Spring+Summer 2021

Ooft it’s been awhile. TL:DR- watch Itaden Deities as it’s fucking fantastic and the best new thing for ages, but also don’t watch it coz it’s got a huge tease ending so wait until there’s a Season 2 else you’ll get blue balled terribly (or some gender neutral equivalent). Biggest cliffhanger I’ve seen in years and I NEED TO FIND OUT HOW IT’S RESOLVED.

Anyway, what else was notable the last two seasons?

Spring 2021

Notably good

Fruits Basket: The Final– the third and final season of the remake of Fruits Basket. As of me writing this, it’s more than a season old and still sits in MAL’s Top 5 anime of all time. And it thoroughly deserves it. Cannot recommend people watch this show enough. the story, the characters, the developments. Everything is great.

Seijo no Maryoku wa Bannou desu– another great female led isekai. Where the OP protagonist actively tries to avoid having to save the world coz they’ve got other priorities. Nothing world breaking and a pretty generic opening politics conflict (which was solved in a pretty silly way) but thoroughly enjoyable to a more adult audience dealing with overwork

Ijiranaide, Nagatoro-san– surprisaingly fun, if you can get past the horrific first episode. Episode 1 is basically bullying and really un-enjoyable. The rest of it is a great ‘odd couple’ story as two very different people develop into better people. Except for an episode around the middle where MC-kun has a fanservice-y game world dream involving the misc female characters. While the rest of the fanservice stuff (which it is relatively light on, at least in my memory three months later) is either used for decent/good comedy or for character development; that episode is pure time wasting.

Vivy -Fluorite Eye’s Song- a fantastic anime original. The high quality visuals gets you through the disjointed story which, kind of like Foundation, is told in fairly independent/self-contained arcs separated by multiple decades. So getting invested in characters/events only to have them unceremoniously dropped several times is a bit rough… but then episode 10(ish) has a HUGE twist that changes everything and then 2-3 eps later there’s another one that changes it all again. And completely changes how the previous stuff was perceived. Although it does kind of not really address the inherent issue with AI robot servants of “these are basically slaves”; as evidenced when around the middle the protagonist AI is turned into a sentient museum exhibit that is basically a prison and no-one really acknowledges that.

Slime Taoshite 300-nen, Shiranai Uchi ni Level Max ni Nattemashita– a chill technical-isekai-but-thats-only-a-minor-plot-detail-in-the-opening-10-minutes-to-get-the-genre-tag-and-make-people-tune-in fantasy show that is female led as an OP witch lazies about and gains a non-sexual harems of sisters and friends. No real stake or conflict that isn’t resolved quickly and comedically. Entirely forgetable, but a fun ride at the time when you want something easy to watch that doesn’t require any thought or attention.

SHADOWS HOUSE– a show that I didn’t watch live/weekly but rather in that period between season where everything good is finished but nothing good has started; a really good suspense/mystery thing. And my god the twist towards the end about what is actually going on was shocking in detail (if not the overall concept) but especially in how that detail manifested in the world. really hope there’s a second season- and that it doesn’t got the way of The Promised Neverland. A real sleeper hit in my view of the season.

ODDTAXI– another anime original and I really fucking loved it. Really enjoyable the whole way through, if a bit odd (haha) with its pacing as a show made to fit anime as a medium rather than trying to fit pre-existing stuff within a seasonal anime slot runtime. Only bad thing was that I had the last ep reveal spoiled through speculating/discussing with friends (they nailed it, I hadn’t even thought of it) so the big revelation was a bit soured for me. So I won’t say any more.

Sayonara Watashi no Cramer– great sports anime, with a unique twist being focused on a team sport in a girls tournament. Really changed the dynamics as to how the sport fits in broader societal context (i.e. fixing for respect and recognition) and a fresh take on how athletes deal with competition and failure and success in a female dominated environment compared to a male dominated one. This show was good enough that I actually picked up the manga and am irregularly reading it via the (terribly designed) Crunchyroll Manga app. if you’re not into sports (or sports admin/coaching) then skip this, but it is very good.

