They say meritocracy is fair. If you have the skills and talents, it would allow you access to almost anything. But doesn’t that just increases the gap between the skilled and the not so skilled and hence a window for discrimination? Those at the top will be favoured much more than those have nots at the bottom. And so it is interesting to note that Youkoso Jitsuryoku Shijou Shugi No Kyoushitsu E has a top elite school that lets students do anything they want. Literally a paradise for any student who gets to enrol in here because you will be set for life if you do well. However the sad truth is that only the superior receive favourable treatment. I guess it is only human nature… Or would that be human habit actually?

Episode 1
Kiyotaka Ayanokouji is on a bus as he witness Kikyou Kushida trying to advice this arrogant blondie, Rokusuke Kouenji to give up his seat for the elderly since he is sitting in a priority seat. However he talks back that he is not legally bound to do that and doesn’t intend to contribute to society. Kushida asks others but nobody dared make a move. Finally a kind lady decides to give up hers. Ayanokouji arrives at Tokyo Metropolitan Advanced Nurturing High School, a government supported school to nurture futures for the future. Outside the entrance, he meets fellow student Suzune Horikita who was also on that bus. She doesn’t like that he is looking at her so he points out she is the same like him who didn’t give up their seat. She brushes him off and tells him not to assume she is the same as him. It must be a big coincidence that all these students end up in the same classroom, 1-D. What are the chances Ayanokouji and Horikita are even seated next to each other? Yosuke Hirata has this idea of everyone introducing themselves before the teachers arrive. Some participate, some don’t. Ayanokouji is profiling what kind of person they would be from their speech. When it comes to Ayanokouji’s turn, it’s boring and normal. Sae Chabashira is the homeroom teacher as she hands out manuals that lists the rules for this school. Among them include they will all live in dorms and have limited contact with the outside world as this place has all the facilities they need. It’s like a mini kingdom? Also, they will use points as currencies and each of them gets 100,000 private points at the start of every month. At the store, Ayanokouji bumps into Horikita again. He tries to talk to her but she isn’t interested in becoming his friend. More so, take his advice to buy more expensive stuffs instead of cheap ones. Outside the store, they see fellow classmate Ken Sudou being mocked by other students. He wants to fight but they just laugh and go away. Ayanokouji and Horikita ignore all this.

In a few days, groups are formed. Kushida talks to Ayanokouji and thinks he is close to Horikita. Well, he is the only one she talks to. Kushida’s aim is to make friends with everyone and was turned down by her. Yeah, need his help. So after school, Ayanokouji invites Horikita to join him at a café. When Kushida joins in, Horikita wants to leave immediately. She knows she has been setup. Kushida begs for her to be her friend and is again turned down. Horikita doesn’t mind being alone. In fact she has been alone for 9 years and never felt like so. As time passes, Ayanokouji notices his classmates skip classes or do their own thing even when the teacher is teaching. Even so, Chabashira didn’t take action and continued teaching. A month later, the classmates realize their points didn’t get refilled. So they as Chabashira about it. She tells them they have already been allotted. But they didn’t get any… She mocks them for being idiots. After listing down all their violations, she reminds them evaluates their grades and performances and points are given to you based on this reflection. Therefore she has evaluated them to be given zero points! Time to hit the panic button. She further adds salt to injury by deriding them that they think there would be no catch to this. In short, they are all worthless. They are all garbage.

Episode 2
Class 1-D enjoying themselves in the pool? It’s like nothing happened. Or are they taking their mind off from that mind blowing revelation? Flashback reveals Chabashira revealing a bit on the assessment of the S-system. She is ‘impressed’ they managed to blow all their points in a single month. She also explained about the class points they can earn and if they earn enough, they can overtake 1-C and swap places with them. She warned them for the next test, those who fail will be expelled immediately. Hirata tries to rally the rest to try and get some points but some like Sudou aren’t interested. Ayanokouji is stumped when Horikita treats him to an expensive meal. So once he digs in, she tells him their classmates are holding a study group for the tests. Only 3 opted not to join: Sudou, Kanji Ike and Haruki Yamauchi. At this rate they will fail and their class must not only lose points but gain them. Her idea is to hold a study group for them and it is Ayanokouji’s job to gather them for her. That’s why she treated him. Oh, she hasn’t forgiven him for his conspiracy with Kushida. A woman’s grudge runs deep… Her goal is to climb up to 1-A. Of course when he tries, all reject him. Time to push his responsibilities to Kushida and make her the goodwill ambassador. The eager beaver does her job and manages to have all of them agree to come! Amazing. I can’t help speculate maybe she flashed her boobs? In exchange for this, Kushida wants in on the study group. However Horikita rejects and will not entertain this any further.

