Another season is done and dusted and I’m really not sure how I feel about it. Maybe it’s just the ongoing COVID pandemic upsetting subconscious emotions (although we’re doing pretty well in Australia compared to other places) but this season felt weirdly unsatisfying. Not that things were bad but that things were really incomplete. And I found way more interest in several random shows I picked up apropos of nothing.
Autumn 2020 Seasonal Shows
Munou na Nana- are you as over My Hero Academia specifically or more generally superheroes and/or school-based shounen as I am? Then this show is for you because in a Gakkou Gurashi style twist, what initially appears to be a low budget My Hero knock off trying to capitalize on that shows hype is actually a ‘fuck you’ to the whole idea as a final scene reveal in ep1 the show is actually about those teenagers with super powers getting murdered one-by-one by a normal person planted in as a spy/assassin coz the whole “school” is a government conspiracy to stop superpower people taking over the world. Fuck yeah. The show doesn’t have much to it beyond that and doesn’t go anywhere unexpected. The superpower people have start pretty typical (fire guy, ice guy, invulnerable guy) and then get lamer and lamer (e.g. one guy can make magnetic things stick to him). The final arc had some annoying repentance by the assassin MC but it wasn’t surprising given we apparently can’t just have a villain protagonist in media stay evil. But what was surprising was the suggestion the repentance was temporary and the MC will go back to killing people in season too. Although I doubt it’ll get a second season and doubt I’ll remember much of the show in 12 months time but is probably the best of the season in terms of both interesting-ness, good-ness and unique-ness.
Haikyuu!! To The Top 2nd Season (S4 pt2)- on one hand maybe I’m being harsh putting this as only “Ok” and not as “Good”. But I’d be lying if I didn’t say i really struggled to get through the first ep of the second-cour of S4. And while I super enjoyed the episodes after that, the whole cour was literally one game in the tournament (the Round of 32 game). So while the individual moments were great, it didn’t feel like there was much forward momentum in the grand scheme of things. I think it definitely suffered in the story aspect by the split cour- which I guess is the trade off for the extra time/budget for the top quality animation as the story arcs extend beyond what they are able (or willing) to fit into one cour. But like, this is pt2 of the fourth season and I can only assume there are like three milions more seasons greenlit so at this stage you either love it or don’t care. Only thing worth noting (probably repating comments from previous seasons/cours) is that it is definitely worth banking up episodes so you can watch each match in one go (or at least quick succession) as the week to week tension sucks. And you can shave time off the overall watch length given the start of most eps is just repeating the end of the prior one.
Adachi to Shimamura- a really interesting show I feel. But super frustrating. A yuri love story where one of the characters is oblivious to everything around her and the other is so socially inept she doesn’t know how to express emotion. Then there is this weird B-plot where a child, possible alien, with luminescent blue hair and the ability to levitate is wandering around in an Astronaut suit allegedly looking for another alien. Like Haikyuu I really enjoyed the individual moments (even when the inability for the two girls to express/understand feelings had my head buried in my hands unable to look at the awkwardness) but the romance story didn’t hit a satisfying end point and the b-plot thing was simply never explained. So both parts had a really unsatisfying feel about them. Especially as the ending simply left the b-story unexplored beyond the surface level despite all the myterious hints and the ‘milestone’ reached in the love story was, like, not a milestone of any progress. I ending up just skipping ahead to see if there was any sort of resolution or progress and there was nothing. What a waste.
100-man no Inochi no Ue ni Ore wa Tatte Iru- a pretty generic isekai. This time its a group getting isekai-ed but they go back and forth between their world and the “fantasy” world. Lots of stuff hinted at or having groundwork laid with some future disaster impending but, like, the show finished in 12 eps and had the dumbest finale. It just dropped in heaps of new shit (including new MCs for the party, literally new main characters added for the finale) which was clearly drumming up interest in a S2 which apparently has production confirmed. But at this point you might as well go read Log Horizon and get hyped for S3 of that. Nothing super interesting about this show to make it worth chasing up, but nothing abhorrently bad that makes it worth avoiding. If you’re a fan of the genre (and thus like 70% of anime getting made these days) I guess it’s enjoyable.
Inu to Neko Docchi mo Katteru to Mainichi Tanoshii- this was really fun shorts of a pet owner dealing with the difference between dogs and cats. But like, sub 2 minute shorts with three really good jokes in each episode, while very enjoyable, aren’t really anything to crow about in much detail beyong “it’s really funny and sweet/relatble for people who own or have owned pets”. Also the dog has the same voice as Hina from 3-gatsu which is weird.
