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Light Novel / Classroom of the Elite

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In the not too distant future, the Japanese government has established the Tokyo Metropolitan Advanced Nurturing School, dedicated to instruct and foster the generation of people that will support the country in the future. The students there have the freedom to wear any hairstyle and bring any personal effects they desire.

Our protagonist is Kiyotaka Ayanokōji, a quiet, unassuming boy who is not good at making friends and would rather keep his distance. He is a student of D-class, which is a Dustbin School, except it's a single class a.k.a where the school dumps its inferior students, in this case, in order to ridicule them. After meeting Suzune Horikita and Kikyō Kushida, two other students in his class, Kiyotaka's situation begins to change.

Classroom of the Elite (ようこそ実力至上主義の教室へ Yōkoso Jitsuryoku Shijō Shugi no Kyōshitsu e, "Welcome to the Classroom of the Supreme Ability Doctrine") is a Japanese light novel series written by Syohgo Kinugasa and illustrated by Shunsaku Tomose. It started publication on Media Factory on May 25, 2015, and has so far spawned 10 volumes with a sequel novel series covering Year 2 ongoing. An anime adaptation by Lerche is available for legal streaming with subtitles on Crunchyroll here, and with an English Dub on Funimation here. A second season for the anime began airing as a part of the Summer 2022 lineup.


Classroom of the Elite contains examples of:

