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

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.

Posted on 29 September 2017 with categories: Classroom of the Elite, Currently Watching:

Youkoso pulls off a neat trick to close this shaky Islands arc in a high note, although I still can’t overlook its sillier details. At first, I was pleasantly surprised that despite making a lot of guessing games in last few weeks, Youkoso still manages to catch me off guard. This finale details the initial plans from Class-A, Class-C perspectives, respectively, each of them believes their plan going to be perfect but as it turns out, Ayanokouji has an upper hand. There are three main big reveals that has previously been kept from the viewers: 1) Class-A’s Katsuragi forms a contract with Ryuuen from Class-C 2) Ryuuen uses Ibuki as a mole to figure out class-D’s leader and 3) Ayanokouji swaps himself for Horikita as Class-D’s leader. Although those developments make up for some nice twists at the end, some of the rules aren’t properly explained or only hint to us during an internal eyecatch, make the end result somewhat cheated and unsatisfied.

The biggest reveal of this last episode is the contract formed between class-A and class-C, Katsuragi transfers his class’s points to Sparkling Nerriot and class-C will drop out and give the top class the leader names of the remaining two classes. I didn’t see that coming and this development runs really well with the underlying theme of Youkoso. With that, Class-A has a huge advantage of being at the top by negating all the bonus points from Class-B and Class-D due to identifying correctly the leaders, in addition that Class-C is already out of the picture. One thing bald man did not expect is that Sparkling Nerriot double-cross him by partnering with the guy in Kayanasagi’s circle and thus, he knows about class-A proxy leader. But then, Youkoso goes stupid again by revealing us that there is an addition clause that each of student from class-A will have to transfer the points to Sparkling Nerriot every month until he graduates. What the hell? Are you sure that bald guy sits in the right class? Who would be stupid enough to sign a deal that has that lasting negative effect like this. My god, my head bursts.

Ibuki, as expected, turns out to be Sparkling Nerriot’s mole and her mission is to identify the leader of class-D. Ayanokouji notices something she buried before – a digital camera – so he’s basically figures out the plan, speeds it up. He destroys the camera and uses Horikita as a pawn in order to get Ibuki into action – stealing the card. Sparking Nerriot actually sold me a bit of his character as he appears more determined than we previously assumed, but like I said above the last bit (the contract) rings so lousy that it took away all my goodwill for him. With this twist, Ibuki, on the opposite end, appears more shallow than previous episode. Ayanokouji then plays his triumph card: uses Horikita’s sickness as an excuse to change class-D’s leader. While it’s a nice surprise to come up with that idea, I feel that the rules are bending too much in favors for this plot twist. When you really think about that, the rules established favors too much on figuring out the class leaders. Other missions like securing spots and using the points sufficiently are never the top priority thus, making a whole thing very unbalanced. Class-B, who favors latter methods never raise to the top, for example. It doesn’t help that they never properly explained that rules, instead they dropped details little by little, which is very frustrating for us viewers because the little details they drop through bulletin board can change the game greatly.

Another issue I have with the ending is how class-D won despite all they did was pointing fingers at each other, and I guess I gave too much credits for Tarzan as it turns out, he truly gave up to admiring the moon. Ayanokouji seems to use this as an opportunity to teach Horikita a lesson that she will need to rely on others in order to succeed. It’s a pretty deep thought, except… coming from the mouth of Ayanokouji it sounds so false and alarming. So no, despite this arc ends on high note I don’t think this is a good arc at all. This has been a very bumpy ride, and from what I gather Lerche adapted the story with some questionable changes that it pisses off even fans from the LN. Full review will come soon but I believe you all know how I am going to rate this.