Kuma Kuma Bear- another generic isekai, where the trope is the (female) protagonist is OP due to an embarrassing bear costume being her outfit and she seems to encounter an never ending series of ~10 year old girls to team up with to identify and deal with problems of increasing scale (the first problem is she’s lost in a forest, the last problem is a nearby town is dealing with a kraken and bandits and corrupt politicians wants to petition the adjacent kingdom to let them join for protection). The everything-is-bear-themed joke oscillates between hilarious and hack multiple times across the series. Where 100-man is a bland ‘serious’ isekai, this is a pretty bland ‘comedy’ one. Fine to chuck on and half watch while doing something else.
Tonikaku Kawaii- was really torn on this one. Was one of a suite of shows this season that were borderline between watching and dropping after 3 eps. And still so after 4 eps. I eventually picked this one at random to watch based on all the hype I was seeing on twitter and while it was good it was super unsatisfying in the overall story. Like the series infrequently hints that the wife is some sort of supernatural deity with connections to the moon (maybe Princess Kaguya if I’m half remembering Japanese folklore correctly) but does literally nothing with this or ever go beyond vague references that something is odd. Like how the inexplicably rich family she lived with previously had gotten a moon rock on loan from JPL to help Wife be comfortable and her weirdly detailed knowledge about historical Japan. The Husband irked me a bit as pretty one-dimensional: a super smart nerd with no awareness of things normal people know about, but as a couple they were pretty sweet and fun to watch interact. Also the side character younger sister/kouhai from the hot spring business looked liked she was not actually a completed drawing. Her design just looked unfinished and mismatched with literally every other characters.
Actually bad despite me watching or trying to watch
DanMachi Season 3 (I think S3…)- this plot for this season was people being racist against the non-human sentient monsters who were born in the dungeon. Despite like, 2/3 of the cast being non-human. And heaps of them being almost as animal/beast-esque (e.g. fox girls, dog girls etc) as the”Monsters” the townspeople (but not our heroes of course) were trying to persecute and murder. God this show is trash. There is literally a scene where one of the Loki familia ‘antagonists’ are chasing one of the Xenos thinking they are beast monster that needs to be killed so it doesn’t wildly kill innocent townspeople and there were numerous opportunities for them to literally say any coherent sentence of words and throw the whole basis for conflict into review. Broadly across the whole season there are so many moments across the season where any attempt at conversation, even just speaking to each other while ‘enemies’ were within earshot, would have solved the crisis. Ugh.
One Room S3- I’m pretty sure I only ironically liked the first season as the sort-of-main-girl (the one used in the promotional art) looks like Megumi from Sakano. Having watched the first 7 or so eps of S3, that girl is yet to appear and I am thus unimpressed. And while the first girl was a school underclassman, the second one was literally your younger sister and unlike Japan I have no interest in fucking family members. Dropped.
Maybe Good if I’d given a chance
Noblesse- this seemed like an actually interesting take on the whole idea of Vampires and Werewolves and such (which is impressive in of itself), with some interesting world buildings and a half-interesting OP protagonist (was in contention with Tonikaku Kawaii for the random pick up). Unfortunately he was only half-interesting as he’s basally a blank slate with no expression so… eh. Plus is based on a korean source material so there are slight differences in style and pace and such that make it interesting compared to typical anime. I watched four eps but ultimately decided against it as some things in the story weren’t quite making sense and I got the vibe this would be a long running, never ending show (a la One Piece, Naruto, Black Clover) if successful. And that’s not a time commitment I’m interested in right now. Although I later watched a prequel OVA that explained heaps of info and made the start of the series make way more sense. I can very much see me giving this another chance if upcoming Seasons are light on due to COVID effects (and I have a better of idea of how long it is going to go for)
Majo no Tabitabi- like Kino’s Journey, but a cute witch girl (despite me not liking Kino’s Journey, this was in contention for the random pick up too). With a Director directive of no panty shots which gets points in my book. While this show looks good for those who like these style of shows, I personally detest these series which are basically entirely self-contained and disconnected mini stories that are snapshots of things that are happening in the moment but no real overall arc. Is great for building an interesting and diverse world but there’s nothing interesting build from those pieces overall. Like in ep2 Elaina comes across a city that is burning flowers coz there is a nearby plant plague spreading and at the end of that story (about the middle of the episode) she just flies away as zombie plants are moving in on the weakened town. And we never see any of them again. And in another ep (actually maybe the same ep) there is a dude who’s in love with his slave girl servant (who is maybe being raped by the dudes dad) and it’s implied that his efforts to win her heart drive her crazy and make her kill him. But it’s all implied and unresolved as Elaina again just flies off recounting the similarity between the dudes motivations/actions and a folk tale where the gift recipient murdered everyone.
