Classroom of the Elite ( Yōkoso Jitsuryoku Shijō Shugi no Kyōshitsu e) is a Japanese light novel series written by Shōgo Kinugasa and illustrated by Shunsaku Tomose. I watched the anime out of whim and I have to say I was thoroughly impressed!
The anime aired in July 2017 so I was surprised that I didn’t hear any buzz out of it. Here’s the synopsis for Classroom of the Elite:
On the surface, Koudo Ikusei Senior High School is a utopia. The students enjoy an unparalleled amount of freedom, and it is ranked highly in Japan. However, the reality is less than ideal. Four classes, A through D, are ranked in order of merit, and only the top classes receive favorable treatment.
Kiyotaka Ayanokouji is a student of Class D, where the school dumps its worst. There he meets the unsociable Suzune Horikita, who believes she was placed in Class D by mistake and desires to climb all the way to Class A, and the seemingly amicable class idol Kikyou Kushida, whose aim is to make as many friends as possible.
While class membership is permanent, class rankings are not; students in lower ranked classes can rise in rankings if they score better than those in the top ones. Additionally, in Class D, there are no bars on what methods can be used to get ahead. In this cutthroat school, can they prevail against the odds and reach the top?
The shining part about this anime is the main protagonist Ayanokouji. The entire time he’s on the screen you can never tell what he’s thinking. He’s that anime protagonist that acts dull and oblivious, but is fully aware and manipulates everyone to his favor. The premise of the whole first season is asking if humanity is equal. Obvious the answer is no, but what I do like is how it shows that it’s not what you know but how you use your knowledge to get ahead in life. I feel like it’s showing you that everyone’s intentions may seem like kindness and selflessness, but the motives behind them always serve a more self-centered and kinda selfish motive.
Up until the last episode, you are led to believe that Ayanokouji is doing everything to live a peaceful life. You are given hints that he’s clearly a genius but doesn’t want the responsibility of that gift. He helps everyone and never hesitates to lend a hand. However, by the end of the episode, you learn that every single action and event that took place was his doing, in order to achieve his own goal.
His isolated personality leads him to not stand out as a character on the surface but it gets really interesting when you listen to his thoughts about other students in his presence. Initially, his poor social skills come off as natural, until you begin to understand that it’s his way to draw people in. People tend to either get curious about a silent person or let their guard down around them. As such, Kiyotaka’s role in this anime feels different than the usual light novel stereotype.
Then, there’s Suzune Horikita, the unfriendly cold student that gets involved with Ayanokouji right from the start. Like Ayanokouji, she has a personality that also appears to be unsociable with others although she purposely tries to avoid making friends. In her mind, friends aren’t necessary and hold her back. Which she later starts to learn is a flawed way of thinking! On the other hand, there are also very social Kikyou Kushida. She’s like the antithesis of both Kiyotaka and Horikita. Unlike them, Kushida is very good at communicating with others and has a friendly personality. Yet behind her bubbly appearance also lies a girl that masks her true image. She, I feel represents all of us that puts a face in our day-to-day!
The drama in Classroom of the Elite is where this anime starts to shine in my opinion. From the plot involving Airi Sakura and a stalker to Ken Sudou’s complicated drama that almost had him expelled from the school. Each of these moments showcases Ayanokouji ability to move pieces like his playing chess. We didn’t get a lot about his past so whether there will be a season two remains to be seen but I would really like to see it.
Overall, Classroom of the Elite is worth checking out!