The Kirishina Corporation has stood at its headquarters in Fourth Tokyo on Mars as a shining beacon of innovative space travel. One of its departments, known as A-TEC, is made up of brilliant high school students lead by other talented personnel who are personally selected by the company to design some of the most complex spacecraft racing engines while also serving as a symbol for the modest roots of the company’s founders. However, recently A-TEC has fallen out of favor with the higher-ups and its very existence is now threatened when a new head of the department, Nagisa Kiryu, is appointed with the primary goal of shutting the group down.
Arguably the most intriguing element of Classroom Crisis’s plot was the focus on the political maneuvering going on outside of A-TEC that is causing the funding crisis. Underneath the surface, there is an enormous power struggle going on between political parties, between officers of the Kirishina Corporation, and even between the members of the prestigious Kiryu family. Classroom Crisis takes place on Mars in the city Fourth Tokyo, and in such a big city there are bound to be different powers vying for power.
The upcoming election for parliament between the Oozora and Seimin parties both influences and is influenced by the executives of the massive keiretsu (essentially a monopoly), the Kirishina Corporation. Within the corporation there are executives competing for positions, aligning themselves with politicians and making business decisions to further their own careers, and unfortunately for A-TEC it just happens to be a part of one such maneuver. While the politics are only a large part of a bigger story, they shine as the most complex and well thought-out portion of the writing and are a huge asset to the narrative.
At the beginning of the series, the character that stuck out to me the most was Nagisa Kiryu, the upstart business executive placed as director of A-TEC with the express purpose of dismantling it. He is one of the executives involved in the Kirishina power struggle, and is working to overcome his brother, a higer-ranking executive who he works under that constantly tries to give Nagisa impossible tasks.
Nagisa is essentially the central character, playing both the protagonist and antagonist at different times within the show as he is subjected to forces both in and out of the titular classroom and his true nature is developed. From the get-go he is an enigma who seems intriguing enough, but throughout the course of Classroom Crisis Nagisa continues to play a central role and delivers on the promising introduction he was given.
Classroom Crisis was the home of my favorite soundtrack this season, something unsurprising considering the man in charge of the music was Yuuki Hayashi, the same composer who did the OST for Death Parade. That being said, even in the worst parts of the show were made slightly better by the soundtrack. The music is varied and pulls off anything from quiet piano pieces to chill jazz to action-packed orchestral performances, and is likely the most clear advantage the series had over its competitors this last anime season. Here’s a sample:
There are a couple of important characters from within the titular ‘Classroom’ (A-TEC) itself that are important individually to the story: Iris Shirasaki, Kaito Sera, and Mizuki Sera. Iris is a gung-ho pilot who controls the spacecraft A-TEC creates, but has lost her memory of her early childhood and develops over time as her dark past is revealed.
Kaito Sera is the ‘teacher’ of the classroom and is the primary figure that attempts to save A-TEC by interacting both with his students as well as the business executives and politicians in an attempt to gain the upper hand for his department as well as gain funding for their research and development. His sister Mizuki serves as the student leader of the group and both helps to lead A-TEC and works with Nagisa, a relationship that is definitely a highlight of the series. While I would not necessarily say that one of these three is the greatest character of all time, they all serve the narrative of the show well while being interesting on their own.
If there was one weakness to Classroom Crisis’s overall narrative, it would be the classroom in the title itself. The class is made up of some students who are supposedly among the brightest intellectuals in the solar system that also happen to be in high school. The idea of a genius group of high schoolers is hardly a new concept for anime from the get-go, and makes the initial premise of the show feel a bit unappealing both for me and many others.
That being said, it isn’t even a well-written group of geniuses, as most of the members of the classroom have zero development or noticeable personalities. I can’t even say that they aren’t developed beyond initial characterization because frankly most of them don’t even have an initial characterization. It’s unfortunate that this aspect of the show is so poorly managed because it really turns quite a few people off the series. However, it is not quite as bad if you merely consider the group of students as one unit instead of a group and see the classroom as an ideal being protected. It won’t fully push off what could have been done better, but the writing has significantly less baggage when the focus is not directed at the classroom.
Due to the flaws with the characters I previously described, the beginning is significantly lacking in storytelling power. When the show first started airing, it became apparent to me that it would likely be a good series if it focused on Nagisa and the political struggles, but a bad series if it focused entirely on the classroom. Unfortunately, the beginning focuses primarily on the latter, and for the first couple of episodes the show feels entirely forgettable.
The entire story at first seems to be a re-skinned amalgamation of many other shows focusing on a genius younger cast, and despite attempting to be intriguing it can come off as dull. Fortunately for us, as the show progresses it moves away from focusing directly on the classroom and does exactly what I had hoped for all along by focusing on Nagisa. While you might be tempted to call it quits at first, if you manage to get through the first few episodes the series rewards you greatly.
Classroom Crisis is likely one of the most under-appreciated shows of this season, primarily due to its slow start. However, although the beginning and the titular classroom were lacking, the series managed to pull itself together quite successfully later on, and became an intriguing story of politics and drama for those that stuck around. If you are a fan of dramatic series with excellent soundtracks, then be sure to give Classroom Crisis a shot as you will likely not be disappointed by the time you reach the end. I sure wasn’t.
Penned by Maruto Fumiaki (White Album 2, Saekano), and with a star voice acting cast that includes the members of the unit TrySail, Classroom Crisis was the first major work of animation studio Lay-Duce. It was simulcasted by and is currently available for free and legal streaming on Crunchyroll in the Summer 2015 season.
A Super Special thanks to Tim C. (Unimplied) for his amazing skills editing that gif. There used to be credits in that thing, he edited them out and added the button and it looks great!
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This is the first in my series of reviews for the Summer 2015 anime season. Here’s the full list (I will link them as they release):
- The AniTAY Summer 2015 Music Awards
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