Yuukoku no Moriaty- Sherlock Holmes is cool setting I guess but this twist of Moriarty actually being a good guy who is helping people is a bit meh. Does every villain need to actually be a secret good guy?
Jujutsu Kaisen- this gives strong vibes of long running, never ending shounen show which I would have loved when i was an 11 year old boy but now I don’t have the time to watch it or the inclination to watch the exact same thing as a thousand other shows but with a different skin.
Everything else by default I guess, although having a quick flick through the list of August 2020 shows there wasn’t much that was bad enough to worth highlighting (aside from Dogeza de Tanondemita which was trash and not in a fun way). Everything else was just bland and uninteresting rehashes. Taisou Zamurai could be worth looking at as an unusual sports choice (probably hoping to repeat the success of Yuri on Ice). Guraburu had a promising first ep but when your ~3 minute long comedy shorts aren’t funny you’ve got some big problems. And I can’t remember anything worthwhile about any of the other anime names I’ve written down so they’re probably too bland to be bad enough to comment on. Time to just delete them off the list of things to talk about.
Leftovers from last season
So broadly I wasn’t a fan of the direction the story took choosing the make Yukinon the official waifu when I maintain Yui is the better girl. Yukinon and Hachiman bring out the worst in each other through cycles of negative reinforcement. Hachiman and Yui do the opposite. But putting that aside, I really enjoyed this and it was a super satisfying end to the series (although apparenty it might not actually be the end). In particular the final episode was fantastic- the Yukinon confession where she confesses her love and then immediately runs away and the follow up conversion about her Mum wanting Hachiman over for dinner were classic ‘squee’ moments. The sauna with all the guys was hilarious. And the Yui ‘request’ led to a really satisfying final scene. Plus we got interactions between Irohas and Komanchi which were possibly the best thing across all three series. Super highly recommend people check it out.
Re:Zero S2 pt 2
As with prior Re:Zero, this was pretty good but needs to be binged for fear of large chunks of time where nothing is really progressing. The ‘shock’ reveal that Echidna was evil was, like, pretty unsurprising given she is the goddamn Witch of Greed and a) the main villain is the Witch of Envy and b) all the villains are related to Sins. Conversely, the stuff with Beatrice’s history and development was both shocking/surprisingly and SO TERRIBLY SAD. Poor Beako. I’ve also become suspicious of Otto as he is handling things far too well so I’m guessing he’s got some ulterior thing going on (although maybe Subaru’s reactions to things have given me false comparisons and it’s just Otto is being competent). While I really enjoyed the season overall, I think the story is becoming too complicated. Like in S1 it did quite a clever job of setting up several problems and having Subaru needing to find a path within a limited time loop that dominoed the solutions to one to solve the next to solve the next and so on. But by the end of S2 there is so much to do and not enough time. Literally. Subaru is stuck in a forest and there is shit going on at Roswaal’s mansion which is a 1-2 day travel distance away but the time loop is 3 days . I may not have got those numbers exactly right but you get the idea- time and geographic features make a clever solution inherently impossible without some deus ex machina fuckery. Then on top of that within the three day time loop he needs to: get Emilia through the three trials to release the seal on Sanctuary (and make people like/trust her) which requires dealing with decades of emotional trauma she’s experienced/buried as a half-elf, deal with the machinations of Echidna (and the other 5 dead Witches) through his own (accidental) trials attempts, deal with Garfiel and the residents of Sanctuary, stop a multi-pronged Witch Cult attack on Roswaals Manor/village, help Beatrice through her shit, prepare for the impending attack of the evil-horde-bunny mabeast which is canonically more powerful/dangerous that the white whale from S1 and deal with the literal Big Bad With of Envy who decides to pop into the forest too for whatever reason. Oh and also he still has to help Rem and fuck up the Arch Bishops who fucked her up and are roaming around from the start of the season. There’s just SO much for Subaru to do and so little time (even putting aside Subaru’s, uhh, high variance in competence). I’m both super excited, super interested and super dreading how the story has Subaru work out a solution. It could be great, it could be terrible.
