Classroom of the Elite – Anime Preview
Synopsis: 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… (Official Crunchyroll Synopsis)
1st Episode Review (Warning: Minor Spoilers to Follow):
Tom: Classroom of the Elite has a big problem: It’s main characters are fairly boring. Both Kiyotaka and Horikita are emotionless sacks of contemplative inner thoughts. Neither displays much individual persona, and is so laid back in their voice work that it makes it difficult to care what happens to either. It’s a major hindrance.
Linny: I cannot emphasize enough how generic and bland these two are. Neither of them shows any passion or spark, challenging audiences to find a reason to care about them. Kiyotaka gets some points for openly admitting his blandness in universe but not enough to make him likeable by any measure. As for our female protagonist, Horikita, she’s definitely not the first aloof heroine who limits all socializing with her classmates and her already generic aloofness aside, she offers absolutely nothing in this episode to make her be someone worth watching the show for.
Tom: What works for me however, is Classroom’s “live and die by performance’ premise. I won’t go into too many details, not that the series does either within this first episode, but this late introduction to the main premise keeps Classroom intriguing, even if its leads fail in that regard. The show crafts a sense of suspense and curiosity, which seems at odds with its supposed genre tags of comedy and romance, as it teases the big ‘twist’ to its school system concept for much of the episode, keeping your attention hooked as you wait for shit to hit the fan.
Linny: There’s a little bit of a philosophical feel to the start of the episode as we are greeted with a quote right at the beginning, then our hero’s monologue musing about equality and finally, a rather puzzling interaction about giving your seat up for the elderly. It’s not the most convincing start, and personally made the episode come off a bit try hard. The episode spends a little too much time and effort trying to fully sell how wasteful the students are being with their allotted pocket money. It’s something that could have been achieved with a couple of sentences and still shots but instead takes up enough screen time that you wonder if it’s padding so the episode can end on its ‘shocking’ note. It might mar the episode for anyone who figures out the big reveal before hand and leave them wishing the show had done more than just establish the simplest and barest of basic premise with its premiere as then there’s no extra hook to suck them in.
Tom: While I’m more positive on this start than Linny is, I can’t help but also feel Classroom of the Elite has its work cut out for it. It’s going to really need to up the tension and overt conflict in the next several episodes, otherwise it risks collapsing beneath the weight of its boring leads. They too need to undergo some sudden and significant development.
Linny: In all honesty, I feel like anyone who’s interested in this show will most likely be bored by the first episode as it establishes itself in a mundane and inefficient way, presenting you with boring, generic leads and taking just too much time to set up something most people will see coming a mile away. Thanks to a boring and predictable premiere, Classroom of the Elite feels like a show that needs its second episode to hook a viewer and that might prove to be its curse.
Tom: I’m only slightly more positive on Classroom of the Elite, and even then not enough to toss out a Recommended. I’m contemplating sticking with the series for at least one more episode, just to see where it manages to take itself and if any of our concerns are addressed. It’s a weak start, but one, I think, it could easily recover from.
Classroom of the Elite is available for streaming via Crunchyroll