Holy crap this is highly delayed. I completed underestimated how much crap I’ve watched. Plus it all got a little conflated with my Summer Hermit watching so I may be double counting a few things here.
Fall 2019 Seasonal
This was a fantastic show, definitely AOTS. Despite being in the very tired genre of isekai it an an interesting twist in that it had a female lead not a male lead. Which in hindsight is a shockingly rare set up. Perhaps related to it being a female lead it wasn’t about being an OP fighter but instead using real world knowledge to be a clever inventor and savvy business person (well, mostly savvy business person- one of my few issues with the show was how often Main somehow forgot how revolutionary/profitable her ideas were and just gave them away. Once was reasonable, every time after that was just taking the piss). I also really liked how her identify as a reincarnated person was learned by a peer and rather than drawing out the ‘try and keep them non suspicious in case they don’t really know something is up’ they resolve it very efficiently within a single episode of time. I was a bit salty that the show didn’t get to the point of the story that the pre-OP part of ep1 was flashing forward to but the announcement of a second season made it more bearable. Overall it was a fantastic show that had believeable characters and a fairly interesting world/social/political set up that was developed really well as we saw it through Main. The only real issue I had with the show was the concept that magic exists in the world and can manifest in anyone but that the nobles haven’t set up systems to scoop up any peasants who manifest magic to get control of their abilities given how a) powerful and b) rare magic manifesting is. To the point that the peasant classes have a named illness that has a 100% kill rate in their children who have magic powers but aren’t trained to deal with them. This was non-sensical waste of resources was further exacerbated in the last arc where it reveals that there is a current chronic shortage of magic that is absolutely necessary for harvesting food. To to point that Main can strong-arm people who want to use her magic to give her everything she needs/wants. Other than this, a really fantastic show and I highly recommend it.
This was a pretty great show too and an anime original story which is an increasing rarity these days. My biggest knock against the show was that it tried to do too much- every person involved in the soft-tennis club had some sort of issues to deal with, even the one girl who was just an unexplained fan of the club and would come watch. And even the main opponents in the tournament at the end of the show had big personality issues that they got to confront and try to overcome (with mixed success as the plot demanded the MCs to win and lose specific games XD). Like the main MC was struggling with poverty, isolation and an abusive father who he and his overworked single mother tried to avoid. The second MC had *some sort of issue with his Mum* that wasn’t properly explored or even explained over the course of the 13 episodes. Another one had horrific burns and trauma from being abused as a kid. Another was being bullied/controlled by his Mum who wanted him to focus on studying and nothing else. Another got in a fight with his dad and broke his arm. Another had some problem that I can’t remember. The girl had depression and like, writers block or equivalent with her online art persona thing. Even the supervisor had I think some issues being an effective authority maybe? All that being said, the character problems that it does have time to flesh out and deal with it does so really well, with a great use of the camaraderie via saving a failing school sports club. And learning about the weird Japanese cousin of tennis “soft-tennis” was interesting… as much as they explained the sport which they didn’t really. All in all, a solid watch with a good mix of sport-drama and character growth that I probbaly won’t ever think about again.
I remember liking S1 of this but this season was generally pretty disappointing. Like it was just the same jokes and ideas as S1 again without any real growth or development. Until literally the last episode or two where there was suddenly a huge focus on actually finishing school and making decisions, followed with an epilogue set a yeah later where they’d actually made decisions and one person was moving to Australia to study. Although none of the characters managed to actually hook up and get in a relationship with the MC. I found the middle chunk of this season particularly a drag because it was a series of 1-2 episode arcs featuring/focusing solely on individual girls. Which means that if if wasn’t your preferred female lead (which is of course Furuhashi as the objectively best girl) the episode was pointless wheel-spinning. But I was surprisingly emotional with the epilogue scene as it was set up as a definitive ending to the story. No potential S3, no need to go look at (read: buy) manga or light novels to find out how things go. It was a clear and definitive end which is such a rarity. But I wouldn’t really recommend people watch this unless this genre is up their alle
This was an interesting one where I dropped this after the first couple eps coz it was a fairly typical isekai and the ‘twist’ of the overly cautious MC hero spending all his time training than actually doing the mission wore very thin straight away. And the sexualisation of the goddess female lead was done really weirdly and uncomfortably. But then I got spoiled (deliberately) on the back end of the story where it was explained why the guy was so cautious and how it related to some of the highly placed gods/goddesses in the gods ranking system in their home realm. Which was itself an interesting idea and I was interested to see how they played that out. Mediocre-ly as it turned out. And the way they resolved the issue of the hero dying(?) and the goddess breaking rules to try save the hero and the world from the fucked situation they ended up in was pretty stupid. Basically set up a repeat of ‘you saved one impossibly difficult world, as punishment you now need to save an even more impossibly difficult world’. Also the jokes of each god’s training regimen/methods were a bit of a mixed bag. But I did like the way that it turned on it’s head the trope-y uses of the people in the main world e.g. a sidekick who was meant to be sacrificed to make a special sword, an all-powerful human ally who turned out to have switched sides etc. Nothing ground breaking but if you like cool fantasy battles and underdressed female characters is maybe worth giving it a crack.
This was a pretty bad show. Had an interesting concept of like a world in darkness with lantern-esque cities as oasis of life with rich and magically powerful nobles living in them and weird-maybe-half-human creatures coming out of the darkness who need to be fought back. But then it didn’t really do anything with that and instead focused on developing the teacher-student turned quasi-lover relationship between the MC tutor/war veteran and his 12-14 year old MC student who he sneakily gives magic powers to. And you can tell she was very/too young by her lack of oversized breasts. There was a bit of funny stuff between the MC tutor and his counterpart who was a famous magic person and was teaching the far more successful/competent cousin of his student. But then there was a reveal that they had a connection from when they were children which made their subsequent (or prior?) interactions a bit weird. Then the main story arc at the end was some non-sensical political play bs inflicted by people we barely knew as characters against the MC student’s dad/family. That was then resolved in a fairly silly way that was trying to set up more story stuff that will never get animated. I guess someone might be interested on continuing on reading the books but like, why?
