Welcome to The Dumpster-fire of The Elite
Recently, I started watching several anime series from this year, 2022. It's currently still the summer season. I noticed one incredibly popular show from this year: Classroom of The Elite season 2. It caught my attention because I had listed on MyAnimeList that I watched the first season back in 2017. However, despite making that record, I couldn't remember any details about the anime. So, in order to prepare for this popular second season, I thought, I should re-watch the first season.
I gave it my best shot, but I could only survive through 4 episodes without becoming too frustrated and disgusted. Classroom of The Elite is the worst studio Lerche anime I've ever seen. Based on my notes from the first four episodes, I'll discuss some reasons showing that this anime is an epic dumpster-fire.
Classroom of the Elite features a terrible introduction that gives it a bad vibe and makes the main character (Ayonokoji) seem awful. The scene takes place on a bus. We hear Ayanokoji's monologue as we see him sitting there. He begins by complaining that society is too obsessed with the idea of equality. Even though it may be hard to accept, he thinks, true equality does not exist. There's nothing particularly wrong with just making that point, but the way the point is made is terrible.
Good people who fight for equality are painted as a bunch of simple, naïve fools, while the little snot doing absolutely nothing is painted as a brilliant man a cut above the rest. It also sounds like it's implying that one should stop fighting for equality. Everyone should just give up and be selfish all the time. This was not what Ayonokoji said, but the anime did a bad job clarifying that this was not the implication.
It really does seem to be implied, especially since the anime makes a point in showing Ayanokoji refusing to give up his seat for an old lady on the bus. One of the other main characters, Horikita, also refuses. The anime later clarifies that Horikita refused to stand as a matter of principle because of her arrogance. However, Ayonokoji refused because he did not want to draw attention to himself socially. So, at least we know this boy wasn't being as much of an asshole as his classmate. But then again, the end result was the same. None of our characters will offer their seat on the bus for an old lady.
Besides the regrettable introduction scenes, there are plenty of other issues I had with Classroom of the Elite. The general vibe of the anime is unpleasant. It takes itself too seriously and has an attitude of, well, elitism. What I mean is that these characters think they're so smart and enlightened, and we're supposed to admire that and get behind them. At times, Classroom of the Elite is also edgy and over-the-top in a way that disconnected me from any enjoyment. For example, there's the part where Kushida threatens Ayanokoji with a false rape charge if he doesn't keep her secret.
Kushida is an especially rotten character, but in all honesty, none of the cast appealed to me. We are only presented with selfish and unlikeable characters. It's possible that Horikita, Ayanokoji, and others would eventually develop more likeable sides and learn to stop taking themselves so seriously. Maybe they would also form genuine friendships instead of cold social contracts. However, I can't force myself to stick around long enough for that development when the initial feel of the characters is so unappealing. Perhaps I'd be able to do it if this issue with the characters was the only major problem. Unfortunately, there is another enormous point of contention.
Classroom of the Elite never stops sexualizing the female characters in obvious and obnoxious ways. There are a couple of cool little things about the visuals in this anime, such as the distinct school uniforms and the look of the characters' eyes with their multicolor gradients. However, the art style is also completely absurd with it portrayal of female body types. For one obvious example, they all have enormous, disproportionate breasts. As if this wasn't silly and annoying enough, it's not just an issue with the character designs. It's also an issue of framing and flat-out perverse pandering.
The "camera" frequently focuses on the breasts and skirts of the female characters. The shots are incredibly off-putting and in-your-face. These characters are in highschool, but even if the audience consisted entirely of highschoolers, this level of sexualization would still be in poor taste. It objectifies the girls and forces everyone to partake in perversion. I only watched up through episode 4, and it's true there was no nudity or instances of "humorous" sexual harassment or "accidents." These things are very common in this kind of anime. But so what? You can still intensely sexualize characters without nudity. Classroom of the Elite specializes in this during the early episodes. It's gross.
As you can see, there are several serious problems with this anime. Are there any positives that could make the watch worth it? Well, almost every anime has a few positive or cool aspects. Classroom of the Elite has interesting philosophy quotes in some episodes, a decent story premise with the harsh school and its rules, and characters with beautiful anime eyes. In addition, Ayanokoji is a moderately interesting character, given that he's hiding his talents and staying out of the spotlight for some unknown reason. I would like to know what he's up to. However, for me, these elements do not nearly make up for the negatives. That's why I dropped Classroom of the Elite.
The following list shows the breakdown of my scores for five categories I look at when judging anime. The overall score is the average of those five scores. Please note that I only watched four episodes of Classroom of the Elite, so my scores are only based on that much.
Overall Score: 5.2/10.0
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