Classroom of the Elite – 12 (Fin)

The first seven episodes of Classroom of the Elite were solid, but gave way to an increasingly unfocused and often downright tedious Island Arc. After pointing out how delicate and demanding the girls are compared to the guys, demonstrating the class’s appalling ignorance of outdoor fundamentals (except for one character who camps out a lot), and introducing a set of rules and objectives only slightly less complicated than the U.S. Tax Code, we were then treated to thrilling whodunits involving the theft of a girl’s undergarments and the burning of a manual.

Class C student Ibuki was planted as the obvious culprit to everything, but we can’t be sure if she’s really the culprit, because the biggest question mark of them all is, and has always been, Ayanokouji Kiyotaka, whom it’s implied was the sole “survivor” of a “gifted kid farm.”

Meanwhile, his interactions with Horikita Suzune have been dull and repetitive (due in no small part to the nebulousness of his true motives and  intentions), while what had been perhaps the best character dynamic of the show—that between Ayano and Kushida—has curiously been abandoned altogether, with no further exploration of her character. Some of Kushida’s screen time was replaced by Sakura, whose puppy love for the unperceptive Ayano isn’t nearly as compelling.

But WHO CARES? This was a bad-ass finale. It stuck the landing.

It starts slowly, in basically the same place we left off last week: in a state of confusion and frustration. Horikita wakes up to find Ayano nearby, telling her she should drop out and that whatever goal she has in mind, whether it’s making Class A to prove something to her brother, or something else, she’s going to need allies. She faints again, and Ayano carries her to the teachers.

Ayano tells Hirata everything that’s happened and how it will effect the points, and Hirata is devastated, no doubt believing he let his class down…but Ayano asks a favor of him. When the day the Special Test ends arrives, Sakura asks Ayano what he thinks their points will be, and Ayano simply looks over to Hirata, who is holding the leader identification form.

All of the classes assemble on the beach, except Class C…but a dirty, disheveled Ryuuen does appear…in his mind, to declare victory. Once he lays out his scheme to gain the names of all three class leaders, things don’t just look bad for Class D, but Classes A and B as well.

Ryuuen’s plan is extra-complex, as befits the finale of CotE: signing a binding contract with Class A in which they’ll supply 200 S-points in goods and provide the names of B and D’s leaders, using Ibuki and another C-class student as spies D and B.

Of course, Ryuuen intended to betray Katsuragi, because an ally of Katsuragi’s rival Sakayanagai gave him the name of Class A’s leader…which was never Katsuragi to begin with. Ryuuen runs the math as the calculations are displayed on the screen.

Then the points are announced: Class C gets ZERO points, Classes A and B make just over 100 each, and Class D…WINS, with 225 points. SHOKU!

How’d it happen? Cough-cough. C’mon now, you know: it was all Ayanokouji-frikking-Kiyotaka. What Horikita doesn’t know is how. Class A continues its internal strife as Sakayanagi’s ally antagonizes Katsuragi’s furious levies, while Ichinose doesn’t feel too bad about her class’s high score, since she’s likely close to amassing enough points to buy her way into the class of her choice (which I’m assuming would be A).

Ayano managed to win by pivoting from a strategy of spot-occupation points to leader identification points, and used virtually everyone and everything he had on that island to discover the identities of the leaders of Class A and C (leaving B alone to preserve their alliance). He even used Horikita’s illness, which was actually crucial to giving him a “legitimate reason” to change the leadership of Class D to him at the very last minute. Thus, Ayano was right about Ryuuen and Ryuuen was wrong about him – a 100-point swing.

As an apparent apology for using Horikita and potentially making her even sicker, he had Hirata tell the rest of Class D they owe everything to her, not him. It’s a brilliant move that accomplishes two things: it keeps Ayano in the shadows where he can do the most, and brings the class together, which was Hirata’s goal all along.

Kushida seems to know there’s something a little off about Horikita being the hero here, but can’t get a straight answer out of Ayano when she asks which girl he’d choose. It’s not much, but I did appreciate one last scene with “Real Kushida,” especially in which she resents the fact a girl like Horikita doesn’t have a “side to hide.” But Ayano rightly points out that most people have one.

In his chat with Chabashira-sensei in the ship’s theater, she commends him for having performed up to the standards not only she, but “that man” (AKA his dad) expected. There’s talk about Daedalus and Icarus, but Ayano doesn’t intend to lose his wings any time soon. That’s good, because Ryuuen (and his loyal lieutenant Ibuki) are coming for him, armed with a windfall of points thanks to one other stipulation in their contract with Class A.

Finally, Horikita loses her throng of admirers long enough to track down Ayano and ask him why he told Hirata to spread the word that she, not he, was the class savior and mastermind behind their victory. He tells her, in a scene that’s played quite tenderly at first, to remember when he said she needed allies to succeed – giving her the credit helps get her those allies (and she did suffer in sickness for the cause).