Kushida joins the study group anyway. And it is off to a bad start as Sudou is mad at Horikita for calling him incompetent. He continues to mock his dream of becoming a pro basketball player since the world isn’t that easy and he lacks commitment and dedication. He quits. Ike and Yamauchi follow. At this point Horikita decides not to waste her time on them. If they are going to bring the class down, they’re better off being expelled as soon as possible. Kushida still won’t give up and this prompts Horikita to mock her motives to join this study group. Is it to sabotage her? Kushida feels hurt to hear that. That night when Ayanokouji goes out to buy stuff, he sees Horikita talking to her brother Manabu who is the student council president. She promises she will get to 1-A soon but he is not impressed. Calling her fool to come here and hasn’t realized her own shortcomings. He blames her that because she got assigned to 1-D, it is him who bears the shame. He is about to teach her a lesson when Ayanokouji intervenes. When Manabu fights back, Ayanokouji is able to dodge all his attacks swiftly. Impressive. Manabu recognizes him as the student who scored exactly 50 points in all tests. Middle ground. Was it on purpose? Coincidence. Manabu leaves as he warns his sister about mistaking isolation for independence and if she wants to reach the top, struggle with all her might. Ayanokouji and Horikita talk. As she is still persistent those 3 losers are a waste of her time, he tells her that her shortcoming is assuming others will hold her back. Isn’t it because she looks down on others that puts them at a distance from the start and got herself in 1-D? The test come and go. Every student in 1-D for every single subject achieved high scores.

Episode 3
Most of the guys are praising Kushida for saving them. Horikita wonders if Ayanokouji had done something. Flashback 3 days ago, Ayanokouji spotted Sudou getting into trouble with other students only for the fight to be stopped by Honami Ichinose who warns she will report this. Ayanokouji tries again to convince Sudou for the group study but he isn’t interested. After Sudou finishes his basketball activities, Horikita approaches to hand him summarized points. She gets psychological with him that if he stays, he gets to play basketball. Of course she is doing this for her own benefit. Ayanokouji and Kushida approach a fellow senior of Class D. He is willing to trade points for his past test papers. With Kushida being pleading in a cute way and all, I guess they struck a deal at 15,000 points. Ayanokouji’s logic is that the test questions do not differ much. In fact, they confirm it is exactly the same. He doesn’t want Kushida to reveal them to their classmates so soon as they will become desperate in trying to memorize the answer. He also makes a condition he wants her to take all the credit. With 1-D in a high, Chabashira is impressed they did well. However, she points out on the average score, Sudou has failed. Oh… Just by a point. He will be expelled. Kushida tries to find a way to save him but rules are rules. Later Ayanokouji confronts Chabashira. They talk about equality and such. He wants to buy a point for Sudou to pass. Remember, you can buy anything in this school with points. She charges 10,000 points. Can he afford? Horikita will help cover that. As they do not know the penalty of an expelled student on the class, she views the merit of having Sudou sticking around. Chabashira agrees to sell it but notes they are an interesting bunch because no Class D in this history of this school has ever advanced to a higher tier.

Later Ayanokouji talks to Horikita about doing this for herself. Because he knows she realized Sudou is weak in English so she herself purposely lowered her own score to lower the class average. So those barely passed party in Ayanokouji’s place. Kushida asks how they manage to rescind Sudou’s expulsion. He lies that Horikita argued with the teacher and none could counter her. The guys are amazed at her but Kushida feels something amiss. Later Kushida asks Ayanokouji if he likes Horikita because they are always seen together. He denies and that she is just his classmate and neighbour. After everyone leaves, Ayanokouji notices Kushida left her handphone behind. As he tries to follow her to return it, he sees this shocking display of a change in her personality. Her voice becomes hoarser as she curses Horikita while vandalizing public property. Eventually Ayanokouji is caught. She warns him he will pay dearly if he tells anyone about this. Those killer eyes… How will he pay? She is going to cry rape. False accusation? She puts his hand on her boobs. There. Fingerprint evidence. Don’t mess with her. She looks serious. Then she returns back to her bright sparkly angelic personality. At this point Ayanokouji wonders which is the real her.

