Rundown: On the terraformed Martian colony of Fourth Tokyo, the principled Sera Kaito is the homeroom teacher of an elite advanced technology development (A-TEC) class, which consists of eight students including his sister Mizuki. When their incoming new transfer student is taken hostage by disgruntled asteroid miners, Kaito comes up with a plan to save him in time using the class’s experimental X-2 spacecraft.
The class’s ace pilot Shirasaki Iris takes off in the X-2, which Kaito meant to pilot, and makes it in time, but the hostage, Kiryu Nagisa, already released himself. Back in the classroom, he scolds Mizuki and the program’s persistent waste of company resources, and announces he was sent to downsize and dismantle A-TEC.
Let’s start with The Bad: This episode takes its sweet time unveiling the titular “crisis” (in fact, it’s the last line in the episode), as well as revealing that everything we’re watching is happening on a terraformed Martian colony. Which begs the question: Why? This is a slice-of-life/underdog story that just happens to take place in space, but it could have easily taken place on present-day Earth, with an experimental plane instead of spacecraft.
I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with the setting; it just seemed superfluous. I’m sure Hannah would agree with me after watching something like Sidonia: If you’re going for a space setting, go hard. CC’s space action was simplistic to the point of ho-hum-dom: Girl flies plane while everyone else watches. And other than her and the somewhat generically nice teacher, no other characters (and there were plenty of ’em) distinguished themselves.
Now for The Good: While it felt like it took forever, I actually didn’t mind the sneaky slow burn to the revelation this is a much more exciting setting than the blue skies and plain classroom indicated. I also liked the no-nonsense Iris taking the initiative to resolve this week’s hostage crisis.
I also liked the idea of generational kaizen, or continuous improvement, of the human race. They’ve colonize the solar system, but they’re neither satisfied or done there; they want outer space. Sera Kaito was once one of the students in the A-TEC class, and now he’s teaching them, so some of them can teach students when they’re where he is. All the while, the principles of “modesty, loyalty, honesty” and “safety first” are ingrained in all the students.
Iris may not think of her own safety (or, indeed, the potential costs of the rescue mission versus abandoning Kiryu), but she does think of people first, as in people over money. If humanity is to attempt a march across the stars, pinching pennies isn’t the way to do it. I like the challenge of the episode’s final exchange: Here’s someone who is primarily with the financial health of the company, about to shake things up in a program where money has never been a concern, and has been the better for it. Whose will will prevail?