Review/discussion about: Classroom☆Crisis
(As supplementary material for this review, please refer to my essay on conflict and resolution, Classroom☆Crisis, Conflict, and Resolution.)
Every year, my family and I go to the cottage we have up north. We ride on the pontoon, we go to the local ice cream store, and we sit around the campfire making s’mores. These separate events are fun, but what makes them so awesome is getting to spend them with my family.
I remember one night when Craig, a cousin of mine, brought a telescope with him. It was a clear night, allowing the stars to brightly shine against the dark backdrop. He had been practicing viewing objects in outer space, and, by that point, he could consistently find Saturn. So he set up the telescope, aiming the device at what looked like to me some arbitrary spot in the sky.
When I peered through the scope, I saw a tiny, beige dot. It was Saturn. I was amazed to see this celestial object thousands of miles away mere inches from my eye. From that night onward, I learned to respect outer space, more so than I had ever previously done before.
Classroom Crisis is an anime that likewise focuses on outer space, and contrary to its name, this anime is certainly not a crisis.
Classroom Crisis initially does not seem as if it will do much. The setting is a school. The main group is a club. Their work is bland. And, honestly, the first three episodes are difficult to get through.
This difficulty arises from two areas. The first area is the tameness. “Nothing happens” in the beginning because the anime more or less sets up its world. What A-TEC is, which big players are involved, and why any of this matters. It is a lot of explanation, albeit necessary explanation. The second area is the constant negativity. Besides the occasional comedic relief, Classroom Crisis’s first three episodes come off as very unfair. Absolutely nothing is going right for Kaito, Mizuki, and the other members: their budget is cut, their facilities are shut down, and their team breaks away from itself.
This is what makes episode five an oddity. On the one hand, the beach and the bathhouse stereotypes come off as out-of-place within the anime given the outer space and political motifs. On the other hand, there are reasons for this episode to exist, such as sparking Iris’s recovery from her amnesia and Mizuki witnessing Nagisa’s scars. But the biggest reason is to give the audience a bit of fun; the vast majority of the anime up until this episode was filled with that aforementioned negativity.
Regardless, getting through the first half does pay dividends. The political machinations behind the scenes start to make sense once Nagisa’s actions start to shake up the field. The plot twist that was cleverly concealed is made known. And the true reason for why Kirishina Corporation pursued A-TEC so heavily finally surfaces.
The narrative unfolds itself following its slower start, revealing what Classroom Crisis does best: conflict and resolution. Many of the conflicts within the show are small – rushing to make a deal, fighting off bad guys on a spaceship – while others are huge, existing across much of the season – the dismantling of A-TEC, Iris’s newfound fear. But regardless, the conflicts are always filled with purpose, giving the anime a lot of untold strength.
And the same can be said for the resolutions that the anime constructs. Each resolution provides closure for the audience, makes sense in the context of the story, and completes the conflict that was created beforehand. Since the resolutions achieve success across all of these levels, they make for satisfying conclusions to the anime.
The ending makes this clear. The anime incorporates a lot of full-circle framing to “return the story to the beginning” while also providing a lot of satisfaction in its conclusion. For example, the group brings Sasayama back on as the executive of A-TEC, and the final bit of drama matches the first bit of drama – rescuing Nagisa from a harrowing predicament. But it is Kaito and the gang dissolving A-TEC of their own volition that caps off the anime in as perfect a way as possible.
Interestingly, the anime has other parts to it that go unexplored, such as the SWINPR races and the other civilizations on Mars and elsewhere. Classroom Crisis ignores these parts because it understands that they are not the point. They add to the setting, but they are not what is important to the show. Purposely ignoring these extra bits puts more emphasis on the plot and the conflicts and the characters which in turn strengthens these different parts.
Another of these parts is the themes, one of which is about learning to rely on others. The major plot points – Nagisa against the Kiryu family and Iris against her fears – follow characters who try to do it all on their own. They only triumph when they start to rely on the people around them. A-TEC also embodies this idea; they save themselves through their support for each other.
Classroom Crisis’s most prominent theme, the futility of revenge, carries the most weight. Nagisa’s words work best here: “Revenge is only carried out by fools.” This is seen with both Nagisa and with A-TEC. The former has an entire subplot dedicated to exacting revenge against the Kiryu family, revenge that ultimately fails. The latter does not seek revenge but instead vies to help themselves, help that ultimately succeeds. And it is not until Nagisa drops his revenge and starts relying on those around him that he starts to see success, too.
Taking both of these themes together gets at the main message: revenge will get one nowhere, but friends will take one everywhere.
The artistic direction for Classroom Crisis is, unfortunately, not that impressive. The anime takes place within the same set of locations, namely the A-TEC hangar, the academy, and the headquarters for Kirishina Corporation. This is not to say that art is subpar but rather there is not a whole lot of detail. This goes the same for the lighting and the camera work, both of which are lacking attention.