Fruits Basket S2
Holy shit this was great. The huge reveals in the finale had me hankering for S3 super bad. Within the 25 eps of S2 we get incredible development for: Yuki’s character as he confronts his childhood trauma, relationship development between Kyo and Tohru, Kyo and Kisa’s childhood/romantic relationship, Kureno and Arisa’s relationship/character, great stuff with Isusu and Haru’s characters/relationship., Yuki and the student council members… my god.. So much stuff. The summer vacation arc was great in particular. Like there is not a moment wasted in this show as it build all these characters and their relationships in super impactful and engaging ways. And the art and animation are gorgeous. This is a must watch show.
Higurashi no koi(?)- holy shit this is probably the best thing I watch all year. I’ve been meaning to watch this show for like, nearly a decade and only got budged into checking it out as it got remade this season. Or a sequel. Am unsure and wanted to watch the original first either way (avoid the FMA vs FMA:B problems). The opening arc is 4 episodes long and has enough content to fill a modern 13 episodes series. Which means that it has an incredibly pace and things escalate so quickly it caught me completely off guard. As Mion and Rena go from odd to suss to crazy it’s so tense and scary and it’s executed fantastically. There is a big jarring feeling at ep5 where things reset as the time-loop nature of the show was not explained or signposted and you don’t know what is going on. Which raises big questions as to, well, what is going on? But then more questions pile on top of it- why are the cops/Ooshi behaving so suspiciously? Did Keichi kill Satoku’s uncle or not in that third loop? Who/what were in the rubbish bags those random ladies found in the river (my guesses of Satoahi or the abusive aunt were wrong… I think…)?, why does Shion walk around with a gun strapped to her tits and no-one comments on it? What exactly happened with the Dam War? Why do people die and disappear every year at the festival? Who keeps killing Rika via gutting at the temple? Why does the timeline keep resetting? The first three arcs (I think) are from the perspective of Keichi and raise all these interesting questions as the mystery of what is going on gets deeper and deeper. Then in the fourth arc we relive the second arc but from Shion’s point of view (a character we’d interacted with previously but didn’t realise was was there- being Mion’s twin sister) and we start getting answers as things are gradually backfilled (e.g. Mion’s weird behavior in arc 2 was because it was actually Shion at times). Maybe. We get bits of info that could be answers but aren’t maybe reliable/true/completely accruate. Like we hear about swamp gas being what caused the problem of everyone dying and there is a conversation between Shion and Ooshi (the cop) that maybe matches with a thing from Arc 2 although there is a mismatch in Keichi surviving or not. Similarly in the final arc (6th?) in ep24 Rena sits in Ooshi’s cop car and is asked the exact same questions as Keichi was asked in ep2… is it a timeline reset or is this a flashback to how they got Keichi for lying or something else? But while the show does a great job at making you ask questions about what is going on, it does an even better job of answering those questions (especially in arcs 4-6). Don’t want to spoil them as the best part of mystery shows is piecing it together yourself. And even stuff that seems random (e.g. the aforementioned random ladies finding a body in bin bags, a water gun fight between the main characters) turn out to be super relevant/important. Looking over my notes as I watched it I noted in arc 4 that Rena (and her cleaver) get a bad wrap for being brutal/murderous image people associate with the show when Mion is actually the crazed murderer. In arc 4 at least. In a later arc Rena butchers two people (including the abusive uncle of her friend) and the whole group just agree to help her hack up the bodies and dispose of it. There are also some really good action pieces- in particular the Rena vs Shion fight in arc 4 and the Keichi vs Rena rooftop fight in arc 6 (which is a fight I’d actually seen clips of over the years with no context of where they came from i.e. typical AMV content). And then undercutting all this stuff across is the village power struggles (Police, Yakuza, Town Council, Three Chief Families) and the Blonde Nurse Ayano who is in-universe trying to solve the mystery as to what is happening in the village… with a range of options from swamp gas to bio-terrorism to aliens depending on who she is talking to in which arc (but again on the questionable reliability of the answers we get- some of the options are clearly red herrings designed to undercut/obscure the real one… we just dunno which the real one is). But it all comes together in the end in such a well crafted manner… with huge bombs dropped in the OVA that things aren’t actually over. Looking forward to S2 massively. Super highly recommend. Is also worth noting that I watch a couple episodes during my lunch break on a Friday and had marathoned the whole show by Saturday night. Is the first time in years a show has gripped me that much. Extremely highly recommend people check it out. Also noting that is has a reputation of being very bloody and gory but, aside from two scenes, I didn’t think it was that bad. And the former of those two scenes was only bad because I’d been told to expect a certain activity but it only happened in the second scene. Maybe in 2006 it was hardcore but nowadays not so much… and while some of the art style has maybe dated, I think it still looks pretty good from an art/animation perspective too. Especially if you can catch the bluray release version, but even without it you adjust pretty quickly as the story grabs your attention.
