Kiyotaka Ayanokoji has just enrolled at Tokyo Koudo Ikusei Senior High School, where it’s said that 100% of students go on to college or find employment. But he ends up in Class 1-D, which is full of all the school’s problem children. What’s more, every month, the school awards students points with a cash value of 100,000 yen, and the classes employ a laissez-faire policy in which talking, sleeping, and even sabotage are permitted during class. One month later, Ayanokoji, Horikita, and the students of Class D learn the truth of the system in place within their school…
I wasn’t sure what I would be expecting from Classroom of the Elite. Would it be a school drama? Would there be a fantasy aspect? From watching halfway into the first episode I felt that there was something that wasn’t being told. Sure, it’s a high-end prep school and the facilities are great, the teachers don’t nag and they treat their students like adults. But when I saw how much money the students were getting, and how crazy they went spending it and how they acted when boundaries weren’t enforced I knew the other shoe was about to drop. When the class had their poor results revealed to them, they realised that the money they were given was directly proportional to the grades they were achieving at school. Then the teacher hit them with the heavy stuff: if any of them failed their next test, they would be expelled. Of course, this news is enough for most students to start getting their act together, but a few in class 1-D still can’t be bothered, or are more interested in their sports classes. So why should those in their class that aren’t interested in succeeding be given any help from those that are? Horikita has a sneaking suspicion that anyone being expelled from their class will be detrimental to her ambition to make it into A Class (I have an inkling that it may be directly related to the school’s point system). In any case, Ayanokoji and Horikita are willing to lie, bribe, cheat and extort in order to carry the whole class through the year.
Their homeroom teacher, Sae Chabashira, is a great character. She’s absolutely brutal when it comes to her class. She isn’t forthcoming with any extra information with regards to how the school works or what they need to do – only giving them the absolute necessary information. Though she delivers lectures, she doesn’t try to get the students’ attention if they get distracted, or interrupt them if they start talking between themselves. She is almost gleeful when pointing out things to the student body which they have neglected to acknowledge – such as when their test average comes below the grade required to pass. However, when students actively approach her asking questions and trying to talk themselves around the rules of the school through her vague wording – this type of behaviour she commends. At the very beginning, she told the class that everything at this school can be bought with points. So they want to give her points in order to prevent a student from being expelled. The price is high, but they can just about afford it. But what are they going to do long-term to keep all their classmates in their seats?
With the other classes seemingly determined to stop Class D ascending through the ranks, Horikita and Ayanokouji are having to look at enlisting the help of more people than they initially wanted to, such as Ichinose from Class B and the friendly-seeming Kikyou, who has more going on in her personality than she would like to be shown to the rest of the class. They don’t know the rules of the school and how they might affect them, so Horikita especially must look at eliminating any possible threat to her objective of being in Class A if she wants to ascend the ranks – and that includes stopping her classmates from doing things that would get themselves into trouble for fear that it may affect her. Things are becoming rather complex and interesting as the story unfolds and we begin to see the behaviours and attitudes of other students in the higher classes, including Horikita’s older brother.
It would seem that things are only going to get more complex as the story continues, and things are going at a good pace so I’m looking forward to seeing where this one goes – particularly because I can’t really guess it for myself. The way they introduce and focus on new classmates/characters is well-thought out and doesn’t just give you an info-dump that you barely register, as is a pitfall in some class-focused school anime. Further in, I’m expecting some interesting revelations and a few twists to go alongside these solid characters. I wonder how this one will deliver?