Posted on 21 September 2017 with categories: Classroom of the Elite, Currently Watching:

So suddenly, without mentioned at any point before, Horikita can suddenly kicks ass? Or that Horikita has been sick ALL THIS TIME? Or that Horikita still can kick some ass while being sick all this time? Since when the Class-D boys shrink into only Ayanokouji, Hirata and the 3 idiots? On that note, where is Sakura this week? It seems weird (and kind of sad) that she was dumped somewhere offscreen without anyone’s noticing when Class-D experiencing one crisis after another: panty thief, Horikita being sick (I don’t know how important of her being under the weather but the show sure is dead serious about that. Well, might as well include it here), Horikita lost her key card, and someone burned the manual to cause a ruckus among the class. Their objective? To stir Class-D up. Indeed, the girls have mistrusted the boys to the point they request the relocation of the boy’s tents, but isn’t it kind of defeat the purpose when the class, and eventually Horikita, find out that Ibuki was the one who stole the key card and RUN AWAY? Now that she has the key, it’s a matter of time before she hands it off to Nerriot Sparkling dude and class-C will definitely has an upper hand, right? Right?

Well, not really. Because after finishing this episode I don’t think Nerriot Sparkling is the one responsible for all this. In fact, there’s a good reason I believe Ayanokouji is the man behind all the incidents, and Youkoso has properly hinted many leads along the way. First, the most visible hint, is when Ibuki makes it clear that she didn’t have anything to do with the fire, and suspect Horikita for helping out the fire. That’s when it hits her that Ayanokouji was somehow involved in causing the arson. Second, he was the one who asked Horikita to show her key card, so that he’d know where she keeps her card. Third, he’s the one who talked/was seen with various “players” before they go off on their owns: he was patrolling with Tarzan before that guy went back to the ship (now I certain that he sent Tarzan to find out about other class’s leaders); he was talking to Ibuki before the whole key card incident happens; he might be the one who talked Yamauchi into putting the mud into Horikita.

If so, what is Ayanokouji’s objective. We know it pretty clear that his homeschool teacher “blackmailed” him to take some actions in order to move up the rank of class-D, so it’s safe to say that he’s doing it for Class-D sake, even if it means sacrifice some small fries and stir up the whole class a bit. Then, with all this scheming, what’s he about to do? Honestly I have no idea what good would bring if he steals his own class’s key card. Maybe it serves as a bait to for other classes? But HOW? Maybe it serves as a foil for other classes to think that Class-D is in trouble so they can have their guards down, but then, why deceiving Horikita as well? Also it is worth mentioning that Ayanokouji found out whatever Ibuki was trying to bury in a hole (maybe it has something to do with the lack of portable toilet???) and later we found out that the spot has been dug so whatever she was hiding is not there anymore. Youkoso once again brings more questions than answers, along with some ridiculous plot points (look, Horikita can do perfect breast-punching. Look, he was the last one who survived the experiment – the new Hitler!!) and some unbelievably character progressions. The only thing I expect from the coming finale is how badass Ayanokouji can be so Yokouso, make damn sure don’t disappoint me on that front.

Posted on 14 September 2017 with categories: Classroom of the Elite, Currently Watching:

A chronology of events from class-D where nothing seems to happen, but there’s a seed of doubt buried down underneath and now waiting for its chance to crawl out of the surface? It sounds so thought-provoking like a Michael Haneke’s film if I put it that way, except in this show, all the build-up is for… a freaking stolen underwear? Really? Look, disregard the fact that they wasted 4 whole days for almost nothing (what happen to the finding and securing spots part? Now you don’t even follow your own rules Youkoso?), if the show wants to raise conflicts within the group, they could address many other issues that are way stronger than this pinky panty incident. How about someone question Hirata’s leader ability? How about someone challenges the roles assigned for the members of the class? How about the girls accused the boys for being sexist (still even better than we end up with)?

To rub more salt in the wound, the way Youkoso executes that part, from Ike clumsily passes it down to Ayanokouji, to the search the bags and bodies afterwards to the way the girls behave in general is just plain dull and tedious. Ike and Ayanokouji, how about you guys just throw it away into any nearby bush tree? No hard evidence, not guilty as charged; right? What even worse is that this conflict is never properly planted before. Except from the brief part where the class argued about the need of buying a portable toilet last week, the show has been setting up this arc as a battle between each class, so even if Ayanokouji find the true culprit, how this have anything to do with using points, survival game, and conflicts with other classes? I do have my own theory down below but there’s no denying that this development is just too silly and dumb. The way Hirata goes all his way to protect Ayanokouji has an uncanny effect to me. He does it for the sake of his class, granted, but he’s just way too nice for his own good here.

