The Half Time Show: Spring 2015

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The smell of hot dogs, the noise of conversation and the breeze from the occasional girder falling from the sky. That’s right, it’s the half time show! The Glorio Rabble have put their heads together to let you know what’s worth your valuable time, in a world where first episodes are high budget and mid-season turns filler if left out in the sun too long. Want something cool to watch? Pick something from near the top, simple as that. Disagree? Fight us in the comments!

These shows are worth your time

It takes that special something to keep us coming back for more, and few anime pass that test each season. After six or so episodes, it’s these shows that we can wholeheartedly recommend to you.

Blood Blockade Battlefront

Kekkai Sensen

Manga Adaptation by Bones
Saturdays 2:28 pm EST on Funimation
Read our continued coverage.
Iro: Bloodborne Bolognese is the best urban fantasy this side of Durarara!!, and almost certainly the best show this season. Kyousogiga‘s Rie Matsumoto brings a sense of cinematography that keeps BBB looking incredible at all times, and Taisei Iwasaki’s debut anime soundtrack is full of jazzy, atmospheric tunes that fit the show’s style perfectly. Throw in funny, endearing characters and Nightow’s propensity for amazing names, and we have something that’s refreshingly good among the usual anime fare.

Sound! Euphonium

Novel Adaptation by Kyoto Animation
Tuesdays 1:00 pm EST on Crunchyroll
Read our continued coverage.
Marlin: Sound! Euphonium seemed to be billing itself as K-On! for the band geek, and for the most part that’s exactly what we’ve got. However, the main characters have shown themselves to be fare more nuanced than such a basic description (not that that’s setting a high bar). From episode one Kumiko stands out as a girl with her own motivations, and her personality has actual complexity, unlike the one-dimensional Pollyanna of Yui.  While its fixation on the lower half of female anatomy is pretty suspect, it otherwise does a very good job of depicting how band life really is. That said, this strict adherence to terminology and experiences unique to the band life may alienate those more unfamiliar with music.

Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches

Manga Adaptation by Liden Films
Sundays 12:30 pm EST on Crunchyroll
Read our continued coverage.
Jel: A bunch of goofy teenagers swapping spit to active magic powers sounds like a terrible concept, and it kind of is. But Yamada-kun somehow takes that idea and uses it make something funny and sweet. The cast shines with a level of depth you don’t usually see in this kind of show. They can be happy, sad, or angry. Sometimes they make good decisions, sometimes they make poor ones. Center them on an adorable romance between the two main characters and this is exactly the kind of dumb comedy with heart that I can get behind.

The Heroic Legend of Arslan

Arslan Senki

Manga Adaptation by Liden Films and Sanzigen
Sundays 5:00 am EST on Funimation
Read our continued coverage.
Artemis: Finally, a historical-fantasy anime that isn’t set in medieval Europe! That’s the first great thing that popped out to me about Arslan, but it certainly wasn’t the last – there’s also a great range of characters here, all of whom have the potential to make for very interesting figures in a tumultuous landscape of war and politics. Speaking of which, while some viewers may find themselves frustrated at the slow pacing and gradual unveiling of Arslan’s intertwining storylines, it’s become apparent to me that this series is best viewed as a political drama rather than an action/adventure piece. Make no mistake, it doesn’t shy away from depicting the realities of war, but its portrayal of chance relationships and harsh betrayals, shifting alliances and far-reaching decisions is where Arslan really comes into its own.

My Love Story!!

Ore Monogatari

Manga Adaptation by Madhouse
Wednesdays 3:00 pm EST on Crunchyroll
Read our continued coverage.
Euri: I’m a sucker for romance anime at the best of times, though I must say I have a bit more experience with rom-coms rather than stories with a 95% focus on being lovey-dovey. I think this is part of the reason why I was apprehensive about this show from the outset. The premise didn’t give me much hope, either, as I was absolutely convinced this was going to be a gross “beauty and the beast” story, with our protagonist getting the girl at the end, and after some speech about true love and… well, you get the idea. It’s been done before. Thankfully, this show subverted all of those expectations pretty early on by doing something rather unexpected, which I’d rather not spoil for you if there’s a chance you might watch this. We’re not talking about a master class in romance anime here, but what we do have is a pretty unique and endearing story of two odd school kids.

These shows require further testing

Sometimes, not even six episodes is enough. Maybe there’s a slow build-up, or perhaps there’s something objectionable in an otherwise fun show. These recommendations come with minor warnings, so watch out!