This was hot garbage and looking back I’m surprised and ashamed that I actually watched the whole thing. I guess I was just hoping it’d rise to the same comedy gold as Konosuba given it was by the same creator. It started with a terrible joke of the main MC german suplexing a princess and a close up shot on her panties that lingered too many times and for too long. Then later on the MC turned out to be a massive furry and sexually assaulted someone. And through the whole series the literal trauma they were given from this was played for laughs via the exact same joke multiple times. And that lazy comedy was the worst part- for example there was a joke where people would call the MC a “Monster Killer” or whatever and he’d one-shot KO them. Every episode. Someone (often the exact same person) would call him the exact same title (about killing animals) and he’d react the exact same way. And they’d drop some incredibly valuable piece of equipment, who the MCs sidekick would pick up and then sell for money. The only part of the joke that changed was the piece of loot, otherwise the joke was lazily unchanged- and an easy tweak would be to have the title he was called get more and more crazy (as in, people misunderstood his reaction as thinking it was underplaying his skill/power rather than him reacting to the idea of killing animals). Otherwise there was nothing special- the wrestling twist on isekai didn’t add much. I think because the idea of a wrestler (as opposed to say an MMA fighter) being an unbeatable warrior in a world of beastmen and orcs and dragons and shit just didn’t fly. I think the only bit I legit found funny was the scene where they introduce the dragon-girl and her vampire servant. Where vampire is making big declarations on a roof and the MC starts throwing rocks at her. Then the dragon-girl joins in throwing rocks. Aside from that the characters and their arc were fairly standard and the action was nothing special.
Legend of the Galactic Heroes- Die Neue These
This show is great. Was an adaptation of three movies (I’ve linked to the first one) into 12 episodes so some of the individual break points were a little off. Building on my effusive praise for the first season, I don’t have any more to add- the complex world and characters here are great. I also don’t put much stock in the most common criticism I hear of the show that the people are two pretty. It’s maybe true but it is undoubtedly more watchable than the 80s original series in terms of the art style and animation quality. Don’t get me wrong, the original was great for the time but it looks very dated. And while I do personally feel the quality of the story and characters in the original vastly outweigh the dated look, for those who can’t get past it (which is valid) this remake is fantastic. Also I’m led to believe it may be starting to have difference to the original as it adapts things differently (kind of like the Evangelion rebuild?). Which relates to the translation of the German subtitle. But most importantly0 fuck I feel so sorry and sad for Kirchesis and what happened to him. He got so close and the situation that led to his death was so bullshit (but not ‘bad writing’ bullshit, understandable but annoying character decisions bullshit). But does set up Reinhard for the inevitable fall after he achieves success. Am also a little confused about the earth cult stuff who appear to maybe have a lot of behind-the-scenes power on both sides but that will presumably be built upon in future seasons.
Watashi, Nouryoku wa Heikinchi de tte Itta yo ne!
This show had a really fun premise (based on statistics!) and was also an isekai with a female lead. But while it started pretty fun, it got pretty same-y as the episodes progressed. The four girls in the party were interesting but didn’t have a whole lot of interesting development beyond becoming better friends. Even with an arc dedicated to each character that went through fairly tropey stuff (one character had family killed by bandits while young, one character was a runaway from rich family fighting against gender stereotypes, one was being forced into an arranged marriage but man who’d killed father and taken over family/business). And there was a lot of stuff that was inconsistent- like in an early ep the MC does some magic and creates with ease the apparent fourth sharpest object in existence as her friends sword. And then that and it’s very interesting potential consequences are never touched on again and it basically functions as a normal sword.
This was not a good show and what I did is probably not even counted as watching. Basically I’d download the uncensored version and skip through to find how often it showed tits and for how long. That being said the opening scene of a shot of a sign that said ‘cow crossing’ which then panned to a train crossing where the MC with massive boobs was crossing was a great visual gag. Otherwise the story was based around a non-sensical sport and the characters were cardboard cut outs. Although there was a chubby girl who’s level of chubbiness and size of insane tits changed with every shot she appeared in. So wasn’t exactly good/consistent art or animation. Was hoping for a repeat of the surprise greatness of Keijo! but no luck.
This may have technically been a previous season but I only finished it this season. It was a fine/solid sport anime. Which given this is the third time the author had done the exact same story isn’t a surprise. Was a bit surprised about the final few baseball games turned out and also surprised that the show ended on 25 episodes. Also the sound mixing was god awful, the character voices are so quiet it’s hard to hear even with the volume turned to the max. Aside from that it’s a decent show to half watch while doing other things.
Not as bad as OAD 2 but still not great. Just a random little story about Slime-boy dreaming about introducing sumo to his city/nation and shit getting out of hand. A lot of ‘sexy’ shots of the various girls in sumo gear. Meh
Psychopass- Sinners of the System 1 + 2 + 3 and S3
With the 3rd season of the show starting this season and me riding the high of the S1 rewatch I decided to water the inter-quel movie trilogy set between S2 and S3. They were fine. Each one was a different pairing of detective+enforcer set at different times relative to the timeframe- one pre S1, one post S1 and one post-S2 ( think). The stories themselves were self-contained and generally fine but I think each of the three introduced one small piece of info that could be important for going forward- like someone knowing a piece of information or something leaving one location to get to another. Honestly I’m not sure what could have been done with this as the only good part of this show has been S1 with the Akane+Kogame pairing and without that pairing it’s kind of bad (or very bad). But that pairing begins with S1 Ep1 and ends with the S1 finale so there literally isn’t any extra time periods of them working together than can be explored.
Which then leads into S3. I watched one and a half eps and just couldn’t make myself give a shit about an entirely new case of characters. Especially with the double length episodes and the only character I recognise suddenly gone from junior detective (in S2) to completely in charge in S3 with not explanation in the interquel movie focused on her.. So I’ve put S3 on hold and will see if I can ever be bothered to go back to it, which given I’ve not gone back to Index S3 is not looking very likely
(Noting that I guess Psychopass S3 should be here but whatever)
This started out with a pretty interesting first episode of a cool murder-mystery thing but it then quickly devolved into a complete mess between a) the introduction of convoluted magic elements e.g. a woman who used her magical prettiness to hypnotize men into doing what they want and b) an absolutely fucked release schedule
Ahiru no Sora
This was probably a pretty solid school sports anime in its own right but I just couldn’t care about it. From the first episode I could map out the whole arc- the idealist new kid who had talent and a crazy work ethic (spending four hours a night shooting hoops) will reform each of the delinquents who had previous played basketball but dropped it in highschool for *reasons*. And they’d then do well enough in some sort of interschool comp.