Episode 4
Class 1-B has a rise in their class points. Many thank Ichinose for it. However there seems to be a system glitch today so the provision points to students of 1-C and 1-D are delayed. Ichinose calls Ayanokouji to meet so she could ask advice on how to deal with the love letter she got. When her friend arrives and misinterpret the situation, Ayanokouji gives his advice on how hard it is to confess. Wow. He sounds like a pro. In the after math, we see that friend leaving in tears. I suppose she was the one who confessed and got rejected. Ichinose feels bad she tried so hard to focus not to hurt her but ended up doing so. She hopes everything will go back fine tomorrow. An incident happened as 1-C has made a report that Sudou assaulted and injured them after basketball practice. Sudou claims he fought back in self-defence but nobody believes him since with the threat they might have points forfeiture, they start thinking he is better off expelled. As usual, Kushida rallies the class to help solve this. This means Ayanokouji is forced to help out, right? After all, he notes that there might be demerit points they cannot see since they don’t know how the system works. It might not be deducted now but in the future. Kushida and some of the guys try to find witnesses but to no avail. Ichinose hears about this and volunteers to help as she owes Ayanokouji. She posts on the bulletin for people to contact her classmate, Ryuuji Kanzaki if they have any information. An information streams in saying that one of the guys who fought Sudou, Daichi Ishizaki had a pretty violent history too. They feel something doesn’t add up because it’s like they willingly get beaten up to set up Sudou. When Ichinose doesn’t know how to transfer reward points for the information, Ayanokouji helps her. But he can’t help saw her total points of 2.6 million! How did she get so much?

Ayanokouji returns to his room. Looks like the usual gang has duplicated his key to make this hang out place. Horikita has new information. There was a witness. She is Airi Sakura and from their class. She knows because when Kushida pleaded for help from other classmates, everyone looked at her but Sakura kept looking down. However even if she is willing to testify and Sudou’s self-defence, it will not mean anything. Later Kushida ponders about what she meant so Ayanokouji gives an example. If there was a murder and 2 people were suspected. One with a history of killing before and one is a clean law abiding citizen. Who do you think would be suspected in the event of lack of evidence? So Sudou’s terrible personality makes a bad impression to those around him and his behaviour and history brought it upon himself. Since Sudou doesn’t feel he has done anything wrong, the reason why Horikita was reluctant to cooperate. The next day, Kushida tries to talk to Sakura in person. However she refuses to say anything. As she struggles to get away, she drops her camera. It isn’t working now. She continues running and mumbles something about not wanting everyone to know about her true self.

Episode 5
Sakura asking Ayanokouji and Kushida to accompany her to send her camera to be fixed? Ayanokouji can see why because the salesman is pretty shady and intimidating and Sakura needs the numbers. However she is still too afraid to fill up her details so Ayanokouji writes his instead. The guy is appalled but with Ayanokouji’s dead serious eyes, I guess there are no legal issues here. Later while they chill out, Ayanokouji observes from Sakura’s behaviour that she does not trust Kushida, thus why she confides totally in him. He tells her to drop all the burden she is carrying and just do it for her own sake. Not for others but for herself. Later Kushida drops by Ayanokouji’s room to show him pictures of a girl in sexy poses. It looks like Sakura but he cannot be sure is her. However one of the rooms looks like their dorm so it could be a big possibility it is her. This has him note that the glasses Sakura wears is fake. Back in school, Horikita tells that Sudou’s trial will be held today after school. Both sides attend and is presided by the student council treasurer, Akane Tachibana. However, because Manabu is also here, Ayanokouji feels this has hindered Horikita’s ability to perform. As the hearing begins with both sides giving contradicting circumstances and the only thing similar is how Sudou’s victims are injured, the guys start a shouting contest. And because Horikita is spacing out, Ayanokouji pinches her waist! Awkward! He tells her if she doesn’t fight, they will lose. So she begins by asking about why they brought Ishizaki into the picture as he isn’t a member of the basketball club. For insurance. He knows martial arts to fight against Sudou’s violence. If so, why were they injured so badly? Like as though they wanted to be beaten up.

Horikita then brings in Sakura as the witness. Because of her nervousness, she is grilled for not stepping forward immediately. She is even accused of being forced to act so to save Sudou. Sakura sums up her courage to show proof she was there. Inside her memory card are those sexy poses. There is one where she took a selfie with Sudou and the rest fighting in the background. However it doesn’t proof who started the fight. It is suggest that both sides compromise. 2 weeks suspension for Sudou and a week suspension for the 1-C guys. Horikita states her opinion on this. As she chides-cum-advises Sudou about the need to reflect his behaviour, this trial is supposed to free him of his guilt. In other words, she wants nothing more than Sudou’s innocence. She claims Sudou has been intentionally set up. Manabu has to decide. He notes one side is lying and state his judgment at tomorrow 4pm. However he has expulsion on his mind. Later Manabu talks to Ayanokouji because he thought he had some strategy. He did not. So Horikita just went rogue there defending Sudou. Manabu then turns his attention to Sakura. She asserts she has told the truth. Ayanokouji believes her. He dodges a quick attack by Manabu who wants to know if he can prove it. Maybe.

