The Half Time Show: Summer 2015

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The smell of animated beef patties, the hum of cicadas and the breeze from the giant monster battle occurring off-screen. 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. Special shout-outs to Durarara!! X2 and My Love Story, which continue to be awesome. They didn’t start this season so we’re not going to talk about them again, but you can check them both out in the late roundup.

Gangsta

Manga Adaptation by Manglobe
Sundays 10:30 am EST on Funimation
Read our continued coverage.
Aqua: Gangsta is an odd beast. Its lighthearted characters and bizarrely out-of-place shounen battle manga tendencies couldn’t be more unbefitting of its grim and gritty setting, but at the same time, these eccentricities are what save the show from mediocrity. While Ergastulum is an oddly drab, unexciting place in Manglobe’s somewhat tame adaptation, Worrick, Nicolas and Alex’ banter more than makes up for the noticeable lack of any sense of style. Surprisingly, Gangsta looks at the people behind the gratuitous sex and violence. Strong dialogue, intriguing backstories and a suitably interesting look at themes outside the usual anime canon make it a show worth watching in a season craving for something to vent off the beaten path.

Gatchaman Crowds: Insight

Anime Original by Tatsunoko Productions
Saturdays 3:00 pm EST on Crunchyroll
Read our continued coverage.
Jel: I talked about why you should watch Crowds in our Summer Anime Guide as well as our First Look at Insight, so I’m not going to rehash that here. I will confirm Insight has been a great continuation of the first season though. Picking up right where things left off and continuing discussion on the key questions like “is mankind smart enough not to kill themselves?” makes me think time will remember Crowds more as a 24 episode series than two 12 episode seasons. If there’s one key difference I’d say it’s how the themes are developed. Season 1 leaned more toward subtle, cryptic dialogue whereas Insight lights itself on fire, does a few cartwheels in a circle, then smashes everything with a giant rainbow colored hammer… needless to say, it’s incredibly blunt and exaggerated. Fortunately Crowds is a show capable of doing both and as a result it’s one the best shows we’ve seen this year.

Miss Monochrome – The Animation 2

Anime Original by Liden Films and Sanzigen
Fridays 11:30 am EST on Funimation
Read our continued coverage.
Jel: Normally idols and otaku meta humor would make me roll my eyes and cringe but Miss Monochrome is so odd and charming that I can’t help but love it. Season 2 has been much more focused on the actual logistics of Miss Monochrome preparing for an idol tour, which is a bit disappointing compared to season 1’s much more bizarre, over the top scenarios. But overall the series is just as funny and weird as ever, and a reliable way to put a smile on my face from week to week.

Non Non Biyori Repeat

Manga Adaptation by Silver Link
Mondays 3pm EST on Crunchyroll
Read our continued coverage.
Jel: Non Non Biyori Repeat has been an interesting experience in that it’s not really a sequel but a re-telling of a story that was never really a story in the first place. That may sound kind of bad but in this case it works. As a rare example of pure Slice of Life, this is a show that is completely about the journey and not the destination. It also means you can jump right in even if you didn’t watch the first season. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the lovely scenery and adorable antics of the cast as they live out their slow but fun days attending a country school. That’s all there is to it, but sometimes that’s all you need.

Prison School

Manga Adaptation by J.C. Staff
Fridays 1:05 pm EST on Funimation
Read our continued coverage.
Marlin: Prison School was billed as a hyper-sexual gag comedy about escaping from prison, and on that front it’s been completely successful. But even beyond that, Prison School has impressed me with its ability to make a legitimately tense escape thriller while still being able to pepper it with its outlandish style of humor. Its art style goes a long way to making its jokes work, from its plethora of reaction faces to its ridiculously designed characters. I’ve been told the effect is even more impressive in the manga, but I feel the anime has so far done a great job of bringing this story to life.

School Live!

Gakkou Gurashi!

Manga Adaptation by Lerche
Thursdays 10:00 am EST on Crunchyroll
Read our continued coverage.
Jel: I’ve said several times before if you haven’t heard anything about School Live!, stop reading and go watch it blind. I will assure you it is not what it looks like. If you have at least read the premise I will also assure you, it is still not what it seems. The ultra moe characters and their seemingly silly antics are all a creepy window dressing on a pure horror survival story. I’ve been pleasantly surprised to see the lengths our rag tag band of school girls have gone to in order to survive each day. It still might not be as deep or intense as it could be, but the weird mix of cute and horrifying make School Live! a delight to watch.

Snow White with the Red Hair

Akagami no Shirayuki-hime

Manga Adaptation by Bones
Mondays 12:00 pm EST on Funimation
Read our continued coverage.
Artemis: There are plenty of reasons to like Snow White with the Red Hair. The artwork is clean and bright. The pacing is cheerfully breezy. The episodic, often slice-of-life style vignettes are pleasant and easy to get through thanks to a nearly total lack of melodrama – rare these days, especially for a shoujo romance. However, the biggest drawcard of the piece is Shirayuki herself; a wholly likeable character who makes for one of the best female leads I’ve seen in a long time. She’s upbeat and determined but also smart and extremely capable, and best of all, she insists on relying on her own strength to forge her path ahead. Realistic this series ain’t, and it’s also not the most unique or innovative show to come out this season, but it is a remarkably solid one.

