First Impressions Digest – Classroom☆Crisis, Gate: Jieitai Kanochi nite, Kaku Tatakaeri

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You think that was bad, you should see what it’s like during a big sale at Mitsukoshi.

Classroom☆Crisis – 01

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Full disclosure: I didn’t make it through the entire first episode of Classroom☆Crisis.  I think it’s always important to note that so as not to give the impression that I’m comprehensively reviewing the episode in question.  And it usually (though not always) happens with premieres.

I managed to get about 15 minutes in before I started skipping ahead.  Why?  I was just bored, frankly – I didn’t hate the ep or anything, but it seemed very half-hearted and generic.  Nothing stood out – the premise, the cast, the animation, the character designs.  When the most interesting thing in an episode is trying to guess whether the character wearing half a girls uniform and half a boys uniform is a girl or a boy, you know you’re in trouble.

I’m really beginning to think White Album 2 was a fluke – or at the very least, that Maruto Fumiaki needs to stick to what he does best.  That is, mostly serious relationship drama.  That is not?  Comedy-driven material or science fiction (as his last two efforts suggest).  I may watch the start of the second ep to see if anything sparks, but this looks like a pass.

Gate: Jieitai Kanochi nite, Kaku Tatakaeri – 01

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At first glance, there’s a certain similarity between Gate and 2014’s Outbreak Company (which was actually one of the least worst LN adaptations (note: turns out Gate was actually a web novel first – if it matters a whole lot) in the last couple of years).  Probably at second and third glance too, though I think this seems to be a somewhat darker series.

That’s really not surprising, because at heart at least 90% of LNs amount to otaku wish fulfillment – and a good number of them nationalist wish fulfillment on the side.  Both Outbreak Company and Gate check the first box, and this show the second as well.  But like the O.C., Gate seems to be an above-average execution of the model – it has a certain energy behind it, the visuals aren’t bad, and it’s nicely paced.

Things are considerably less friendly between Japan and its extra-dimensional neighbors this time around, as a mysterious portal opens in Ginza and an army of medieval soldiers and fantasy monsters pours out and starts massacring the shopulace. Fortunately Tokyo has an otaku soldier, Itami Youji (a somewhat oddly-cast Suwabe Junichi) to show the police and the SDF how it’a done, and he single-handedly prevents chaos from ruling the day.  In the end, Itami is honored by the Prime Minister, hailed as a national hero and promoted to Second Lieutenant (turns out he was in the SDF all along).  As for the aftermath, Japan decides to send an army through the portal to forcefully demand reparations from the invaders – a force Itami is naturally a part of.

Yeah, even by LN standards that’s pretty predictable and silly.  But the premiere still manages to be modestly entertaining, and perhaps will remain marginally interesting if it focuses on the politics of what made a bunch of soldiers with arrows and knives (and a few dragons and pigmen) decide to invade a country with nuclear weapons.  Gate stays very much within the safe bubble-world of the light novel universe – Japan is a feared and respected military power, otaku are the only ones who can save the day and they finally have their worth acknowledged by the powers that be, and moe cosplay girls are sure to proliferate imminently.  But it’s not half-bad, for what it is.  If that sounds like a lukewarm endorsement that’s because it probably is, but it still places the series above most of its contemporaries.



  1. u

    And the site ate my comment. Figures.

    In any case, repeating what I mentioned on twitter: your comparison between Gate and Outbreak Company was already flawed from the onset, as you immediately assumed that both started as LNs. This, of course, is wrong.

    Gate started out life as a webnovel published by the author (a JSDF reservist), before it was taken by Alphapolis to be published as an actual paperback. The original was hilariously right-wing, with jingoistic language and Anti-Western sentiment not even REMOTELY hidden. It had to undergo at least two rewrites before it was allowed to see print, and even then it was hard NOT to see the right-wing leanings of said author.

    It went on to be published as 5 books, with a sidestory bridging a short gap between "book 2".
    The books were somewhat popular — to give you an idea, the first book alone sold more units than ALL Log Horizon books combined. A manga adaptation was eventually made, and this was the one you'd see people usually talking about in the West (as it was the only one regularly translated).

    In 2011, it was decided that the books would be given a LN-style do-over. Each book was edited into two LNs, so you now had 10 LNs to the original 5 books.

  2. e

    There are 5 side story books already out.

    Please don't spread all this jingoistic, anti-western rumors about gate. The adaptations we got are relatively tame, all of your concerns are in the web novel which you probably won't ever get to read in your life.

  3. R

    Uuuh, if the concerns are regarding the web novel, which was the original source all of these spun out of, I'd say that's a pretty big area for concern. The fact that they essentially had the water down the original in order for it to get publishes says a lot about the original author's intent.

  4. K

    I watch Classroom☆Crisis and I was kinda surprised at how odd it is. Maybe another chance? I actually like it.

  5. Not nearly odd enough for me, I guess. I thought it was a mass-produced model.

  6. C

    I think it's interesting mostly for its surprisingly laid back corporate-dystopia setting, where they apparently demand absolute loyalty from their employees and have taken "investment" to the next level by running their own schools specifically to mold their own employees. Do they even have a government in this world, or does the corporation own the entire colony?

    I hope they focus more on that, and less on the characters, who are totally generic non-entities.

  7. w

    I suppose I can understand finding it boring, but I think calling it half-hearted and generic is selling Classroom Crisis short. It feels like a smartly written, fairly hard sci-fi to me. I'm getting something of a Robotics;Notes vibe (the good, slice-of-life sci-fi parts) from it, which is more or less exactly what I wanted. It's not quite as well-put together as that, but between its shady corporation foreshadowing and its willingness to geek out on the engineering terms, it's got plenty to recommend to it.

  8. D

    There were a few elements in classroom crisis I liked, such as the nice visuals later on of the various mars colonies and the interesting reference to "para-terraforming" (a fairly recent concept).

    Didn't like the schlock "dense asteroid belt" silliness – if you want to dodge ridiculously close together chunks of space debris, there are better places (Saturn's rings, congested human produced space junk).

    The show seemed to be a bit uncertain if it was a drama or a comedy satire about corporate waste and downsizing; the transfer student seemed very over the top as did the kids in charge of billions of dollars of funds.

  9. D

    I agree GATE was by far the better of the two shows. The Otaku-ness of the lead was a little over-the-top, and roller-orc was stupid, but everything else was handled quite well. Bloodshed seemed toned down a bit from the manga version, but not surprising given the hour it airs at. If they follow the manga, there should be zero concern regarding "right wing" politics and it should instead be taken as an interesting and nuanced essay on both first contact situations between high and low tech cultures and how an initial "shock and awe" military advantage can quickly get complicated after the shooting dies down and you must own what you broke.

  10. E

    I didn't feel that Classroom Crisis was generic but the execution was quite lackluster from what I've watched of it. The characters weren't listening to each other, exposition was given for things unrelated to the crisis and generally the show felt not that interesting. GATE was something well executed and paced at least, although the thing I found most interesting might have been the scene where the Roman gladiators felt out of place in modern society.

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