Comedy, school, romance. Three genre tags that offer a whole lot of potential, but equally can make for a complete waste of a studio’s budget. Because of this, I had no idea what to really expect from Classroom of the Elite (Youkoso Jitsuryoku Shijou Shugi no Kyoushitsu e). After seeing that before this show started I didn’t really know what to expect. An optimistic bit of me saw a grumpy but intelligent male lead and an equally aloof female and thought maybe this would be some kind of reworking of Oregairu. Episode one has started to clear some of the fog from this season.
Ayanokouji has just started high school, Koudo Ikusei. In fact, it’s the best high school in Japan. Down side is, our male lead made a hash of his entrance exams and ends up in class D. Initially, this doesn’t sound like a massive problem with everyone in the class being given an allowance of 100,000 yen and access to the same facilities as all of the other students.
The students of class D however did not do badly in exams for nothing, and over the course of the first month many of the class skip out on classes, talk over the teachers and generally be pretty awful students. Most of them also spend all of their month’s money. Problem here is, all of the poor behaviour is rewarded with no allowance and the prospect of living ridiculed by the rest of the school with no funds to live off.
As for characters, it looks like Classroom Elite is going to follow Oregairu. Ayanokouji is presented as silently intelligent (though there’s nothing to show that he actually is), anti-social and a bit of a failure. His neighbour in class is the equally socially awkward Horikita who seemed to know the consequences of being in class D before the others (probably as a result of being the younger sister of the Student Council President); she engages with Ayanokouji out of necessity but has no friends and makes no effort to make them. Finally is Kushida: the overly cheery, largely popular, always striving for better centre of the class. In an attempt to bring Horikita into the class social group she gets Ayanokouji involved in a social set up in this first episode – obviously to little effect.
This brings me on to the biggest bug bear of the episode: the fan service. Why is it that all of the female characters have unnaturally big boobs? Most shows will give you on or two of these characters to keep things interesting for viewers who aren’t invested in the show, but Classroom of the Elite goes a bit overboard in episode one. I get that the focus on intimacy is meant to create an awkward feeling for Ayanokouji when he’s around Kushida, but it gets boring after the second time! Hopefully, we wont be panning to the girls’ chest for extended periods for the next eleven episodes, because this will get boring very quickly. Unless this show isn’t meant to take itself seriously, but to be honest, everyone else points to this have some genuine plot.
Episode one has given us a bit of an idea as to the tone this show is going to take, but we’re going to have to wait for next week to really see exactly what this show is going to do. Amidst the signposts to school rom-com, we were also left with some darker aspects that make this show a bit of an enigma. I’ll stay hopeful for next week’s episode and, with any luck, it’ll push on to become a strong show this season.