On day 2, our main lead Ayanokouji and Horikita go out their way to scout other classes, and “happen” to meet all the important figures in each class and how the other classes approach to this survival game. Class-B is all about harmony, Class-A has a military-like discipline and class-C just rejects this game completely. Using all their points on the first day, class-C truly has nothing else to lose. A destructive strategy, but by all mean not a bad one at all. I still believe Ryuen (from now on I will refer him as Nerriot Sparkling guy) has something sinister up his sleeves; like the way class-C’ “deserters” keep popping up in both Class-D and Class-B. So, my most educated guess for now is that Class-C is far from out of the game. They use moles to find each class’s proxy leaders, making the class fight against each other (that underwear incident). Ibuki might hate this plan but for her sake she had to do it, and she might hate class-D even more for falling into this trap so easily. If that is the case, I fully expect she would open up a bit when Ayanokouji finally confronts her.

Lastly, about the possibilities of the proxy leaders of each class. I would love to be proven wrong but Youkoso doesn’t ever try to include that many class members except for the important ones. Class-A has Katsuragi and that green hair guy, class-B has Ichinose and the guy Kanzaki and class-C of course no one would defy that Neriot Sparkling dude. The only one person who doesn’t participate is confirmed to be Sakayanagi and it’s interesting to learn that she and Katsuragi never see eyes to eyes in how they approach things. Don’t know how this reveal will affect future plot but for now, we need to settle down on who was stealing that pinky panty first. Such a sophisticated turn of event that I can’t help but admire with my rolling eyes.

Posted on 7 September 2017 with categories: Classroom of the Elite, Currently Watching:

Funny that with the sounding name like “Classroom of the Elite”, this episode moves as far away as possible from the “classroom” scenario and of course in no way those kids are the “elite”, because no elite argues about the need of portable toilet in the middle of a deserted island (because of course you need no toilet in the middle of a freaking deserted island); yet here they play it completely straight. That and somehow nearly the whole class don’t know how to set fire to wood make me question whether the writer himself knows anything about proper camping. Put the plot aside for now (because silly plot is… silly), it’s the setting that I find rather intriguing this time. Of course it comes from me who have zero experience of getting stranded in a deserted island before, so take my two cents below with a grain of sand. Suppose that a group find itself stranded in the middle of nowhere, what would they do first? Setting up a base, choosing the leader and looking for food. The basic, long-term survival plan. In that sense, Yousoko this week fulfills two of these, and they actually blend these two with the “bonus points” each class will compete with each other (finding the spots, only the leader can secure the plot and the guessing game of who is the leader of each class).

The most natural rule about setting up base, is to pick the place near the river/water. Maybe I come from the place whose big cities are primarily located in a coastline, so I’m biased; but I believe that control the water supply is one of the most crucial condition. Class-D, intentional or not, picks one of the best place to survive as a result. Then, you’d need to look for the food and this is where Yousoko does a poor job as the class has no trouble or even put much thoughts of finding food. Granted that they’re leaning on buying two meals a day anyway but this should be an aspect the show can make an interesting spin on it. On other notes, despite my moaning, I understand the intention behind the guys and girls arguing about that wrecked portable toilet. In order to work together as a team, you’d need to satisfy the basic needs of the members of the group. About picking the leader, l really adore the subtlety from Youkoso about saying the importance of guessing and figuring out the leaders of other classes (High risk, high return they say) and then the very next scene our guy Ayanokouji just happens to spot the leader of Class A – with his card on his hand, lecturing his classmate about “don’t talk too loud” no less. Choosing Horikita as a Class-D leader is a sound plan, mostly because she’s a lead (hah!) and that way Ayanokouji can work effectively in the shadow for the class’s benefit.

