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The Controversial Politics of Classroom of the Elite


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Gasero



Joined: 24 Jul 2009
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 22, 2017 7:15 pm Reply with quote
It really bothers me that anime writers can try to have thought provoking and deeply philosophical content, but at the end of the day, fanservice is necessary to garner enough attention to make most shows viable. Fanservice tends to overshadow most other content.
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John Thacker
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 22, 2017 8:48 pm Reply with quote
The Adam Smith mention seems to me to be much more a reference to The Theory of Moral Sentiments. (The high school's practices themselves are the furthest thing from Smith's writings or philosophy, of course.)
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BodaciousSpacePirate
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 23, 2017 1:20 am Reply with quote
Blood- wrote:
However, as Gabriella has pointed out, there is some more thoughtful stuff occasionally going on.


On the other hand, though, I've often felt that franchises like Classroom of the Elite are far, far too concerned with demonstrating that the writers are familiar with a bunch of philosophers and their ideas, and shockingly unconcerned with presenting philosophy in a thoughtful - much less thought-provoking - manner.

This show can name-drop Rousseau and his ideas all it wants - and it can even work his ideas into its narrative - but I've seen far too much geek-oriented media that uses "philosophy" as a marketing tool, meant to draw in an intellectually-minded crowd that wouldn't otherwise come anywhere near a show like Classroom of the Elite. I'm therefore extremely wary of this show, and will continue to be until I see where the writers are planning on taking the story and its themes. At the end of the day, is this show actually going to say anything interesting, or is its philosophy just a gimmick?
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Compelled to Reply



Joined: 14 Jan 2017
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 24, 2017 1:30 am Reply with quote
The show wasn't exactly bad, but any allegories were skin-deep at best.

Sometimes I get the impression even series like Evangelion are often over-analyzed.
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BadNewsBlues



Joined: 21 Sep 2014
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 24, 2017 5:26 pm Reply with quote
I'm not ashamed to say I came here for the fanservice....unexpected as it was.
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Animegomaniac



Joined: 16 Feb 2012
Posts: 3266
PostPosted: Sun Sep 24, 2017 6:26 pm Reply with quote
The ideas and notions of Classroom of the Elite I like- duality of identity, the value of duplicitous nature to society, abstract grades and conduct evaluation made into credit with an actual trade value... these things had potential. Once the credits started adding "street value" to the characters, I knew this was a good show for me. It would have been nice if it was in English...

However, it's not going to do anything conclusive with them until the source series is over. It's the dramatic version of the Baka and Test problem: Once class F stops being Class F, the show's over.

Quote:
This suggests that Classroom of the Elite is actually pro-altruism


More like "enlightened self interest"- The specter of Ayn Rand seems to be behind every corner of this series. It makes a better society, supposedly, especially if she had her way. However, it doesn't make better people as its a society of and for rich elitist jerks. Wait, did I spoil the ending of this "experiment"? Still, who are we to judge; One of the oldest jokes in the US: "We the people..." "Wait, define 'we'". "White, male, wealthy, the cream of society." "Right, that's right. I was just testing you."

The rest of us just get to be here.

Still, even altruism at its most basic level still has something of self interest involved, a hint of "that could be me" or "it's the right thing to do" or "I am making the world a better place." My own take on it is to keep altruism as random as possible. Even if it comes down to Fate or God, always keep them guessing.

I still like this series better both sociologically and philosophically than Psycho Paths. "If you want a just and moral society, it has to be run by the spoiler[amoral]." Uh, no? Wait, I don't think I'm being emphatic enough...
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tehhead



Joined: 11 Apr 2013
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 24, 2017 9:59 pm Reply with quote
i stop watching at EP6 of this drivel

do they ever explain on how to get points for their class?
that is my most major gripe on this series

you can't compete in a point based competition without having any information on how to get points or what make it stop decreasing

and if based on 1st episode word from our protag, said school also produce 100% hire-ability to college or working society, on top of 0% drop out, even though being dropped out is one of the few themes
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Animegomaniac



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PostPosted: Mon Sep 25, 2017 5:07 am Reply with quote
tehhead wrote:
i stop watching at EP6 of this drivel

do they ever explain on how to get points for their class?
that is my most major gripe on this series

you can't compete in a point based competition without having any information on how to get points or what make it stop decreasing

and if based on 1st episode word from our protag, said school also produce 100% hire-ability to college or working society, on top of 0% drop out, even though being dropped out is one of the few themes


Wow, ok, let's see if I can explain
Class A and probably B would be told how to get points, the best of class C would rise up and the rest- including all of D- would be expelled, I mean, "giving the option of leaving or live on nothing". Same thing.

