「史上最大のプレゼン」 (Shijō Saidai no Purezen)
“The Greatest Presentation in History”
So it’s finally come to the finale, and the time for Classroom Crisis to put everything together and wrap them up. That’s a fairly tall order, considering what we’re working with. There are so many strands of plot floating around, from A-TEC’s shutdown to Nagisa’s rescue to Iris’s confused past. On one hand, it’ll be quite unlike Classroom Crisis to let any of them drop, but on the other hand if they were to try to resolve everything they’ve built in a single episode then it might make it a bit bloated.
The good news is, Classroom Crisis doesn’t necessarily need to try. We got the Season 2 Ending! With such obvious sequel hooks, it would be a travesty if we didn’t get a continuation. Still, even if we presume a sequel, the story we have now, these 13 episodes of Classroom Crisis, need a satisfying conclusion. One thing at a time.
Even without a need to resolve everything this episode, there was still a fair amount to get done, and thus a reliance on on-screen text for exposition, to establish time and place, again. I don’t usually approve of anime making viewers read, especially to keep track of details like timeframes, but in this case I guess I can forgive it. The success of the presentation was contingent on Iris being able to fly, which was in turn contingent on giving Iris an emotional resolution. And since we needed to maintain tension throughout the entire episode, it’s best to present them in parallel for the audience. Eventually the two sides of the story merged anyway, so it wasn’t so bad. In fact, I think it all flowed together rather neatly. What tripped me up more was how relatively easily Iris got off. I was predicting an asteroid field between Mars and Cold Wood last week, but was a bit disappointed that it didn’t materialise for the final episode, especially with the emphasis on things coming full circle. Instead, it seems that the power of friendship was all that was needed. Well, it wasn’t too bad; even though the power of friendship and love and the tears of a maiden are all pretty cheesy, none of it came out of the blue and were fairly well built up. Clichés aren’t necessarily all bad—they’re overused because they’re effective—and good execution goes far to redeem them. I also suspect that they need to keep material for season 2; Iris was still noticeably distressed when flying as opposed to her unflappable daredevil demeanor when we first started, so she’s probably not through with her PTSD quite yet.
Other than that, I found everything was resolved very satisfyingly. I like how the series is bookended and how nothing was overlooked. Even where they got their shiny new spacecraft! I must admit, I forgot all about the memorial rocket, and had to go back to check that it indeed showed up in episode 03 (if only there was a website that blogged anime along with 36 handy reference screenshots. Someone should get on that). Make use of every part, I keep saying, like the traditional hunter-gatherer. But it’s not just the plot being tied up, of course, but also about reflecting on character growth. Nagisa quitting was definitely a triumphant moment, of him repudiating his stepbrother‘s mercenary ways, but it should also be noted that a lot of his plan relied on him believing in A-TEC and their ability to engineer the revolutionary X-3 engine so that they can drum up the investment capital that allowed them to quit. As for Kaito, he’s never going to grow out of his soapbox speeches, but you’ve got to give him credit for being able to follow along with Nagisa’s scheme (until he ran out of gas, anyway). I doubt he would have the patience for a fancy boardroom presentation at the beginning of the series. Sure, Nagisa and Kaito are still going to butt heads on various things in the future, but seeing them able to team up and use each others strengths was the defining moment of their growth. Again, it’s not surprising, but it’s satisfying.
Where now, though? A-TEC has incorporated as its own bold startup. Kazuhisa is probably still going to go ahead and get rich off warbots. Iris still can’t manage to tell anyone about her past (a past that includes a lot of shares, apparently). And of course, there’s the love triangle which, considering it’s the friendliest rivalry ever, probably isn’t going to be resolved by murdering the hypotenuse (though if it’s a love quadrilateral and Angelina, unrequited ninja is involved, all bets are off. Maybe she’ll hook up with Kaito though). Classroom Crisis actually has a surprisingly full hand to play, still. Though we ended at a pretty good point and pretty well, if they don’t make a sequel, I would frankly be hurt.
Final Impressions – a gem of the season
I actually wound up covering Classroom Crisis because I was Julius Caesar-ed in the seasonal blogging-pick knife fights. I wasn’t panning the show or anything; it just didn’t stand out as much as it should have before the season started. In hindsight, I’m pretty thankful for how things turned out; I landed quite the interesting original series without really trying. Ah, happy endings.
…I only blog good shows these days, don’t I? Don’t tell the others, they’ll shiv me in the fall.
Would it be right to call Classroom Crisis a sleeper? It certainly was sleepy for the first few episodes, spending a bit too much time on setting up, slow enough that I was afraid that it failed the three episode rule. And it did seem to deliberately hide exactly what kind of show it was in its promotional materials. But then, once it had built enough momentum, it just sort of kept rolling and rolling and I do think it just kept getting better. Those opening set-up episodes, though potentially turning some viewers off, were put to good use. They could have used some slimming, sure, but they were certainly not wasted.
Perhaps Classroom Crisis was shy about quickly defining itself because it really was difficult to define. It didn’t really buck genres or do anything offbeat, but rather put a lot of different genres together in way that was, as a whole, new and interesting. There’s some soap opera here, some sci-fi there, some intrigue everywhere. It didn’t let itself be confined to any particular set of conventions, but felt free to diverge into any number of them. There really isn’t anything new under the sun, so mixing and matching is good enough. So much of fiction are just genre checklists these days (because humans enjoy familiarity), so Classroom Crisis was a relatively refreshing take. I attribute the success in this field mostly to writer Maruto Fumiaki, whom I’m familiar with from his work on Saenai Heroine no Sodatekata. In fact, it was partly my respect for his writing there that let me keep faith in Classroom Crisis even with its slow start. Classroom Crisis really is a show that is carried by its writing. Sure, the competent support was indispensible—the animation was solid (pretty lively the entire way), the art was solid (only going off model occasionally for far shots, but there’s tasty background detail), the music was solid (not too standout most of the time, perhaps, but it mustered effective drama when it had to). But it’s the kick of the plot unfolding and the various intrigues of the story paying off that is the main draw. So hats off to Maruto and the production team for what I can only call ‘masterminding’ Classroom Crisis. It felt like a thoroughly planned experience.
In the mid-year retrospective podcast I, with three-quarters of the panel, named Classroom Crisis as one of the most under-appreciated shows of the season. I, in particular, was afraid viewers may be turned off by the deceptive promotional materials and the slow start. Classroom Crisis certainly rewards patience; I daresay it has emerged as one of the strongest shows of the season. More people need to watch it; like A-TEC, it has turned out to be excellent return on investment. Mostly, though, I just really want that season 2. You can count on me being here again if and when that happens. I hope you’ll be, too.