Disclaimer: I do not own any of the images
Written : Shogo Kinugasa; Illustration : Shunsaku Tomose; Studio : Lerche production; Direction : Hiroyuki Hashimoto, Seiji Kishi; Script : Aoi Akashiro, Hayato Kazano, Ohine Ezaki; Character Design : Kazukami Morita ; Music : Ryo Takahashi
The Tokyo Metropolitan Advanced Nurturing School is created by the Japanese government in the hopes of creating the perfect generation who will be capable of leading Japan into the future. The protagonist Kiyotaka Ayanokoji, a quiet and a reserved boy who is not good at making friends and wants to live a hassle-free life.
He enrolls in this school in the hopes that he will have control of his life and ultimately freedom. (There more to his backstory so if you to know more watch the anime)
He meets Suzune Horikita who at first glance seems to be like him, but then puts a facade of being god’s best creation when in reality she has lots of problems of her own. Together they solve problems with a little help from Kikyo Kushida ( another classmate which I will talk about later) which faces them and their classmates in their rise to the top.
Tokyo Metropolitan Advanced Nurturing School
For this piece of writing to be understood it is essential to know more about this school. It starts off any other like high school and is sponsored by the Japanese government. After finishing school you are guaranteed 100% placement in whatever job or university of your choice. What section you are placed in, when graduating from the school plays a big role in your future.
But then they tell us that this school will prepare you for the world by shaping this school to be like exactly like that. The students who enroll in this school will have minimum or no contact with the outside world until they complete their high school. Most of them can’t talk to their parents or friends outside of school. There are a few exceptions but I will talk about that later.
Then there is the size of the school. It is like a mini-city where you get anything and everything. From game centres to malls to cinema halls. You name it, they have it. So you don’t need to go outside at all. Then comes the problem of money.
Every student upon entering gets a cell phone and the school provides them with 100,000 yen per month which is transferred to their bank account. That bank account is connected to their cell phones which I think they are given to every student when entering the school.
Instead of money, they are given as points. 1 point is 1yen. They can use the points to get anything they want which are available in the school premises. This school has rules and it must be followed no matter what. If not there is a chance of being expelled from the school. So using these points you can get anything you want as long as you follow the school rules. These points also play a major role in how you live your life for the next three years.
A, B, C, D are the four sections available in each year with D being the lowest and A being the highest. Each class has 25 students. Now for the hierarchy between the sections, they don’t fully explain this in the anime but I think this is how they place their students.
So all students entering write a written exam and based on their scores they are separated into the sections. For those who have gotten very low marks will be placed in D and the highest in A. Also the personality, history and character of each student are thoroughly researched by the school and these also play a role in placing students.
In light of this information, you can say that the D class is considered as the worst class or “Defective” class compared to the others. So D class has to compete with other class in a variety of tests and get more points so that they can replace A-class and the top class in the school. This is the goal of every class for the next three years.
To achieve their objectives, the conduct of the students and the performance of the classes in various tests given by the school will ultimately evaluate their standing.
Mid Term Exam Arc: Since class D has lost all their points the only way to get back their lost points is through this exam but the problem are Sudo, Yamauchi and Ike, the lowest-scoring students in the class. For them get back their points they have to make sure all the students pass and so Ayanokoji and Suzune have to help them pass the exam else they will be expelled.
In the midterm exam arc, We can see a change in Suzune’s behaviour when she is rejected by the Sudo, Yamauchi and Ike to participate in the study sessions. She is forced to change her ways and accommodate them. We also see the relationship between Suzune and her brother Manabu (who is also the student council president) which is interrupted by Ayanokoji.
We also see Sudo fighting with the other students from class C which will create another problem for class D in the future. For them to pass Ayanokoji finds another way (which involves points) to help them pass.
Another student from class B Nanami Ichinose who helps them and Kushida true face is also shown.
Sudo’s Expulsion arc: Sudo gets into a fight with class C students. If he doesn’t prove himself to be in the right they might lose points and in the worst-case scenario, he gets expelled. Ayanokoji and Suzune step in again to help him.
In the previous Arc Sudo fights with the students from class C and that continues where he is accused of assaulting the students. The judge of this case is Manabu Horikita. So Ayanokoji and Suzune have to fight against him to win this case.