Shinsekai Yori- this was another fucking incredible show. Episode 1 was a struggle to get through as I got weird suppressing-female-sexuality vibes from the opening scene but that was an artifact of it having a female MC rather than any sort of Japan sex weirdness. The show can be split into the first 2/3 and last 1/3. The first third is an engrossing mystery as to wtf is happening in the world over the years as the characters grow up from young children to teenagers, alternating between those ‘wtf is happening’ moments (e.g. members of the main cast literally disappearing and no-one commenting on it, Saki somehow fixing Satoru’s “Power”, Satoru trying to get it on with Saki while they’ve been caged up) and ‘HOLY FUCKING SHIT I DON”T BELIEVE IT THAT’S CRAZY/INCREDIBLE’ moments (e.g. the rainbow horse library exposition dropping some incredible background facts, the Magic Monk getting fucking exploded by these weird rat monsters). Like when the Rainbow Horse Library was explaining the history of the world I didn’t realise that basically that whole episode (ep4) was a one character exposition dump as it was engrossing in both content and delivery until a day afterwards. Despite the multiple timeskips in this first part of the show, it was incredibly engaging and great. And there were great surprising action moments (e.g. when Saki absolutely fucked up the Impure Cat that tried to kill her) and shocking events (e.g. when Shun lost control of his power and died). But the second part of the show was… well… both crazier and a bit less good. Was basically a genre shift from a mystery to an action/war thriller as the Monster Rats rose up in rebellion and started killing humans. While also engaging/suspenseful, it really stuck in my craw that the situation would get to that stage was unlikely. Specifically the whole society/world is build to preserve the status quo of controlling the psychic “Power” so it doesn’t destroy the world. But over the course of 5-10 years the Robber Fly colony massively change their social/governance structure, massively develop their tech and don’t attempt to effectively hide either of these things. Maybe this is my personal interpretation but having the Monster Rat colonies ruled by an absolute monarch Queen who was some varying level of insane was a pretty effective tool to keep the colonies weak, unstable, divided and dependent/subservient to humans. Letting the Robber Flys change that seems really dumb and risky (as evidenced by the show). Ditto it is seen that technology is suppressed in human villages (e.g. no transport tech aside from boats/canals, limited electricity) so letting the monster rats tech leapfrog the human’s tech seems inconsistent. I can buy two of the three things happenings- the Robber Fly do these things, they do them brazenly, they have them happen for a long period of time (i.e. aren’t crushed immediately in response). But all three is a bridge too far given how the whole world/power structure is set to preserve the status quo of controlling the power. But the big thing in this arc (that I am still thinking about daily for how shocking/fucked it was) was the Ogre that the Robber Flys use to massacre the humans. Based on the early clues I assume that the Ogre was the runaway MCs Mamoru and/or Maria; who had over the 5-10 year time period of the timeskip been captured by the Monster Rats, tortured and broken until they become mindless weapons (the humans had been given some of their teeth and bones to ‘prove’ they were dead which would have been a less-than-nice process if they were still alive). But the actual truth was more fucked that than that- they Monster Rats had taken those two teenagers, got one to impregnate the other, killed them both when the baby was born and raised the kid as “slave chattel/cattle”. It absolutely floored me as the reveal was made about the fucking implications of what exactly had been done to the child over the years to create this weapon (and that more babies were being abducted to make more…). How they beat them is pretty clever. Although the sheer incompetence of the humans throughout the entire section- from letting the Monster Rats get into this position to reacting to the attack to trying to fight back is aggravatingly bad. And as another minor inconsistency, despite apparently getting massacred very badly in the rebellion, pretty soon afterwards they Village seems to have enough people to keep carrying on business as usual without much issue (like, setting up a museum exhibit to commemorate the event and keeping it staffed seems like a low priority activity but they’ve done that). It also really shit me that all the humans are indoctrinated to not be able to fight other humans (directly leading to many, many of their deaths as they couldn’t fight against Slave Child without effectively suiciding) when early on in the show it’s explicitly said that the Village leaders know that they need some “Wolves” in the group as ‘just sheep can’t protect the village’…. if they knew this was a problem they fucking should have worked on a solution before the shit hit the fan. And the suggestions was that Saki and her friends were that group being set up as ‘Wolves’…. but they too couldn’t fight back. So yeah, overall I really enjoyed this show and the falling apart in places at the end when thinking about it is more than compensated by the HOLY FUCK FEELS as shit happens and things go wrong and things are super fucked. After watching several of the last bunch of episodes I was unable to go to sleep afterwards as my brain struggled to comprehend the horror of what was going on/had happened.