No Guns No Life
One of my mates loved this show but I couldn’t really see what the fuss was about. It had an adult version of FMA’s Winry and the MC was kind of like Alphonse and a sort of interesting concept/world but that’s where the good stuff ends. In the first arc the MC takes responsibility of a kid in some fucking long low circumstances and then the art/animation take a huge dip in quality (and not from a particularly high starting point). And I’m just not a big enough fan of the hard-boiled-detective genre for me to bother to keep watching.
Ore wo Suki nano wa Omae dake ka yo
This was another one that a mate really fucking liked and while I got it to a point (five episodes worth which is quite a lot for something I ended up dropping). But while I recognised it was funny, it really just struck me as a less good version of Gamers! (which itself only had a good first half and then dropped off a cliff). The highly repetitive cycle of the MC having each beautiful person come inches away from confessing to him then left turning into a confession for his best friend was, well, repetitive. Then that best friend actively and publicly “dogging” him leads to everyone turning against the MC for no coherent reason. Then enter the true female lead (a library-nerd-student who hides her incredible hotness with glasses and chest binders…) stalks the MC and uses blackmail and convoluted trickery to get everyone back on side. And there is a recurring gag about a magic park bench that gets nonsensical almost immediately. Worse still the MC is the ultimate combination of a character with no backbone when things are unfairly against him and no compassion for when anything nice/good does happen.
Haoukago Saikoro Club
The third in the trilogy of shows a friend really likes but I didn’t, this one is a about a group of school girls getting into boardgames. I’m not really a fan of boardgames but I’m told that all the games they play are real (and presumably fun). Upon quizzing the people who do like this show, it honestly seems to just be that they like recognising real boardgames not only being actively played but also in shots of the shelves of the shop they hang out it. Needless to say, not much of a reason to be into a show. I guess they’re meant to be cute girls doing cute things so if you like that much more than me then maybe this show has some additional appeal. It seems to have an interesting trick where there are three main characters and then a fourth person rotates in each ep to have even numbers for a game and introduce a bit of variety into character dynamics (while still technically developing the fairly tropey main three girls). Also the number of people they run in to who seem to not even be aware of the concept of boardgames and overreact to every little thing gets a bit tired.
Mugen no Juunin – Immortal
This reminds me of Dororo where I would probably like this show if I managed to hit it with the right combination of ‘old style art and pacing is good’ and ‘enough free time to risk wasting on a potentially mediocre show’. Lots of samurai fights and gore with some supernatural elements mixed in. With an unkillable samurai maybe going on a journey with a young lady seeking revenge on the people who murdered her family. If you’re into that stuff give it a crack I reckon. Although would probably be a safer bet to just rewatch Samurai Champloo.
An odd comedy, apparently it’s really good but something about it just didn’t click. Some random kid is sold to a demon by his parents and the demon wants the kids to become his son. Gets sent to demon school even though he’s a human. Hi-jinks ensue as he has to protect his identity but turns out to be quite powerful (German suplexes an honour student accidentally while being attacked and earns his subordination, does a ritual to bind a lesser demon to him and accidentally binds a teacher to him). Eh. Not for me. Art/animation looked a bit off too.
Fate Grand Order – Absolute Demonic Front Babylonia
The only connection this has to the original Fate story is that one of the girls looks like Rin Tohsaka (leading to a funny image of the character going ‘I don’t need to introduce myself coz you know who I am’). Otherwise it was very, very unexciting and boring. I think it’s also like the 5th or 8th arc of something of the Fate Grand Order story so like, shit doesn’t really make sense.
Phantasy Stay Online 2- Episode Oracle
An interesting meta show where it is adapting the story of a real game where the previous Phatasy Star Online 2 anime was about people playing that game. Unfortunately it’s a pretty generic ‘let’s fight space aliens’ thing. Better off watching Yamato 2199 or Starship Troopers.
Rifle is Beautiful
Cute girls doing cute things, where the cute girls aren’t that cute due to very cheap CGI/animation and the cute thing is a weird version of laser tag. Coz using real guns would be insane and I guess airsoft is out of fashion. Very bad.
Shin Chuuka Ichiban
A remake or sequel to some show form like the 90s no-one had heard about or cared about since the 90s. In a post Shougeki no Soma world this was a very bland cooking based show.
(Also I should add that I didn’t even both watching S4 of Soma or S3/S4 of My Hero Academia, can’t remember which one it is up to, because I just don’t care about those shows anymore. And by all accounts the original Soma story takes a massive nosedive at the point S4 covers.
An even worse version of Kancolle than Kancolle. I think this one is China ripping off the “concept” that is Kancolle
Isekai tropes to the extreme but instead of having one OP as fuck MC this one has seven. Who are all the “best” at something. Some of them make sense- best inventor or best business man (although best businessman is apparently worth like 1/3 of the global economy of something ludicrous). But others are just insipidly stupid- the leader is the “world best politician” (which is apparently a good thing) and was re-elected as Japan’s Prime Minister at the age of 16. So do some math for when he was initially elected. And they revolutionise the world that they come to- I think by the end of the serious they’ve invented nuclear weapons in the fantasy world (and one of them is the bets fighter who outruns ICBMs and deflects them with her hands or some shit.) Garbage tier shit.
Chuubyou Gekihatsu Boy
Highschool boy has delusions of grandeur as a Chuunibyou. Fuck me Japan you need to stop encouraging this shit, people need to grow out of this stuff before they finish primary school. Unwatchable.
Kono Oto Tomare S2
I started watching S2 coz I watched S1 and generally sequels of things I watched are automatic watches. Then I remember about 10 seconds in that I had to force myself to finish S1 so stopped. Just do not care for the characters or the story that had been set up.
Val x Love
Like Kandagawa Jet Girls, a bare semblenc eof aplot used to display “hot” anime girls naked. unfortunately it’s prodyction values and art style was vastly inferior to Jet Girls (which I must point out were not good outside of the nudity scenes either). In this one the plot-specific-weird-looking MC has to fondle and grope and such the nine Valkyries to awaken thier powers and fight monsters. On Odin’s request. With school hi-jinks and misunderstandings thrown in as the MC is a weirdo (for plot/wordl building reasons I guess) and the Valkyries each have a different feeling/opinion of the guy which range from adoration to repulsion. Ugh
ZX – Code Reunion
After watching two eps I discovered this was a sequel to some random show I’d never heard of. Was super generic ‘cute girls are weapons and partner with other cute-girl-weapons to fight alien invaders’. Boring.
