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EP. REVIEW: Classroom of the Elite


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Blackiris_



Joined: 06 Sep 2013
Posts: 347
PostPosted: Wed Jul 19, 2017 5:11 pm Reply with quote
This show is a good example that an interesting premise doesn't mean anything if the execution is bad. And honestly, this doesn't come as a surprise. The ridiculously out-of-place fanservice aside, what bothers me most is the extreme black and white portrayal of the characters and the extreme exaggerations of certain character traits. Which, again, is not surprising because almost all anime of this kind suffer from the same problems.

So instead of utilizing the setting in an interesting manner as a social experiment, the show will probably focus on shallow entertainment value (fanservice, cute girls, cheap plot twists, one-dimensional jerks as "antagonists", more revelations of characters' tragic / shocking backgrounds, glorification of the main character, "battle" between the classes).

Well, maybe my hunch is wrong, but … when were these kinds of shows ever clever? I can't remember a single one.
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danpmss



Joined: 30 May 2015
Posts: 360
PostPosted: Wed Jul 19, 2017 6:23 pm Reply with quote
Blackiris_ wrote:
This show is a good example that an interesting premise doesn't mean anything if the execution is bad. And honestly, this doesn't come as a surprise. The ridiculously out-of-place fanservice aside, what bothers me most is the extreme black and white portrayal of the characters and the extreme exaggerations of certain character traits. Which, again, is not surprising because almost all anime of this kind suffer from the same problems.

So instead of utilizing the setting in an interesting manner as a social experiment, the show will probably focus on shallow entertainment value (fanservice, cute girls, cheap plot twists, one-dimensional jerks as "antagonists", more revelations of characters' tragic / shocking backgrounds, glorification of the main character, "battle" between the classes).

Well, maybe my hunch is wrong, but … when were these kinds of shows ever clever? I can't remember a single one.



There's Rakudai Kishi.

That one was a surprisingly good example of an anime that have all those bads and some even more generic content. I had to think hard on my rating for that one, as it did a bunch of stuff I hate, and yet the result was... to put in few words, satisfactory (?).
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mangamuscle



Joined: 23 Apr 2006
Posts: 2173
Location: Mexico
PostPosted: Wed Jul 19, 2017 6:27 pm Reply with quote
Disclaimer: I have not read the source material, adaptations or spoilers.

Quote:
Our fatigued outcast Ayanokoji's class, 1-D, is the very worst of the worst,


I would not call apathetic the same as fatigued. As for being the worst of the worst, at the end of episode 2 when they list the voice actors that worked on the episode, they show a list of private points. That informs us of three things. Our main trio has to date accumulated a high amount of points. There are other three students that are close to zero points. The school is outright lying (or telling half the truth) to the students about the S system.

Quote:
Of course, people who actually fail any exams are forced to drop out, so there's also the reasonable strategy of letting your individual failures just fail to raise your class average.


I have serious doubts about this statement. Since Japan as a society highly values cooperation (they rather have a mediocre team than a group of geniuses working independently) it would make sense that if someone drop outs, the class average would be obtained as if they were still in the school.

Quote:
Ikusei's students are competing in a rigged game, but that game is framed in such a way that their opponents are their fellow students, not their overarching oppressors.


If the system mirrors society then the oppressor is society, so calling for a revolution is IMO a tad over the top.

Quote:
Genki girl Kushida could theoretically pass as this show's moral center, given her consistent espousing of open-handed, transaction-free friendship


I highly doubt that is the case, in episode one she hinted she wanted to be friend of everyone because she has a higher goal to achieve.

Quote:
Scenes like the second episode's finale, where Ayanokoji demonstrates sudden and unexpected martial arts skills to rescue Horikita from her brother, feel silly in a way that actually endears me to the show.


I do not think that the scene was silly. There was foreshadowing at the pool scene when not-Yukinon was about to point out he had a toned body. The scene imo points out how everybody is hiding something. Why would not-hachiman boycott himself in the exams? Dunno but that was the name of the episode and I expect a good answer in the episodes to come.
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FilthyCasual



Joined: 01 Jun 2015
Posts: 971
PostPosted: Wed Jul 19, 2017 7:30 pm Reply with quote
Quote:
but the show's fanservice-laden framing of her character is so predatory that it makes it hard to believe the show actually cares about her.

To me it seems like Ayanokouji is a closet perv who helped Kushida out at first because she was hot, and the camera is his gaze.
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Gina Szanboti



Joined: 03 Aug 2008
Posts: 6765
PostPosted: Wed Jul 19, 2017 8:59 pm Reply with quote
Quote:
Genki girl Kushida could theoretically pass as this show's moral center, given her consistent espousing of open-handed, transaction-free friendship - but the show's fanservice-laden framing of her character is so predatory that it makes it hard to believe the show actually cares about her.

