Why you should give this anime a shot!
The shounen genre certainly rings a bell right? One where ambitious male heroes are trying to fight for a cause. Obviously, they have to be brave, loyal, adventurous, forgiving, and have that undying spirit of never giving up while being the center of attention. Do we have these qualities in Kiyotaka Ayanokoji? Absolutely not!
So dear readers I bring to you Classroom of the Elite which has a male lead who is unmotivated, calculative, disinterested, manipulative, and deliberately preserved.
At first look, he can be mistaken for a lazy genius but there is more than what meets the eye. He is determined not to stand out to the point of scoring exactly 50 in all his papers of the entrance exam.
Of course, it backfires as it just does not seem like a coincidence to any normal functioning person. This is one psychological anime that will make you appreciate the rare protagonist who will blur the lines between right and wrong while you stand perplexed.
Before going into what is good or bad about this anime, let’s talk about how this anime begins on an interesting note.
Nowadays, people never shut up about the need for equality. A great man once said ” Heaven does not create one person above or below another.” It actually says we’re equal at birth but then gaps appear. That the differences are the result of one academic efforts, or lack thereof.– Kiyotaka Ayanokoji
It begins on a bus where a female student Kikyo Kushida is desperately trying to find a seat for an elderly lady with a bent back.
In fact, the seat reserved for the elderly is seen to be occupied by a young male student Rokusuke Koenji who is very unapologetic about it saying how he deserves to be seated and could care less about others.
This goes on while the protagonist Ayanokoji is having a mental monologue about equality setting the stage for the intricacies that lie ahead.
There are a lot of students present on the bus but nobody makes a move. Finally, on Kushida’s insistence, a lady gives up her seat to the old lady while all of the students remain unfazed.
The actual story begins in the Advanced Nurturing High School specially created by the government of Japan to produce pillars for the future.
The unnerving setting will question your intelligence
The school has a unique concept of having created an alternate world within the compounds complete with shops, malls, parks, pools, convenience stores, and dormitories.
The vision is to create a set of extraordinary students who can shoulder the responsibilities of proper citizens. The school has an S-System in functioning where the classes are divided into four sections- A, B, C, and D in order of their overall performance.
In fact, the students are put in the respective classes according to their marks in the entrance exam but these classes as a unit are dynamic where collective effort by a class can help them climb the hierarchical ladder. The factors taken into consideration are not limited to academics and even a single student can migrate to another class subject to accumulating the required private points.
The structure is created hierarchically but the scope of even the worse off students achieving success through hard work in their day-to-day responsibilities makes it parallel to the actual reality.
Each student is assigned points as a multiple of the class points and these private points available with the students can be treated as equivalent to money.
At the beginning of every month, the points are allotted to the classes according to the accomplishments made by the students.
The overused idea of a school with divided class systems has distinctiveness in this anime as the idea of unity and teamwork becomes central to the theme.
Flawed but rememberable characters
The characters in the anime are far from perfect with Ayanokoji taking the lead. The female protagonist Suzune Horikita is a typical tsundere with the singular goal to reach class A to impress upon her brother Manabu who is disappointed to have a failure of a sister belonging in Class D.
She is portrayed as the protagonist singly teaming up with Ayanokoji to rise to Class A. Kushida who first appears to be a harmless, friendly girl is revealed to have a dark side which she hides from most but chooses to reveal to Ayanokoji.
In fact, she has deep-seated bitterness towards Horikita, who always becomes the center of attention without even trying. Airi Sakura, a timid girl on the surface is another character who harbors a secret about her alter ego which is provocative and bold. She has two very contrasting sides which would force one to think which the real one is.
Why it’s so good?
The character design and animation in the anime are good along with cutesy female characters. The concept of division of classes in school has been used purposefully.
The alternate world is created that portrays every action with a consequence to develop the characters to their full potential. Ayanokoji comes to save the day subtly and unsuspectingly, always giving credit to other characters especially Horikita.
The manipulation to perfection is so hard to ignore with brief insights about a dark past that makes one want to know more about the character but to no avail.
Why it’s so bad?
The characters are relatable and perhaps that is what makes them unlikeable as well. In entertainment, media strives to escape from reality and live a temporary fantasy, but this anime gives none of that in good measure.
Also, some of the arcs like the Peeping Tom episode were entirely unnecessary and made a big deal for no good reason. Better arcs could have been as episodes to further the story.
The excessive ecchi-ness and fillers could have been avoided to make the plot more interesting.
Expect the unexpected
The ending will take you by surprise and wanting for more. Not only is it a great twist, but it can also just be the push you need to get started with light novels.
This anime is originally based on the light novel by Shogo Kinugasa, illustrated by Shunsaku Tomose, and does no justice to the light novel.
If you need to satisfy your senses and get a closure that the anime fails to provide, you must read the light novel. I’ll leave you with this note!