Also Airi Sakura another student from class D is seen as a witness but refuses to come forward because of her nervousness and the information about her hobby also coming out but Ayanokoji helps her get through that and she comes forward. After that, she is assaulted and is saved by Ayanokoji and Nanami.
This arc shows us how the school reacts to fights, how the rules are and also how the students can go around the rules to save themselves. We are also shown the true reason and the mastermind behind this attack by class C students.
Island Test Arc: Students are left abandoned in an island with food and other provisions provided (on certain conditions). They have to survive here for the next seven days and score more than the other class in the competition held there.
This is the largest and final arc taking place in this series and it makes you want more. Lots of student-leader from the different classes and how they operate, what they do are all shown in this arc. This is where it gets heated up and Ayanokoji shows his true capabilities as he pulled off one the biggest in an unpredictable way.
These are the three arcs which are covered in the 12 episode run of classroom of the elite.
Compared to other anime, there is very little of character development but rather showing each character’s true feelings and capabilities during each situation which I think is different and works well for this anime.
When it comes to Character development, only Sakura and Suzune and Sudo (to a certain extent) have accepted their problems and trying to change their ways. The other students are only shown their true colors and their actions in certain situations.
In the upcoming seasons maybe there will be more character development. The way the writer has created the characters are quite different and I enjoyed them as well.
The animation was generic and smooth and nothing to complain about there but the character design was much to be desired. It’s like they only changed their hairstyle and eye colors. As I said before this is a story-driven anime but hopefully they will improve on their character designs in the future seasons.
The opening theme “Castle Room” performed by ZAQ is a fast-paced j-pop number where the visuals show us all the main characters and the future important characters in the background of the school and its rules and systems.
The ending theme “Beautiful Soldier” by Minami. It’s an exact opposite to the opening number where this is an extremely slow song with only three visuals accompanying it. The classroom, Ayankoji looking at the phone and the points scored by D class shown on the phone. (They put different images each time but the theme is the same)
The soundtrack which appears whenever D class or Ayanokoji makes a move or gets a victory (created by Ryo Takahashi) is well done. It is not over the top and nor it is very loud and the subtleness is in sync with class D surprising win and Ayanokoji’s smart play.
The bus scene in which the elderly lady is looking for a seat and the reaction of the passengers. It has Kiyotaka Ayanokoji with some of the main characters in it. That scene sums up the theme of the whole anime and gives us a feel of what is to come.
In the first episode, they show us the school, Ayanokoji’s classmates and the students of other classes as well. It’s all fun and everything is going well. Then things start to turn worse for D class from the second episode. Except for Ayanokoji and Suzune, the rest of the class are in a great deal of trouble.
From here onwards it starts becoming a game of politics in which factions are formed, people are pulled down, who gains favours with whom and who succeeds in tricking them all. This continues to happen in the rest of the episodes.
I enjoyed this anime very much. As I said before, this is just politics in the form of a game and I don’t think a lot of anime/manga use drama/psychological genre to this level. The problems they have to solve can’t be solved just by force or talking with the party. There are a lot of restrictions and they have to go around that.
The characters appearing in this anime are not simple as well. Almost every student in all the classes has some sort of secret to hide, especially the D class. So, the students who appear to be nice or the students who appear to be bad all have ulterior motives.
There’s no good or bad in this school and the students always have to be on guard even against their classmates. So there is always a constant tension (sometimes a bit higher/lower) between the students.
I also really like the quotes shown before the start of every episode. It serves as an introduction to that episode all the quotes fit well with the theme of the anime.
In a lot of reviews, I have heard about the overdose or increase in the amount of fan service which has irked a few reviewers. Maybe they are right but for me, I think it was justified in this anime. You see the subjects they are dealing in this anime is very deep and is not for everyone to easily accept and digest. It has no action and the romance/comedy portion is comparatively less.
I didn’t mind them because the world they are portraying is bleak, pessimistic, cutthroat and to a certain extent a fatalistic one too. The fan service pulls us out of that view and says “just because the world is like that, we should be the same or just because our views are pessimistic it doesn’t make our situation better either” (at least it felt that way for me)
It’s worth the watch and I suggest everyone make time for as it will certainly broaden your horizons and will make you think.
Marks : 4/5