I thought it was more an idea of "everyone passes and everyone gets good jobs" not one of "if you enroll, you'll get everyting you could ever want for a start in life". Though it wouldn't surprise me if it was sold to potential students like that.

Of course, that brings of the idea of the perpetuated underclass and its actual use to society... Wait, is this show really stupid or smart? I can't tell anymore... Ok, let's say this is a school... not too hard since it is... if you want to have a great average of smart students, you get rid of the ones pulling down the average. And the best way to do that... most legal in other words... is to give the students the means of their own destruction as some sort of "prize".

I read through the thread and I found the negative reactions to be very kneejerk... kind of like yelling at a street magician about a bad trick involving a rabbit and a hat while the guy's stealing your wallet. Yes, the school is a scam and yes, so is the philosophy used. And that's the point.

The concept is employing social economic theory and people fall for it thinking "Ha, you think your pretentiousness makes you smart" not realizing how its theme as well as the school's purpose is more about "down and dirty" practicality than some grand experiment in lofty ideals.

There can only ever be utopia for one guy; Everyone else only get to choose to either enjoy it or suffer through it..
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HeeroTX



Joined: 15 Jul 2002
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 25, 2017 12:59 pm Reply with quote
Blood- wrote:
@ angelmcazares - thank you for your banal reductive post that explains nothing. Gabriella outlined the ideas she feels are in play. You can be persuaded or not but acting as if all this show is doing throwing out some quotes is lazy thinking.

I am a FAN of harem shows. While this show SEEMED something else in the beginning, it is now solidly a harem show with pretentious trappings. As for Gabriella's commentary, I disagree entirely and think she is projecting what she WANTS this show to be rather than what it is.

As example:
Quote:
In the episodes that follow, Ayanokoji gets out of scrapes by putting himself out there, encouraging his classmates to cooperate with one another, and taking risks for them at his own expense.

This is the exact OPPOSITE of what has happened in this show. There's an episode with the TITLE: “It takes a great talent and skill to conceal one's talent and skill." One could argue that in the MOST recent episodes he is "putting himself out there" due to the teacher forcing his hand, but prior to that he's been EXPLICITLY manipulating other people to get the desired result. Hell, they solve the whole "angry kid gonna get expelled" problem by manipulating students from OTHER CLASSES. Which also feeds to this:
Quote:
The result of this system is vicious competition between the four classes, but a class's strength in this fight is largely dependent on its unity, and thus the students' power to support one another in service of a collective goal.

1. The "vicious competition" is so fierce that girls from at LEAST two other classes are already clearly enamoured with/working with/for Ayanokoji. (aka, the harem lead)
2. Unity means jack squat. It's clear that at LEAST 2 of the top 3 classes have fairly ruthless leaders, whereas the more "democratic" Class D is the WORST/bottom class. It's possible (and maybe likely) that the source lionizes Class D and shows their triumphs, but we're unlikely to get there in the anime and haven't seen proof yet that "unity" is better than "rule by fear" (which Classes A & C (at minimum) do)
Quote:
By contrast, Ayanokoji and Hirokita seem to solve problems by becoming more like their apparently less talented peers. They're still our exceptional anime protagonists, but the show frames their talents as best used in service of the group's needs.

So far, they solve problems by standing up to their "more talented" peers. In fact, the pool episode and even the bullying one highlights how they actually WORK AROUND their less talented peers. They even keep Sudou from getting expelled by cutting a deal with the teachers, that Sudo himself knows nothing about.

