The points don’t matter, unless you’re expelled, from Classroom of the Elite
by Bob Johnson
Not everyone’s a high flier. Take Kiyotaka Ayanokoji, for example. He just wants to sail through doing the bare minimum. The only problem is that his dad sent him to this particular boarding school to earn elite medallion status, and the ridiculous games this academy makes its aspirants play would make the most cutthroat Atlanta boardroom blush.
The students are issued
Delta Airlines crew uniforms red blazers, assigned to a lettered “class” team, given a set number of starter points, and then are hounded through a series of crises designed to inspire their permanent tragic desperation and dependency on playing the game. The players are never entirely told the rules, which are constantly in flux anyway, and they really don’t matter until the end of each challenge event, when the scores are totalled, and we find out who has won and who is expelled.
But Kiyotaka has a secret, and a plan. His secret is that he really doesn’t care, and nobody can ever make him. But as long as he’s here, and he has to play the games, he’s going to make sure that nobody sees how well he can play. Hence his carefully cultivated relationship with Suzune Horikita, a too-cool-for-you prep who only cares about her own grades and standing, until Kiyotaka ropes her into helping out the whole class. With Ayanokoji pulling the strings, Horikita begins to win.
But this doesn’t just inspire the team to rally around her, it draws the attention of the school administration and rival classes, who each have their own reasons to keep Class D’s face eating dirt at the bottom of the totem pole. It plays out time and again, with Ayanokoji thwarting each new scheme in turn, coming closer and closer to showing his true skillset.
Along the way, we explore concepts in game theory and tour the DSM-5 in search of new mental illnesses, mainly borne by the ladies of the show as it expands its ecchi harem. Given the kind of show this is, it’s particularly unusual that the show’s first and most important relationship (Kiyotaka/Suzune) is hardly ever treated as a romantic pairing, though that may change next season, who knows?
Spoiling the show further wouldn’t be fair to you; there’s a special sauce to CotE that I haven’t seen come together anywhere else. Some of the ground it covers was trodden in shows like Moriarty the Patriot, Monster, and Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron Blooded Orphans… or for western media fans, think of it as Suits meets Hunger Games meets Poirot mixed with a dash of Cyrano de Bergerac. Bottom line: this show is Code Geass done right. It’s worth a watch, if you want to attend head games high school.
Maybe Look it Up:
Classroom of the Elite (Youzitsu) anime (S1 and S2 reviewed)
Based on the manga by Sakagaki and Shogo Kinugasa
Produced by Lerche, Licenced by Crunchyroll
Streaming (press time): Crunchyroll