Classroom of the Elite
Episode 10

by Nick Creamer,

How would you rate episode 10 of
Classroom of the Elite ?

Classroom of the Elite continued to revel in seedy dealings this week, as Class D settled in for a long week of competitive camping. The inherently drama-focused nature of this desert island arc kept things punchy and propulsive, and there was a satisfying mix of twists and strategizing. Classroom of the Elite has settled into a solid page-turner at last.

We opened with another glimmer of Ayanokoji in his mad-science childhood, but it's seeming more and more likely that his backstory will just end up being a hook for a possible season two. At this point, it'd be pretty much impossible to flip our understanding of his character in the few remaining episodes we have left, at least if the show wants to manage both that and a satisfying conclusion to the desert island arc. The first meaningful segment of this episode involved Ayanokoji and Horikita doing some scouting of the other three classes, which offered some welcome twists to this overall storyline.

The two first ran into Ichinose and her Class B students, who had set up an impressive base camp around a waterfall. The display established B as a group of strong rivals, but the most important takeaway was the appearance of Kaneda, a boy who'd apparently been “driven out” of the Class C group. Given that Ibuki was also allegedly driven out of Class C, it seems likely enough that C has some plan to sabotage the other classes, using a spy in each to bring their societies down.

Class A was much less welcoming, actually refusing to allow Horikita entrance into their cave base. And Class C was the strangest of all - having set up a vague camp on the open beach, their mafioso leader Ryoen had decided to spend all their points on the very first day. Though Horikita unsurprisingly interpreted this as a sign of weakness, Ayanokoji appreciated the directness of this strategy. If you feel the points attainable in this test aren't worth a week of drudgery, it makes sense to burn all your points down and leave, since you can't actually go below zero. That strategy makes even more sense if you're planning on sabotaging the other teams, thus destroying their class unity while raising your own class's spirits.

The overall effect of this reconnaissance mission was important, establishing not just the rival class leaders, but their overall classes as clear opponents of Class D. In order for Classroom of the Elite's class war conflict to feel impactful, the audience has to have a sense of defined groups of people meaningfully contrasting each other. This segment established Class B as highly competent but straightforward opponents, Class A as potentially violent and ruthless warriors, and Class C as lateral thinkers working under a smart and charismatic thug. If further conflicts can capitalize on these established group personas, the audience will be much better able to invest in the show's drama.

After seeding a few more future conflicts (someone stole something from Ibuki's bag, Ibuki and Sudo butt heads, etc), the episode concluded with someone stealing one of the girls' underwear. The thing I most appreciated about this conflict was that everyone acted reasonably smart about it. When Ike found the missing underwear in his bag, Ayanokoji's first response was “if you actually stole them, you wouldn't be that careless.” When Hirata later found Ayanokoji with the contraband, he waited until the two had a moment alone to confront him, then factored his understanding of Ayanokoji and the overall group into his assessment of the situation. For tactical dramas like this to work, the characters need to actually feel like they're making sound choices. If this segment had devolved into violent accusations immediately, there wouldn't have been room for satisfying drama - as is, I'm actually eager to see how this new conflict plays out.

Overall: B+

Classroom of the Elite is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

Nick writes about anime, storytelling, and the meaning of life at Wrong Every Time.

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