But behind all these complicated rules and “living in the island for a week” premise, the main meat is always about points. It’s not the matter of saving and gaining points, it’s more about how to use the points wisely. Not wasting any unnecessary points, but still fulfill the basic needs for everyone and gain more points by securing spots and identify the other classes’ leaders. Seems like Class-D get that aspect right, except that… the Tarzan Perfect Species doesn’t agree with any of that. Man, at this point I stop taking him seriously because who’s in the world except monkey would climb and hop between trees instead of walking normally like a normal sensible human would do? I believe he has another agenda for swimming away and admiring the moon, but frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn. Another important development is that class-D decides to take care of Class-C girl’s Ibuki, who is beaten up by her classmates. It looks like a trap for me consider that we don’t really see the reason why she got injured in a first place and I know Ryuen is wicked bastard; but class-D proves again why they are at the bottom of the food chain by sharing her their food and genuinely care for her without any question asked. Until next week when all the cards are on the table should we know how all this play out, but for now, securing the spots, while having fun argue about portable toilet, how to use points and protecting themselves from the evil scheming of other classes sound like a pretty good fun for me. Do it with styles Youkoso.

Posted on 1 September 2017 with categories: Classroom of the Elite, Currently Watching:

While watching this episode, I had some serious flashback towards Youkoso’s premiere episode, where the plot likewise just drifted around the sea until that final reveal kicked in. It’s basically a set up episode but it’s rather astonishing that they manage to bring very little to the table, while cramming up its bad tendencies: the unnecessary fanservice; its ridiculous settings (a luxurious cruise ship, full-on service for free? But; of course) and its even more ridiculous characters, most notably The Perfect Specimen Kouenji. Nah, I don’t want to sound like a broken record either so let’s just roll with what Youkoso offered in this episode, and I’ll try to humor myself because this thing sure knows how to embrace its absurdness to the fullest.

The end of this episode promises a Lord of the Flies style, where all the kids are left on their own on a deserted island, form groups and try to survive, without any actual killing and death counts of course. Personally, I consider it more akin to Battle Royale, here as a group rather than an individual, try to cancel each other out. They haven’t announced the full rules yet, so it’s hard to speculate more what are the conditions to survive, but I found one interesting aspect nonetheless. “Form a group”, it could be any member from different class, right? It’s a given that these kids will pick out their classmates to form the group because of trust issues, but if the rules don’t specify that condition – where they have no utter motive to go against each other; should they form a collective group from different class rather than stick on the same class? I know for sure that Class-C Ryuen will use this opportunity to backstab Horikita, and I know that Perfect Specimen will be involved somehow (otherwise he wouldn’t have showed up that consistency in this episode). I’m rather curious to see how Ichinose from class B will use her networking to advance in this particular test.

Otherwise, we have more struggles from Class-D, them being the lowest class not only in term of their academic ability, but in their social status as well. I don’t like the fact that the show indeed paints them like one. Keep babbling meaninglessly about their favorite girls’ first name is one thing, straight out behaving like “low-life” dudes who have no idea about the name of the food and restaurant manner is an entirely other thing. Why does Youkoso need to try so hard on that front and not even try at all in other aspects? It feels rather obvious as well that the “one person who couldn’t join the test due to illness” will show his/her identity in the upcoming test because it smells fishy like a fish sauce. Also the girl from Class C who opposed Ryuen, Ibuki would potentially team up with our leads because she has an agenda now and isn’t enemy of an enemy is a dear best friend?

Ayanokouji basically does nothing in this episode except being threatened by his homeroom teacher (that message the school received from “certain man” was… really straightforward). I’m still amazed that despite he’s trying his best to become a Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Invisible Phoenix or whatever, PEOPLE STILL NOTICES HIM, so what is the point of hiding his true nature then? I do like the fact that he considers his time studying here a “freedom”, so I guess his time before getting into this school was hellish at best. Kushida again shows her true face (you know it when that girl suddenly speaks in different voice and all that shit, like she’s being possessed), just to makes damn sure to let Ayanokouji know that she doesn’t want to be left alone right after she come in. You gotta be patient, Ayanokouji, don’t run so fast. I like it that she reveals her true face from time to time but this revealing is rather… useless. If something like this can make her showing her true color then it won’t be long before the rest of the class have a real taste of her evilness. She really wants to get everyone’s approval though, so she’d try harder to get close to Horikita and Ayanokouji. Not that I particularly give a damn anymore. Whatever floats this sinking boat, mate.