  • Academic Alpha Bitch: Suzune is an exceptional student and she knows it, but her brother indicates that she's been assigned to Class-D because she can't work with others. She does try an intervention with the three dumbest students, but because she's constantly insulting them, they walk out, and she immediately decides to let them fail out of the school and stop dragging on Class-D as a whole.
  • Adaptation Distillation: The anime adaptation very much reduces and simplifies the original novel, right up to the fact that in many scenes Horikita takes the place of other girls.
  • Artistic License – Biology: Because fabric is a porous and textured material, any oil that fingerprints would leave on it would instead seep through the fabric, making the recovery of any usable print from it incredibly difficult, if even possible. From a realistic perspective, Kushida would be hard pressed to actually provide "hard evidence" for her False Rape Accusation against Kiyotaka.
  • Asshole Victim: Two instances of this occur in Episode 6.
    • The first is with the three Class C guys who were accusing Sudo of assaulting them to try and get him expelled, only to be forced to withdraw their complaint after Kiyotaka and Suzune trick them with security cameras. They later get beat up by the mastermind's bodyguard who put them up to this for failing their mission.
    • The second occurs with Airi's stalker, who not only sends her disturbing emails and letters, he also sends discreet photos he took of her when she was with Kikyo and Kiyotaka in the previous episode. He somehow manages to lead her to a quiet alley and attempts to rape her, but is fortunately stopped by Kiyotaka, who arrives with Honami and two police officers.
  • Attempted Rape: Airi Sakura is nearly raped by a Stalker with a Crush that had been following her, fortunately Kiyotaka arrived to stop him and Ichinose brought the police before anything happened.
  • Big Brother Worship: It seems that Suzune is so obsessed with ideas to earn the respect of her older brother that she does not even pay attention to the fact that he humiliates her or is about to strike.
  • Boyfriend Bluff: Honami tries to get Kiyotaka to pretend to be her boyfriend to avoid dealing with a Love Confession from another girl in her class. Kiyotaka refuses and tells her to deal with it honestly.
  • Breather Episode: Episode eight takes place on a cruise ship, with the students heading to an island and vacationing on said ship. Then as the episode ends, they're told that they'll have to live together on the deserted island for a week.
  • Cherry Tapping: While Kiyotaka is wailing on Ryuuen in Volume 7, he specifically makes sure that his punches are strong enough to hurt, but not strong enough to knock the other boy out flat, as he can easily do.
  • Cool, Clear Water: Ike says "You can tell the purity of water by looking at it." He's allegedly an experienced camper, too.
  • Couch Gag:
    • The chorus of the opening shows snippets of the previous episode.
    • The ending sequence for the anime shows a different character each episode, and on their phone a screen shows how many points each class has so far.
  • Cry into Chest: After the worst of Ryuuen's schemes are over in volume 7, Kei has a long, cathartic cry into Kiyotaka's chest while he assures her that she's going to be okay.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: In volume 7, the fight between Ryuuen and his cronies against Kiyotaka wasn't much of a fight at all. Albert, Ibuki, and Ishizaki barely slow Kiyotaka down, and Ryuuen only throws punches as much as X lets him.
  • Cute and Psycho: Despite her Genki Girl persona, Kushida Kikyou has a VERY dark side that she hides extremely well.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Most of the D-class students spend their entire monthly allowance on frivolous things like video games or makeup and when next month begins, their allowance is not replenished. When Professor Chabashira explains the point system works on the class's grades and behaviour in class, she berates them for thinking that they could get enormous amounts of money without considering that there might be a catch.
  • Dustbin School: D-class, where the school dumps its inferior students. In order to ridicule them.
  • Easily Forgiven: The majority of the girls of Class D put the boys through pure hell during the survival camp arc, due to blindly trusting an outsider over them solely for the fact that she was a girl too. Which ultimately ended up putting everyone at risk, Suzune getting a high fever, and nearly causing them to fail the entire exam had it not been for Kiyotaka. But once Kiyotaka pulls through for everyone, in the end, the whole thing is just instantly forgotten about. The boys ultimately show no resentment over the girls' prior behavior and everyone is on good terms with each other again.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Involving an old lady on a bus, who can barely stand, who needs a seat:
    • Kikyō tries to help find her a seat, highlighting her kind and friendly personality which is an act, though.
    • Suzune's cold and reserved attitude is shown as she refuses to give up her seat.
  • False Rape Accusation: Kikyou threatens Kiyotaka with one after he finds out about her dark side. When he lampshades this trope, she forces him to grope her breast so she has "evidence" to the claim, which buys his silence.
  • False Start: A few occur in episode eight:
    • One of the boys from Class D, Ike says he's going to tell Kikyo his feelings after seeing her in a bikini. However, his Love Confession turns into nothing more than a First-Name Basis request. However, to them it's treated like Serious Business, with Ken also doing this with Suzune's name.
    • Airi's meeting with Kiyotaka also turns into one of these, where she's clearly mumbling a Love Confession as well, but can't quite get the words out. The most she ends up doing is holding his hands before Kikyo accidentally interrupts them.
    • Kikyo herself then seems to almost do one to Kiyotaka shortly afterwards when she does a Caught the Heart on His Sleeve. She turns on her alter-ego for a moment, and like Airi, fumbles her words and gives him a cryptic response instead.
  • Fanservice: Episode 2 opens up with swim class. Gainaxing and girl-girl water fights ensue. The anime only Beach Episode adds even more water and cute buxom girls to the mix.
  • Fantastic Racism: D-class students are ridiculed by other classes for their low grades.
  • Foreshadowing: Each episode opens with a famous quote that alludes to the events to come.
  • Four-Philosophy Ensemble: The four presidents: A-class Katsuragi is the Realist, B-class Ichinose is the Optimist, C-class Ryuuen is the Apathetic and D-class Horikita is the Cynic.
  • Frame-Up: Sudo is subjected to this in episode four, when he allegedly beat up some other students from class C. He claims it was completely self-defense, but several of his classmates are skeptical due to his tendency to be Hot-Blooded and act in an arrogant manner. But some of the other students suspect he's being framed, and they mention that it's odd how Sudo managed to beat three guys without taking any hits at all.
  • Friendless Background: Suzune hasn't had any friends since kindergarten.
  • Hard Truth Aesop: Many, given the "philosophical" nature of the original novel:
    • One of the episodes is dedicated to the idea that absolute honesty in society is impossible, since each of the people has something to hide for one reason or another.
    • People are not initially equal because of their natural abilities, so artificial attempts to make them equal only worsen the problem and create new inequalities, creating opportunities for people who do not deserve it or who do not need it.
    • When you're accused of a crime, it doesn't matter if you're actually in the right if you already have a bad reputation.
  • Hidden Depths: It does not take long to reveal that one of the characters purposefully rigs their own grades to appear average. The second episode's opening quote Lampshades it.
  • Ice Queen: Suzune actively rejects any attempts by anyone to befriend her.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: The anime's episode names are all quotes from literature by various European philosophers.
