Classroom Crisis – Top of the Class

CoverThe Kirishina Corporation, one of the world’s leading aerospace engineering companies, was founded by members of the Kiryu and Shinamiya families. After successfully revolutionizing space travel while still in High School, Renichiro Shinamiya – the head of the Shinamiya family at the time of Kirishina’s founding – held the belief that combining existing technology with new ideas was the key to success. In pursuit of this ideal, he had the company establish the Advanced Technological Development Department, Educational Development Class – shortened to A-TEC thankfully as the redundancy would kill me otherwise.

All is not well though, in recent years A-TEC has become a financial liability and the current heads want to shut it down for various reasons. Which is, of course, the ‘Crisis’ referred to in the title. And Classroom Crisis is A-TEC’s story. The story of their fight to survive within the organization, and the story of some of the class’s primary figures: Kaito Sera, Mizuki Sera, Iris Shirizaki, and Nagisa Kiryu.

For anyone wondering, this is not an action show. The first episode will give you a bit of a misleading expectation of what we’re looking at here… but while there are a few fairly action heavy scenes, the core of the show’s focus is on character development amidst the troubling circumstances our characters find themselves in. One of the other key elements of Classroom Crisis is a very overdramatic take on business. It’s not exactly realistic, but it creates a relatively good narrative and an interesting opportunity for character development.

What action the show has is generally fairly static. There are two types of action you’re likely to see here, either Iris piloting a rocket through some sort of difficult situation (asteroid belt, short timed rescue, etc) – with mixed success – or Nagisa’s assistant Angelina acting like a ninja. Don’t get me wrong, both of those prove to be interesting diversions and a nice change of pace from the otherwise relatively slow show, but the limited scope does kind of detract a bit.

The main characters are interesting and, for the most part, not terribly cliché. Iris is a bit of the standard ‘Rei Ayanami’ archetype, but she begins to break a bit out of that as the show comes on. And, fortunately, the other characters share traits with certain character standards and bump elbows with the tropes, but they never quite fall entirely into those categorizations. And it’s good to see, as without strong characters this show likely would’ve completely fallen flat since it lacks action and there isn’t really a good emotional connection to draw on.

Angelina

What was really interesting, for me anyways, was that this show avoided romantic relationships for the vast majority of the series. It’s about friendships, work relationships, rivalries, and sometimes all three at once… and that was a refreshing change. Near the end it starts to get into romance, and rather suddenly develops into a harem for one character… but don’t pay too much attention to that. It’s just a silly little touch at the end, and it does little to sour the good ending. The ending offers a great climax that brings all of the good elements of this show together and displays the best of them all.

Probably my biggest gripe was that they never really got to showcase these students’ special talents, save Iris and one of the side characters. We have communications experts, engineering prodigies, a hacker, among others… and while they do manage to build an innovative rocket in an unreasonably short length of time, I think too little time was spent on that portion of the story. It would have been cool to get more time spent on them planning out and building it than on them hyping each other up to plan and build it. Sadly, it was the other way around… you get a few Rocky-esque montages of them building preceded by large lengths of time of them encouraging each other to get back to work.

Engineers

Hey, come to think of it, I’ve never been able to figure this out

Overall, I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised by Classroom Crisis. The characters were interesting, the story was nothing like I was expecting, and overall the premise worked fairly well. It had a few pretty glaring flaws that hindered it from being exceptional, but those few flaws were not able to keep the show from being a solid character drama. This show isn’t likely to win any awards, but it is certainly a fun show to watch.

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