Classroom of the Elite has some nice ideas, but swings wildly in execution. The premise is that Japan has set up an elite school where every graduate is guaranteed to be accepted to the college of their choice. Though students are not allowed to leave their entire high school career and communication is cut off with the outside world, the living facilities are top notch and every student is given a budget to live on, starting with 100,000 points (the equivalent of 100,000 yen or $900) to pay for their first month’s expenses.
The students are judged as a classroom, based on merit, and points are awarded at the start of each month. Otherwise they are free to do as they like. Several of the first year students of Class D fritter away that first month’s worth of money with the happy expectation that they will get the same amount next month. Others fall asleep in class once it becomes clear that their teacher won’t say a word if they do.
Naturally, this system is not as kind to the students as they initially take it for. Most of the class is close to broke by the start of the second month and not only that, but they’ve collectively failed their exam so badly that they are awarded zero points for the next month’s living expenses. They won’t starve, there are free hand-outs for students with no points, but they won’t be able to buy anything worthwhile, and students who fall too far behind will be expelled. Their instructor reiterates that they must earn their points through merit, and makes it very clear to them that anything can be purchased at the school with just enough points even sharing of points is allowed.
The protagonist is Kiyotaka Ayanokoji, who initially looks like an introverted guy who’s terrible at making friends, and I was disappointed he wasn’t as lame as he appeared to be. There are a lot of protagonists who are supposed to be the “everyman” but Kiyotaka was fun because he lacks the earnestness of a lot of those characters. Instead we had an apathetic every-man who figured he should at least try to make a good first impression to his new classmates and ended up giving himself the blandest introduction possible.
Koudo Ikusei Senior High School is a leading prestigious school with state-of-the-art facilities where nearly 100% of students go on to university or find employment. The students there have the freedom to wear any hairstyle and bring any personal effects they desire. Koudo Ikusei is a paradise-like school, but the truth is that only the most superior of students receive favorable treatment. Ayanokouji Kiyotaka is a student of D-class, which is where the school dumps its “inferior” students in order to ridicule them. For a certain reason, Kiyotaka was careless on his entrance examination, and was put in D-class. After meeting Horikita Suzune and Kushida Kikyou, two other students in his class, Kiyotaka’s situation begins to change.
Classroom of the Elite is based on a series of novels, and while they haven’t been translated into English, you can guess where at least one of the novel breaks is, since the last four episodes are clearly a contained story arc and there are previous episodes that are similarly clumped. (The pool filler probably exists because they needed to pad the run to avoid starting another book they couldn’t complete.) From a pacing perspective that makes things a little weird as there’s no real season finale, so much as the culmination of a story arc.
Also, because the novel series is very much ongoing, we don’t get a lot of answers. We learn a little more about Kiyotaka as a person, but the school year is not even half over, Class D has made some progress but is still ranked lower than Class C, and everyone else is still scheming. The last episode is a high point, but would be more palatable as a season break rather than an ending without any guarantee that there will be future episodes.
When you think of the word ‘school’, the first words that come to mind might be textbooks, lecture, exams, and careers. Schools are designed to prepare for students for their future after all. However, that’s not entirely the case for Koudo Ikusei Senior High School, a school that tests their students beyond the academic level. Youkoso Jitsuroku Shinjou Shugi no Kyoushitsu e (also known as “Classroom of the Elite”) is an anime that explores how survival in the outside world depends much more than just your academic skills.
From my early impressions, this anime stood out from some light novel adaptations as it deconstructs the educational system. This especially earns my attention as Japan already has a tough educational system so deconstructing that idea felt like a unique idea. In essence, this anime explores how the fictional Koudo Ikusei Senior High School takes initiative at preparing its students to survive in the real world. Granted by the government, the school has a budget system and students are supplied with points (100,000 every month). These points essentially translates to money as students are advised to use them wisely. The catch is that classes will receive points only based on their performance. Get the idea now? It basically exposes the idea of responsibility for these young teens as they realize what they’re in for.
This show focuses on struggles between characters, in different school classes, aspiring to enter the highest class in Japanese society, some classes scheming against each other.