The best philosophy you could arguably ascribe to the show is "a rising tide lifts all boats" since Horikita is (supposedly) trying to get to Class A for ENTIRELY selfish reasons. She's (multiple times) stated she'd jettison everyone else if she honestly thought that was an option. As for Ayanokoji, it's pretty much stated fact that he explicitly placed HIMSELF in the bottom class (it's noted multiple times that he manipulates his grades to get various desired results). It's POSSIBLE that he's doing that "for the greater good" but NOTHING in the show proves that out. If nothing else, you'd think SOMEONE would've helped the kids not burn all their points at the beginning.
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TdFern 87



Joined: 03 Jun 2017
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 25, 2017 8:12 pm Reply with quote
Gasero wrote:
It really bothers me that anime writers can try to have thought provoking and deeply philosophical content, but at the end of the day, fanservice is necessary to garner enough attention to make most shows viable. Fanservice tends to overshadow most other content.

Same can be said for anime YouTubers who like to analyze things like Digibro and Pedantic Romantic.
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TdFern 87



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PostPosted: Mon Sep 25, 2017 8:20 pm Reply with quote
I admit this wasn't the most properly executed anime but their were some things that did intrigue me like the whole point of those episode titles quoted by the philosophers, getting some Bioshock vibes.
The characters may came off as bland but they are not generic as they do inner and outer struggles within each character and some of them have some additional dimension to character like Ayakonji, Horikita, and Kushinda and maybe the other characters from the other Classes. Also gives you an idea, which person would you trust and how far will you go to get what you want? Even if you have to say betray one another. Besides there still room for character growth. I do wish this series get a second season, if not I'll check if the Light novels are any better.
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casualfan



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PostPosted: Mon Sep 25, 2017 10:41 pm Reply with quote
This show is my favorite this season next to Princess Principal and DBS. I view this show more of a dark shonen show that uses intelligence as a weapon, where the main characters outsmart their opponents. The philosophies feel unnecessary as the show doesn't really delve into them. I watch the show just to see what kind of intelligence battlefield the characters will engage in, and the show is doing really well at it. Oh, and the attractive female design certainly doesn't hurt.
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Blood-



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PostPosted: Mon Sep 25, 2017 10:55 pm Reply with quote
@ HeeroTX - well, I congratulate you on at least being the only poster so far who disagrees with Gabriella to actually back up your points with reasoning rather than just make a declarative statement without evidence. Unfortunately, your points, imo, are simply wrong.

To assert that Ayanokoji has been doing the opposite of "encouraging his classmates to cooperate with one another, and taking risks for them at his own expense" is absurd. The show has made clear that Ayanokoji's desire at the beginning of the show was to do as little as possible and maintain a low profile. Events from the start have conspired to make that impossible. The fact that he uses manipulation to advance the prospects of individual members of his class and the class as a whole in no way contradicts Gabriella's assertions. It was only the episode that began the Island arc where an additional motivation was given to him by his bosomy teacher extorting him to CONTINUE his aid of the class by threating him with expulsion.

You are similarly offbase about denying Gabriella's observation that class unity is an important element of strength in the inter-class struggle. Unity can be derived from a top down threat of force or it can be derived from consensus-building. A class bullied into unity is still unified. It has been made painfully obvious from the beginning that a class's success in obtaining points is dependent on the individual members of that class rowing their oars in the same direction. Class D's problems in gaining points stems from the fact that it, more than any other class so far, strays from that unity.

And for god's sake can we please dispense with the phrase "pretentious" to describe this show? Any show where a plot point is uncovering the identy of a panty thief is not making a huge effort to be pretentious. Using quotes - often for comedic purposes (What some people call fate is often the outcome of their own stupidity, etc) - isn't pretentious.
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HeeroTX



Joined: 15 Jul 2002
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 25, 2017 11:51 pm Reply with quote
Blood- wrote:
To assert that Ayanokoji has been doing the opposite of "encouraging his classmates to cooperate with one another, and taking risks for them at his own expense" is absurd.

