If the first three episodes of Freezing have taught us anything, it is that competition is very much alive among the students. Being introduced to the Carnival in the first episode, a school-promoted free-for-all to determine standings within a class, we saw the first occurrence of internal struggle between students. The second episode continued with Roland and Satellizer (I still want to call her Bridgette but I see this more commonly used) finishing their conflict, although this time it was unauthorized. This episode featured another unsanctioned battle, this time pitting Satellizer against newly introduced upperclassmen Miyabi and her ensemble of nameless male subordinates. The end to this episode features another new upperclassmen who almost assuredly will be the next opponent (read: victim) of Satellizer in the fourth episode.
While providing plenty of action and fighting, these battles seemingly lack any depth or involvement with the story. We are learning the mechanics of how their abilities work but little is known about the warfare between the Nova species, which is the point of training these battle-happy ladies. Instead of focusing on their goals outside of their Genetics Academy, we’re seeing the internal conflict and high-stakes competition between the students. The overall plot development certainly is lagging behind but the battles provide a critique which is significant to note in this series.
Freezing has a take on school that matches how some students feel in schools in real life. Students in the real world are increasingly facing cut-throat competition getting into the top schools and ‘assuring’ a better future for them. This is has been a common subject in Japan (and likely other East Asian countries) where middle school students bust their brains taking entrance exams and trying to get into the best high school available. The process repeats with students trying to enter colleges. However, with only a limited number of positions available, the students are forced into academic competition with each other to secure their position in the elite. Their focal point is on getting into the best school for themselves, often with little to no regard for their fellow students.
School competition is a topic Freezing has mirrored with the real world fairly well. Obviously the girls are battling each other in order to be the strongest and the best, which is similar to academic students in the real world: studying to be the smartest and best candidates. Differences are that the girls get to compete physically with special abilities and weapons while their counterparts in the real world battle with brainpower and pencils. The Carnival in the first episode could be considered ‘midterms’ for these girls, where their ranking in their class is determined. With their position in the standings dependent upon the outcome, the individual skirmishes highlighted aggression and brutality among the girls. I could only imagine the similar treatment between students over a seat in a prestigious school.
Furthermore on this theme, the competition has little scope beyond ranking. The whole point of the school is to train these girls to fight the invading Nova race, determined to eradicate humanity. However, there has been virtually no focus on this until we were treated to Ingrid’s training battle against a Nova in the school’s simulating unit. With so much focus on battling each other, the girls seem to have lost sight of the real purpose of their school: to defend the Earth. You could also say the same about the competition in real life. Students focused only on improving their academic standing have lost sight about why they’re in school: to prepare them for a job and life in the real world. The students only care about getting into the best schools rather than focus on where they want to be after their schooling is over.
The whole school competition theme in Freezing may be delaying the advancement of the plot with the Nova aliens but it provides a fascinating assessment of competition between students for ranking. This topic will likely fade as the series progresses as we will complete our cast of characters and be shifted to a Nova war to end the series. Still, it is noteworthy to have a theme such as this in the series. It highlights how schools have become domains of competition rather than places of knowledge and enhancement. It’s fair to say it’s a schoolgirl eat schoolgirl world in the real world, too.
Also, anyone notice that the Untouchable Queen likes to eat at Burger Queen? I got a good laugh out of that.