Classroom Crisis, that show about high schoolers and corporate downsizing, got downright depressing in episode 3. Nagisa sends in a nasty accountant named Angelina to further humiliate Kaito and the kids, slashing their budget and sticking them in a dilapidated building that the company’s founders first used. A bit of cruel irony there. The founders developed their first rockets there, and the assumption there is that the kids now must be as creative as they had been. It raises an interesting question. Could they actually design something now that’s useful? Has the technology progressed far enough that they need state of the art equipment if they’re going to contribute to the company? Obviously Nagisa and Angelina don’t seem to think so, which is why they stuck A-TEC there. The show decides not to go that route, and I agree. It would demonstrate that A-TEC really didn’t need all that money and equipment. Anyway, half the kids quit and the others mope. Kaito loses every battle he gets into. He’s getting on my nerves.
In episode 4 Kaito decides to appeal to the union, but by this time A-TEC have suffered so many defeats that I didn’t want to get my hopes up, and indeed it looks like the union might just be using Kaito’s reputation as a bargaining chip before the next general election, well, the union chief happily admits it to the students … In other words, Kaito’s just become a pawn in a political struggle, but he will get his voice heard. You have to wonder if the trade-off is worth it. Oddly, the show veers away from that business altogether by having Nagisa promote Kaito to executive level, no longer represented by the union, and it looks like another defeat. Didn’t he realize that he’s just put his enemy in a position of power? Maybe he did; he didn’t seem displeased when Kaito and the kids creative rebuild their labs. There’s that rivalry with his brother. Maybe Kaito stopped being a union pawn and became a corporate one instead.
Watching three episodes of Non Non Biyori: Repeat reminds me of how maddeningly inconsistent the show is. Among the good, the Hotaru getting lost scene was done well enough that I felt genuinely sorry for her. What would YOU do if you were eleven years old in the middle of the countryside with no idea where you were? Then they topped it with an even scarier scene, when she and Komari are in darkness when their flashlight dies out, and this was after a lovely stargazing scene. The ruler pushing game wasn’t bad either. But then you have scenes like the “motivate me” that had me wondering if there is something seriously wrong with Kazuho, and Natsumi’s annoying test behavior.
But episode four makes up for most of it. It helps that it features Renge. It also helps that it didn’t really contain an individual scene but rather lazily strolled from one situation to another. From the rain to Renge’s new bike to her human teru-teru bouzu, to tadpole shrimp to more rain, gently leading us to her reaction when the critters she was observing die, Natsumi’s response (the first time Natsumi’s been useful in two seasons), and Renge’s reaction. None of it forced or rushed, allowing each scene to take as much time as it wanted and giving us some more lovely scenery in the meantime. More episodes like this one and this would be the best show running.