Super Cub– a really interesting, good even, introspective show about dealing with depression and loneliness (and dealing with failure/directionlessness). be warned it is very slow and not a lot happens. But I think it’s worth watching simply to see (often in retrospect as you don’t notice it moment-by-monet) how well they use colour. Like as it fades out then explodes and such based on the mood.

Notably bad

CESTVS -The Roman Fighter- oh god my eyes.

Koi to Yobu ni wa Kimochi Warui– “hey what happens when a ~30 year old man badgers, pesters and gaslights a high school girl into wanting to date him? but it’s ok coz she’s the best friend of his highschool aged sister who supports them being a couple. And we’ll make a villain at the end being his/their dad who is like ‘WTF why are you dating a high school student, you’re an adult. This is illegal and immoral’. This show will be great!” (This is a conversation that has to have happened in the production of this show. The fact that they specifically highlight multiple times that the age gap is fucked makes the show ending on the relationship happening even worse; could at least ignore it and be more ambiguous about exactly how much older he is)

Dragon, Ie wo Kau.– some dumb fuck spoiled brat has to go live in the real world. but his overly entitled complaining is meant to be cute/funny coz its a dragon. Booo.

Isekai Maou to Shoukan Shoujo no Dorei Majutsu Ω- let’s have a plot point where the characters level up and get new armour that is explicitly more revealing to the point of only covering a total of about 10 square centimeters across their (her) whole body! And draw attention to that! Also lets have another plot where one girl is cursed and the ticking timebomb mechanic for when she dies manifests literally on her crotch, so we have plot relevant reasons to have the camera zoom in on her underwear.

Hige wo Soru. Soshite Joshikousei wo Hirou.– See previous for Koi, but instead of a sister approving it’s a serious of his female co-workers who all want to have sex with MC-kun and often talk about their value to him based on relative breast sizes. Also add in the highschool girl is the dumbest character alive- she’s a runaway from some rich family (dunno the details coz i dropped) and can’t figure out why her super important CEO brother who lives in a different city might have popped out of a mysterious car that’s been watching the shop she is working at and come inside. HE’S OBVIOUSLY LOOKING FOR HER BUT SHE DOESN’T REALISE THAT. MY FUCKING GOD.

Tensura Nikki: Tensei Shitara Slime Datta Ken- labeling this show as ‘bad’ is perhaps a bit harsh as the show itself it pretty benign. Incredibly benign- it’s a whole heap of slice of life side stories in the ‘Reincarnated as a slime’ universe. or so I gather, I got bored before fiishing the first ep. No the bad part per se isn’t the show itself but the timing, in that the “main” Slime show storyline was pretty much literally mid-climax in the key fight the entire season had been building too with heaps of unresolved and important plot points needing to be addressed… and we got three months of this instead.

Notably meh

JORAN THE PRINCESS OF SNOW AND BLOOD- this looked interesting to start with but then inexplicably solved the main characters story arc in like ep4 and had ghalf the side characters get murdered by their boss for *reasons* and then it really didn’t go anywhere

Yakunara Mug Cup Mo- a great 3-5 minute short about kids doing an unusual hobby as a school club (pottery), stretched out to 12-14 minutes to try make the geographic region of pottery seem really cool and fun in a fairly blatant part of ‘Shinzo Abe commissions anime to make/trick city people go to the country and have kids to solve several societal problems acing Japan”

Mashiro no Oto- a really promising start about how to deal with the trauma of loss, through a prodigy performer who can’t music anymore. using an unusual/obscure traditional Japanese instrument. That then turns into a generic highschool club competition as he and a group of misfits, well, get into highschool competition shenanigans. And that interesting premise disappears.

86 EIGHTY-SIX– people fucking creamed themselves over this show but like, it’s just anime hunger games. Or more accurately a less interesting Gundam series (in particular Iron Blooded Orphans). The opening episode pretty heavily set up all the plot beats that everyone was shocked by so I don’t know why people were shocked. Have they not heard of “The Matrix”? Weird that this got a second season, although I think it was maybe a two-cour single season.

Fumetsu no Anata e– babies first interaction with melancholy. I think. Ep1 was pretty dark and then ep2 introduced stupid children characters and the most paper thin ‘women getting shitted on is bad’ plotline I’ve seen for a while.