I'm sorry, but no. Let me again repeat the quote:
In the episodes that follow, Ayanokoji gets out of scrapes by putting himself out there, encouraging his classmates to cooperate with one another, and taking risks for them at his own expense.
(Emphasis mine)
Give me a SINGLE example of Ayanokoji "putting himself out there" or "taking risks at his own expense". He's not even REALLY "encouraging his classmates to cooperate", (or else is RIDICULOUSLY bad at it) if he were, then we wouldn't have had the events of the last 2 episodes. Horikita is STILL a loner. The 3 goof balls are STILL ostracized. And in the latest episode he was selected as one of the only "ok" guys on the basis that MOST of the class barely knows who he is. In the pool episode, he "worked with the goof balls" SPECIFICALLY to get in their way.

The one thing we KNOW about Ayanokoji is that if he himself WANTED to, he wouldn't have been in Class D. (we KNOW that both academically AND athletically he's FAR above the "Class D standard") From what we've seen of him so far, there is ZERO reason to think that was done out of "altruism".

Quote:
The show has made clear that Ayanokoji's desire at the beginning of the show was to do as little as possible and maintain a low profile.

That is standard harem lead trope goal, and then "surprise, surprise" wacky hijinks ensue that prevent him from living the "boring" life that he wants and instead he is thrust into crazy situations that just HAPPEN to involve lots of pretty girls. ("Hey, the scary dude in the class gets manipulated into a fight, oh look, he just HAPPENS to have been photographed by the closet net Idol, who just HAPPENS to have a weird stalker that I can rescue her from and gain another harem member")

Again, as a FAN of harem shows, I don't find the above to be "bad", but I'm also under no illusions that it's "deep".
Quote:
You are similarly offbase about denying Gabriella's observation that class unity is an important element of strength in the inter-class struggle. Unity can be derived from a top down threat of force or it can be derived from consensus-building. A class bullied into unity is still unified.

I'm afraid you're offbase about what was presented:
a class's strength in this fight is largely dependent on its unity, and thus the students' power to support one another in service of a collective goal.
The "bullied" classes are not REMOTELY "supporting" each other. Heck, while it is entirely plausible that it's all a ruse, Class C has members ACTIVELY antagonizing one another, and the leader flat out said he's wasting all their resources because he can do what he wants and screw everyone else. Class D ("the beacon of Unity") has already had one member quit after selfishly running off until he got bored and the class itself is in the middle of a meltdown because half the class barely tolerates the other half. And we know that Class A has Horikita's ruthless dictator of a brother who is apparently in competition with some other guy that's got his own methodology. And those are only the OBVIOUS seams, to say nothing of things like "class unifier" Kushida, whose whole unifier personality is a lie, and the other class politics that we haven't explored, like what's going on with the cane girl. Or why one girl (and ONLY one girl) in Class B has like 10x the points of anyone else.

I'm not holding my breath, but I think Classroom of the Elite still has a CHANCE to stick the landing on an interesting plot. But again, it is still just a harem show WITH a potentially interesting plot. I think it COULD have been a show trying to make larger meta-commentary, and maybe the source novels are. But at this point, the anime is just giving us opportunities for cute girls rather than providing an underlying theme of altruism.

Heck, if we were TRULY promoting altruism, why not have someone in the class propose a communist ideal? The class gets a set number of points each month, but individuals get modifications based on some unknown measures. We see in the end credits that everyone's points are completely variable. There are a bunch of statements on society that you COULD make with this series (good or bad), but so far CotE hasn't made any of them.
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Blood-



Joined: 07 Mar 2009
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 26, 2017 7:16 am Reply with quote
@ HeeroTX - you ask me to a single example of Akanokoji putting himself out there, encouraging his classmates to cooperate with one another and taking risks for them at his own expense? Um, are you even watching this show? Remember when Ayanokoji stepped in and stopped Horikita's brother from hurting her (thus revealing he was proficient in martial arts?) Or how he was involved in getting Sudo out of his jam? Or how he helped Sakura deal with the lecherous telephone sales guy? Or how he saved the dude who was set up to look like the panty thief? Come on, man.

As for your comments on unity - sorry, man, but you are just so missing the point that it is in fact pointless to try and argue against you. You are clearly not understanding what Gabriella meant and I don't feel capable of making you do so - especially since it's a pretty obvious observation. Not trying to be condescending here, but that's just how I feel.
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