There's something slightly off about the fan-service that makes me think there's a point to it. I guess it's because I'm having trouble accepting her motivations at face value of just wanting everyone to be friends. I feel like there's a hidden agenda of using other people's friendships and good will as stepping stones to her advancement or as some sort of herd protection, and the fan service framing feels like it's visually establishing that manipulative strategy. Like if genki-ness fails to win converts to her, maybe sex appeal will.

I also have come to the conclusion that Nick does not use or define the word "silly" with the same meaning it has for me. I'm not exactly sure what it means to him, but every single thing he's defined as silly in his reviews has not been silly to me. This time around he sees the skirmish with Horikita's brother as silly, where to me it was following through on both Horikita's earlier observation of his physique and doubling down on the theme of Ayanokoji not being what he appears ("It takes great talent and skill to conceal one's talent and skill."), and it was done in a fairly organic way within the story. What was silly about it?

I really wasn't expecting to like this series much, but it's already started to turn that around. It's intrigued me enough to find out if they really have something cool up their sleeve, or if they're just talking a good early game. At any rate, I think I'm going to need to create a data sheet to keep track of the characters.
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cfalcon



Joined: 28 Feb 2007
Posts: 9
PostPosted: Wed Jul 19, 2017 9:22 pm Reply with quote
Quote:
Scenes like the second episode's finale, where Ayanokoji demonstrates sudden and unexpected martial arts skills to rescue Horikita from her brother, feel silly in a way that actually endears me to the show.


Quote:

I do not think that the scene was silly. There was foreshadowing at the pool scene when not-Yukinon was about to point out he had a toned body. The scene imo points out how everybody is hiding something. Why would not-hachiman boycott himself in the exams? Dunno but that was the name of the episode and I expect a good answer in the episodes to come.


Agreed. And paraphrasing, the opening quote says something about it taking extraordinary skill to hide extraordinary skill, which matches Horikita and her brothers' suspicions about him intentionally getting mediocre scores.
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Engineering Nerd



Joined: 24 Apr 2008
Posts: 368
Location: Southern California
PostPosted: Wed Jul 19, 2017 9:50 pm Reply with quote
I will be frank, I was hooked to this franchise's original work (light novels) a year ago based on the premise, and the main character certainly reminds me a bit (just a bit) like SNAFU...,

Turns out they are nothing alike but I still like what I read so far.

A little advice, just like how most Japanese readers of this LN suggest: ,

Do not view the main protagonist as a "hero", treat him as the "final boss" OF the entire system. (As nonsensical as that sounds)

Then you will likely find a lot of his future actions make sense, in this system of social Darwinism.
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Key
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Joined: 03 Nov 2003
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Location: Indianapolis, IN (formerly Mimiho Valley)
PostPosted: Wed Jul 19, 2017 11:42 pm Reply with quote
The central conceit of the series turned me off so much that I was initially not planning to watch more of this one, but a slow Wednesday night led me to give it a second try. Now I'm upping the series to probationary status.

I've also had the impression that many of the students are hiding things. It was obvious that the MC was, and I agree with opinions that Kushida isn't as altruistic as she seems, either. The fan service - which I fully agree was weirdly-placed - does makes a bit more sense in that context.

Still not crazy about this whole "school as a microcosm of a brutal society" approach, though. Much too pessimistic for my tastes.
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mangamuscle



Joined: 23 Apr 2006
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Location: Mexico
PostPosted: Thu Jul 20, 2017 12:28 am Reply with quote
Key wrote:
Still not crazy about this whole "school as a microcosm of a brutal society" approach, though. Much too pessimistic for my tastes.


I could be wrong, but that was not the vibe I felt (so far) from this series. I apologize beforehand if you already knew what I am going to say. Unlike the west, where as you grow older education becomes harder (supposedly because you are more mature and your brain is more developed), in Japan is the exact opposite, as soon as kindergarten kids have to take entrance exams but when they finally get accepted to a university, is a piece of cake, I remember the commentary from a japanese girl that came to mexico and helped in language classes over here saying she spent her time doing arbaito while in university (something I think is unheard of in the west).

I think that the first episode was kind of a social commentary (that I remember reading elsewhere) that older students were used to making little effort, they only go with the flow of whatever school they land on (so when no guidance was given, many simply devolved into lazyness).

Or maybe I am just used to the fact that Japan is a brutal society (my japanese teacher from first semester lived in japan and said she would not want to work for a japanese company if she had the option).
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Gina Szanboti



Joined: 03 Aug 2008
Posts: 6765
PostPosted: Thu Jul 20, 2017 12:51 am Reply with quote
mangamuscle wrote:
I remember the commentary from a japanese girl that came to mexico and helped in language classes over here saying she spent her time doing arbaito while in university (something I think is unheard of in the west).

