Saturday, November 6, 2021

REVIEW: Classroom of the Elite: Complete Series (anime TV series)

Classroom of the Elite is an adaptation of a light novel series. Wikipedia tells me it's considered to be a psychological thriller, but that's debatable.


Kiyotaka Ayanokoji is an unmotivated and unsociable student who has just started attending the Tokyo Metropolitan Advanced Nurturing High School, which is designed to support the country's future leaders. Students can't leave the school grounds, but the place functions like a self-contained city and provides students with a high degree of freedom. Everyone is given points that they can spend as they please, and more than a few students quickly spend everything they have, assuming that they'll regularly be given more points. 

However, the system turns out to be a little more complicated than that. Everyone is separated into different classes based on their academic achievement, and Class D, Kiyotaka's class, is at the very bottom. The odds are stacked against them, and no one expects them to rise any higher in the school's hierarchy. Suzune Horikita, a Class D student, is determined to make it to Class A no matter what it takes. Whether she can manage it depends upon the rest of her class...and whatever secrets Kiyotaka is hiding.

This was slick, but ultimately disappointing. I was intrigued by the overall mystery surrounding Kiyotaka. What is his goal? What does he hope to achieve and how will this school help him do it? Does he really only view the students around him as tools? The school's points system also had some intriguing aspects.

Unfortunately, the story moved slowly enough that no real answers of any kind were provided. Also, it focused way too much on its least interesting and most useless characters. I could have done without the storyline in which a group of Class D guys tried to hide a video camera in the girls' locker room, or the bit focused on the stolen underwear. As the series progressed, it added to Kiyotaka's social circle, but in ways that had no effect on the story as a whole. Although their secret sides were momentarily interesting, neither Airi Sakura nor Kikyou Kushida amounted to anything in the grand scheme of things. I assume they became more important later on in the light novels, but in this one anime season they took up screentime for no apparent reason.

It's possible that this will one day get a second season that will actually move things forward and include some real revelations. And I could always start reading the light novels. However, I wouldn't be surprised if the fanservice was worse in the original series, which would just make the pacing more excruciating. If this series had actually done something substantial with Kiyotaka, it could have been really good - I love characters who are secretly brilliant and have hidden devious sides. It's too bad it couldn't overcome what I assume was the original light novel series' terrible pacing. It had potential, but it wasted it.


I thought it had both a textless opening and closing song, but the back of the box says that it just has a textless opening. I think I just watched the trailers for other shows and that was it, so I didn't notice.

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