Ushio and Tora

Ushio to Tora

Manga Adaptation by MAPPA
Fridays 10:30 am EST on Crunchyroll
Read our continued coverage.
Iro: All anyone is saying about Ushio and Tora is that this show is 90’s as hell. The characters, the plotting, the directing, and the fights all feel directly out of an early-90’s shonen battle manga along the lines of Yu Yu Hakusho. I mean, what else would you expect, seeing as the source material is precisely that? It’s a refreshing blast from the past considering the current anime landscape, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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!

Charlotte

Anime Original by P.A. Works
Saturdays 1:00 pm EST on Crunchyroll
Read our first look.
Euri: If you’re familiar with Key, you’ll already know how this goes. Charlotte has a vibe that’s very similar to Angel Beats, even down to the Lia opening music, which definitely has pros and cons attached to it. Each episode has been very formulaic; we get a skit at school, a wet guy shows up and outs a kid with a super power, and the student council go sort them out. Five episodes in and it’s very much rinse and repeat. However, I’ve not disliked my time with this show, and have come to be rather intrigued with this rag-tag group of X-Men rejects. Key being Key, the success of this show is going to hinge on the last three episodes, the expected plot twist and how many people die/are dead, but for now I’m not going to worry about that.

Classroom Crisis

Kurasurūmu Kuraishisu

Manga Adaptation by Lay-Duce
Fridays 3:30 pm EST on Crunchyroll
Read our continued coverage.
Jel: Classroom Crisis is a classic example of a concept being a lot better than its execution. It all sounds pretty cool: A not too distant future where the world is run by mega corporations, a hot blooded teacher leading his class of rocket engineers to save their space program with hard work and guts, really slick graphic design… I am on board with all of these things. Unfortunately in practice Classroom Crisis has been a boring mess of very plainly written dialogue and healthy doses of anime cliché. I’ve been toughing it out in hoping that it will eventually pull itself together, but it’s going to be tough to imagine that happening any time soon.

Dragon Ball Super

Kurasurūmu Kuraishisu

Anime Original by Toei Animation
Simulcast pending.
Coverage, smoverage.
Euri: In my opinion, Dragon Ball Super isn’t worth watching at all. At least, not right now. What we’ve seen so far is an adaptation of the Battle of Gods film, only with a fraction of the budget. It held up in earlier episodes, but the further we go, the more the animation budget is becoming apparent, and there’s really no need to watch a sub-par retelling of events when we already have a flashy movie for that. If you haven’t seen Resurrection ‘F’, it’s probably worth jumping back in for that, and even that’s assuming the movie hasn’t been released at that point. Right now, there’s no reason to watch this until we get to the new content, and who can say when that’ll be.

Ultraman X

Live Action Anime by Tsuburaya Productions
Tuesdays 6:30 am EST on Crunchyroll
Read our continued coverage.
colons: This show has people in rubber suits throwing other people in rubber suits at polystyrene buildings and lots of toy merchandising. If that’s all you’re after, great. Watch this. Maybe play Time Clickers or talk to someone or drink at the same time if it’s not holding your interest enough. The thing is, I just don’t know why you would pick X over any other Ultraman series, as they all appear to be functionally identical. I guess this one has production values of a sort and has not yet done anything reprehensible, so why not this one? If, however, you want anything interesting with your rubber suits, consider instead Kamen Rider Gaim or any post-1980-ish Godzilla film.

Wagnaria!!! Working!!! Whatever!!!

Manga Adaptation by A-1 Pictures
Saturdays 2:00 pm EST on Crunchyroll
Read our continued coverage.
Euri: After a largely forgettable season two, Working!!! seems to have returned to form. I wager this is due in part to the manga ending, which in turn means that the anime doesn’t have to suffer as it dances around unresolved topics. While the first few episodes hark back to the finer moments of the original series, episode four and beyond have brought some meaningful developments to the series, including the tying up of previously drawn out plot threads. It remains in this section for now whilst I hold my breath, but I believe it’s on track to be one of the better shows this season.

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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2 thoughts on “The Half Time Show: Summer 2015

  1. So I will give Nyon Nyon Byori a chance because I like simple slice of life shows. I will also get back on Miss Monochrome. I started it for a moment and found it quite charming and amusing but cannot recall why i stopped.

    • If you like Miss Monochrome you might as well wrap it up, it stays consistently weird and amusing throughout. Plus the short episodes make it easy to watch it all.

      Non Non Biyori I feel like I have to be really in the mood for it, but I always enjoy it when I do sit down and watch.

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