Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Anime Review: Classroom*Crisis

Okay, baby-steps to getting these reviews back on time, baby steeeeps. Oh and I'd like to note, while I still have over half of my summer shows to review, this is the last of the "this was good for sure" tier of shows. Nothing else was terrible, I don't have the time to finish terrible, full seasons of anime, but going forward I had quite a few more problems with the next few shows on the list.


The transfer student is our new boss?!
Serara Kaito is the homeroom teacher for the A-TECH class at a school operated by Kirishina Corporation where these special seniors are one part students and one part future employees. But things have taken a weird turn lately when they discover that the class will be disbanded at the end of the year. They're trying to fight it but with no idea how to sell their rocket engines as a real world good or how to use a budget efficiently they're in hot water. It seems like new student Nagisa is out to make their lives go from bad to worse but no one seems to pick up on the fact that Nagisa has saved companies like this before, he's going to put the class on a diet before the chopping block. Even that may not be enough however, A-TECH may have lost their budget but the company says that they're still funding it and no one else has heard about the cancellation, there are a few mysteries at hand and uncovering those may lead to something even worse. 

Before the season started I was unsure if I wanted to see this show since, honestly nothing about it stood out from the summary. Plus, if we're going to have a story about high schoolers with adult-like jobs why not actual young adults? I do think that the story could have worked if the characters were plain young adults, the situation could have been very slightly tweaked to have the same stakes, but ultimately it does work out fine. Ironically enough the reason why this did work for me was because the characters were treated as young adults and it was the more stereotypically "anime" high school antics that felt most out of place in the show. Well, and some of the weirder political schemes.

Yes folks, three weeks in a row and we have a show with some politics in it! Like Insight I totally didn't expect this at all but the first episode comes out swinging; transfer student arrogantly walks away from his rescue attempt with brash confidence that he could have worked a way out anyway and practically already had by this point. The show is also equally determined to show just the interconnected way that politics affects work, obviously I'm harping on this a bit but there's a plot line in the show about whether or not to unionize the students which is clearly a political debate on both sides of the Pacific*.

I ended up really enjoying the story for it's mixture of backroom scheming plots, science-fiction which strikes the right balance between fantastical and factual (mostly through background pieces, like changing environmental gravities), and I found myself really attached to the four, core cast members. Sadly the show does have a couple of semi-major weaknesses, one is that many of the other cast members (the union characters, the board, the other classmates) feel less like individuals and more like various choruses. This is a particular shame with Mizuki and Iris's classmates where it's most pronounced since the initial few episodes tried to establish the classmates as individual thinkers, abet united in a common cause, but by the end nearly any character is interchangeable with the other. That problem I did see coming by the mid-way point of the story so it was frustrating that the last episode tossed in two new problems, one was a few sequel hooks (guys, you can't have been crazy enough to think this would have enough appeal for a sequel right?) and it rather frustratingly also sets up a love triangle (okay so I was joking earlier in the series that both Iris and Nagisa had a crush on Mizuki, I DIDN'T mean that to turn into "both Mizuki and Iris have a crush on Nagisa").

None of these elements are so bad that they would keep me from recommending the series but, in our niche fandom this one is an extra niche show. You need to be able to enjoy a character-driven show that sometimes tries to switch to being plot-driven at climatic moments, buy into at least one of the characters' ideologies (such as Serara's optimism vs Nagisa realism), and it is a bumpy ride to the end. But, I did really enjoy the show for it's good parts and if Aniplex puts it out on BR here (which they don't always do for under the radar shows like this) then I would buy and rewatch it (or a second season if one was ever made).

*ignoring for the moment of course that the show is set on Mars

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