Despite not being the flashiest of all the seasons of anime currently airing, Insomniacs After School remains, along with Skip and Loafer, one of the best series in recent memory, to accurately depict the lives and energy of teenagers. Insomniacs After School Episode 9 both gets to be their take on the classic beach episode while simultaneously a reminder that these teenagers are just barely outside of their adolescence. Despite some of their greatest efforts, they’re not cool by the standards set by other series, happy to play and run around at the beach, still young enough looking that younger boys think they have a chance. They’re simply trying their best, and it’s their relative plainness, accentuated by the animation and character design, that make them so lovable.
“Altair and Vega” doubles down on the relative confines of their lives by offering further glimpses into Isaki’s (Konomi Tamura) and Ganta’s (Gen Satô) home lives. While Isaki contends with a domineering older sister who lounges around all day and passes basic chores off to Isaki, Ganta deals with the hardships of running a club in its infancy. Due to how new they are, the student council can’t allocate funds to them, despite a low point that sees Ganta begging. Refusing to be deterred, he decides — with Ukegawa’s help — to apply for a part-time job to raise the money himself. Following the meteor shower viewing party cancellation, the goal is to attend a training camp so he can hone his skills and submit a photo for a local competition. His determination belies his stoicism, as he suffers a failed interview and refuses to ask his father for money.
Shiromaru continues to be a scene stealer in this regard, as she notes his desperation as well as her fatigue and offers to hire him at the arcade she runs. She’s confused, though, referencing the expensive camera he owns, forcing his hand in divulging that with his mom no longer around, his dad often feels the need to overcompensate with excessive purchases, something he’s trying to avoid by getting the part-time job. Earlier, he made an off-the-cuff remark about envying adults. While so many teenagers naively express similar thoughts, with Ganta, there’s the sense of wanting to be able to own his responsibility rather than having to allow people to step in when he’s often self-reliant by nature of trying to protect his father.
Ganta and Shiromaru make for a fun dynamic, as always, as the latter’s decision to hire the former gives them time off to catch up on sleep and relax in the heat wave. Meanwhile, Isaki is living out the beach day as her friends, led by the brazen Motoko, who believes this is one of their first debuts as “adults,” looking to shed the ease of childhood. Instead, she throws a tantrum, frustrated at her friend’s inability to sense the moment’s significance, happy to play in the ocean and draw in the sand.
The details of the sequence are superb too. As the group changes into their bathing suits, Isaki chooses to don a tee-shirt over hers, as we get a peak of the scar from her childhood surgery. Similarly, due to Kanami’s commitment to athletics, the show highlights the tan lines that would exist due to her outdoor activities.
The main conflict of the episode is, as to be expected, resolved with relative ease, though it presents new issues in its wake. Ganta is making money at his part-time job, and Isaki shares with him that her parents have given the go-ahead for them to stay at her grandmother’s home close to where they’d need to set the base for the photos for the competition, as her grandmother isn’t staying there. This cuts back on costs for lodging and travel while also allowing them to have time together while pursuing a shared interest — one that Ganta has become increasingly fond of, using his spare time to learn more about astrophotography and all that it entails. It would be the perfect scenario if not for Isaki’s sister announcing to her at the last moment that she’ll be tagging along for the trip.
It’s a small hurdle in the grand scheme of things but one that puts a damper on Isaki’s earlier glee. It sets up enough fuel for potential drama without succumbing to tired, overused tropes. It’s simply a new face who will prove to be a foil to Ganta and Isaki’s normal interactions to inspire new revelations about the two as individuals and as love interests.
Insomniacs After School Episode 9 cuts corners in terms of directing the narrative, too swift in brushing some of Ganta’s concerns, in particular, under the rug. That said, it sets up strong friction in the upcoming episodes, and the highlights remain a breath of fresh air.
Insomniacs After School Episode 9 is available to stream now on HIDIVE, with new episodes airing every Monday.
Insomniacs After School Episode 9
Insominiacs After School Episode 9 cuts corners in terms of directing the narrative, too swift in brusing some of Ganta’s concerns in particular under the rug. That said, it sets up strong friction in the upcoming episodes and the highlights remain a breath of fresh air.