The Wandering Witch Studies Classroom of the Elite

Posted on Aug 13 2017


Welcome, all, again. This viewing season just seems to keep getting better, with many shows that are becoming more and more interesting as things progress; Classroom of the Elite is a good example of this tendency. High school students confined to a completely self-contained campus and living off of an institutional point system, the nuances of which they are not advised of except as they transgress. . .this story explores in microcosm the twin processes of an individual’s affect in shaping his/her society even while being shaped by that society. In this cloistered setting, it almost comes off as an experiment in social Darwinism.


Classroom of the Elite focuses primarily upon Kiyotaka Ayanokoji, a first year student at the government-sponsored Tokyo Metropolitan Advanced Nurturing School. And while this high school has been established to train the most promising of Japan’s young people in leading the country forward, Ayanokoji finds himself placed in class D, which is the dumping ground for reprobates and those thought least likely to succeed. This is hardly bothersome to him, since he prefers to draw little attention to himself, but it does seem to either anger or discourage a good many of his classmates–especially Suzune Horikita. Horikita is actually the younger sister of the school’s student body president, and both are extremely shamed by her low placement. Like Ayanokoji, Horikita is a loner, although she is so because she doesn’t want friends, whereas he seems unable to make friends. (They share a regrettable tendency to be more honest than is thought polite.) Thrust together by circumstance and common interests, they form a stand-offish relationship that flirts with but never quite embraces friendship. And then there’s Kushida.


Kushida rounds out our trio of lead characters, and what a character! She is that classmate, the one with the perpetual smile and sunny personality, the one whom everyone just automatically seems to love. You know, the one we all secretly couldn’t stand. So cheerful and so involved. That classmate. And like some spiteful housecat, she’s zeroed-in on the two who least want her company: Ayanokoji and Horikita. It’s not that Ayanokoji really cares one way or another about Kushida as an individual; it’s that her presence draws attention, and lots of it. Horikita, meanwhile, simply hates her. But Kushida refuses to take the hint, and keeps forcing herself upon the other two. It is, superficially at least, the same basic group dynamics as we found amongst the three leads of My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU–minus the comedy but with extra infusions of animosity. [For an old misanthrope like me, this is rather cathartic!] Mind you, Kushida spends most of her time happily wallowing in the adulation of her devotees. She just makes it a point to (perniciously?) attach herself to anything involving Ayanokoji and Horikita. But if there’s one thing that she enjoys doing even more, it’s finding some way to deprive Horikita of her only true confederate, whether by fair means or foul.

And means seem to be mostly foul when it comes to class D. Segregated from the larger world, all students at this special school rely upon school-issued points as a form of internal currency with which to meet their personal needs. But points are issued by specific class, then evenly distributed to individual students, meaning that the rejects of class D are automatically anticipated to earn the fewest points of all first year students. This is a pronounced handicap, especially considering that the full mechanics of the point system have never been explained to the class. It is only when some violation has occurred that it is acknowledged and discussed by school officials, and even then the students are left to their own devices to logically deduce the full pattern and ramifications of the particular violation. (“Tough Love” goes academic!) Meanwhile, a number of class D students are busy living down to the school’s low expectations of them, thus hastening an introduction to various offenses and also threatening their classmates’ point tallies. And don’t forget that the other classes–A, B, and C–have a vested interest in making sure that class D struggles.


Classroom of the Elite is brilliant entertainment, but also much more! This series is at the same time a keen psychological study of what motivates people, both individually and en mass, and an indictment of various economic/political philosophies, pointing out weaknesses within capitalism, socialism, and even meritocracy. Each of these systems is based upon preconceived ideals and idealizations of behavior, and each starts to fray the moment that real people are introduced into its pristine formulae. Classroom of the Elite is something of a modern morality play in a world which has jettisoned morals. And Ayanokoji–our Everyman–is quite aware of this. Interesting. So let’s see where this goes.

You Might Also Like...

  • You must be logged in to comment. Log in