And I guess by default, everything was was not only bad but so uninteresting bad that looking at their names/images/descriptions doesn’t prompt any recollection. Or it was a sequel to a show I just missed the train on e.g. Mairimashita Irukuma-kun S2. Zombieland Saga S2 and Megalo box S2 could be good too, but the former was only just interesting enough for me to watch at the gym and the latter has a perfect one season story so uninterested in looking at either sequel season until I get a nudge on them from a trusted source (or am very bored one day). Oh and I’m hearing mixed things about Blue Reflection Ray and Madoka Magia Record S2 (from Summer 2021)- both are apparently really interesting dark magical girl shows although I haven’t had the chance to really give either a fair shot (and the latter is a big step up on S1)

Summer 2021

Notably good

Heion Sedai no Idaten-tachi- jesus christ the perfect mix of call action, cool world, ‘crossing the line’ ecchi and the CRAZUEST FUCKING CLIFFHANGER ENDING. Am really sad that this 11 ep season has apparently basically caught up to the manga so any resolution.sequel is a long, long time off.

Tsuki ga Michibiku Isekai Douchuu– this isekai is far better than it has any right to be. Summarizing it it’s “the hero is OP, but in a really unexpected way so he/no-one realises for a while. And he uses his weird OP ability in an unexpected but (accidentally) clever way.” So it goes down a stealth/merchant route rather than combat route which is cool. Interestingly all of the main heroines have, in my view, deal breaking characteristics so none become an instant/solid ‘best girl’, letting the characters themselves and the world and story some how build into something far better than any of the individual components have the right to be a part of.

Kobayashi-san Chi no Maid Dragon S– great stuff for the sequel series. only thing I didn’t like was the new character Ilulu- putting giant tits on a girl who is meant to have the appearance of like, I dunno, a ~13 year old girl is pretty lazy/cheap. And at best is rehashing the humour of Lucoa-Shouto and at worst just rehashing lazy comedy from a million other things. But the stuff with everyone else was fantastic… although the main bit of the last episode was a bit much.

Seirei Gensouki- this show is so bad it’s great. It’s like the creator saw a book of ‘tropes to build your isekai’ and decided to just do all of them. But there was a transcription error and instead of reading “arc” as “one cour long” (or equivalent number of chapters in manga/LN format) they misread it as “one episode long”. The generic Kirito SAO-esque hero, who has Kirito’s VA, collects and discards not less than three different harems as he goes from aristocratic knight magic school to forest full of sexy-animal-girls to Japanese shogun-era-village settings. The guy becomes more and more OP for no real reason as the show progresses and more and more ‘big bad group behind the scenes’ threads are set up (which lead nowhere) and then it has the most generic and clunky climax arc back at magic knight school that doesn’t make any sense. This sort of hot mess doesn’t come often enough (although it also does come quite often…).

Vanitas no Carte– these bishi shows aren’t normally my thing, nor are vampire themed shows, but I really liked this. With the exception of Noe (who is an absolute dead shit moron) all of the characters were super interesting (both backstory and interactions wise) and the setting/overarching story was a really interesting idea. I really want to know what the hell is going on with the Vampire Queen and the Blue Clan and all that jazz. Although i do get the vibe I will entirely have forgotten about this show.

100-man no Inochi no Ue ni Ore wa Tatte Iru 2nd Season- this show oscillated between boring and brutal. I can’t think of many shows where the heroes murder an (ogre) child and we are shown scenes of the ogres trying to help/save the child and stop it getting hurt. Like are they not meant to be heroes. There are a few big arc plot points from S1 I can recall that don’t get touched on and it was really erratic in episodes being either pointless or crazy. But it’s such a different show to the standard isekai (they keep going back and forth) and there’s enough interesting stuff as the heroes deal with the world and their actions that it is somehow quite compelling.

Deatte 5-byou de Battle– a generic and trashy battle royale where people have random and increasing stupid powers. Starts pretty simple but then gets very convoluted and the final fight/reveal is pretty lame. But fun watching characters with such inconsistent designs and art qualities fight in increasingly more incredulous scenarios.

