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Light Novel / Classroom of the Elite
aka: Youkoso Jitsuryoku Shijou Shugi No Kyoushitsu E

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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.
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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 where the school dumps its inferior students 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 n May 25, 2015, and has so far spawned 6 volumes. Anime adaptation by Lerche is available for legal streaming with subtitles on Crunchyroll here, and with an English Dub on Funimation here.

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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.
    • Even then, he could just wait a few days for her to shower or wash her clothes of his prints, and then she won't have anything to prove the accusation.
  • Asshole Victim: Two instances of this occur in episode six.
    • 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.
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    • 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: Volume 7's fight with Ryuuen's cronies and Kiyotaka wasn't much of a fight at all. Albert, Ibuki, and Ishizaki barely slow Kiyotaka down, and Ryuuen doesn't even get a chance to fight back as Kiyotaka punches his face in.
  • 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.
  • Establishing Character Moment:
    • Kikyō attempts to find a seat on the bus for an old lady who can barely stand, highlighting her kind and friendly personality.
    • We get a peek at Suzune's cold and reserved attitude early on as she refuses to give up her seat on the bus for the old lady.
  • 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.
  • First-Episode Spoiler: The point system that works as the school's currency is based on merit, and having ignored their studies, the class receives no points for the month.
  • Foreshadowing: Each episode opens with a famous quote that alludes to the events to come.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Rapunzel Hair: While Suzune's hair reaches her waist, she's not the only one; Honami Ichinose, Airi Sakura and Sae Chabashira all have waist length hair.
  • 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.
  • 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

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