Episode 6
Sakura narrates she doesn’t interact well with others. That’s why she is okay being alone and putting on a mask. She masquerades as an internet idol under the name Shizuku. When one of her fans wants to come and see her, she gets scared. She then finds lots of fan mail in her letterbox and they contain pictures of her everywhere! OMG. Stalker! As Ayanokouji and Horikita ponder their next move, it then hit her that the place the fight took place did not have security cameras. As Sakura is still jittery, Ayanokouji assures to call him if she ever needs help. Using a fake email from Kushida to the 1-C ‘victims’ to meet at a special annex, they aren’t interested in talking to Ayanokouji and Horikita until they point out security cameras around. They start panicking. If their fight was recorded, why wasn’t it brought up in the trial? The school is trying to test their ability to solve this. So if this gets out, they will be charged for lying and expulsion. The only way out is to withdraw their complaint. A school can’t take action if there is none. Ishizaki wants to make a call but Horikita snatches his handphone. He gets rough but she reminds him those cameras. They give up. Sakura is walking alone when she notices somebody following her. She tries to call Ayanokouji for help but that creepy salesman overwhelms her at an alley. He claims he is her biggest fan and sent her all those letters. He is about to rape her to prove his love when Ayanokouji takes a picture of him in action. He is going to be ‘famous’ tomorrow all over the news since there are security cameras all around. He tries to escape but Ichinose has called the police to arrest him. He then rants about him being Shizuku’s biggest fan but Sakura tells him off she doesn’t consider him as one and to never see her again. With his heart broken, he switches his story and starts calling her ugly and such. Later, Ayanokouji shows the GPS in her handphone that allowed him to know where she is. Sakura then takes off her glasses and decides to stop lying. Keeping up with lies was really hard.

Chabashira calls out Horikita and wants to know what strategy she used to make 1-C withdraw their complaint. She won’t say anything so Chabashira advises her if she plans to make it to 1-A, try and understand Ayanokouji as much as she can. Otherwise it might be too late. As Class D is viewed as a place for defective people, Ayanokouji in her eyes is the most defective. Ayanokouji stumbles into Manabu. He too is surprised 1-C withdrew their complaint. Ayanokouji claims it was all Horikita’s doing. Manabu wants him to join the student council as the secretary. Of course he refuses as he intends to live a normal life without expending too much effort. Manabu accepts but warn not to disappoint him. Ichizaki and co are being beaten up by the big boss of 1-C, Kakeru Ryuuen. He is displeased they withdrew the complaint without his permission. There goes his plan to see what reaction the school will have with an expulsion. He wants the names of those who set them up. Later he crosses path with Arisu Sakayanagi of 1-A. He mocks she is already playing the queen. He tells her his intention to crush 1-D, 1-B, 1-A and then her. Because there can only be 1 ruler. Horikita confronts Ayanokouji about his idea to plant fake cameras at the annex. This is forging false evidence. She wants to know what he is thinking since he never cared for his friends so why is he doing this. Did she not forget she forced him to help her get to 1-A? Ayanokouji has only this to say to her. He will get her to 1-A as promised. In exchange, don’t pry into his life.

Episode 7
Horikita didn’t want to answer a call from Ayanokouji. But he is persistent… And when he asks if she would like to come to the pool, she hangs up. Horikita sees Hirata and Kei Karuizawa as a couple. The irony of her telling them she doesn’t need companions is that she meets up with Ayanokouji and the rest to the pool. So what changed her mind? Apparently everything looked like normal fun and games for everybody. However there is a very secretive operation going on behind on all. Sudou, Ike and Yamauchi are conducting an elaborated scheme to put hidden cameras in the girl’s changing room. Hideo Sotomura is the ‘control operative’. Wow. Those are elaborate hand signals there. With Sudou and Ike trying to keep the rest in the pool area, Yamauchi is fixing the camera but he has trouble installing them. Because of that, since the fake maintenance sign at the changing room, this means there is a long queue to the toilet near the pool and it is getting suspicious. Even more so when Yamauchi is gone for a long time. Yamauchi can’t do it so he eventually returns to the gang but switches places with Ike. Things are about to go from bad to worse because Ryuuen and his gang disregard the fake maintenance sign to head in. Ike is trapped. Sotomura signals Sudou for help as he fakes a cram to go stall Ryuuen’s side. Sudou might be caught in the middle because Sakayanagi and her gang are also here. Big showdown… That’s not over. Manabu drops in to see what the problem is. This is where Sotomura signals to Ayanokouji for help. Yup, he is in it. Ayanokouji then wants Horikita’s help. She then makes a commotion by drawing everyone’s attention by declaring how the defective class can be better than all the other classes above them. During that, Ike manages to leave in one piece. At the end of the day, it seems Horikita knew about the cameras and has the memory cards in possession. When Ayanokouji called her for the pool invitation, he also told her about Ike’s plan to put hidden cameras and then retrieve them after the pool is closed. If Ayanokouji opposed, they would have done it secretly behind his back. So it is better to let them try and fail. Horikita could have just taken out the memory cards beforehand but the interference of other classes made things more difficult. Since Horikita still prefers being alone, Ayanokouji pushes her into the pool as a joke. He tries to pull her out but she pulls him in. Then everybody gets the wrong idea and starts jumping in and splashing water. Back in her room, Horikita receives a group photo of them. She notes being alone is easier.