Sonny Boyhaven’t finished this yet so cheating to rate it but is MAPPA and anime original and so fucking weird that it is 100% worth watching. Ok I finished it last night and HOLY FUCK this ended up being the most brutally melancholic show I’ve seen in yonks. The end of ep10 was jaw dropping in the brevity of events and how it all wrapped in ep12 was just… brutal… especially for a show that started as a supernatural mystery show. This show transcends good/bad or even enjoyable/unenjoyable metrics… it’s an “experience”

Genjitsu Shugi Yuusha no Oukoku Saikenki– this show was a mixed bag. The first half a a really bad habit of setting up cliffhanger endings that turned out to not be a big deal. And despite some really good commentary on the important things of statehood- making sure people are fed, making sure infrastructure and transport works, make sure people are entertained, make sure people can express themselves are, in my mind, on the money (being presented as revolutionary ideas by the reincarnated public servant king that go against the aristocratic-military impulses of the locals); the way it expressed that is really fucking offputting. Like the weird fat guy poncho using knowledge of delicacies to be a weirdo promoting meals. And using the public broadcast system to do cooking shows and idol shows. The overall conflict of the show was nonsensical for 90% of the show, until it was revealed that it was deliberately nonsensical as part of a 4D chess plot. And then there was one more episode after that was all wrapped up where we just set up more things. So I guess it’ll depend on S2 (or part 2 of the split cour?) to figure out if this was good or bad.

Notably frustrating

Bokutachi no Remake- this show was such a fucking tease. The initial premise was a person going back in time and re-living their life by making different (more adventurous) decisions at a key moment of their life. Which is a solid escapist fantasy everyone can relate to. But then out of nowhere in episode 9 or 10 it smashes the protagonist (and the audience) with the truth that by doing this he is single-handedly ruining the careers/lives of literally everyone he admired in his “original life”. but it doesn’t deal with that and the protagonist just kind of ignores that. Then he jumps forward in time and finds out that he unambiguous does ruin all their lives and careers… and he then proceeds to ignore that and spend a month in this new timeline doing so. And then show literally ends with him about to go back in time to the first rewind period to try it for a third time… basically it goes from a solid escapism show to being the most aggravating tease as to the effects of meddling with time travel.

Otome Game no Hametsu Flag shika Nai Akuyaku Reijou ni Tensei shite Shimatta… X– I really enjoyed S1, but it was a finished story. Literally. So this felt like a really unnecessary continuation… and required increasingly incredulous idiocy not only from the titular ‘Bakarina’ but her ever increasing harem for the whole thing to not fall into a heap. The most interesting thing in the whole series is a throwaway line that the wider populace of the world/kingdom are considering Catarina as some sort of literal Saint (in the context of the fours wives/fiances of the Princes) but we got nothing else world build-y of interest. Just a lot of lame stories.

Peach Boy Riverside- this was a really interesting world and set of characters, but was destroyed by the production decision to air all the episodes out of order for no clear reason. So it made it really fucking hard to follow what was going on and who knew what (and who’d met who else). Also the main protagonist has the most unnecessarily tight leather(?) pants I’ve seen since YuGiOh. A really enjoyable show but needs some background research to figure out what order to watch things in.

Scarlet Nexus- this show is by all accounts bad. The characters are bland, the concept is generic, the art/animation is terrible, the first episode apparently spoiled huge story beats revealed later in the game. But for some reason I found this really, really entertaining. Not to watch with my full attention, but to half watch. I think it’s that the overall story within the generic stuff is actually really good/interesting and that is somehow shining through despite the layers of crap on top of it. Although that positive vibe was me thinking it was 13 ep series and having learned it’s actually 26 I am suddenly far less keen on actually finishing it (I am only up to like episode 7 so, ehh, don;’t really take this as a recommendation to watch)

Tensei Shitara Slime Datta Ken 2nd Season Part 2– this was fine, if paced horrifically slowly. 13 episodes basically building up to one fight which was, of course, an OP stomp by Slime and his team. Some interesting world building stuff there, but like the first ~5 episodes covered one meeting in Tempest in one night. With one episode covering the pre-meeting set up. Excruciatingly slow given how many massive world changing things have been hinted at and/or explicitly stated as being in motion.

