chronikle: (bssm ☆ let's get down to business)
Kat ([personal profile] chronikle) wrote2015-06-27 11:24 pm

029. Kat's Reviews: a whole bunch o' stuff

Danger 5
Rating: 5/5 Dangers. I'm not seriously rating this show.

My friend told me to watch Danger 5 because he thought I'd like it and Netflix had it in my top suggestions, so I watched it and it's the best (read as: the most "me") show that I've ever seen.

It's an Australian show and it is completely ridiculous. It's about an international five-man team of spies, the eponymous Danger 5: there's an American man, an Australian man (although you won't know he's Australian until the second season), an English woman, a Russian woman, and a "vaguely European" man (it's never defined where Pierre is from). They're sent by Colonel Chestbridge, who is a man with an eagle's head for a head, to perform various missions--and above all, to kill Hitler! Despite it being clearly set during World War II, it's also set in the 1960s.

It's live action but it parodies stuff like Thunderbirds and Captain Scarlet, and the last episode of season one features an Ultraman/Super Sentai-esque fight scene--even though the show is absolutely not appropriate for kids. I'll be honest, there's a lot of stuff in it that could be upsetting to people--it's not a show that goes out of its way to be offensive, but I can definitely see how people would take offense to it.

That said, a lot of the humour is downright surreal--people keep giving Pierre cocktail recipes whenever he dies, there's a robotic dog that asks people for a smoke before gassing them out, there's Nazi dinosaurs and monkey men who just like to play music, and the Swiss bleed gold. And that's the first season--the second season is set in the 1980s and it ramps everything up to eleven. I can't even begin to describe it? Hitler goes to school and takes a girl to the prom. Pierre is a black man with a man with a lion head for a friend. Russia is a theme park called USSR-land. It's bizarre.

The soundtrack is pretty cool--both are available on Spotify, and I find season two's is the cooler of the soundtracks, but season one is very good for writing essays to. Also, the last episode of season two contains the best line ever written for a show, but I'm not about to spoil that for you.

It's certainly an experience and one that I think people should have, but there's also sensitive subject matter that people might take offense to, so it's also not something I'd rush to recommend to people unless I have a good sense of their humour? I dunno. It's very surrealist and parodies a lot of things that I enjoy and I'm not sure any other television show will ever quite compare.

Gatchaman Crowds
Rating: A

I started Gatchaman Crowds when it aired in 2013, but couldn't keep up with it after two episodes. I tried watching it again last year, and then I picked it up again last night and burnt through the rest of the show in less than 12 hours.

I liked the show a lot! It was incredibly optimistic about humanity and I loved Hajime. I know a few people find her annoying or unrealistic, but she's the type of character that I love and her idealism and optimism was never naive! She knew exactly what she was doing, even if she caused trouble occasionally for her teammates by not telling them what she was thinking, and she didn't use her optimism to give false hope. Instead, she admitted that she didn't know how things were going to turn out but she was going to try. I loved everything about Hajime.

I've heard conflicting things about the confirmation of Rui's gender, but I do like that it's easy to interpret him (or them, both pronouns are used for Rui in the show) as genderqueer or non-binary! Berg-Kratze is similar... and I thought they were a pretty fantastic villain, particularly to face off against Hajime.

I loved all of the characters, but Hajime is my favourite, without a doubt. Her relationships with everyone were very cute and I love that her energy managed to inspire them. I feel so much like optimism like that is punished by the narrative in most shows (and I wonder if that's why some people dislike her; I see people try to claim that she's a "Canon Sue") and it's rewarded and encouraged in Gatchaman Crowds. Not only through Hajime's influence, but also in how the GALAX users ultimately decide to use CROWDS and how Berg-Katze's attempt to dissuade them is completely ineffective. Everyone wanted to help everyone else and they found a way to have fun whilst doing it! It was a really inspiring message.

The art was very nice as well! The CGI was amazing--the suits were very detailed and looked wonderful, even against the 2D. The soundtrack is also awesome--I've listened to it even before I finished the show, but I remembered how good it was while I was finishing Gatchaman Crowds up this morning.

I'm definitely watching the second season when it starts soon!

Grace and Frankie
Rating: B-/C+

I don't really know how to rate Grace and Frankie. I watched it on a whim and I enjoyed it, but it's not "my" type of show and it was a bit too much "old white rich people" for me to connect with it that well. That said, it did make me laugh a few times and I really enjoyed the characters and I liked how the story was handled.

The basic premise is that Grace and Frankie's husbands, Robert and Sol, are long-time business partners at the law firm they work at. They're in their seventies; when Grace and Frankie are invited to dinner by their husbands, they expect them to announce their retirement. Instead, the men announce that they've been having an affair together for twenty years and are now divorcing their wives to be together. It's a messy situation.