Posted on 24 August 2017 with categories: Classroom of the Elite, Currently Watching:

This is your usual pool episode, except that it’s not quite your usual pool episode. The pool activities and the peeping Tom operation serve as a surface for some subtler scheming, and set the conflicts from Class D to other classes into motion. I’m glad that Youkoso realizes the stupid nature of the “Operation: Peep on the Girls’ Dressing Room”. They would play up the absurdness of the operation, make it overly-dramatized with several “missions”, codenames, communicating in codes. My favorite moment has to be when Iku cries his manly tears for nearly abandoned his hope of a successful operation. If only they could give their all in academic pursuit as well. Another intentional but quite questionable approach, is the “male’s gaze” perspective that keep scanning on girls’ chests and their bikini for wayyy too long. Normally this is just an excuse for lazy fanservice but in this context, it has its merits because it fits really well to the peeping operation and their hormonal operators. This is one of the rare cases when I can argue that anime uses fan-service elements successfully, the kind of fanservice that fits to its theme and has deeper implications.

This episode also serves as a base to re-establish the tension between different classes, as in somewhat convenient fashion, all of the important figures from each class, and the student council president himself, appear all in one place – in a pool; or to be more exact, in front of the pool’s public bathrooms. The tension between Class-A and Class-C has been well hinted in previous episodes, and this time Class-D member (Sudo, of course) finds himself stuck in the middle of this whole conflict, both literally and figuratively. Horikita’s announcement in the diving board (I thought she would jump for sure) serves as the final declaration of how Class-D is willing to climb up rank, and force the others to take them seriously. At the moment Class-B has a friendly term with Class-D, but really what is Ichinose’s real motive?

But Horikita’s little event in that diving board is only in a service of distracting the other classes to save those stupid boys from getting caught, as Ayanokouji has pulled all the strings on a backstage to let the boys do what they want, but eliminate all the consequences in the process. It’s the only real reason that the anti-social Horikita decided to join them for a day in a pool after all. Amusing that this episode is the first time that we get to hear her voice over – to know her inner voice and the way she sees the world. While this girl Horikita is as dry as the Sahara Desert, it’s good to understand her inside a little bit more because unless we can identify the main cast as real people, we’d have a hard time rooting for them when conflict arises. Ultimately, this episode is exactly how a pool episode function: main characters gather around and have fun times together, splashing waters at each other (ohh, you poor thing, Sakura…) and at the end of the day, having a fond memory together as friends, something that both Horikita and Ayanokouji rarely aware of.

Posted on 18 August 2017 with categories: Classroom of the Elite, Currently Watching:

Youkoso embraces its true nature this week, pulling off some resolves that are pulpy, but clean up nicely the conflicts they present this episode. With episode 6, not only class-D settles the accusation from class-C; they set up, and quickly resolve, Sakura’s stalking issues and gives a much-needed concern regarding Ayanokouji’s own agenda behind his actions: lurking in the shadow, (possibly) manipulating people around for the benefits of the class. Or does it? It’s about goddamn time we need to know more from him. Youkoso makes it quite clear that the guy doesn’t really care about the class, so why does he agree to help Horikita moving up to Class-A in a first place? The flashback hints that he was in some sort of lab experiment in his young age, that might attribute to how he’s exceptional, or rather, overpowered, but passive; doesn’t want to stand out (although people do notice) and most importantly, prefers to.be left alone. I don’t mind this direction to be honest, Youkoso is at its best when it’s stay true to its ridiculous elements, so if the show pulls off another orphanage that is a secret lab experiment to create the new Hitler, I’m all in.

My real complain for the first segment of this episode simply lies in the fact that I never believe those guys from Class-C would be that stupid to go meet Kushida, at that crucial time of the investigation. All three of them. Do they forget that Kushida is in class-D as well? Or do they forget about the case altogether? Other than that though, it’s nice to see Horikita and Ayanokouji pull off such plan: set up the camera where the incident happened, make them think that the camera caught on their actions, and then persuade them to drop the case. Well, it’s more of a mind game than an actual plan but it works like a charm because the thugs from class-C are assigned for fighting, not for thinking by themselves. It’s a bit manipulative but isn’t Youkoso all about manipulation?