That Time I got Reincarnated as a Slime OVAs (x2)- these were super meh (I think it was OVA 3 and 4. Maybe 2 and 3. Of five). The thrust of them is whether Rimuru’s OP class of special kids will beat the classes of normal children. And no shit they do. Easily. Although there is this weird (and I suspect unintended) undercurrent of ‘fuck the rich’ as Rimuru’s massive wealth lets him casually buy his class the best quality equipment with no care in the world (it’s played as a laugh in universe but really doesn’t feel all that funny). As such them absolutely dominating in the surprise fight with bandits is entirely unsurprising. What was unexpected was it being left on a cliffhanger ending on the second OVA, normally these things are self-contained. Then again getting not one but five OVAs for a show that also has a second season in production is unusual. And it’s not actually that good. At this point all the Rimiru jokes are fucking well overdone.
Fate Stay Heavens Feel 1+2 – so I rewatched both of these movies in the lead up to watching the third/final one in the cinema to make sure I had the details of what was happening down pact. In hindsight I don’t think I needed to bother as my only take away was anger at the production staff being cowards and not giving us cinema quality animated Sakura tits in the awkward sex scene. Would have made it bearable. Cool fights and incredibly ufotable animation (especially for those fights) and such but very meh films.
Fate Stay Heaven Feel 3- so to maybe contradict a statement I just made, while this movie was fine (cool fights, Emiya making bad decisions, standard Fate fare) the entire final like 15 minutes made zero fucking sense. And if I hadn’t re-watched the previous two movies I would have maybe thought the problem was me. But upon checking the wikipedia article it turns out that about halfway through that 15 minute segment there is a single still shot of Rin and Sakura buying something from a shop from someone we hadn’t seen before. And if you recognize that shop/person as featuring in an unrelated franchise by the same author in a movie made in like 2009; then you might understand what they are buying and thus what the fuck happened in the final fight and the post-fight epilogue. Pretty fucking annoying, when the movie stopped playing the cinema audience was pretty silent until someone asked ‘wait, what just happened?’ and there was an audible sigh of relief as everyone twigged it wasn’t just them who was confused and expressed as mich. The other thing worth noting is how many clear/specific references there were to Fate Zero. Which obviously was made after the original visual novel story; so this movie trilogy must have had some pretty major rewrites to make things be more sensical and connected to other things in the franchise. And yet it still had a WTF ending.
Arpeggio Blue Steel Movies 1+2- having watched the TV series again, seemed like the perfect time to watch the two follow up movies. Turned out i could have skipped the TV series as the first movie was 2/3 recapping the TV series episode by episode. And the last 1/3 was introducing some new villains who were the main opposition in the second movie. Meanwhile the second movie featured a massive heel-turn/reveal about the precipitating events of the Fleet of Fog war from before the series that made things way less interesting (specifically a believed inexplicable traitor was actually a fake out after the person had been killed years earlier). I dunno how much it mirrors the source material story but it seemed like a dramatic rewrite to whatever was originally planned to make sure the story could be wrapped up. It just didn’t feel like it fit in with the TV events and was super rushed and out of nowhere. But I reckon when these were in cinemas ~5 years ago the CG effects would have looked pretty fantastic on the big screen., and I guess half the appeal of the show was the CG effects being actually enjoyable to watch (then Knights of Sidonia came along and we all forgot about this show)
Big Brother US S10
In the Survivor off-season, I caved in to pressure to continue to check out Big Brother. Given I couldn’t find BB1, decided to give BB10 a crack as it’s apparently great and there was a recap series by Dom and Colin. And yeah it’s fantastic. The game inherently less dynamic than Survivor but it was incredible watching Dan Gheesling play his way to domination. And overplay massively but somehow get away with it e.g. Replacement Nomination Roulette. It seemed almost like he was doing it to make it interesting to him because he was winning so easily. Super highly recommend people check out this season. Although one thing I would like to change with the BB franchise is the Veto challenge- “backdooring” reveals a huge flaw in the game where someone can be steamrolled out of the game with no chance to protect themselves (they aren’t initially nominated, initial nominee is vetoed and then they are the replacement and go straight to the elimination vote). So I think that the format should be tweaked where in addition to the current people who play (HoH, the two nominees and they each random draw one person) but then anyone else in the house can self-nominate to play too. But if the Veto is played, only people who were in the Veto comp can be nominated. That way it becomes a risk/reward for playing and for who the HoH does (and doesn’t) nominate. Makes it more interesting.
