The Summer 2022 Preview Guide
Classroom of the Elite II
How would you rate episode 1 of
Classroom of the Elite II (TV 2) ?
Community score: 4.1
What is this?
Kōdo Ikusei Senior High School is a leading prestigious school with state-of-the-art facilities where nearly 100% of students go on to university or find employment. The students there have the freedom to wear any hairstyle and bring any personal effects they desire. Kōdo Ikusei is a paradise-like school, but the truth is that only the most superior of students receive favorable treatment. Kiyotaka Ayanokōji is a student of D-class, which is where the school dumps its "inferior" students in order to ridicule them. For a certain reason, Kiyotaka was careless on his entrance examination, and was put in D-class. After meeting Suzune Horikita and Kikyō Kushida, two other students in his class, Kiyotaka's situation begins to change.
How was the first episode?
Boy, this premiere just has no issue throwing us all into the deep end without any warning at all, does it? To recap, Classroom of the Elite is the story of a school that takes the class point system in Harry Potter to the extreme: Everything you do in public or private affects your class's score—which in turn affects your living expenses. However, because the school is trying to train these kids to think outside the box in the most devious possible way, anything that isn't specifically against the rules is allowed, regardless of how immoral it may be.
When last we left off, Class D had an overwhelming victory over the other classes in the camp survival game—one that could potentially upset the class standings when they are tallied at the end of the month. So, of course, before that can happen, the administration throws out a new test that threatens to undo all of Class D's gains.
While it's stupidly overcomplicated, what our heroes currently face is an iteration of the Prisoner's Dilemma, which makes sense on a thematic level. The key theme in Classroom of the Elite has always been the struggle between the success of the individual and the success of the group. The whole point system is specifically set up so that an individual can profit by sacrificing the group, though trusting in the group and acting accordingly can give a stability that can only come from having others covering your weaknesses while you do the same for them. The twist here is that there are now three factors each character has to balance instead of the usual two: self-interest, group interest, and class interest.
Amidst all this is the situation revolving around Kei. The typical stuck-up popular girl is now clearly facing some issues that may or may not be related to the current test. It's a solid personal mystery that gives us a good excuse to get to know more about her as the season moves forward.
Classroom of the Elite picks up right where the first season left off, with the characters on their way back from their special test on the deserted island. Not ones to waste an opportunity for mind games and shenanigans, the school immediately throws the students into another groupwide test, this time on the cruise ship. Without the survival angle, the premise isn't as immediately interesting as the previous arc, but it's obviously a situation engineered to test loyalties. By the end of this first episode, we're already seeing the seeds of some juicy drama, as Karuizawa starts to reveal the cracks in her popular girl façade.
Interestingly, the link between the nature of the test and Karuizawa's strained nerves isn't clear yet, but it's obvious already that she'll end up being key to Ayanokoji's strategy somehow. The other Class 1-D members he's stuck with in the test mostly seem to be there for comic relief or as yes-men who simply go along with the flow. We don't know which of the four possible outcomes Ayanokoji is aiming for, only that he himself is not the VIP. The mystery further deepens when the 1-B and 1-A folks explain their agenda—at least on the surface—while Ayanokoji says little more than "It would be nice to cooperate."
Another interesting factor in this arc is that it separates Ayanokoji and Horikita. The two worked together very closely in the first season, but because they're in different groups this time, there's a limit to how much they can collaborate now. Horikita ultimately took the credit for Ayanokoji's actions behind the scenes in season 1, but how much can she achieve without him pulling the strings? Ryuen from Class 1-C, at the very least, appears to see right through her.
At the end of the day, this was very much a setup episode, and that meant watching a lot of talking heads and sitting through explanations of rules. It wasn't a particularly riveting watch in its own right, and this series has never had the greatest production values either. But there's a lot of promise in this arc, and it's nice to see the plot keep up the momentum from the last arc by involving the other classes in the mind games. The fun of Classroom of the Elite is watching a small handful of very cunning students manipulate a bunch of average students, with some unpredictable wild cards on the side. Season 2 is already on track to deliver the goods.
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