Classroom of the Elite (ようこそ実力至上主義の教室へ Yōkoso Jitsuryoku Shijō Shugi no Kyōshitsu)
Written By Shōgo Kinugasa & Illustrated By Shunsaku Tomose
Classroom of the Elite focuses on the lives of the students in Tokyo Metropolitan Advanced Nurturing School. This institution serves the best and brightest students to prepare them in careers benefiting the welfare of Japan.
As opposed to focusing on the smartest students in the school, the story centers on the D-class—the class that has the students who didn’t score well in the exams. In other words, they are the “worst of the best” in a school filled with elite students.
Kiyotaka Ayanokōji is a quiet and nonchalant student in D-class. He doesn’t have any ambitions or goals in life. He just spends his days minding his own business and has no interest in making friends. One day, he starts to hang around Suzune Horikita who desires to be part of the A-class. Together, the two of them plot and scheme their way to the top.
So what hooked me to this series was the point system introduced in the first episode. It reminded me of my college days because, at my university, they used meal points to get food. And so, by the end of the semester, there were students starving because they didn’t use their meal points wisely, and there were students who didn’t use their meal points at all during the semester and they end up trying to waste their meal points at the very end by buying food that they may not even eat and other useless things that they can buy at cafes and cafeterias.
In the anime, the purpose of the point system is to teach students how to properly manage their finances, which is a great thing to do. However, the way students earn points is a bit stressful and patronizing. Students must compete with one another to get enough points to survive the month and so, you will see students competing with one another to survive. There’s this underlining tone that school and life, in general, is all “survival of the fittest” —it’s either you are gifted, entitled, and lucky or you are not. There will always be someone beneath you, who is struggling to survive, and you are just lucky you aren’t them.
Although the concept was interesting, I got bored with this series. Each episode wasn’t as appealing as the first one. The ending brought a little surprise: we caught a glimpse of Kiyotaka Ayanokōji’s true nature. Although he’s quiet and listless, we see that he’s a bit cunning and egotistical. And so, we have a protagonist that sounds like a narcissistic smartass that needs to learn how to be humble. Will there be a second season of this series? I have no clue, but the ending implies that there’s more to Kiyotaka Ayanokōji that needs to be explored.
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