I believe this was from an earlier season but I only saw ep1 this season. Is not good- poorly animated rugby (and generally poor animation) and a paper thing plot propped up by pretty boys.
Urashimasakatasen no Nichijou
Some short about a group of male idols going to school. Apparently it has some funny moments but meh. Idol stuff is always a high risk, low reward proposition.
Actors – Songs Connection
Male Idols forming a group at school. Hard pass.
Stand my Heroes- Pieces of the Truth
A bad reverse harem masquerading as a cop drama where they’re in a narcotics squad and the MCs primary character trait is she is immune to drugs. Cool.
Special 7- Special Crimes Investigation Unit
Another cop drama, apparently that was the theme for this season, that was super super bland. Literally nothing worth commenting on that was especially good or bad.
This one wasn’t technically a cop drama, it was a detective story. Where there is a young cop (I think?) following about an absolute weirdo detective who people call Sherlock. Boring and painful to watch.
Africa no Salaryman
An interesting art style which doesn’t offset the lackluster animation, characters, story or world. Is basically just a typical office sitcom but they’re animals. Meh. Even worse than Aggretsuko.
A short about a weird kid scientist who made a robot with her dead sisters brain/mind/memory who goes on funny escapades. Meh, not as good as the concept sounds.
As with several recent seasons, I’ve started using my iPad to watch/rewatch shows available on local streaming services to get the the monotony of physical exercise. Depending on what exactly I’m doing, I can get through between 2-5 episodes a session which means I can really burn through shows while burning through calories. Highly recommend it to other nerds who don’t like exercise- hit the gym at 10pm at night with your iPad/tablet when it’s near empty!
This is a fantastic isekai that borderlines in not being an isekai- if they didn’t occasiaonlly mention after ep1 that they are from another world and all their memories had faded then you’d forget it was isekai. In this show it is a very grimdark fantasy world where people/young kids just appear and then are gang-pressed into fighting monsters in the area in order to be able to afford to survive. And to further the twist, the group of people we follow are the rejects who weren’t picked from the batch of people who emerged to form the strong party. As such they struggle a lot- at one point there are serious discussions about how they can’t afford a second set of underwear and how the boys deal with it (wearing wet after washing, going commando, patching up repeatedly etc)… followed by unanswered questions about how the girls deal with it XD. Then (spoilers) their party leader (and healer and tank and strategist) dies and they have to deal with the PTSD of that while also dealing with trying to fit in a new healer in the party who is themselves dealing with their own trauma. Fantastic world that is build, excellent characters and their development makes for some fantastic arcs in the show. My only criticism (aside from there not being a S2) is that in the final arc they are raiding an abandoned 10 level mine complex infested with Kobolds and for some reason I got it in my head that it would have been cool if they destroyed/damaged the smelter thing on level 3 (or 5?) and thus unleashed a river of magma that destroyed the level and everything (and all the kobolds) below it. Dunno why but the set up in the mine struck me as one of those places where utilsiing a trick/function of the environment of the encounter could get you some serious benefits (like shooting an explosive barrel in an FPS or using a shortcut in a racing game). But it didn’t happen. And even with that incredibly minor and personal nitpick, I heartily recommend this show
Damn this show is so cute and fantastic. Watching the ginormous/obvious Takeo and the tiny/timid Yamato meet each other and fall in love and go through the first steps and months of being in a relationship was so good. Like when they should hold hands and what to do to celebrate birthdays and having mixers for their friends. A fantastic mix of comedy and romance. Would often have an enormous grin and be struggling not to make “squee” sounds in the gym as I made my way through this series. The show also does a good job mixing up the overall story of Takeo+Yamada with the bromance between Gouda and Sunakawa and a variety of other relationships. And the unexpected pregnancy and how that goes was SO good. Although some of the secondary relationship stories were a bit lackluster- in particular the one that formed between their friends Saijou and Kuirhara was painful as Kurihara was a coward and a moron. And the final arc of Yamato’s work senior at the cake shop trying to win her heart by guilting her into helping him with a competition was a bit uncomfortable and also felt a bit jammed into the end of the season. That being said I cannot recommend this show highly enough, is excellent. (And also not at all related to the Monogatari series so don’t be concerned about that!)
In the lead up to S3 this season (which is still on going and also fantastic) I decided to rewatch S1 and S2. And they are also fantastic. It tells the story of Chihaya discovering the sport/game of karuta at a young age and then gaining an incredible passion for it that drives her to become the best in the world… dragging high school friends a long the way through a school club. Then it spins out from Chuhaya to look into the lives of everyone she comes across- even people who are merely opponents for half an episode get surprisingly detailed stories and motivations (Also this description of the shows premise does not really do it justice). Of particular note in this show is how fucking beautiful everything looks- in particular in early S1 there was a scene where Chihaya and Taichi were at a train station and I was shocked at how this show from 2011 looked so much better than stuff being made today. Related to that is how beautiful Chihaya is- it’s incredibly how they have made her into an incredibly stunning to look at female character but in a way that absolutely does not oversexualise her. Or sexualise her at all. I presume this is because the original manga is, I believe, aimed at a female and/or older audience than your typical anime show. But more important that either of those two things is how nuanced and realistic every single goddamn character is and how they use karuta and the school club to not only deal with problems but also discover how to enjoy things. Every character has a purpose and has an arc where they develop in a meaningful way both as themselves and in relation to others. Even the new characters inserted in S2 serve to elevate those inter-person relationships. Then on top of this the way it shows the game/sport/competition of karuta is with Haikyuu levels of excellent sport animation, tension, music etc. By the end of S1 I was legitimately thinking about whether it would be possible to learn to play karuta myself it looks/feels so cool. Despite not speaking a word of Japanese. I cannot heap enough praise on this show and I don’t really want to say more as it’ll need spoilers and I think people should watch this show unspoiled to experience it’s pure joy.