Episode 8
Chabashira talks to Ayanokouji that the school received a message from an anonymous man to expel him. Of course he is protected by the school rules. Unless he does something. He assures he won’t but Chabashira disagrees his intentions. If she decides he is a problem, that’s what he is. A threat? She wants to make a deal. Aim for 1-A and she will cover for him. Otherwise he will be expelled. Ayanokouji grabs her by the collar. Is that a yes or no? She’ll regret manipulating him. Don’t worry. Her life is already full of regrets. The school is on a vacation on a luxury liner. Ike decides to confess to Kushida but gets cold feet and is satisfied with calling her by her first name. Now this makes Sudou want to do the same to Horikita. I guess these guys aren’t ‘civilized’ enough to know what is on the French menu and act appropriately so a guy from 1-A tells them off. Sudou is about to get nasty when Kouhei Katsuragi warns to stop this provocation. Even if they are on vacation, they may still get penalized. He also advises the 1-D counterparts to learn some manners. Later Ayanokouji meets Horikita as she requested. She talks to him about this trip being more than just a vacation because their destination is a boarding house owned by the school on the South Seas. They are interrupted by Ryuuen who tries to flirt with her but she rejects him. He ‘warns’ her he will deal with her personally next time. His classmate, Mio Ibuki comes in to protest about his ways. She has had it with how he does things. However she is mishandled away by his ‘bodyguard’, Albert Yamada. Ayanokouji tries to talk to Ibuki but she isn’t interested. Horikita notes Class 1-C may be on the verge of collapsing. When the liner nears the island, the students are assembled on the deck. They are made to wear a wristband in place of their school’s ID. If they take it off without permission, they will be penalized. They are then given a brief rundown of what’s to happen. This will be their first special test. For a week, they’ll be living as a group on this deserted island. It is up to them to make whatever decisions. Some students are in shock to hear this. Well, vacation’s over.

Episode 9
Class 1-D take stock of their items on shore. Reading the manual, each class are given points which can be deducted if there are injuries, pollutions, stealing or even used to buy stuffs. Points can also be added if they secure certain spots on the island. The first snag hit is that some of the girls can’t use the basic makeshift toilet. Although a decent one can be bought, some guys prefer not to recklessly spend points and want them to tough it out. Hirata suggests to give the girls some peace of mind and reduce the anxiety of this test. Also, it is for hygienic purpose. As they walk around to find a suitable spot to set up camp, some volunteer to go look for spots. Divided into groups, Ayanokouji is with Sakura and Kouenji. Kouenji is so athletic he is swinging from branch to branch like a monkey! Is he Tarzan reincarnated? Too bad he goes off on his own. Ayanokouji and Sakura stumble upon a cave mouth but have to hide since they see Katsuragi coming out. Flashback shows Chabashira explaining about the secured spots. A class can occupy it for 8 hours and can only be done by the class leader who is given a card. At the end of the test, classes can try to guess the other class leaders and earn big extra points but get one wrong, the penalty will cost them big points too. Thus they can search for other class leaders and try to hide their own. Katsuragi looks like his is the leader for 1-A as they overhear his conversation with another fellow classmate. Ike has found a spot by the river. Class 1-D meets up and decides to select this place as their base. As for who should be their leader, Kushida suggests that since Hirata and Karuizawa stand out, they need someone who doesn’t and is responsible. Horikita fits that bill. She accepts the role. Class 1-D is setting up camp and the basic needs for survival nicely thanks to Ike since he has experience in camping with his family. Yamauchi thinks of confessing to Sakura and tries to look good in front of her. But they spot Ibuki bruised and sitting alone in a place. They want to help her but she refuses to accept their hospitality. Hirata then discusses the use and rationing of points. What and how they should spend it over the week as the leftover points will be added to their class points. It seems pretty decent and achievable. Ibuki is brought to 1-D’s camp and she cannot believe how nice these people are to accept her into their group. Suddenly they receive bad news. Kouenji has reportedly went back to the liner after calling it sick. This means there will be points deduction for them. It puts a damper to their plan. And what do you know? Kouenji looks pretty fine…

