Posted on 28 July 2017 with categories: Classroom of the Elite, Currently Watching:

Just like what the long title suggests, this episode’s all about “bargaining” and establishing the hidden rules behind this academy. If you originally think Class D got the high scores due to their own efforts, well you’re in the wrong show then. You see, the bottom line here is that you can use the points to buy off everything within the school: old test’s questions and even buy off the exam’s score. Not only they get away with all that, it is heavily implied the teacher and the school expect them to work that way. That’s the world they live in huh? It’s just a matter of knowing and exploiting the system (what they call as a S-System). So, using points as a trade for something they need, that’s one part of this system. The next past would be how to gain points for the class then. From what I understand, all the points class D received from the midterm test are 87 points – not that much by any means but when you compare how many points class C improved after the test (from 490 to 492 – 2 points), it does indeed feel the gap has narrowed. But in order to aim for the top they need to have a bigger plan to gain points and slowly move up their rank – which I believe will be the main plot of Youkoso going forward.

But the way Youkoso executes its theme and its plot still leaves a lot to be desired. The story did jump back from few days before the exams and Sudo gets a fair amount of screen time this week but never at once we see him make any real effort for the test, so why go your way to save someone like him then? I feel like Youkoso just creates a situation so Ayanokoji has to step in and uses his negotiation skills to save the day. The show also introduces many characters from other class, most notably the bullying Ryuen from class C (who got praised from the “elites” of class A for gaining 2 POINTS), and the blonde Ichinose from class B – for my money they will become their respective class representatives when the time comes. I know this school setting isn’t supposed to be realistic, but they really stretch the idea too thin: Teachers who never explain the rules but berate the students for not figuring out themselves; tests that don’t change for at least 2 years, down to the exact words; the scores are already announced but somehow can be altered. I guess for the sake of enjoyment, we just need to look away those foolish details but even then, the story so far doesn’t have any lasting power.

How Youkoso handles the main leads though, is far more successfully. Ayanokoji proves to be the right main behind the job who would do anything necessary for the sake of the class and Horikita shows another soft side of her of wanting to help her classmates out – something that she would never consider doing before (on that note: it completely lost me why she had to lower her English score for the sake of helping Sudo? Could anyone give me an explanation?). But the powerstar of this week, of course is Kushida as she reveals her other ugly bitchy side of her. It’s interesting to note that in the novel, Kushida gets pissed at Horikita in a part where Horikita just shrugged of the “3 Fools of D-Class” from her tutorial and she still gained Ayanokoji’s trust nevertheless. But in the anime, Kushida revealing her true colors come from her jealousness towards all the attention Horikita “gets”. In other words, more bitchy and cruel. Again, same content, different meaning. If you ask me which version I prefer, in this particular case I’d go for the anime version; since what better way to show another dark side of a character than showing of their selfish bitchy side? I like the way she handles Ayanokoji by intentionally let him grab her boob. Give boob-grabbing the whole new meaning.  As much as I like the new personality-twist, this week unfortunately isn’t Youkoso’s best moments.

Posted on 20 July 2017 with categories: Classroom of the Elite, Currently Watching:

Something about Youkoso, after the end of both first two episodes, that left me there hanging. Something that I feel “off”, but I can’t quite put my fingers on. I guess a big part of it was caused by the pacing, which it takes way too long to get into the intrigued part. I mean, a huge part of this episode for example, is about group study, which excites no one, both to the characters and to us. So, I went ahead and read the chapters where this episode adapted from, and to my utmost surprise, it was different from the Light Novel. They cut down important parts that both reveal new sides from the cast, and leave out the details about the rules. I’m sure they’d save these events for later development so it’s fine for now but even more head-scratching, they include the pool sequence that has no right to be in there in a first place. And I still don’t get the obsessions over gazing at Kushida’s big boobs because as far as I see, Ayanokoji doesn’t get excited by her boobs. It’s just blatant fanservice that don’t go together with the tone of Youkoso. Or maybe that’s just a normal treatment every girl with big boobs will be received in anime, doesn’t matter if it’s relevant to the plot?

In terms of settings, Youkoso introduces one of the more intriguing school-settings that we haven’t encountered for awhile, the academy displays the social structure, the social functioning that we can relate from the real world. In this, class members work together so that they can gain points and raise up their social’s status. We already have the “underdog” here so it’s easy to root for class D, the lowest of the low and I can see heaps of interesting angles Youkoso could explore. First, this is clearly more of a team-work effort than any single individual’s performance so it could provide the real test for both Ayanokoji, the loner and Horikita, the superior complex one to reach out with the rest of the class for their own sakes. Second, the criteria for allocate students to their respective classes and “gaining points” system aren’t strictly academic achievement, meaning that even if the class passes the midterm exam (means that no one got expelled), it is not guaranteed that they can earn more point. Figuring out the best method to raise their rank and beat out the other classes would prove to be interesting and I’m eager to see how the plot develops from here.

At this moment, I like the main cast of Ayanokoji – Horikita and Kushida although they still remind me greatly to the cast of Oregairu. This episode, unfortunately, doesn’t convince us clearly the motive of Horikita when she decides to help out the Bad Three. Such a shame because in the novel, they made it quite clear: Horikita is shocked about being put into class D, while her score is always near the top; thus aiming for the top has always been her objective and she will work out every solution to reach that goal. In the anime I just don’t see it. Youkoso however does shed a new light on her characters with her even more high horse and abusive brother (who happened to be a council student president huh?) and that’s the only time where we can see the real reason behind her superior/inferior complex.

The male lead Ayanokoji is also an amusing lead. He knows much more than he lets out and people around him start to pick up on this. I quite like his cynical point of view so far but damn, after reading the Novel I feel like they haven’t use the characters to full potential. Like I said earlier, the way this episode adapts from its source gives me some concerns: if Youkoso want to focus on the characters I honestly don’t see the reason they cut down the important parts, whereas if they want to concentrate on the process of the class working together to raise above the zero ground, then they fail when rushing abruptly to the final test results. I still see Youkoso has a lot of potential, hopefully they know what to do with the intriguing setup.

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