I’m actually a little surprised I rewatched this show- I had very strong memories of how the original watch went: great start, slow drop off and terrible half-finished ending. But for some reason I decided to give it another crack and I’m really glad I did. Don’t get me wrong- the ending is still terrible. The premise of the show is that on a small island to the west of the main continent lives some all powerful demon and every 300 years it tries to invade the continent. And seven warriors are chosen as braves to fight back and slay it. By the end of the series, we’ve literally only gotten to the point where the 6 heroes have gotten to the narrow land bar that connects the continent to the demon island. So it’s a prequel. And I say ‘6 heroes’ even though are 7 of them and presumably one is an imposter. Which is extremely annoying because we spent the previous 8 episodes or so already ferreting out a 7th/imposter so this is the 8th/potential-second-imposter. But putting that long caveat aside, doing the rewatch I found that the show was actually really good and interesting all the way up to that end. Is a good mix of fantasy, action and detective story as the MC (Adlet, self-proclaimed strongest man in the world) tries to figure out what led to them getting trapped the way they do. While trying to not die as he is framed as being the imposter. The characters are all quite interesting (like the strongest one is a 14 year old girl with the power of swamps). Also knowing how the mystery is solved there are some fantastic little seeds/red flags in early episodes for those paying attention- both for who did it but how they did it (e.g. two comments made by Adlet about the temperature at different times). Also this is another nitpick along the lines of Grimgar; but they establish that the demon forces are unable to cross over water and can only access the continent via a single land bar. Then we learn that the human forces have prepared a trap that will block off the landbar with powerful fog magic… but they don’t activate it immediately because they want the heroes to get past first. Thus letting the demon vanguard forces reap havoc across the land. Motherfucker humans have boats. Raise that fog barrier immediately and permanently and let the heroes cross via boat. If at all- can also just leave the demons to their own devices and internal squabbles. Ugh.
I remember loving this show when it came out and how much of an awesome banger the OP song is. On the rewatch, only one of those things is true- the OP rocks. The show itself is actually really problematic and bad. Lets get the obvious out of the way- the male lead Haru is an emotionally manipulative and physically abusive person who uses Shizuku’s personality and self-confidence issues to force her into a romantic relationship. It’s fucked. Secondly, this show is made up almost entirely of unresolved plot threads. Literally the last episode/arc is spent talking about how Shizuku and Haru will go on a picnic (which came about because Shizuku had to bribe Haru to stop stalking her to cram school and fighting any boys she talked to…). But the picnic never happens. Also her friend (eventually) Natsume confesses to Haru’s guardian Mitsuyoshi on New Years day and we don’t see how that resolves itself (I mean, he obviously rejects her but the fall out is never seen or addressed despite it happening mid-season. There’s also vaguely alluded to violence relatedfamily drama for Haru and childhood drama for Shizuku related to a dad with bad business acumen and an overworked mother that don’t go anywhere. And a bunch of other one-sided romances (at least three) that are not dealt with properly or resolved. Sure the comedy in the show is generally fun on a surface level but when the character drama comes to the forefront pretty much everyone is a bad person but they’re presented as if they’re meant to be good people. Really, really disappointing coming back to this show.
I’ve heard heaps of great things about this show but I don’t get what the fuss is. Sure office politics such shit but the novelty of Retsuko going home and screaming about it via death metal karaoke is, well, not really that interesting to watch. If you want a legitimately funny comedy about dealing with the bs life of working in an office, watch Officespace instead. I think I got through maybe 2 episodes before it become clear that there wasn’t anything great about this show.
I was really worried about giving this show a go because it is so old that a) the subtitles are those shitty yellow ones that are hard to read and b) it’s a ‘foundational comedy’ of modern anime so most of the things it’s done well have presumably since been done better by something else (see- Love Hina). I was way off- this show was fantastic. Is an ensemble cast of highschool girls growing up through highschool and having the typical adventures- dealing with homework, summer trips, making friends, exams, dealing with changes at the start of each year, thinking about university and careers etc. Interestingly there was a real big focus on the class teacher Yukari-sensei and her colleague Kurosawa-sensei as they dealt with their lives as young adults, seeing the kids grow up, dealing with school events and politics from the teachers view. I really wish that angle was included in modern versions of this show rather than the teacher (and school work) just being an absent thing who may occasionally ask for career surveys. My only knock on the show is that another teacher, Kimura, is a pervert and borderline pedophile with the comedy he gets so that hasn’t aged well. Everything else has- from Chiyo dealing with being a prodigy who is three years younger (and a whole meter smaller) than everyone else (with some really touching scenes as she considers who pre-school friends who are just starting middleschool) to Sakaki as the quiet, withdrawn girl with a huge passion for cute things to Kasuga who is a thick, slow idiot from Osaka (with an accent to go with it) to Tomo as the energetic moron to Koyomi and her weight struggles. Plus more. I’d call them kind of at times tropey but really they are the prototypes from which one-dimensional tropes were distilled. But the best moment of the show was the finale where they graduated and left school and moved to the next stage of their lives, I was bawling my eyes out (even though this show is a comedy) because it felt like I’d actually gone to school with them and seen them grow over the course of three years. Which really struck me as something that doesn’t happen now- having an anime that actually finishes (Bokuben S2 being an ironical exception given it’s timing). At best we get a closed arc with the promise of more stories to come, often it’s a barely concealed advert to go buy the light novel or manga. Which really undermines the quality of anime as a medium- it’s hard for something to be truly great and become a classic if it is fundamentally unfinished.
I think I dropped this show last season but basically got nagged into submission and made to pick it up again. I was assured there was a fantastic and beautifully animated fight around episode 18. And I’m sure it was- my iPad from 2012 just wasn’t able to give it its full glory. That being said I did finish the show, finding the last third more consistently good that the middle third which really dragged for me. In particular I really liked the post-mountain arc where we got to see the three guys recover and get trained by/with Shinobu and Kanao. Like I found the scene where Zenitsu turned the ‘torture training’ on it’s head by being a bit of a perv by embracing getting beaten up by pretty girls quite funny. And the scene where Tanjiro helped Kanao move past her coin flip thing and help her embrace her own agency was great. Conversely I found the nine Hashira mostly over-the-top and thus quite annoying and the very last episode was a complete waste of time- only barely acceptable wheelspinning due to both a movie and a second season being announced. While the show is much better than other intensely popular shows (One Piece, Attack on Titan, SAO etc) I cannot fathom why this one in particular shot to that level of popularity. Nothing about it is particularly interesting or novel or great.
