「忸怩たる一族」 (Jikuji taru Ichizoku)
“Family of Shame”
A point is made about innovation in the face of adversity this week, and it’s certainly not the first time Classroom Crisis has brought up this theme. I am reminded of the story of the Wright brothers, who invented what is widely known as the first aeroplane on more or less a shoestring budget. Even their simple prototypes, though, were developed at great personal risk (since falling is a natural precursor to flying) and there was certainly no guarantee of return on investment. Their method is certainly untranslatable into a modern business model. R&D, as we know it, involves a lot of trial and a matching amount of error, costly iterations that would not be viable without a substantial budget. And, especially for a profit-seeking company, invention and success are not strictly analogous.
Case in point: Tesla died poor and alone.
For Classroom Crisis, I suppose it’s a compromise between Kaito’s stubborn idealism and Nagisa’s grumpy cynicism. I was actually expecting Nagisa to deny Kaito’s funding request, with it’s one year return on investment*, because A-TEC isn’t supposed to last another six months, but instead it’s a goofy *fine print issue. It reinforces the point that Kaito vs Nagisa isn’t really the main matchup here. They simply have a clash of ideology, meaning they’re natural enemies, yes, but they can still have a constructive relationship from that. Nagisa forcing A-TEC to work out funding alternatives is arguably a Good Thing, but at the same time it seems that it’s just a matter of A-TEC having to work longer and without pay (surely the union should be more up in arms over that than voluntary overtime). Also, ‘create efficiencies’ is some of my most hated corporatespeak of all time. It’s a similar deal for Nagisa: innovative studying techniques? Cram with an all-nighter. Or perhaps getting help from anyone remotely resembling ‘friends’ is already a very new thing for Nagisa.
Nagisa’s and A-TEC’s troubles meeting somewhere in the middle makes for a good opportunity for our main cast to bond aka have a relationship beyond mutual torment. In particular, Mizuki (Sera the Junior) is now close enough to Nagisa to learn his origin story (whereas Sera the Senior learns it as essentially gossip). Nothing surprising here: Nagisa was the red-headed stepchild of the Kiryuu family, he’s a victim of domestic abuse, and he’s playing some finicky political games. What makes things complicated is his mother, apparently a Shinamiya and, more importantly, owned a lot of shares. It’s good-old-fashioned mystery and/or soap opera: someone probably offed someone for someone’s money, someone turns out to be someone’s child, at some point a will is read, after a variable body count. Good stuff.
That’s plenty of material already, which makes me wonder what part Iris is going to play in all of this. She’s mostly been a sideliner so far, a bonus peripheral packaged with Mizuki, but there’s plenty of hints that she has a large role yet to come (like when Nagisa suspiciously refuses to talk about Iris even before being asked). If we were to continue along the lines of old-school Japanese drama, Iris would would be the scion of a family sworn to the service of the Shinamiya, samurai style, before they were all killed. Too cliché? Well, it’d explain her bodyguard instinct. But then, what’s Nagisa’s current retainer, Angelina, ninja stalker? Questions, questions.
Maybe Angelina herself will answer those questions next episode, when she returns after this week’s absence. Classroom Crisis has been developing nicely, baiting the viewer with answers and question, just the right amount of carrot and stick (to use that metaphor loosely) to keep me engaged. I don’t even normally approve of characters narrating their life stories like Nagisa did, but here it feels like it was eased out of him rather than forced (mixing it up with Kaito listening to the tale helped, too), so I can let it slide. Overall, I’d say we’d been on a role since three episodes ago. Or, perhaps, I just like it when things are going optimistically, an improvement on the downward slide of the first few episodes. Well, Nagisa’s brother surely won’t be pleased with the current state of affairs. I’m sure he’ll come into direct antagonism with A-TEC sooner or later. There is plenty of conflict in store.