“Are human beings truly equal?”
Using a question as an opener is common in light novel adaptations, and it did make me think that this series will not pull any punches in addressing our society.
Those were the first words, of this series, which makes me remember the starting words of My Youth Romantic Comedy Is Wrong, As I Expected, I know I was in for a philosophical road that will make me questioned my views of my life.
On the surface, Koudo Ikusei Senior High School is a utopia. The students enjoy an unparalleled amount of freedom, and it is ranked highly in Japan. However, the reality is less than ideal. Four classes, A through D, are ranked in order of merit, and only the top classes receive favorable treatment.
This show has problems with creating plot points, but does not deal with them. For example, Kikyou who is supposedly a very hateful person with an ugly side to her that is the complete opposite of her class personality. The episode after that big reveal had a bit of reference to that ugly side, but no real follow-through. Is it because Kiyotaka has no interest in creating waves? He doesn’t blackmail Kikyou nor does anyone find out so it’s easy to forget that Kikyou even had this side to her in the next episodes. Another example is Shidou’s love for basketball, after dealing with that incident, the show don’t show any between Shidou and the team. Instead, he gets downgraded to a pervert who wants to peek on girls changing with the other boys.
Along with a lack of follow through, Youkoso Jitsuryoku Shijou Shugi no Kyoushitsu e is teeming with plot holes that are never really addressed for whatever reason (maybe they’ll get addressed with a season 2?), but rarely does a show like this get a second season. For example, what is the white room? Who is a Ayanokouji’s father?
These are the main reasons why people might hate this show. The only thing I dislike about this show is that its laid back attitude Everything felt anticlimactic or unnecessary and it seemed like the creators were too afraid to take any risks. Maybe they just want want to promote the source material, so there was no need to take risks.
Kiyotaka Ayanokouji is a student of Class D, where the school dumps its worst. There he meets the unsociable Suzune Horikita, who believes she was placed in Class D by mistake and desires to climb all the way to Class A, and the seemingly amicable class idol Kikyou Kushida, whose aim is to make as many friends as possible.
While class membership is permanent, class rankings are not; students in lower ranked classes can rise in rankings if they score better than those in the top ones. Additionally, in Class D, there are no bars on what methods can be used to get ahead. In this cutthroat school, can they prevail against the odds and reach the top?
In terms of art I felt that the design of the school and its attendant facilities was done pretty well and indeed the school did give the feel of being similar to a small town or outlet rather than a high school. The uniform designs for the school I felt were also well designed and looked pretty smart as well.
Character designs, I felt was also pretty good with each character being unique and well designed. In terms of animation I felt that animation was clear and beautifully detailed. This was not what I expected for a light novel adaption.
I felt that the series had a pretty good opening and ending themes with the ending being particularly strong.
To be honest, this anime can be a hit or miss for people. Some will enjoy it with the ideas it has to offer while others will discard it from their memories. However, I think this anime does do well to deconstruct the school system like Assassination Classroom.
In our present day, our society relies on education to determine an individual’s social status. We have people graduating without jobs, schools and governments refusing to change their ways. No person is truly equal, and you must some time take in your hand to be able to be successful. Nothing is free except for effort.
This show demonstrates that it’s not always about academic skills that matter in the real world. Our Ayanokouji is not exactly popular, but he does what he need to do to get what he wants. Sometimes, you need to be ruthless to win the stupid game of life. Ayanokouji consider his two female friends as chess pieces, which I don’t like, but this is room for character development.
For 12 episodes, it is impressive that such a short series managed to build up such a complicated world within the span that it was given. There were some really good plot twists within the show and I wish there could be more of this as the story and characters are really compelling to watch.