Sakura has a much darker story to tell. Stalking isn’t funny, after all, so although Youkoso just hints about her issue in the beginning of this episode, we feel the stakes are there. But… who’s in the right mind would go to dark alley while being stalked? Geez Sakura… you should’ve known better. While the conflict itself is nicely done, we get to see how Ayanokouji would save the day and thus, how Sakura starts to trust the guy and believes more in herself and what not; I have a hard time dealing with the whole implication behind this conflict. Not only Sakura is framed as a worst image of feminism ever: get into trouble and then whoops, the Prince comes and saves the day (not to mention her bouncy boobs that have no place in the story); the way Youkoso treats that clerk’s character is just so unpleasant. You can’t show us how awesome a character is by an expense of another character, ever. Well-written characters, even the evilest ones, we still have some level of sympathy towards them because they’re layered with their personalities. For all their actions, there are always a solid reason behind. That clerk man here, do you feel anything else about him other than disgusting and repulsing? Youkoso tries too hard to make this clerk creepy, that I am creeped out by the way they frame him instead.  Imagine each character as a “soul”, and I feel pity for that “soul” for being born as a deformed, one-note character whose the sole purpose is to be booed by everyone.

Half way in, can’t say myself that I enjoy Youkoso that much. It’s not a terrible product but I feel totally… indifferent to it. This episode, for example, while I could say that overall this is one Youkoso’s better episode, I personally have so many issues regarding its treatments to the plot and the characters.  I’m trying my best not to sound overly negative in my review, as I still see some solid qualities behind the show and I know constant ranting don’t do either you or me any good. I will stick with it till the end so maybe it’s better that I need to just enjoy the ride and don’t think too hard about it.

Posted on 11 August 2017 with categories: Classroom of the Elite, Currently Watching:

We have a slightly better Youkoso this week, although I have a feeling that they drag this case for far too long. Throughout this episode, we have two new developments: Sakura begins to trust Ayanokouji and as a result agrees to be a witness, even at a cost to expose herself (quite literally); and the courtroom happens later on in which no compromise being reached (11 ANGRY MEN). Though, to be fair, how Ayanokouji and Horikita eventually find a way to prove Sudo’s innocence could be interesting. With no concrete evidence regarding who began the fight; I guess the angle they could delve on is making the Class-C spill the beans about the set-ups. Just make sure don’t pull any out-of-nowhere evidence because it’s just a cheap, cop-out way to resolve the conflicts. And to think that Class-C pulled this dirty scheme to sweep all the points from Class-D, but they might face an expulsion (or even class-regelation, I prefer that) instead if the truth ever comes out. Overall, this is a stronger week for Youkoso, and I hope they stick with the tactical how-will-Class-D-gain-points-and-move-rank plot because it’s the only thing that makes Youkoso remotely interesting now.

I said that because as of now the characters in the show are pretty much unconvincing. Ayanokouji still holds his ground so far but the girls Horikita and Kushida don’t fare very well. I mean, after Ayanokouji (and us) see another dark personality from Kushida, it remains quite baffling for me as to why she still keeps that mask even when she’s alone with him. If the evil, angry Kushida is supposed to be her real personality, I can stand it; but if it’s there as a split-personality from her, then it’s just poor execution. The new girl Sakura, likewise, has a weak entrance this week as she never makes clear what she wanna do, or say. It leaves up to the audience on the rather “unsettling” sequence of her trying to repair her camera in a store as to whether the clerk is a real creepy guy or it’s just all in her head as she suffers from social anxiety. I’m leaning on the latter (but the store camera IS ON, damnit) as I believe it’s an effective way to know more about her through her lens. Apparently, she comes to trust Ayanokouji for his dead-eyes (“your eyes weren’t scary” huh?), but his advice is really on point. She does that not for the sake of others, but for her sake because she won’t feel guity for not helping Sudo out anymore. On a grander scale, it might as well be Yousoko’s own philosophy: everyone need to work together for the sake of the class as awhole, but ultimately, it’s for their own sakes that they help out each other – and there is nothing wrong with that.