I’m fairly sure that I watched about ten seconds of this when it aired and dropped it as terrible garbage. Having now very much enjoyed it, I think that was an overreaction. This show is about two angels and two demons who are required to go to human highschool. And Gabriel is one of those titular angels but she has fallen- due to the influence of videogames. The other angel Raphiel is a masochist, one demon Satania is an incompetent moron and the last demon Vignette is a legitimately nice and fantastic person. Sure the four of them are pretty stereotypical cute girls doing cute things characters in anime but the show is really entertaining. The constant manipulations of Satania by Raphiel are always funny (like when Satania “cleverly” wears her swimsuit under her clothes to the beach only to find she has nothing dry to wear on the return trip) to Vignette’s nice behaviour being undercut by Gabriel as she tries to skate by on the thinnest possible margin to maximise her time playing videogames. The side characters are a bit hit and miss (the cafe owner is a hit, the student president is a miss, Tapris is both at different times) but add fun dynamics to the main quartet. There isn’t really much of a plot to speak of but that’s not the point of this sort of show- it is very funny and that’s all it needs. Highly recommend.
Inou-Battle wa Nichijou-kei no Naka de
I’m not sure how many times I’ve tried this show, it has to be at least 3 or 4. But a good friend insists it’s great and I guess this must just be evidence that they are an idiot. I got up to episode 3 or 4 but then it had some comedy gold where a half (maybe entirely) naked teenager accidentally is forced by a middle schooler to sort of molest both her and/or a friend of hers in the arc where they are dealing with the middle schooler not having friends her own age and I just couldn’t take it. It really doesn’t help that the MC guy is a chuunibyou and the existence of these powers justifies his idiotic world view. Apparently this is actually a show about friendship and such but I just can’t force myself to watch it up until ~ep7 where is apparently gets really, really good.
Now this is definitely a show I watched about 10 seconds of and then dropped for being garbage. And I was probably being too harsh- expecting substance from a show where the premise is maids being tropes while working at a cafe. But once I got past the very shakey opening scenes, the comedy started landing and the characters started being endearing. The weird relationship building between the manager (and adult) and MC Maika (a first year-ish high school student) is weird and not acceptable. Also the character Mio who is introduced quite late in the series felt a bit forced (a fujioshi archetype) but the way she was introduced (as a customer who left behind her lewd drawing folder) led to some really fun character dynamics (Maika and the other “innocent” staff being denied access to see what was in the book, the rest of the staff trying to figure out how they could advertise the book had been found in a discreet way etc). But the rest of it is pretty great, including a somewhat unexpected relationship that developed between the quasi-maitredee Kaho and the chef Akizuki over their love of videogames. A surprisingly good show given how I wrote it off initially- maybe it’s just my standards are lowered when I fry my brain on the treadmill.
For some reason I thought that Arakawa Under the Bridge and Kids on the Slope were the same show. Where one of the two names was a subtitle. I have no idea where I got that from but I went in expecting a Cowboy Bebop or Space Dandy sort of show (which I acknowledge is a very vast spectrum) and got something completely unexpected. I have a passing interest in music but even so found this a really good self-discovery-coming-of-age story with these characters in an era of Japanese live we rarely see covered in anime (as the 1970s are neither present day or the Warring States Period). Especially as it uses changes in music genre popularity to mirror the changing dynamics of post-WWII Japan. The female lead Ritsuko was perhaps a touch underdeveloped compared the male leads Kaoru and Sentaro but the three of them form a really believable trio and a nexus of the convoluted high school romance dynamic involving their high school senior and an older alumni/jazz comrade that is so very realistic it hurts. While also dealing with things like broken families and rejecting parents and betrayal by friends. The way it all ends was quite surprising too- while it was happy it certainly wasn’t the perfect resolution of everyone’s feelings that I expected it would be.
I remember being a big fan of Digimon as a kid and couldn’t believe I hadn’t seen the new movies even though they came out years ago. Then I started watching them and realised that while I certainly enjoyed watching Digimon, it had not really penetrated my childhood viewing habits like DBZ or Pokemon had. To the point that, really thinking about it, while I have seen the original Digimon movie (a Frankenstein’s monster of an English adaptation of three different OVAs/movies) I doubt that I saw much more than 10 or so episodes of the very first arc of adventure. And those had been well over a decade go, closer to two decades. So watching sequel movie meant that there was a whole lot of presumed knowledge I did not have. What’s worse was that I’d watched the English dub (obviously) so I did not know any of the characters Japanese names. So I have no idea who the fuck anyone was talking about if they referred to someone not on screen. Meaning that I didn’t have any nostalgia goggles to get me through a pretty uneventful and glacially paced first movie/OVA. In addition, the sound mixing for this was fucked and even at max volume on the iPad I could barely make out any of the voices or sounds if I was standing still. Which means if I was doing any movements (e.g. lifting weights or jogging or whatever) the noise of the the equipment drowned out the anime. As did the ambient noise of anyone within 5m of me. I basically ended up dropping this for these audio issues when I started the second OVA/movie (unsure what they officially are called these days) and the sound was still broken. Very disappointing.
I’ve heard people gush about this being a fantastic show for ages. I couldn’t get through the second episode the pacing was so glacially slow. It is an ensemble piece about a small town and it’s highschool football team (which is the only thing the town appears to have going for it) where there are a dozen different narratives going on and none of them is necessarily the “main” one. So I suspect that if one can overcome the lack of any clear hook to begin with then there would be some great long term viewing value. But I just couldn’t keep my attention on it. I think a large part of this was the fact that I don’t know jack shit about how gridiron/American Football work (actually I’m not even 100% sure that grid iron and American football are definitely the same game). And from what is shown in the show it looks like a boringly simple game, with what I feel is the worst part of sports (the overzealous fandom) as a key feature of the show. Maybe I’ll give this show another crack one day because I just can’t believe how starkly different my opinion/feelings were watching this show compared to what I had heard.
The Shield S01
I watched The Shield years ago and found it to be such a fantastic show. In particular I’d say it’s the only show from the early 2000s era that definitely starts great and then gets better every season. And has decisions/actions from literally episode 1 of S1 having consequences on the finale in S7. Incredibly long term story structure and character arcs. I was home sick from work but couldn’t sleep and after listening to a podcast that mentioned how well crafted the pilot of The Shield was decided to watch it. And then marathoned the rest of the season. It is a great cop drama looking at the workings of a police station from all levels and with different dramas- the Captain and his growing political ambitions as a Latin American man in an African American dominated constituency. The elite strike team who are corrupt to the core and effectively running the drug distribution networks. A pair of senior detectives who investigate some really nuanced cases including a multiple episode arc about a serial killer (which was novel when it first aired) plus a pair of on the beat cops who are struggling in their partnership as the junior one won’t cop to the cultural hazing and shit while also wrestling with his homosexuality as a pious black christian. And all these characters and their arcs intersect and interrelate in a really compelling way. Fantastic television, really want to rewatch the rest of the show now.