The same can be said for the anime’s actual animation. The anime is filled with a lot of talking, meaning the characters hardly see extensive movement. There are specific scenes where this is not true, such as the ones involving Angelina due to her combat capabilities and Iris due to her spaceship flying. But the majority of the anime is not wholly concerned with intricate animation. Like the art, this is not to say that the animation is subpar but instead passable and only passable.
One of the most interesting tactics that Classroom Crisis uses is the comedic way of drawing its characters. Sparingly, the anime likes to exaggerate the facial features of its characters – specifically the eyes and the mouth. Because this tactic is so infrequent, when it does happen, it adds a considerable amount of comedic value to the anime, giving the show higher strength in this department.
The character designs are likewise a positive. Mizuki in particular has a wonderful design. Her long hair with ponytail contrasts with her tomboyish work clothes, but it is her larger-than-normal eyes that accentuate her attractiveness the most. Iris’s design symbolizes her personality: her purple hair (a cold color), her expressionless face (no emotion), and her blue-and-white jumper suit (cold and plain colors) match her calm persona. And the other members of A-TEC look unique within the show without treading into goofy-hair and ridiculous-fashion territories.
Another strong aspect of Classroom Crisis is its characters. A large portion of the cast is mostly there for simple purposes. But Mizuki, Kaito, and Iris, and especially Nagisa, have a lot of importance and a lot of clout throughout the season.
Starting with Mizuki, she is not a character that can necessarily be described as having a lot of development. She is the younger sister to Kaito Sera. She has the looks, the brains, and the personality. The latter is what makes Mizuki who she is: she leads the club with a smile on her face and optimism in her heart. So it is not all that surprising that she starts to take an interest in Nagisa, a man whose mannerisms and persona opposes Mizuki’s completely. Using a cliché, “opposites attract.”
And that is what happens. Mizuki continues to try to understand Nagisa, learning about his troubling past while becoming closer to him. At some point, she realizes that her curiosity is no longer a fleeting feeling but instead love for the man who tries so hard and does so much.
Mizuki does not just help Nagisa, though. She takes care of her brother at home, she is best friends with Iris, and she leads the rest of A-TEC in a poised and confident manner. In this way, she is reminiscent of her brother since she is always looking out for everyone else. (They are definitely siblings.) More than just being helpful, she is the ideal side character because she does not steal the limelight from those that need it most – namely Iris and Nagisa – but rather increases said light’s intensity.
As was said, Kaito is similar, although he does not connect with the other characters on an individual basis. As A-TEC’s teacher, Kaito makes it his mission to give the kids he mentors the resources they need to accomplish the tasks they set out to do. He is a bit scatterbrained despite being a genius (or perhaps because he is a genius), but his heart is always in the right place. He puts his students and his customers first, aiming to make the people around him as happy as they can be.
He tries. He tries a lot. Usually he fails, but Kaito never gives up. This trait is what makes Mizuki and the rest proud of him, and it is this trait that gives his character strength. When everything is falling apart, they know they can turn to Kaito to make something happen. And he does, time and again. In the end, he is the one that delivers the final presentation, and, thanks to his words, Kaito rallies A-TEC and dumbfounds the enemy, proving that he is more than just a girlfriendless, twenty-three-year-old nerd.
Where the characters really start to shine is with Iris. Iris’s characterization is admittedly a bland one: she is the emotionless type who has an immeasurable love for Mizuki. Iris has nothing notable about her with the exception of one detail: she is an ace pilot. And that is all she is for roughly six episodes.
At the halfway marker, Iris becomes unable to fly – a poetic dilemma if there ever was one. Her conflict coincides with her amnesia, giving her the chance to slowly recollect who she had been many years ago. To the point that she fully comes to understand her origins, adding to the suspense and plot of the show.
As the anime nears its conclusion, she has a heart-to-heart with Mizuki, she musters the courage to fly once more, and she “reunites” with Nagisa. Her full character arc not only allowed her to grow as a person but also allowed her to, like Kaito, be more than just the characteristics that defined her. That is, she became a well-rounded character.
Without a doubt, the best character in Classroom Crisis is Nagisa – this is to be expected given that this anime is more or less a story centered on him. Nagisa, in the beginning, is nothing short of a jerk, being mean towards the other characters indefinitely. When not hounding A-TEC, Nagisa has a complicated relationship with his brother, Yuji, a relationship that is far from savory. He also focuses on nothing but his work, foregoing fun in favor of fortune.
Fortunately, Nagisa starts to open up the more time he spends with Mizuki, Kaito, and the rest of A-TEC. He recounts the physical and mental abuse he received at the hands of Yuji, forming the basis for the revenge he seeks. He starts to work with A-TEC, helping with the cultural festival, seeing their kindhearted nature when they help to rescue Angelina, and thinking about them as friends rather than foes.