Episode 10
Ayanokouji and Horikita pair up to scout the island as well as the camps of other classes. Hey, there is no rule in preventing them to check things out, right? Checking out Ichinose and her 1-B, they seem to be holding their base well. It seems they are also housing a guy who was driven out by 1-C after a falling out. Next they check out 1-A at the caves. Katsuragi allows and dares them to look but if they try anything funny, there’ll be war. Finally 1-C is like having a beach party!!! They notice Ryuuen is ruling with an iron fist. He does what he wants, the way he wants it. Ayanokouji knows 1-C has spent all their special points on the first day. Because points cannot go into the negative, this negate whatever effect the penalty they will get. They’ll just get zero points, that’s all. Hence they’re not planning to tough it out all week and once they’re done, they just call it sick like Kouenji and return back to the ship. Could this be one of the correct answers for this survival? After all, the test is about the freedom to choose in every sense of the term. That night when everyone is asleep, somebody sneaks in the girls’ tent and takes a look at Ibuki’s belongings. She has the card.

Next day, Ayanokouji and Sakura pair up for more reconnaissance. Looks like 1-C’s beach party is over and everything is packed and gone. They stumble into Ichinose and Kanzaki. Ayanokouji asks if she knows anything about Katsuragi. Currently he is the de facto leader for 1-A since Sakayanagi is out (she was ill before the test started). It seems their ideals are at extreme poles and always butt heads with each other. That night, Sudou and Ibuki almost get into a fight seeing the latter remains uncooperative. Next morning, the girls wake the boys up. It seems somebody has stolen Karuizawa’s panties. Yeah, it’s a big deal… Since they suspect the guys but have no proof, Hirata will allow the boys to handle checking their own bags for privacy. Ike realizes he has the pantsu. He starts to panic. He didn’t steal it and believes somebody put in there. Panicking, he gives it to Ayanokouji. He’ll think of something, right? Funny, why didn’t he just throw or hide it somewhere else? Once the search is over and none of the boys are suspected, the girls still aren’t satisfied. Time for a body check. Ayanokouji has no way out this time as Hirata frisks him. However, when he notices something in his pockets, Hirata clears him. Later Ayanokouji talks to him why he didn’t turn him in. Hirata knows he isn’t the kind of person to do such stuffs and that is why he believes in him as not the culprit. He takes the panties and thinks would be the least damaged by being named the culprit since Karuizawa is his girlfriend. Hirata wants Ayanokouji to help find the culprit but when he does, inform him and not tell anyone else first. Because no matter who it is, the truth is best buried.

Episode 11
The friction between the boys and girls of 1-D gets worse. They want to move their tents farther but the boys won’t help. Since Hirata is such a good guy, they allow him (because Karuizawa said so). However Horikita can’t entirely trust him either and to speed things up, she recommends another trustworthy guy: Ayanokouji. Ibuki talks to Ayanokouji about the theft since most of the guys are suspecting her. She is surprised Ayanokouji believes her. Later Ayanokouji talks to Horikita. He can tell she has been sick before this survival test started. They have been holding out fine so she thinks she can tough it out. While gathering rations, he asks to see her card since he saw one from 1-A but isn’t sure. At this place? It is safer than at the camp. She shows it to him but he can’t tell if other classes have the same and each card might be assigned different colours. Yamauchi tries to tease them for being close. He dumps mud over her head! Horikita judo throws him over Ayanokouji! If she didn’t do that, he would have died! So Ayanokouji broke his fall? Later, Horikita wants to talk to Ayanokouji in private. She admits it is her fault and mistake since her card is stolen. He doesn’t want the rest to know to avoid panic. Horikita suspects Karuizawa and Ibuki. But since Ayanokouji can vouch where Karuizawa was, all that is left is Ibuki. They have to rush back seeing there is fire and smoke coming from their base. Somebody lit the manual on fire. Horikita suspects Ibuki but she looks in shock. After putting out the fire, the girls and boys accuse each other again. First a panty thief and now an arsonist. Is there a traitor among them? It is then they realize Ibuki who was just around is now nowhere to be seen. At this point Hirata is on the verge of going crazy because of all the bad luck. Ayanokouji nudges him back so he returns to take command and give orders on what to do next. Horikita has gone after Ibuki and has caught up. She wants her to return what was taken but Ibuki doesn’t know what she is talking about. She lets her check he bag but it is a feint as Ibuki starts her kung fu kicking moves on her. Although Horikita is burning up, she is still fast enough to avoid. Ibuki then admits she is the one who stole the card. Horikita has her guard down when Ibuki also reveals she was talking in a roundabout way to find out if she was the one who started the fire. When Horikita visualizes the suspect, she got kicked and knocked out. Ibuki then meets up with the person who has requested her to steal Horikita’s card.