Notably bad

Kanojo mo Kanojo- like Rent a Girlfriend, but instead of dumb fuck MC paying to have four tropes fawn over him in this one it’s four (five including MC-kun) who are just too into oversharing and end up in the most insane polyamourous set up. Hard pass and this sort of stuff is bad for the genre.

Tantei wa Mou, Shindeiru.- this got so much hype (so much that I was aware of it) and like, it was generic and bad. A Holmes and Watson, but the twist is Holmes is killed off screen after episode 2. Also episode 1 is super long and has a confusing fight with bad CG that is from an entirely different genre. And Sherlock is then swapped out for a generic other girl and… ugh… I dunno. Just bad.

Meikyuu Black Company– like Tsuki Moonlight above, but way more cynical and with a really unappealing MC. Who’s basically a greedy dickhead actively trying to take advantage of people worse off that him. Pass.

Shinigami Bocchan to Kuro Maid- I didn’t mind the weird art animation style per se, but the main guy was irrating and there’s only so many ‘oh no my maid is too sexy’ gags you cna get away with before it gets stale.

Cheat Kusushi no Slow Life: Isekai ni Tsukurou Drugstore– i might be wrong, but I’m pretty sure the opening ep of this had the wolf-girl (child wolf girl) wet herself. if so- yeah pass. if not- a generic and boring fantasy show.

Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei– why does this exist? The main show is already bad but this as a redo of S1 but form the viewpoint of the younger sister so there’s less, uhh, ‘interesting’ story happening and more explicit incest love. Cmon Japan, don’t do this.

Isekai Cheat Magician: Yoiboshi no Matsuri to Majutsushi- this show was horrific. Why did it randomly get an episode 13? There has to be some suspicious production stuff at play here

Jahy-sama wa Kujikenai!– remember Devil is a Part Time? What if you took away all of the charm and gender swapped the main character to bean obnoxious, spoiled brat (rather than an over achieving middle manager) and then do nothing interesting coz she’s a child character. Boooo

More broadly a few shows of not: ‘Getter Robo Arc’ is interesting in that it exists but is like S5 of a show that hasn’t been around for a decade and jumps straight into S5 content. it’s great that it exists coz it shows some interesting possibilities in the industry, but is not for me. ‘Kageki Shoujo’ and ‘Shiroi Suna no Aquatope’ were two sort of interesting shows about young girls struggling with idol/entertainment industries and finding themselves and finding friends; but neither quite grabbed me. And ‘Uramichi Oniisan’ has some incredible production stuff in terms of staff and VAs and such but the overly cynical jokes didn’t seem to really go anywhere. Was just sad and mean, without any self deprecating edge or punching up this sort of comedy needs.

Other stuff

Sopranos S1- fucking great. Didn’t grab me when I first watched it but really grabbed me this time. Roaring into S2.

Stargate SG1 S6-8(?)+Atlantis S1- can’t remember where I last left my Stargate reviews but this period of Stargate is peak Stargate, especially peak SG1. Loved the overall arc stuff with Anubis, Replicators and Atlantis. And then Atlantis was nice and fun as for me its full of childhood nostalgia. Although given the recasting that happens in S9, Jonas gets a real dud deal only being around for S6.

Survivor S17 Gabon- an incredible mess of a season. Utter chaos and full of idiots. Loved it. i have copious notes to write up a detailed play by play like previous seasons but I really can’t be fucked. Basically everyone is fucking stupid and it’s great.

Australian Survivor S6 Brains vs Brawn: way too much production interference and a lot of dud cast members, but probably the best Final 2 I’ve seen in any Survivor. Absolute insanity for 2/3 of the show, with 1/3 of incredible gameplay (form just the Final 2, although often against each other) littered through out. Also loved it, but as a one off ‘treat’- if this is typical going forward I can see it going from enjoyable sweet to intolerably bitter. Also this being on three nights a week, for 90 minutes a night for like 8+ weeks is why i have had so little time to watch other stuff. No no other ‘extras’ in my suite of notes to review.

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