Posted by SuperMario on 3 October 2017 with categories: Anime Reviews, Classroom of the Elite, Reviews by SuperMario

Here’s a perfect example of a Light Novel adaptation schlock that has some interesting concept but terrible presentation. Youkoso usually starts the episode with a thought-provoking philosophical quote, and then (in one episode in particular) they followed up with a boob shot. It sums up exactly how I feel about this show. In service for some few good twists, Youkoso sacrifices too many things: the new rules that only pop up in convenient of the plot, the character developments (aside from Ayanokouji) that somehow become lesser and more one-note than they first appeared, the pacing which is slow and dull at times and finally, the questionable alteration regarding the source material from Lerche. All that and I even put aside some silly plot threads like the class spending 10 minutes arguing whether or not they should purchase a portable toilet (which will never address again, mind you), or another 10 minutes bickering about the panty thief (dear boys and girls, do you realize it’s just a piece of cloth?). I will address each and every issue down below so readers, fasten your seatbelt for a wide ride now.

The first issue of Yousoko is how the show conveniently bend the rules they themselves established in the service of advancing the plot. For all the complaints, the very concept of Youkoso: the point system where points can buy everything, and the classes are sorted based by certain merits, not solely academic ability and the classes fight each other to move up rank are something I can get behind. There are many implications on how to buy points for the class’s own advantages (even to the point of buy off the exam’s points); but in the end of the day, I still struggle to know how the hell they can get more points in normal circumstances? The rules are so vague and only in a convenient time they add new conditions that we never heard before. For example, apparently everyone can track other students using GPS on the school-provided phone if they know their number? That bit never explained before and up until Sakura nearly get raped that… voilà. Hero saves the day using the GPS!! Then the security camera is supposed to be everywhere, but then in the most crucial incident there were none around. The same thing happens in the Island arc as Youkoso added some new conditions that change the game completely. For example, “The class that have leader identified will lose all the bonus points”. Suddenly Survival of the Fittest test become Finding the Leaders test because all that matters in the end is guessing the right Leaders and avoid being guessed by other classes.

The cast of Youkoso never behave like real people, and most of them are neither relatable or even likable. In addition to their ridiculous character designs, most of the time they’re lousy, over the top (Tarzan anyone? Or Sparkling Nerriot dude) that it’s hard to take them seriously. Ayanokouji, however, hold his ground firmly and it’s fun to guess what he’s scheming to support his class or even what exactly is inside his head. The other members of class-D, especially the girls, have rather shallow developments that somehow end up being one-note. Sakura, for example, after her involvement with class-C – class-D dispute, just hanging around and have no real role (also, the way she’s treated in that arc was terrible). The same can be said for Kushida who kind of disappear in the last arc. Most terrible treatment is Horikita, from independent no-nonsense girl become a vulnerable girl with brother complex to become a weak girl who says mean things that end up being used by both sides – the enemy and her own side. The main cast, consist of Ayanokouji, Horikita and Kushida had some chemistry in the beginning that reminded me of the cast in SNAFU, but that chemistry soon vanishes into thin air that it feels like they don’t live together in the same universe.

The uneven pacing is another glaring issue that relevant from the very first episode. It takes too long for Youkoso to get into the main hook, and then drags out again until the final twist. The first arc had that issues, but most glaringly was the Island arc where Youkoso stayed too long on the luxury cruise, expanded its theme on the first day then wasted the 4 whole days for almost nothing. In addition, the fan-service is excessive and poorly done because it has no reason to be there in the first place. Some might argue that gazing too long into Kushida’s boobs is a foreshadowing of Kushida “blackmailed” Ayanokouji, but I disagree. Some might argue that the fan-service in the pool episode serves its purpose. While I partly agree, the very next episode when the students enjoy their luxury life on the cruise, it serves no purpose whatsoever.

Lastly, the anime changes some major parts from the novel that makes very little sense. Well, I’m all for anime taking its artistic liberty from the source, and I’m here to judge the anime version and not how faithful it adapts the source material, but Lerche screws up the changes so bad that I can’t help but noticing it. The most controversial choice from the anime version is the decision to put Horikita as the main lead. In the novel she isn’t considered as one and believe it or not, the one (they say) that takes the main spot is Karuizawa (remember her? No? I know, right?). Then Lerche decides to adapt a pool episode which happened much later in the novel, the decision that was received negatively even amongst Yousoko’s novel fans. In general practice, the anime cut down too many interactions between the supporting casts that sometimes it’s just jarring (and they use that time for the class bickering about panty thief… Here I go again!). Most notable case is when Ichinose from class B asks Ayanokouji to be her fake boyfriend, while in the anime they just met once before. Or Hirata who doesn’t have much speaking lines up until the Island arc, despite in the novel he is the voice of reason for Class-D.

I have no more energy to keep babbling about its negatives, so I’ll sum it up here. Youkoso is a failure, it falls below the line and even receives a minus point for its horrendous treatment to the female cast. The writing is weak as the show tries to sound smart but end up being pretentious. The characters are too over the top to be taken seriously and they alter the rules they themselves established for some plot convenience. I don’t hate it despite all those flaws because I still found some parts enjoyable, but I’ll be the first to admit that I have better things to do rather than spend more time on it.

2 Responses

  1. Avatar ShirayukiX says:

    If Karuizawa is the main girl instead of Horikita, then why have her on the cover of the FIRST volume or not foreshadow about it from the beginning? To me, it’s like the author decided to change the main heroine from Horikita to Karuizawa either because of fan input or character design (Black-haired girls just don’t win in light novels). Yes, I’m somewhat bitter at the fact, but either foreshadow beforehand or don’t put a different girl on the first cover IMO.

    Also, I’m not interested in seeing how sociopathic Ayanokoji can be; I want to see him become a better person. I don’t think there’s any development there in the novels currently, so my interested has fallen until I change happens.

    (I agree about the plot convenience. Need to know more about the setting to understand why it’s so vague instead of them pulling crap out the ass for convenience. Sucks too, because I seriously enjoyed watching this anime the whole season.)

    • SuperMario SuperMario says:

      Well, maybe the point the author tries to make here is there is no female lead. Only Ayanokouji and how he uses the other girls/classmates to meet his benefits. Of those, like the link you provided before, Karuizawa came closest to become a person that Ayanokouji genuinely care. He has quite a background so until we learn what the heck he had been through when he was a child, he won’t warm up to the audience. His last statement from the series, from my take, isn’t come from his true personality, but come from the condition he had experienced as a child. Survival of the fittest so to speak.

      In a sense, I can understand why Lerche decided to make Horikita a main lead. They might only have 12 episodes so they made sure to focus on her instead of spreading around like the novel. The thing is most of their changes made little impact or downright inferior to the source.

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