Episode 12
Ibuki contacts Katsuragi about retrieving Horikita’s card. The latter calculates the special points 1-A can get and is set to win this game. When Horikita wakes up, Ayanokouji is beside her. She tells what happened and he tells her to drop out. She gets desperate to set things right even if she has to do it herself and curses herself for having no allies. He tells her straight she is not strong enough to do it by herself. If she can’t fight by herself, fight with another. Ayanokouji brings her to the teacher’s base and requests that Horikita be dropped out. Ayanokouji tells Hirata all this and he becomes frustrated at all the points they have collected but is set to lose. All he wanted was everyone to get along and now this sh*t. Don’t worry. Ayanokouji has a plan. On the final day as all the classes line up, everyone is shocked to see Ryuuen returning. He never left. This is what happened. On the first day, Ryuuen and Katsuragi made a pact. 1-C would transfer 200 special points’ worth of goods to 1-A as well as other info his class would find about other class leaders. For safety, Katsuragi wants proof. Hence, Ryuuen beats up Ibuki and another guy meant to be spies for 1-D and 1-B respectively. They have to look the part that they hate him to defect. After 1-C dropped out, Ryuuen hid himself on the island alone. What Katsuragi didn’t know is that Ryuuen also made a pact with Sakayanagi’s faction. Ryuuen calculates that their penalty points will be well overtaken just by guessing the leaders and that it is his victory. This is the result: Fourth place: 1-C with zero points; Third place: 1-A with 120 points; Second place: 1-B with 140 points; First place: 1-D with 225 points!!! Everyone is in shock but 1-D rejoices with this shocking outcome.

Back on the ship, Masayoshi Hashimoto contacts Sakayanagi who believes everything has gone according to plan. Now everyone is pointing fingers at Katsuragi as he believes Hashimoto has sold them out. Horikita seeks Ayanokouji’s answer. How did he do this? Simple. Horikita isn’t 1-D’s leader, hence everyone named her wrongly and lost points. Based on the rule, a class must have a valid reason to change leader. Her failing health was valid. Ayanokouji replaced her as the leader. He knew Ibuki was a spy and destroyed her camera, forcing her to take action to steal the card. He then made a deal with Yamauchi to dump dirt on her and also force Ibuki to steal the card. He then started the fire to make give her the chance to run and to meet up with Ryuuen. Ayanokouji explains how he knew Katsuragi wasn’t 1-A’s leader from that cave observation thingy. He also knew Ryuuen was on the island because when they visited his party, he noticed his radio. Ibuki had a similar one so it means she must be contacting him who is still on this island. At that point, he switched from spot occupation tactic to leader identification to earn points. He left 1-B alone because eroding their alliance in the long run is disadvantageous. Before she could find out his intentions, other 1-D students flank Horikita. They are impressed after hearing she is the reason they won and other lies they have been fed to. Later Ayanokouji meets Chabashira. He believes that man who is his father is the one asking her to expel him. All she has to say to him is that his father believes he will be expelled by his own accord. Ryuuen shows Ibuki a contract he has that he will receive hundreds of thousands of points every month till he graduates. This is provided he fulfils certain tasks and is approved by all 1-A students except Sakayanagi. This is Ryuuen’s main goal, to get this contract and he doesn’t like others interfering with it. Horikita confronts Ayanokouji again after finding out about the lies he told others to make her look like a hero. He reminds her about the allies she need. She thinks he did it for her and starts to blush. Once she thanks him, she starts sounding like a tsundere… But we hear Ayanokouji’s dark thoughts. He never thought of her as an ally. Not Kushida. Not Hirata. Not anybody. He views others as tools and will use whatever means to win.

Classroom Crisis: Solitude Is Better Than In Bad Company
Just as I feared, it couldn’t end at a point where it gets the ball rolling. Or at least when things are starting to look interesting. Ayanokouji revealing a side of his that we never knew. Okay, maybe we might get a rough idea of his character but we didn’t expect that he will have this kind of dark side. Or maybe he is just phrasing it in a metamorphic way. Maybe not.

Although generally the series itself is quite interesting, in some ways I find it a bit draggy and the pace could be a little slow at times. Especially the final arc of the season whereby the first years are thrown on an uninhabited island to fend for themselves for a week. It is almost like Survivor but Japanese high school anime style with all the drama and power play. There are some tension, trust issues and a possible traitor amidst the group and though the final episode’s explanation was quite interesting to say the least, well, too much thinking for a simpleton like me feels like a put off. So perhaps it is me for being impatient because the draggy parts of this Survivor game serves to build up all the twists and revelation in the end. But still, even if it is a bit confusing, it is still highly interesting.

