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Classroom of the Elite II
Episode 12

by Richard Eisenbeis,

How would you rate episode 12 of
Classroom of the Elite II (TV 2) ?
Community score: 4.7

With how the previous episode ended, I was dreading the fact that we were going to get 22 minutes of Karuizawa being tortured this week. Luckily, Classroom of the Elite decided not to waste our time and draw things out unnecessarily.

The result is that we get to see Karuizawa grow as a character and accept that there is a line she will not cross to protect herself (even if it is an arbitrary one). In the past, Karuizawa has lived her life by always taking the route most likely to keep her safe from bullying. Through her relationship with Ayanokoji, she has gone beyond that—swaying the will of the whole class through her words and actions. She has proven herself to be useful to someone else because of what she can do. It is that pride that gives her the spine to not back down to Ryuen, and even accept the horrible thing that Ayanokoji did to her to form their relationship as well. She has decided that the ends justify the means. It's a solid capstone to her arc and one that sets her up for great things to come—though it is somewhat overshadowed by both the action climax and last bit of character development for the main villain of the series so far.

The focus of this week's episode is explaining why Ryuen is the way he is: he is obsessed with fear. To him, fear is the easiest way to control those around him—after all, even if people hate him, they will do what they are told if they are afraid enough. And the most straightforward way to instill that fear is through violence and coercion.

Ryuen believes that all he needs to bend anyone to his will is to find their one fear. At the same time, since he has never experienced fear himself, he is convinced that he can't be controlled in the same way. This is why he remains so confident even after Ayanokoji absolutely dismantles not only his thugs but himself as well. As long as he doesn't give up, he'll eventually find something that Ayanokoji is afraid of. He may lose battle after battle but that doesn't matter as long as he wins the war.

What destroys Ryuen mentally in the end is the fact that Ayanokoji doesn't care—not about Ryuen, not about Karuizawa, and not even about the beating he is delivering. If Ayanokoji doesn't care about anything, he truly can't experience fear. On the other hand, even Ryuen has things he doesn't want to lose, and Ayanokoji made him feel fear for perhaps the first time ever. All his life Ryuen thought he had an unstoppable superpower that lets him get what he wants. But not feeling fear pales in comparison to the power of not giving a damn about anything at all.


Random Thoughts:

• --“How do you kill a man without fear?” --“By puttin' the fear in him.”

• Not gonna lie, it was cathartic as all hell to see Class-C's leadership finally get the crap kicked out of them.

• I like that Ayanokoji took a lot of hits just to hide how good he is.

• I'm really pleased with the fight scene animation in this one. There was some decent fight choreography and motion capture used to bring the fight to life.

• I'm happy we got those short scenes of Ayanokoji covering his ass by having both his teacher and the former student council president on hand as witnesses.

• I would have really liked to hear Ayanokoji's thoughts these past few episodes. I'm not sure how much of his actions were planned and how much was improvised—and if he ever really intended to leave Karuizawa out to dry or not.

• I don't think Ayanokoji cares about Karuizawa. But I do think he cares about keeping his word—or at least showing people that he does keep his word. After all, if people don't trust you, it's much harder to manipulate them.

Classroom of the Elite II is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

Richard is an anime and video game journalist with over a decade of experience living and working in Japan. For more of his writings, check out his Twitter and blog.

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