worth steering clear of unless you’re into the show and remember it quite well.
Re:zero Memory Snow OVA– one of the reasons I wanted to rewatch Re:Zero was to get me ready for this. I needn’t of bothered. I think I managed about 3 minutes before I started skipping ahead, realised there was nothing interesting about the background piece into Puck and Emilia so I stopped watching it. And it was Subaru setting up his date with Emilia which 100% did not need a 50 minute special to go into intricate detail… at least if you don’t need to get dating advice from anime…
Tensei Shitara Slime Datta Ken OAD 2– this was boring. Some bad jokes about a female character being a terrible cook. And a very tenuous excuse for a beach scene (even by anime standards). That’s it. (No picture for this one because it was a hassle to try fit it in. Just imagine all the acharcters in bikinis and swimsuits.
Australian Survivor S4: Champions vs Contender 2– a shockingly good piece of television despite my misgivings over the repeated theme relying on C-list celebrities to gain viewers. Even more shocking when you consider that half the players (Contenders) played the game terribly while the other half (Champions) basically didn’t play at all. But this meant that the handful of people actually playing were able to manipulate some fantastic moves (and some got picked off along the way), leading to probably the best final 6 ever. The final episode was over at the halfway point as it was clear that the person who won final immunity was just choosing who they would lose to in the final vote. I’m also not a fan of the general reliance over strength and/or endurance in the challenges throughout the show. It makes it quite boring having effectively the same challenge happen over and over with the same results. Although there were a few unique ones in there, I suspect the requirement for a challenge every second day (compared to US Survivor) for a longer amount of time on a smaller budget (again, compared to US Survivor) is the culprit behind the repetitive challenges. Was also some very dodgy editing e.g. splicing together clearly disparate sentences into “confessionals”, the “controversy” over Pia’s immunity win, Simon Black’s entire time on the island. Also got annoyed at the people who were complaining over there being no reunion while also creaming themselves over the (very premature) All Stars Season and… actually I’m going to stop here because I really liked this season but the more I think about it the more problems I’m thinking of.
Bachelor Australia S?– I dunno what season this was up to. 7 maybe? Was the one with the Astrophysicist. This show has jumped the shark as very clearly only 1 or 2 of the girls were buying into the idea of ‘looking for love’ and the rest were very clearly there to cause drama, get ratings and/or launch media careers. Was one “shock” moment when the front runner farm girl was sent home a few episodes before the end. But I was honestly more concerned by a) the 100% focus on sexual chemistry by one person being presented as legit love and b) the amount of slut shaming directed at that person by both viewers and other cast members. Pretty fucked.
Banshee S1- a pretty good… drama(?) show about a dude released from prison who ends up impersonating a sheriff in some back water county town and has various run ins with both the law and criminals. Which he solves very much not by the book. While also pursuing his estranged ex who is the daughter of a Ukranian mobster living under a pseudonym with a family who don’t know her history. Honestly the only thing I don’t like about it is that it is very dated to that era of TV of ‘game of thrones is super big, lets throw in heaps of unnecessary naked chicks to get ratings’. Although there was one scene where a naked chick was receiving oral from her husband so I guess that’s empowering… sort of…
UnREAL S1– a good dramatisation of the behind the scenes shit that makes shows like the Bachelor although I was expecting it to be a documentary of the behind the scenes shit that actually DOES make up the Bachelor. It was pretty fun although if you don’t like shows like Bachie I don’t think you’ll get much out of it.
Better Call Saul S4– I tried watching this a couple times when it came out but it just didn’t click. I randomly tried it again (assuming it would suck and I could delete it off my computer) but suddenly it worked. And it was fantastic. This show goes from strength to strength. In particular I really liked the storyline with Mike and how that ended up playing out. Would have liked a bit more of the drug cartel stuff from Nachos perspective. Or maybe a bit of better integration of the storylines- it seemed like we’d get 3 episodes that focused on two storylines, then one of thsose storys would be dropped and a third would come in for three more eps. Then the one that had gone for six eps would be forgotten so the one that was dropped at ep 3 could come back for three more eps while the third kept going. (That description makes sense in my head). basically some characters and storylines would just disspapear for episodes at a time and it felt a bit weird. But otherwise I highly recommend this series, although I acknowledge that it doesn’t work for everyone and you need to be in the headspace for a slow burn show.
The Boys– if you’re sick of the Marvel and DC and general superhero mania craze, this is for you. A great take down of what would happen in the real world if superheroes existed- they’d be commercialized and become corrupt (and inept) as fuck. Karl Urban was great in this and from literally the opening scene it does a great job telling you exactly what this show will be doing. Even the awkward stuff like sexual harassment/assault in the workplace is dealt with in a really effective way. And the mixing of brutal gore with comedy is done incredibly well. Interesting to see that they’ve gone in a different direction that the comic books with some details, especially towards the end (allegedly, I obviously haven’t read them). Looking forward to S2 when it inevitably happens.