  • Implausible Deniability: Even in the face of Kiyotaka himself explaining how he was Villain X, and even confirming that fact to Kei, Ibuki keeps on trying to defend Kiyotaka and disbelieving his confession.
  • Important Haircut: In volume 11.5, We learn that Suzune kept her hair long for the sake of her brother, who told her that he liked how it looked. She preferred it short, but because she has always idolized him she went along with his request. She constantly attempts to gain his attention and approval to no avail; he is cold to her and expresses his disappointment in her on multiple occasions. It is explained to us but not her that he disapproves of her idolizing him and wishes for her to become her own person. He thinks that by chasing his shadow she will never meet her potential. So he told her he liked her hair long, so that when she cuts it he will know she has become her own person. In the present, she meets up with him one last time before his graduation, hoping to reconcile. She arrives with her hair cut, and finally receives his acceptance in the form of a heartwarming conversation before he leaves the story indefinitely.
  • Jerkass: Suzune's brother didn't need to punch her to get his point across. That said...
  • Jerk Ass Has A Point: He was right to chastise her idea of isolation equaling independence.
  • Lazy Bum: Most of the D-class students decide to flaunt their allowance and have fun instead of focusing on their studies.
  • Literal-Minded: Kiyotaka's drive to be as average as possible causes him to excel in exactly half of everything. To him, being an average martial artist means training in 50 out of 100 possible martial arts.
  • Loophole Abuse: Exploited by Kiyotaka when he asks to buy a test point from their teacher to prevent a failing student from getting expelled after the midterm exams were over. He then points out that she mentioned said points could be used however they wanted. His teacher can't refute his logic, but asks for 100k points immediately on the spot, which is more than he has available. Suzune steps in and offers to help pay the remaining portion he didn't have. Their teacher finds this amusing and allows said transaction to occur, saving the student from getting expelled.
  • Love Letter Lunacy: Ichinose, a girl from Class B gets a love letter, and asks Kiyotaka to pretend to be her boyfriend so as to turn down the potential suitor. Said suitor, another girl from her class then shows up, and he refuses to act out the part, instead telling Ichinose she should just be honest with her feelings toward the letter writer, since they worked up the courage to show their feelings in the letter. She later thanks him for the advice, and allowing said emotions to run its course rather than get buried in doubt and uncertainty.
  • Male Gaze: Kikyo's breasts get a fair amount of camera attention. The other girls will occasionally also get this treatment, such as Airi when she shows off some pictures she takes of herself outside of school.
  • Mirrored Confrontation Shot: The visual for Season 2 shows Ryuuen and Kiyotaka facing off.
  • Morton's Fork: Kiyotaka is given one in episode eight by his homeroom teacher when she tells him that a man told her a few days earlier to expel him. She then says that if he strives to reach Class A, she would do everything in her power to protect him, but if he refuses that goal, he was on his own, heavily implying he'd get expelled, probably on a trumped up charge.
  • Nice Girl:
    • Kikyō attempts to be friends with everyone in her class. While she makes some efforts with Kiyotaka, Suzune wants nothing to do with her. That said, her kindness is NOT genuine.
    • Honami Ichinose, who genuinely wants to help others and is friendly and warm. Her kindness and selflessness are true, unlike Kikyou's.
  • Power of Trust: During the Panty Thief incident in episode 10, Yousuke figures out that Kiyotaka is carrying the underwear, but says nothing. He knows very well that Kiyotaka wasn't responsible for the theft.
  • Real-Place Background: The school's library is plainly Akita International University's Nakajima Library.
  • Ridiculously Average Guy: By his own admission, Kiyotaka has no distinctive characteristics, hobbies or interests and makes no effort to stand out. His grades are also 50s across the board. The second episode, however, indicates that he's hiding something.
  • Rules Lawyer: The school functions as such in its drive to teach "realistic" lessons. Students are supposed to find ways around the rules by abusing the letter of the law while disregarding its spirit.
  • Schmuck Bait: It was rather obvious in retrospect that giving so many points to a bunch of students without asking questions was bait for the D-Class students to waste them on frivolous things, then they would drop the bomb of the merit based system.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: Or at least the local equivalent. Two separate situations in episode 3 are resolved by expenditure of Points which are used on campus as currency.
  • The Social Darwinist: Downplayed. Although Suzune and her brother are clearly not supporters of violence against the weak, the work implies that in their opinion "only smart and responsible people deserve attention and help."
  • Serious Business: Education, which the series almost depicts as a complex political game with conspiracies, strategy and confrontation.
    • For a more specific example; as of Volume 7, Kiyotaka's father wants his son back with him in The White Room, and is willing to do anything, including murdering either Kiyotaka or anyone else who obstructs his goal, to get that to happen for reasons yet to be established. The only thing really stopping him from doing so outside of his son's wits is the fact that the Tokyo Metropolitan Advanced Nurturing School is government funded while the White Room isn't, and the school isn't all that willing to let Kiyotaka go easily.
  • The Stoic: Kiyotaka is barely fazed by anything. Even when the truth of the point system comes out, he reacts with apathy.
  • Tall Poppy Syndrome: Kiyotaka is intent on keeping himself apathetic and unpopular to the point that he intentionally gets average grades as to prevent himself from standing out, but may be one of the smartest students in the class. Seeing as how this school's sophomores have a strange habit of picking on the ace freshmen as much as the jocks, he may have a point. As for Suzune, she doesn't care about this trope; as far as she's concerned, she's an orchid in a class of poppies who needs to catch up to her brother.
  • Training from Hell: The academic version. The academy maintains its incredulously good statistics by expelling anyone who does not make the grade.
  • Trickster Mentor: The academy at large. While what they do is ostensibly for the benefit of the students, including teaching often harsh life lessons, their main tactic seems to be deceit and manipulation.
  • Upper-Class Twit: In the first episode, a high-class student refuses to give up his seat for an old lady. When Kikyō tells him that if he does give up his seat, he would be contributing to society, he replies that he doesn't want to.
  • Wham Line:
    • Kiyotaka is given one by his homeroom teacher in episode eight when she mentions to him that a certain man approached her a few days earlier and told her to expel him. This causes him to react enough that he actually grabs her jacket. He then says she may live to regret manipulating him like that, while she just replies that her life is already full of regrets.
    • Kiyotaka's monologue at the end of the island survival trip in the anime reveals his sociopathic nature.
  • World of Jerkass: Both on an overall scale and a more personal scale. On the overall scale, the series' Central Theme is that equality is an illusion and that the world is vastly unfair. On the personal scale, the central setting of Class D is home to the most "defective" students in the school, who all have some sort of Fatal Flaw that makes them broken human beings. Part of the show's intrigue lies both in figuring out what is wrong with each character (even the ones who seem perfectly nice) and in seeing how they overcome the discrimination from the other classes for being the "worst" in the school.

Alternative Title(s): Youkoso Jitsuryoku Shijou Shugi No Kyoushitsu E, Classroom Of The Elite