upd: I’ve listened to Michael Thomas Method - Russian (since I know the language). And it teaches horrible russian. I decided to give it a pass for japanese
it teaches solid japanese though. the woman teaching the course isn’t michel thomas (obviously), she only uses his method. the only real downside to MT would be the terrible second student, listening to her makes your brain cells commit suicide, lol.
can’t go wrong with jpod101 though i did it all the way through advanced before i came to japan, which gave me a solid base to work with.