Are you saying working part time while in college is unheard of in the west, or does "doing arbaito" mean something else? I ask because lots of people work part time (some even full time) while going to college in the US. At any rate, I don't think I understand the point you're trying to make.
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AholePony



Joined: 04 Jun 2015
Posts: 200
Location: Arizona
PostPosted: Thu Jul 20, 2017 1:41 am Reply with quote
I have a few observations as of episode 2. One, I think letting classmates drop out is a death sentence, the teacher said they were all allotted points individually so for the show's metaphor everyone has "worth". If your class is down on people it sounded to me like your maximum earning potential is lowered. You need everyone earning points to succeed.

The second is that class A only lost 60 points, I'm guessing there's a social commentary there on the privileged elite and how those born with the silver spoon in their mouths get a head start on everyone in life... in this case probably in the form of information and how the school's system works ahead of time.
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Key
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 20, 2017 1:57 am Reply with quote
mangamuscle wrote:
in Japan is the exact opposite, as soon as kindergarten kids have to take entrance exams but when they finally get accepted to a university, is a piece of cake, I remember the commentary from a japanese girl that came to mexico and helped in language classes over here saying she spent her time doing arbaito while in university (something I think is unheard of in the west).

If you're referring to part-time work while in college, it's hardly ubiquitous but still fairly common in the States. I did it all through college (in fact, I mostly paid for college that way) and have known a fair number of other people who also did so. In fact, major college campuses typically have job services specifically to help students arrange that kind of employment.
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invalidname
Get off my lawn!Get off my lawn!


Joined: 11 Aug 2004
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Location: Grand Rapids, MI
PostPosted: Thu Jul 20, 2017 6:09 am Reply with quote
With the framing device of the thinky-think philosopher quotes in the beginning of the episodes so far (Nietzche in the first, La Rochefoucauld in the second), it'd be nice if a philosophy major happened across this forum, to help identify any specific shout-outs to classic philosophy and ethics.

I just noticed that the wikipedia page on La Rochefoucauld - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/François_de_La_Rochefoucauld_(writer) - says Nietzche was highly influenced by him, so maybe we're going to get the same kinds of quotes in future episodes.
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zrnzle500



Joined: 04 Oct 2014
Posts: 2763
PostPosted: Thu Jul 20, 2017 11:38 am Reply with quote
invalidname wrote:
With the framing device of the thinky-think philosopher quotes in the beginning of the episodes so far (Nietzche in the first, La Rochefoucauld in the second), it'd be nice if a philosophy major happened across this forum, to help identify any specific shout-outs to classic philosophy and ethics.

I just noticed that the wikipedia page on La Rochefoucauld - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/François_de_La_Rochefoucauld_(writer) - says Nietzche was highly influenced by him, so maybe we're going to get the same kinds of quotes in future episodes.


Not a philosophy major but I noticed another one of Rochefoucauld's quotes in the OP. Namely "Hypocrisy is the homage that vice pays to virtue" though in the original French.
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mangamuscle



Joined: 23 Apr 2006
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 20, 2017 12:02 pm Reply with quote
Key wrote:
If you're referring to part-time work while in college, it's hardly ubiquitous but still fairly common in the States. I did it all through college (in fact, I mostly paid for college that way) and have known a fair number of other people who also did so. In fact, major college campuses typically have job services specifically to help students arrange that kind of employment.


What I tried to say is that in the west students working at the university level is due to sheer necessity to pay for tuition, lodging or food, given a chance they would prefer to use that time to story and/or relax. In japan after passing the entrance exam to a university and being accepted you have more than enough skill/knowledge to get your degree, you only need to go to class and do your homework and those that work while they studying do it to get money to buy luxuries (remember that the best universities in japan are public universities, private universities are for rare degrees or for those that were not smart or were too problematic to get public tuition).

Which opens the question, why the three stooges were accepted in the first place? From what I understand schools are not isolated islands, so if a kid is flagged as problematic, other schools will get the memo (literally). Are they sons of influential or rich people that think money can buy them anything? Were they accepted on purpose to damage class D? Are they testing the group as a whole (as in, it is standard procedure each year)?

Quote:
[quote="invalidname"]I just noticed that the wikipedia page on La Rochefoucauld - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/François_de_La_Rochefoucauld_(writer) - says Nietzche was highly influenced by him, so maybe we're going to get the same kinds of quotes in future episodes.


Next episode name/quote is from adam smith aka the father of capitalism, so I think this is another case of quotes that describe the episode. I look forward to not-Yui hypno-boobs making negotiations in a flash.
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