The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan

Manga Adaptation by Satelight
Fridays 2:10 pm EST on Funimation
Read our continued coverage.
Euri: This show is adorable. I like the regular Yuki a lot, but given she tends to follow orders and cannot display emotion, it’s hard for me not to watch an episode of Haruhi without feeling sorry for her. This alternate-timeline Yuki, or whatever you want to call it, isn’t a fix. Really, she’s a completely new character in the shell of the alien we know from the previous series; you can’t weigh them up and compare. That said, new-Yuki is a delight to watch, and you can’t help but root for her as she takes baby steps towards building up the courage to confess to Kyon. On the other hand, it’s a lot of cutesy fluff with nothing beyond a love for the source material to keep you hooked, so don’t go into this thinking it’s a revolution in school-romance. Worth a shot if you like the original series, but it shouldn’t be a priority to watch.

Mikagura School Suite

Mikagura Gakuen Kumikyoku

Light Novel/Manga/Vocaloid Songs Adaptation by Dogakobo
Tuesdays 4:35 pm EST on Funimation
Read our continued coverage.
Jel: Super powered school clubs fighting for fun and profit? An incredibly energetic heroine who punches things in a sweet hero scarf? Animation by Dogakobo? Sign me up! As much as I want to love Mikagura School Suite though, I’m afraid the execution hasn’t lived up to the concept. It’s colorful and full of imagination and some the fight scenes are really fun, but there’s quite a few issues after that. Any attempts at serious plot have backfired so far, the main girl has gone from oddly charming to abrasively aggressive, and the animation has taken serious dives from episode to episode. I’m truly afraid those issues are only going to get worse before it’s all over, but Mikagura School Suite is an interesting enough creative endeavor that it might be worth checking out.

Ninja Slayer

Novel Adaptation by Trigger
Thursdays 10:00 am EST on Funimation
Read our continued coverage.
Gee: A good six episodes in and I’m still not quite sure how to rationalize Ninja Slayer. It’s undeniably entertaining and Trigger continues to prove that if nothing else, they have a great sense of humor and comedic timing. Their drama isn’t quite up to snuff, and weirdly enough. Ninja Slayer has a fair amount. Or at least a desire to take itself seriously. These moments are Ninja Slayer at its worst and while I continue to laugh and cry at the escalating absurdity, I continue to wonder what its long term plan is.  Its…polarizing artstyle can certainly carry a comedy, but if the show actually wants us to take its plot seriously, it’s going to be quite the uphill battle. Regardless, at this point, you probably already know if Ninja Slayer is for you.

Plastic Memories

Anime Original by Dogakobo
Saturdays 2:00 pm EST on Crunchyroll
Read our continued coverage.
Jel: Apparently Dogakobo is all about botching execution on cool concepts this season. While Plastic Memories is flawless as far technical production, it’s really failed in the writing. I love the emotional potential of falling in love with someone (or in this case something) with a limited lifespan, but rather than truly explore that space we’ve mostly had one dimensional anime cliché characters awkwardly smashing into each other. I’ve found it more difficult to care with each episode and to be honest I thought about moving it to the “Not Worth Your Time” list, but it’s so well made and so full of potential that I’m holding on to the smallest sliver of hope that it will pay off in the end.

Shokugeki no Soma

Manga Adaptation by J.C. Staff
Saturdays 2:00 pm EST on Crunchyroll
Uncovered because, let’s be honest, I’d have nothing to say every week other than “That was dumb, but also fun.”
Marlin: Soma is a show about two things: Meticulously detailed food battles and ridiculous fanservice. If you have the stomach for the latter, I’d heartily recommend this show as something to sit back and relax to. Honestly, the ridiculous foodgasms are so bizarre and goofy that it’s hard to take it seriously as titillation. I’ve just come to accept it as the original artist not letting his previous work experience go to waste. The food battles are fun and also plausible in a way that the average layman would be hard pressed to be able to tell if these methods of cooking are actually viable. It has enough of a shounen battle spirit to it that it’s engrossing to watch. Even though you know Soma’s gonna win, there’s a genuine tension that’s necessary for this genre. If you don’t mind your anime making you hungry, I would definitely recommend Soma, but it’s not gonna be for everyone.

These shows are not worth your time

No season is complete without a selection of sub-par anime, and we’ve watched them so that you don’t have to. If you’re thinking about starting one of these shows, check out our First Look posts to make sure you really want to watch it.

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8 thoughts on “The Half Time Show: Spring 2015

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