Stargate SG1 S4- this season was fucking great. Especially the mid-season cliffhanger where Apophis and… uhhh… Heroher(?) had their meeting in the minefield and the efforts of SG1 and the Tok’ra to try fuck up Apophis ended up making him even stronger. Although I’m noting that I have a very polarized reaction to almost all episodes- if it’s related to the fight against the Goauld I love it (and this includes the extension of Asgard and/or Replicator stuff). If it’s not, I generally don’t like it. This is notably true with the critically acclaimed and fan loved ‘Window of Opportunity’ episode which I found tediously boring. Although conversely I loved ‘2010’ even though the episode was, by definition of the events that happened, non-canon. The Big Boobed Tokra lady who rocked up for three eps in a row at the start of the season and then disappeared was a bad idea very of its time (good to see they dropped it). Was also glad to Martouf, see the pseudo-love interest for Sam, die in pretty big/notable/funny way. Other notably good episodes were ‘Scorched Earth’ and ‘First Ones’. Also while ‘Past and Present’ was a surprising return and wrap up for some S1 characters, it lead to some cool stuff being set up for S5 and beyond. Really enjoying this show.
Stargate SG1 S3- I actually forgot that I watched this season since the last blog. Watching them in a never ending 3 eps per week marathon means it all rolls into one. This season was also really good but more polarized than S4 as it had some big disappointing bits. The big mid-season reveal of Apophis was fuckin incredible, but the way that it ended up working out meant that the new villain Sokkar was inept and pointless. ‘Forever in a Day’ had some great Daniel development with Share and world building with the Harsesis at the star (plus Teal’c brutally taking down Share so she wouldn’t killed Daniel); but given how the Harsesis story ends in S4 it is retroactively less good. Given ‘Past and Present’ in S4, feels like there was some sort of production prerogative in these two seasons to wrap up various loose threads for some reason. Like we also have the apparent last appearance of the Nox and the resolution of the Klorel storyline (which is the last specific storyline originating from the movie) too in an episode that is just a homage to A Few Good Men. On the other hand, we get a fun return of Kawalsky and a civilian version of Sam through some alternate reality shenanigans. And Shades of Grey was a really fun recontextualizing of Maybourne and development/return of Kinsey… although the Jack suddenly going crazy and stealing stuff at the start was so out of character something was clearly up. And Jack was very quick to move on and get a random alien lady pregnant in ‘100 days’. And similar to ‘Window of Opportunity’ in S4, I found ‘Urgo’ almost unwatchable in this season despite it being lauded by the SG1 fandom as perhaps the pinnacle of comedy in the show. To me it was just an annoying cunt of a character getting in the way and not being sympathetic at all.
Deltora Quest- got tricked into rewatching this show by/with some friends. It started of well and interesting but after about 15-20 episodes the novelty of rewatching this show and re-experiencing the novelty of the childhood books. But over the rest of the 54 episodes that wears thin very quickly. In particular the TV show only arcs where the characters become incomprehensibly stupid all of a sudden (not using the gems they have to easily solve/beat the problem) and having no lasting impact (coz can’t interrupt the main story). Classic mid-2000s bad filler content. Also Dain (Dane?) doesn’t have a nose for no apparent reason. Given this show was made after all three book series were made, it stuns me that they padded out the first series (8 very thin children’s books) and adding in TV-show filler content including ~12-15 extra eps after the main story finishes rather than, I dunno, just adapting the second series (three thin books) and/or the thirds series (four thin books) as well. Given they had ~60-65 episodes (four or five cour basically), they could easily have fit all 15 books into that and had the whole thing be very good, consistent and well paced.