Horikita’s Tsundere Levels reach critical levels as she both thanks Ayano and acknowledges him as an ally while making it clear their future interactions will be purely professional in nature and focused on getting to Class A.

She’s fooling no one, but Ayano is fooling her along with everyone else, because, at least according to his inner thoughts, he’s only looking out for one guy: Ayano. Hirata, Sakura, Ichinose, Kushida, and Horikita are nothing but stones he’s all too willing to step on to win, because winning is all that matters to him.

A dark ending…but also a wide-open door for a sequel down the road. Horikita has changed a lot, and she says it’s all Ayano’s fault. Maybe she, along with Kushida and the others, will get a chance to change him. Or maybe he’ll just dance on their corpses when he’s king of the world. Here’s hoping we get to find out!

Advertisements

Author: sesameacrylic

Zane Kalish is a staff writer for RABUJOI.

5 thoughts on “Classroom of the Elite – 12 (Fin)”

  1. Well this is an adaptation of novels so not all plot points can be cover. This anime adapt up until volume 3 (out of 5/6? novels which is still ongoing). Volume 3 aka survival island arc got the most episodes adaptation and a good place to end the season imo. Characters exposure and development still hasn’t end as the novel is still ongoing. Pacing-wise they should be at least manage to cover 4 volumes but since vol 4 didn’t really suit to be finale, they settled with volume 3 (which why survival island felt long- it is basically get 2 worth of arcs in term of episodes.)

  2. As expected Classroom Of The Elite led us all up the garden path and then very entertainingly kicked our legs out from under us. I liked how they structured the whole island arc by giving us pointers all the way through hinting at what it was up to but then deflecting us away from that. For example they showed us Ayanokoji spying out Baldy and his minion but deflected us away from what it meant, and did the same with other near hints as well, all the better to give the substantial reveal at the end. I loved the focus on Ayanokoji’s dead eyes at the end, finally we get the reveal that he cares for nothing except himself and that the master manipulator is, and has only ever been, out for himself. And in the finale they show there is still more to reveal about him and his story for sure.

    Ryuuen coming after Ayanokoji? That can only end one way I think. :)

    Classroom of the Elite has turned out to have attracted quite a largish and appreciative audience if some of the net traffic and online voting can be believed and perhaps that’s enough to help justify a second series. I’d certainly like to see a second series and the further development of this interesting collection of characters as I’ve enjoyed this show from beginning to end.

  3. I was actually pretty impressed with this last episode! Honestly the island arc would have been just fine if it toned down the pointless girls vs boys bickering. That aside, seeing the plans and counter plans revealed was really entertaining.

    The best part for me however, was the reveal about Ayanokouji’s true dead emotionless robot mindset. Seriously that end with Horikita was both hilarious and a bit scary hahaha. When Horikita was doing her full tsundere antics I had a laugh at how cliched it was, but also kind of cute too. Then bam, Ayanokouji not only gives zero fucks, it’s revealed he NEVER cared at all! Up until then I was thinking he was more along the lines of a cold softy. One that actually cares a lot but doesn’t show it on the outside. The way it showed Horikita going on and on with the screen zooming out to show how detached Ayanokouji is was just excellent for hammering the point in. That moment puts a lot of the previous interactions he has in perspective too.

    When Kushida asked Ayanokouji if he’d pick Horikita over her, his response is “Duno.” That’s not the usual “I’m too embarrassed to respond, so I’ll be vauge”, but a serious “I don’t know, it depends on what action will be more useful to me at the time.” Like damn! Not only has he been fooling his classmates, but the viewers (or at least me) too.

    1. Man, I loved that “Dunno.” He’s telling her the truth! The reveal at the end that he truly cares about no one and nothing except winning almost warrants a re-watch down the line, to watch him interact with Horikita and Kushida with eyes no longer clouded by the possibility he might have a softer side, because he just…doesn’t.

      To think, his seiyu also voiced the warm, affable, often totally-unsure-of-himself Kotarou in Tsuki ga Kirei! Kid’s got talent, I tellya.

      1. Everyone is assuming the Ayanokouji was honest at the end, but there’s no reason to assume he’s a particularly reliable narrator. What does ‘win’ mean to him? That he will crush his classmates as he apparently did once – or drag them kicking and screaming out of the hell of Class D to the top, just to defy dear old Dad?

        It was definitely the best episode of the island arc, but still…

        Terrible art, reveals explained in flashbacks we weren’t privy to, secondary characters suddenly crucial to the plot, internal monologues, female leads turned into harem cutouts…

        But, yes, I’d watch a second season.

Comments are closed.