OK, forgive the very anime-troped splash panel, but that does happen in the show. However, that is the least of their problems in “Classroom Crisis” (“Kurasurūmu Kuraishisu”). We find ourselves in the distant future. Not only do we have interplanetary travel, but we have colonies set up on the planets, in this case, Mars. There is a technological giant of a company out there, the Kirishina Corp. They have an academy on Mars, and a specialized class in that academy, named A-TEC (Advanced Technological Development Department, Educational Development Class) which contains especially talented students, spending part of their time in class, and the other part of their time working to develop rocket engines.
This A-TEC group is a guiding and driving force of the company, but it gobbles up a huge amount of resources (like money) at a time when the company has concerns (like money). The story follows the members of the A-TEC class, and their progress on developing a new engine, called the X-3, while dealing with issues related to both being in high school, and being company employees, engineering rockets.
Kaito Sera (green shirt, second from left) is the teacher of these students, but if the problems with the new engine aren’t troublesome enough, he gets a new student and boss, Nagisa Kiryū (not shown; I think he is the one giving the bad news to the troupe). You see, Nagisa’s brother, Kazuhisa, who runs the company, wants Nagisa to close down A-TEC and send these student-employees elsewhere in the company. The series shows the steps and tricks everyone uses to (a) save A-TEC or shut it down, (b) get that all-too-precious funding or deny that all-too-precious funding and (c) fight upper management or fight labor and the Union. It’s complicated, compared to engineering. Still, not bad for a bunch of adolescents, eh?
But this is also a corporate drama, as we see the machinations that go one behind the scenes to make a company profitable by getting rid of the deadwood and increase profit margins. Ah, but one man’s deadwood is another man’s dreams. This show does have a capacious cast, what with the students, the monkeys…uh…the members on the board of directors, numerous political aspirants and other such folks lurking in corners. There are also some sub-stories that I question their actual worth with things, except maybe to pad things out to a 12-run season, but certainly add to the confusion and uncertainty that is a corporation in transition.
It’s just that there was no reason to drag this out; not the series but the decision to shutter them. If you want to shut down a division for whatever reason, you do that. You don’t give them three months to make a transition. You tell them that this is how it works and give them an option to work in outer Siberia or find another company to work for. I think the decision to string it out was to show the actual nature of all these people so we cheer the hero and boo the villain.
A sub-story, which manifests itself later in the run honestly added nothing to the overall scheme of things, except to muddy the waters and, potentially, show that corporations are not much better than a country run by a dictator. A message means nothing if I can’t determine what it is you are trying to say. Still, the grit and determination that all these talents show help make up for some aspects of it, but not all. A good B-List candidate for your anime watching.
On a scale of 1 to 10:
Artwork 8 (Realistic, despite some odd moments)
Plot 7 (Standard success story)
Pacing 7 (Hits some slow spots)
Effectiveness 7 (But a bit too “rah-rah”)
Conclusion 6 (It reaches a ‘coupler point’, but hasn’t ended)
Fan Service 0 (A similar show would be “Honey and Clover”)
Overall 7 (Fell apart at the end)
And remember, it’s first run until you’ve seen it. We can make it work!