I wasn’t s super big fan of Barry S01 but I found myself on a plane where there was nothing else of interest to watch so I decided to give this a crack. And I found this fucking excellent. The way the tension builds in each episode is great as things slowly spiral out of control for Barry as he tries to keep the drama class play happening, avoid the police investigation around Moss’ disappearance/death and manage the Chechen mafia and their relations with the other crime groups (Bolivian and Burmese). Of particular awesomeness is a fight scene mid-season between Barry and a martial art expert which starts in the dude’s house when Barry tries to knock him off and then ends in a supermarket. But then through some well orchestrated/convenient circumstances Barry not only gets away with it but eliminates the cop who can connect him to the underworld activities. Then the final action piece of Barry mowing through the various underworld figures/goons, especially the Chechens as it both builds on and undercuts earlier episode character moments where Barry had trained up the Chechens. Plus through the lucky use of a particular bullet manages to stave off move powerful underworld figures who decide to leave Hank in charge. While at the same time this is happening, we get to learn across the series more about Barry’s history including the story of how he first killed (very effectively) and a constantly evolving/changing story about the actions that led to his discharge from the marines (starts off good for Barry, ends very bad for Barry). As with S1, the weakest part of the season was the Sally stuff- she’s still incredibly shallow and not a good actor (Barry accidentally gets cast in a bigger role than shes getting in TV stuff) and it is implied that she makes up a story about being abused by an ex-partner to try further her career. For meta reasons that’s a very problematic story to tell given the trouble real abuse victims have in being believed, peddling an alternative view is a bit icky. Also the Barry-Fuches stuff and how it evolves (mainly through Fuches betraying Barry, or at least trying to, and then coming crawling back with schemes to get Barry out of unrelated trouble) is fantastic to watch. A fantastic black comedy, the quality of S2 completely overrides my mixed feelings on S1.
Having not seen the movie I wasn’t sure if I would be able to get into this. But from what I can tell the movie content adds an extra layer to the TV show, which is a really good stand alone. I must admit I watched the first half of the show on an airplane about 2 years ago so I don’t really remember much detail. Was good enough for me to want to watch more but not enough to want to watch it immediately. In any event, as an overall package it was a fantastic show. The way it dealt with the racial tensions that are manifesting in Australia- from crazy neo-nazis to incompetent left wing uni students to slimy talk show hosts playing it up for ratings had an ominous feeling of realness to it. I’ve been a big fan of Lachy Hume (conspiracy theories aside) since his appearances on The Hollowmen (TV) and Get This (radio) in the mid-2000s and what he does with his character is great. As what happens to his character. The ending was also really good and would have been a shock if I hadn’t managed to spoil myself looking up cast info on Wikipedia. In particular I loved how everything just spiraled out of control went wrong for every character across all sides of the argument (politicians, left leaning uni anti-fascists, the Muslim advocates, right wing nut jobs, the sociopath leading the nut jobs, the weird chick in love with the sociopath and the cop who had been monitoring the whole thing) in the lead up to the final event. Really compelling but also distressing television.
Got recommended this show ages ago and while it maybe dragged in places it was a really fun premise. Basically a bloke goes to jail after stealing a bunch of diamonds and once he’s released he goes looking for his ex-partner and lover who mad eoff with the diamonds. Turns out she’s now married with kids. And as the con leaves the town he happens to run into the soon-to-arrive sheriff who is killed by a couple punks. So the con (who’s name we never learn) takes on this guys identity. Is a bit of a dated premise as in today’s world there’s no fucking way you could get away with that shit in a country that has widespread adoption of social media. But is interesting to see when the “law man” of the town is in fact a criminal and has no scruples dishing out violence to those who screw with him or the town. The main villain is an exiled Amish business man who is a very nuanced character. There is also a gratuitous amount of nudity in the show, which gives it a huge production time stamp of “Game of Thrones is big, lets add heaps of tits to our show!” and is kind of uncomfortable. But if you can get past that there is a really good show here and I marathoned the last couple eps coz they were that compelling. Will get around to watching S2 one day.
Amazing Race Australia S01/S04
This is the second time I’ve written up my thoughts on this show but my fucking browser decided to force me to sign in in order to save the draft version and promptly lost the draft version. So I’m going to be brief- this was shit house. The only good points were the diverse casting of people from all different walks of Australian life (footy mates from Melbourne, black nurses, young wogs, asian brother and sister, indigenous territorians, newly wed gay lumberjacks, retired firefighters etc) and the host Beau who honestly was terrible to begin with but then slowly grew on me as the show progressed (good decision by production to do what they did with Aus Survivor and get a very different host to the US version who could then take bits of the US style as the show progressed). Otherwise this was garbage. Several different reasons. Firstly is that, compared to Survivor, the show concept is way simpler with teams not really able to affect each other and luck playing a huge role in how well or poorly a team does. Secondly, in this budget iteration by Channel 10 (S01 of this specific iteration, S04 of all versions of Aus Amazing Race) the issues were even worse- like they only did Aus-Asia-Africa-Aus for the ‘race around the world’ so they missed huge chunks of the world and spent a lot of time in similar/the same places. Then one team (Tom and Tyler) won 8 of the first 10 legs and didn’t win any prizes… in fact the only two legs with prizes were the ones they didn’t win. Or maybe they got like $500 for one of their wins. Whatever it was, it was a pittance compared to the US versions prizes. Even worse was how little each teams arrival time in each leg affected their start on the next leg. Regardless of when you checked in, you would leave 2 minutes after the team before you. Which meant that even with a dominate performances in a leg Tom and Tyler got no benefit on the next leg (ultimately getting some of those first places, of course, due to luck rather than skill). Although I guess that the lack of any ‘building’ advantage, combined with the lack of international flight bottlenecks, made Tom and Tyler’s winning streak even more impressive (in particular the leg where they slept in and thus started off last by a significant margin and still end up coming in 1st place). Also the Speed Bumps following non-elimination legs were barely nuisances, let alone actual challenges. But by far the worst thing about this show was the fucked production interference. In ep1 they planted a fake clue that send one team on a five hour detour to the wrong place and resulted in them being eliminated by miles. But in the second last leg (the 11th) Tom and Tyler were eliminated in the most bullshit way possible. The producers decided to spring a a ‘U Turn vote’ with four teams left. And to no-one surprise they three other teams make Tom and Tyler do both parts of the detour. So there is a great scene (sarcasm btw) where T&T are crushing it so hard they finish the first part of the detour