A Japanese reality show strictly for fans that is probably much too chaotic and off-putting for international crowds.
The concept of Ainori Love Wagon: African Journey is simple enough in theory. It’s a dating show. Seven contestants hop in a pink van and try to get to know each other, with the hopes of falling in love and returning to Japan as couples. On the way, they’ll interact with the local culture and customs, and partake in lots of other obnoxiously loud and silly activities as the dating show gradually merges with a nutcase gameshow, its only real reward despair and confusion.
Needless to say, this is very popular in Japan. And I’d suggest that those existing fans are specifically who the show is aimed at since the brazen lack of subtlety and joyous Japanese style aren’t exactly in the Western wheelhouse. After a while, the sheer chaos of this show began to grate, and its constant nonsense became less and less tolerable. And for a show which has a nation in its title and makes a point of suggesting that its contestants are at least going to engage with that nation in some way, Ainori Love Wagon: African Journey rarely bothers to really explore its African namesake.
And the contestants are predictably insufferable. The show seems resolutely against them and after a while so was I, which I suppose is fine, but it’s difficult to care about whether these people find love, you know? Perhaps some people will be interested, but I can’t imagine who they are.
Either way, the drab touristy gimmick of Ainori Love Wagon: African Journey does it precisely zero favors, and neither does anything else about it, really. These contestants are all hoping to find love, but anyone looking for a new reality show to binge probably will be swiping right here – to the next suggestion in the Netflix thumbnails.
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Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.