「激突！ユニオンバトル」 (Gekitotsu! Yunion Batoru)
“Clash! Union Battle”
Perhaps those of you who watched Kaze Tachinu, the Miyazaki Hayao film known in English as The Wind Rises (and which I wrote something about some time ago), may find yourself reminded of it by Classroom Crisis as I did. Obviously the settings are much different (World War II versus Martian future, for starters), but it’s exactly these contrasts that link them together in my mind. In The Wind Rises, genius aeroplane engineer Horikoshi Jirou is deliberated shielded from much of the War and the political machinations of his country, whereas genius rocket engineer Sera Kaito ends up diving headfirst into that sordid world. In The Wind Rises, Mitsubishi takes pains to preserve Jirou’s idealism, whereas Kirishina has little patience for Kaito’s. Perhaps it’s a sign of the times, with Classroom Crisis more representative of today’s more cynical corporate reality. What kind of company is eagre to invest heavily into R&D without significant government subsidies these days, when marketing is so much more profitable? So, yes, as unpleasant as Kirishina’s management is, in the end they’re just, hints of conspiracy aside, playing the game.
Thus all the unfair bullying levied against A-TEC is but part and parcel of this realistic take on the business of business. Against a company that basically owns the city, the labour union is but a weak and highly political organisation that can do little more than annoy their bosses. Kaito the engineer has no agency until he becomes Kaito the executive (via a promotion that he apparently is not allowed to refuse). And ultimately the day was won by… technical accounting loopholes, I suppose. All that said, Classroom Crisis still does not place itself in a definitive position on the cynicism/idealism spectrum. Sure, it’s still ultimately convoluted shenanigans that has temporarily revived A-TEC, but it’s Kaito’s stubborn never-say-die attitude (and his sister’s) that regained the support of the deserters, and by their united effort A-TEC’s demised is averted, for now. It seems there’s still some use for Kaito’s idealism in Classroom Crisis. Perhaps there’s a point being made about the difference between leadership and management… no, I’m reading too much into it. I’ll let Classroom Crisis make its own point at a later date, if it has one.
The important thing is that Kaito and his class now has some sort of direction—by striking a blow against Hattori Hanako, ninja accountant, it shows that they are at least capable of a fight, which is a big improvement on the various bits of ineffective moping they’ve shown us before. By showing us even one success, it instills in us an idea of how they intend to keep fighting in the future, and more importantly shows us there actually is a fight to be had. Just as a hero, a Mary Sue, effortlessly defeating all challenges doesn’t make for much of a story, a hero being hopelessly crushed by all challenges is not good watching either. There needs to be meaningful conflict. Now we can genuinely say there is.
Of course, it’s unlikely that the ultimate conflict will be between Kaito and Nagisa. Nagisa has, at least, shown an ability to be reasoned with, which is more than can be said of the loftier levels of Kirishina’s hierarchy. And the conspiracy brewing there continues to thicken. Nagisa vs Kiryu is but the first hand which is, by convention, always a bluff. If they can form a grudging respect here, it probably indicates a common enemy in the future. But what would I know? Next episode seems to be… the obligatory fanservice episode? Or maybe a fakeout disguised as one? A clearer picture of Classroom Crisis may have emerged now, but that doesn’t mean I can predict what’s going to happen. And that’s not necessary. Having no idea what’s where the next episode is going is one of the thrills of the original anime.