before other teams have even got to the detour to make a choice. Then find out they have to go do the other one and know they’re fucked. But then even though they have to do the extra activity, they still only lose by about 30-60 seconds to the team who came third (and one might even note that in the very last activity, “painting” a statue with gold foil, T&Ts statue was painted at a much, much higher standard of quality before being “signed off” as acceptable than Team #2 or #3s when they were all painting concurrently…). This was bullshit enough because of how much a u-turn at this stage fucks things over- with only 4 teams in it is a) very easy for the best performing/”most deserving” team to be targeted in the way it happen and b) it’s also insanely easy for there to be a tie vote (two teams getting 2 votes or every team getting one vote). And unlike U-Turns earlier on, being so late in the game means that it is very unlikely for a bad enough team to still be left in the race who completes one task in the time it takes another team to complete two (and travel between them). Not to mention the fact that the point of a U-Turn is that it is a thing a team imposes on another team behind them in the race by getting to a specific location first. So it’s a risk-reward on keeping someone behind you that is awarded/offered to teams as a prize based on how well they are doing. Doing it as a vote means there is no risk-all reward, and not voting for a T&T dominating team would be idiotic. And rather than rewarding good performances in the race it is penalising them. To add further insult to injury this happened to be the only u-turn in the season where it was a non-elimination leg. In the previous episodes the u-turns had just happened to be non-elimination legs- which makes a heap of sense from a TV production standpoint to try and heighten the tension of guaranteed “revenge” storylines for at least one episode (as the u-turn victim isn’t eliminated). But this one was the only one where it was elimination- which I guess also make sense from a TV perspective because otherwise T&T would have cruised to victory in the finale given how much better they were than the other 3 teams. Speaking of which, the u-turn was particularly irksome to Australian eyes because two of the other three teams were “in an alliance” with T&T- they’d been helping each other on previous legs and voted together in a previous u-turn vote. And by “helping each other” I mean literally actions by T&T to give them answers and help were the only reason those other two teams hadn’t been eliminated. Then in the lead up to the vote one of the teams, Jasmine and Jerome, went up to T&T and said to their faces “We’re voting for Tim & Rod” (the 4th team who wasn’t in the alliance). So while it was the obvious and only gameplay move that could be made, it was clearly done in a backstabby way. Which lead to a very awkward elimination scene where J&J were team #3 and were standing 2 meters as T&T were eliminated. Which led to some awkward viewing as T&T tried, while obviously having a lot of emotional reactions to the bs of this leg, to artiuclate that they understood why they were u-turned but were really, really shitty that their allies had not only backstabbed them but had actively lied to their faces about it rather than just being honest and telling them that they were going to do it. Leading to J&J bursting into tears coz T&T were obviously having a go at them and the edit tried to portray them both negatively- J&J at traitors and T&T as sore losers. Fun fact I’ve learned in post-race media is that J&J’s lying to T&Ts faces had legitimately destroyed the budding friendship the two teams had built over the race (with T&T still being active friends with the other teams). I know I’ve complained in the past how in Amazing Race the “alliances” don’t really matter and so I should technically praise how they mattered here but it’s he wrong kind of matter. It didn’t matter gameplay wise, it mattered in the sense of characterising people as good or bad people outside of the game. Was so angry at the production bs that fucked this episode and thus the whole series that I didn’t bother watching the final. The Tim and Rod won the race, good on them. I hope I am one of many viewers who just skipped the finale and Channel 10 will see a noticeable drop in ratings sending the message to not do this shit again.
Survivor S39- Island of the Idols
Speaking of production things fucking a season of reality TV… to get it out the way, objectively speaking this is the worst season of Survivor ever because one player sexually assaulted (in terms of like, a legal definition) another player and the victim was voted out. And then the perpetrator was left in the game for ages afterwards but was then removed when he did the same thing to a crew member. There’s no way around it. Watching the Merge episode where this came to a head, without any clear content warnings, was very confronting and dark. And then the coverage afterwards up to and including the player’s forced removal in a post-tribal sequence in the last 2 minutes of the penultimate episode was equally fucked- from Survivor Production putting out a very sketchy story about them following appropriate processes in terms of protecting their players and giving “warnings” about behaviour to some of the fan community getting angry at the victim for standing up and making them have to confront the reality of the world rather than letting them have fun and harmless entertainment for an hour (shocking that reality TV might have some dark parts to it). The only redeeming feature was Survivor production falling on their sword and giving the victim the opportunity to speak and critisice them at the finale while then articulating all the things they are doing to prevent it happening again (which given their narrative at the Merge ep, I suspect only happened because of the fan backlash where they otherwise thought they’d done a good job of it). There is perversely, academically fascinating part of it though where the amount of shit that they did include in the TV product all the way from ep 1 painting the perpetrator as a creep who didn’t respect personal boundaries was pretty clearly inoculating CBS/Survivor from being sued for defamation/libel by the guy. BUT putting aside that part, as a fan of Survivor if you can ignore that (which is possible given how much CBS actively underedited the perpetrator) the rest the season is surprisingly fantastic with the other 19 castaways being excellent characters. With really good character arc, big moves, good advantage/idol moments, major tribe and social dynamic changes, some cool challenge performances and twists. Arguably the pre-merge was one of the best pre-merges in years with all the stuff that happened. Like 3 or four people went home with idols in their pocket. And then the finale, the only post-merge ep without the problem guy, was also fantastic. It had only 5 people instead of the now standard 6 so each person got some great character moments. Plus we got an awesome old school clue hunt for idols (featuring a revelation of colour blindness and some funny lines), an incredible series of scenes about the fire-making challenge choices and fall out as people were forced to make fire. Then a pretty great Final Tribal too. And even better, the winner of the season had no advantages or idols (which was especially ironic given the theme of the season) AND was the only person who didn’t get a “lesson” from Rob and Sandra (who were made out to be be absolute idiots in the edit which is a crazy decision by production given how much they froth over those two in particular). Maybe it’s just that I went into this season with rock bottom expectations but I’d say that (aside from the sexual assault and it’s poor handling) this was possibly the best season out of the 30s. And I would legit like to see all 19 of the other players come back. Then again I am a big fan of Survivor Thailand which was won by a legit sociopath so… maybe I’m a bad judge of these things…