Despite his changes, Nagisa lets the fires of revenge for Yuji and his other brother, Kazuhisa, consume him, betraying A-TEC and his newfound friends. And after all his revenge seeking, he loses spectacularly.
The aftermath of his downfall ultimately changes Nagisa for the better. His beautiful moment with Mizuki lets him know that he does not have to struggle alone. His predicament with Yuji lets him (however slightly) reconcile with his brother. And his final words towards Kazuhisa lets him prove to everyone that he has finally become who he always could have been all along.
So while not every single character within Classroom Crisis is stellar, the ones that need to be are.
The audio of Classroom Crisis is a toss-up, but there is no questioning that the opening and ending themes are well-executed.
The OP starts with space-like sounds and a quick lyric to set the mood. The track then quickly moves into a strong bout of singing from the vocalists that is fun to follow. As the track progresses, the singing goes higher in pitch to fit the higher tension that the track has built. The track is very similar to the story; the track starts off adequately then continues to improve the further it moves along. And if nothing else, the OP is fun to listen to, both in and out of the show.
The ED is a mellow track, one that helps to soothe the drama that ensued minutes prior in the episode. It starts and ends the same way as the OP: using eerie, space-like sounds that are cool to hear. The middle of the track starts off slower than its OP counterpart, but the ED truly starts to shine on its own after the halfway point where the track picks up the pace and the lyrics echo. The ED is more or less an homage to the wonderful relationship that Mizuki and Iris share (indicated by the visuals that accompany the track), turning it into the best piece out of all of the music given.
Voice acting sees a mix of both strong and weak performances. Ari Ozawa as Mizuki brings a bubbly voice that captures the girl’s equally bubbly spirits. On the opposite end, Yuu Kobayashi as Angelina is annoying to hear. (Even if that is partially the point.) And Yuuma Uchida as Nagisa is somewhere in the middle since, despite the emotion he puts into his voice, it is a bit too old for the high-school student.
The remainder of the tracks from the original soundtrack are certainly extensive. Jazz tracks for the carefree moments, spidery tracks for the disturbing moments (Episode five, where Nagisa is talking with Yuji, is an example of this track.), and triumphant tracks for the uplifting moments.
Many more types of tracks exist, such as harrowing, tense ones, haunting, violin ones, and funky, bongo ones. Those, like the first few examples, both fit and work. But none of them particularly standout except for one: the preview track for upcoming episodes. Its funky beat and quickness is pretty catchy. Sadly, one fun track does not a strong OST make.
I will admit that, when I first started this one, I was getting ready to harp on it when it came time for me to write about it. Those first three episodes were aggravating because nothing good was happening. “Good” in the sense that our protagonists get some kind of bone thrown their way. But when that bone did was nowhere in sight for so long, I was more than irate.
Then the middle of the anime arrived where events were no longer so one-sided. The odds were still stacked against A-TEC, but now it felt as if the proceedings were “fair.” The comedic, pouting faces were also working, alleviating some of the frustration. Plus, Iris only caring about Mizuki was often funny. Still, I was not wholly captivated by what the anime had in store.
The most entertaining section of the anime was the last quarter or so. Iris’s dilemma, Nagisa’s kidnapping, and A-TEC dismantling themselves had a lot of emotion in them. And, of course, the kiss between Mizuki and Nagisa was without a doubt the best moment the show offered.
The anime also gave me the chance to write yet another really long piece, this time about conflict and resolution. I am always appreciative of any anime that gives me the chance to better myself, doing more than just providing a well-put-together anime.
Yet I cannot say I liked the show all that much. I did not dislike, but I did not love it, either. The beginning contributes to this feeling, but it is the characters that cause this the most. The characters are well-written, but unfortunately I never took a liking to them, making them forgettable compared to a lot of other anime out there.
Classroom Crisis might not be the best anime ever, but it certainly does a whole lot right. Its story, while unfair in the beginning, is conflicting and complete. Its characters, while not memorable, are handled well throughout the season. And its art and music, while not incredible, have strengths of their own. Saturn is far away, but one does not need a telescope to see just how nice this anime really is.
Story: Great, strong conflicts and resolutions, alongside strong themes on revenge and reliance, craft an unsurprisingly strong narrative
Animation: Fine, about average artistic direction, about average actual animation, funny comedic expressions, and above average character designs
Characters: Great, Mizuki, Kaito, and Iris, and especially Nagisa, are well-written characters that support and develop in their own ways from start to finish
Sound: Fine, good OP, good ED, okay OST, okay VA performances
Enjoyment: Fine, the latter half is entertaining, but the frustrating first half and the forgettable characters hurt the experience
Final Score: 7/10
Thanks for taking the time to read my review. If you want, take part in the discussion below! :3