The latter half when the courtroom happens is much more exciting. Class-C claims that Sudo asked them out so they need another guy – an experienced fighter – as a bodyguard, but then they contradict themselves with the statement that they tried best to avoid the fight hence all of them were heavily injured. When Sakura comes in and proves that she was in the scene when the fight broke out, class-C tries to make a compromise. Which sounds like a great deal, except it’s not. The bottom line is that Sudo is framed for the conflict, and Horikita and Ayanokouji will find a way to prove him not guilty. The hip-grabbing moment is quite hilarious as it snaps Horikita out of her brother-complex mood (seriously? Why do anime girls have to be so reliant to the male character who treats them like shit? Worst image of feminism ever). The President takes this as a good opportunity to see the real potential of Ayanokouji, although the guy himself remarks that he has no plan whatsoever. And DODGE. How can they prove it? Will Youkoso get better from now on? Does Sakura have more lewd selfies in her gallery? As Ayanokouji remarks at the end: “That’s a good question.”

Posted on 3 August 2017 with categories: Classroom of the Elite, Currently Watching:

Haizz, Youkoso. My feeling about this show could be summed up by its very first few seconds. Youkoso opens with a thought-provoking, philosophical quote, and they follow straight up with a boob shot. Kinda defeat the purpose; unless what they want from us is to look underneath the clothes surface. Oh well, I give in. After four episodes, my impression for this show is just like that: interesting in theory but terribly plain in its execution. You can see bad sign when you start watching an episode and feel like you had skipped some episodes in between, and that exactly how I felt when watching this one. Like, since when Ayanokoji and the blonde girl from class B Ichinose become such a close friend to the point she asks the guy to be her fake boyfriend? The last time I saw them together they didn’t even introduce themselves and now this? For this bleak world, I come to suspect any character’s real motive, even the lead ones but this show makes me wary of Ichinose for all the wrong reasons. I heard the anime version cut most of the parts between those two building up to this point, and that come to my first real complain about this anime. They don’t spend enough time for the supporting cast, as a result they appear more as a plot-function device than any real character. That new red hair girl Sakura has this same problem. We hardly know her at all and then she receives a mention when the plot calls for it.

We have the updated scores this time around and by the look of it Class C has gained the most points after the exam and now rivals with class B for the second spot. Surprisingly that Class B doesn’t feel it as any threat because instead of getting furious, all of them praise how well and noble Ichinose is. We have our first glance at the homeroom teacher of Class B and boy, she rubs me the wrong way. Doesn’t fare any better is that Ryuken AKA Nerriot Sparkling Water dude; who I feel more belong to Kakegurui series than scheming his abusive plans here (Yumeko Jabami please beats the hell out of him). His current evil plan, to frame Sudou (again!) for attacking fellow Class C members, which will demerit all the points Class D has gained during the mid-exam results. Class D knows it’s all a scheme from Ryuken, but how they prove it? The way Horikita finds out about Sakura just by the way she acts bother on incredibility here, and I suppose the girl with an interest in photography “happen” to be in a right place at the right time with her camera on huh?

Ichinose seems nice enough to help the class D out, but if I learn anything about how the world in Youkoso works, it might be just a façade for some real nasty intention. If class D should learn any lesson, don’t trust other classes because they’re basically their opponents. Class B has a very well-connected network system here and Ichinose has a whooping insanely 2,5 million points, which really is suspicious. My guess for now is either Ichinose uses her “help” as a mean to make people around her to pay her back; or it’s the class’s points where class members pooling their points to one source – her source; but then for what purpose? As much as I have too many complaints about this episode, I think the conversation between Ayanokoji and Yoshida was well done. The visual cue of that conversation with the dead butterfly being picked apart by ants is really, really effective and it’s easily the highlight of this episode for me. All in all, Youkoso stumbles hard this episode, providing conflict that is rather dull and unexciting and asks us to care for a relationship that was never developed properly beforehand. I can still bear with it but I don’t deny that my interest on knowing how all this turn out have shrunk rapidly.

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