The show deals with Grace and Frankie--two very different women, who initially can't stand one another--becoming an odd couple of friends to support one another through the bizarre situation that they've found themselves in while Robert and Sol plan their wedding and their adult children adjust to the new changes in their family (and the fact that, while they've always known one another, they're now going to be family).

It's handled quite sweetly and seriously, even if this is a comedy; Robert and Sol want to make the best of the rest of their lives together, and the women are understandably hurt and the children confused. It's further complicated by the fact that Sol and Frankie still love and care for one another in a way where they miss one another's presence a little more than Robert and Grace do, and Sol's clearly pained about hurting his family and especially his ex-wife. It's also addressed that it's great that they can now be out and be together, but also that they have still had an affair, and if they'd been cheating with other women, everyone would be a lot angrier with them than they already are.

I also liked Bree and Bud, Grace's daughter and Frankie's son respectively. Their siblings (Mallory and Coyote respectfully) are less interesting to me, but Bree was funny and smart and snappy, and Bud was trying his best to keep everything together for his mom.

If you like LGBT comedies, especially ones that focus on the older generation, and stories about older women, it's not a bad watch. I laughed out loud a couple of times but not always, and it's hard to watch at times (there's a lot of complicated feelings and nobody really "wins" in this kind of situations), but a few of the characters are charming and it's not a story you see told so much.

Orange Is The New Black: Season 3
Overall rating: B

I finished season three a few weeks ago and I mentioned it briefly then, but I'll talk about it in a bit more detail.

I've seen a few people refer to this season as a "filler season", and I can see why: aside from a few characters, it felt a bit like there was more breathing space for everyone, and there was focus on secondary and tertiary characters that have been there since the first season. I liked that! I was a bit stressed out with how dark and focused season two was, and three was a return to some of the stuff that I liked from the first season.

The most obvious theme of the season was faith and I liked how they utilized that--it wasn't just a belief in a higher being or forming a cult-like behaviour around a particular person, but it was also about the assumptions you make and then believe. I think that was evident in Alex's growing paranoia and Sophia's assumptions about Gloria's son being a bad influence on her own son. I don't know, I just really liked how it handled different belief for different characters, and I'm glad that characters like Boo, Norma, and Chang got expanded on through flashbacks.

I also didn't find Alex and Piper as annoying at the start as most people did, and I felt like Alex's paranoia was justified, but Piper did begin to grow on me again as the season progressed. She's so self-centered and arrogant and it gets old, quick. I didn't really like, uh, Ruby Rose's character? I've seen a lot of people get all hot and bothered about Ruby Rose but she hasn't done anything for me and I don't really like her character, although it probably doesn't help that she didn't get a backstory. I hope she returns next season, it'd be cool to see what happens between her and Piper (and I'm hoping she'll take Piper down a peg or two).

Other than that, for all that I did find this season funnier, it does get quite dark at times for some of the characters. There's transmisogyny in some episodes, directed against Sophia, and episode ten features the rape of one of the inmates (although it's thankfully not sexualised, and it's a pretty upsetting moment). There's also problems with substance abuse from a few characters.

Overall, I thought this season was quite nice and I imagine if you're watching from the start, it's welcome right after season two, but I can understand other people's frustrations with it. I do feel a bit like the show's lost some of its appeal, because I've not heard anything from anyone about it lately.

Show By Rock!!
Rating: B-

Show by Rock!! (also known as SB69) is a mobile rhythm game about a bunch of cute animal people striving to become a music millionaire. It's pretty cute and I like the music a lot, but if you want to play it, you'll need to get around the region lock. You can find a guide here.

It was adapted into an anime quite recently, and I liked it well enough. I'm going to get my negatives out of the way first: I thought the main plot was a little bit flimsy and that it might have worked better as a slice of life anime about a band trying to hit the top of the charts rather; there was some fanservice that I found a bit questionable but it's nothing unique to the anime itself; and the ending left a lot of things unresolved.

That said, I thought it was a cute show and it helped introduce me to the characters of the game a little better, even if some liberties were taken with their backstory in the anime. It's mostly true to the game canon, but Cyan is a human brought into this world, which I don't think she is in the game, and I think Dagger (the antagonist) was created entirely for the anime. I can't read Japanese very well, so I don't actually know!

Overall, I'd recommend it if you want something cute or you'd like to get into the franchise without having to play the game while we're waiting on more character/story translations, but I wouldn't recommend it on its own merits? It was cute. It's very easy to read certain characters as queer, if you want to. The art was nice. The music is good, but I still think there's more variety in the game itself. (The OP and the ED are very catchy though, you will find yourself humming them a lot.)

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