I have this feeling this anime is a mix and borrows from a few other series. Since this series separates students’ abilities via classes and the lowest class gets discriminated, there is also a points battle system whereby classes can overtake that position if you have enough points to overhaul. Hence, I thought this series was some sort of comedy at first as this was what Baka To Test To Shoukanjuu was all about. No idiotic idiots around for comic relief. With Ayanokouji’s analytical narrations, it reminds me of the similar nature of the main character in Yahari Ore No Seishun Love Comedy Wa Machigatteiru. Also since the last class which is where our main protagonist and focus are gets the least favourable treatment, it somewhat reminds me of a similar system in Ansatsu Kyoushitsu. Hence they work their way to prove otherwise. Competition is healthy, right? Well, not if you have really dark ulterior motives to do whatever it takes to keep those lower than you where they are.

I don’t know if this ‘scare tactic’ is a great way to get people to motivate and work hard. Because our mothers are always trying to drill into our young heads to study hard and get good grades to get high paying jobs. Otherwise you can only work as a garbage collector! See, you don’t need the government level people to tell us that. Mothers can be this strict too. You better listen to your mother’s words or else you’ll grow up with regrets regretting you should have listened to your mom to study hard then.

It also brings about the question of how this school actually grades and separates the first years into their respective classes. Because if 1-D is believed to be the most defective, should not they be allowed to be enrolled here in the first place? Like Ayanokouji who screwed up in the entrance exam, he got placed in the lowest class. Had he done better, he would have placed in a higher and better class and would things have turned out differently from him? Some like him may shine later and the school system allows him to upgrade if he does better. But remember, the other classes would have also improved. That is why sometimes making first impression and having a good start counts. Despite class 1-D being labelled as so, they are not totally useless. It could be just something that is ‘undesirable’ that the government doesn’t feel it is beneficial or advantageous to society or the nation in general. Like say, being an otaku? Something defective doesn’t necessarily it cannot be fixed. So being labelled as defective shouldn’t become a life sentence. But you know, society…

One thing interesting about each episode title is that they are based off a quote from a literature of various European philosophers. Mostly I can see taken are from French philosophers but there are German and Danish ones too. The quotes itself are interesting as it tells the dark nature of humans as perceived and observed by another human from a cynical perspective. You think man is smart and superior? Everyone has their own ulterior agenda and motive and it is quite interesting to note how these quotes subtly fit nicely into the episode. It makes you think that all the meritocracy and the likes are perhaps just a big fancy term to hide something more sinister like keeping yourself in power and keeping others below you. Basically, survival of the fittest too.

Also interesting to note is the mid-intermission section whereby it will display information pertaining to the school rules and like for the final arc of island survival, guidelines of how the survival game is played out. It is quite insightful and if you didn’t catch what the rules explained over in the episode proper, perhaps this part could be useful enough as a summary to pause and read through if you are ‘too lazy’ to go back and start finding out more on the rules later.

The characters are a hit and miss. It is not that they are very likeable but I noticed that the main ones and if possible all of them have something to hide. There is a Japanese saying that everyone has 3 types of faces: One you show the world, one you show to your closest friends and family and one only to yourself. This is what basically summarizes the main characters. In short, everyone lies or at least doesn’t seem to have that trustworthiness or the ability to trust others. Like Ayanokouji who looks like a sluggish guy who prefers not to get involved in anything but eventually gets dragged into it, we see snippets of flashbacks of his young past during the course of the series. It could be some sort of tragic child experiment since he eventually became the only one left. Despite his lethargic facial expressions that is even reflected in the way he speaks, he is a very capable and sharp person. Like as though this is a façade to conceal something and his set of extremely high level skills. You know what they say about being clever to hide your cleverness. He has got this great vision and has planned ahead to stay many steps ahead. Because so, I get this feeling that Ayanokouji could be the biggest antagonist of them all. Much darker and more brutal than Ryuuen or Katsuragi. Yup. He may be the bad guy and has taken us all for a ride making us think he is the main character. Who says main characters cannot be villains?

Then there is Horikita whom at first glance many would love to call a b*tch because of her high and prideful attitude. She thinks she is smarter than many others and I can’t blame her if she thinks so. Because if you have inferiority complex, you’ll never get to the top. And it looks like she is in a hurry to get there. So you might think that this is all Horikita has to show but as we have seen, there is a totally different side to her when she faces with her big brother. She admires him but the feeling is not mutual. So until she gets to the top, she’ll do whatever means necessary (legally of course) to get there. It feels like she has this big brother complex too because her rush to the top is so that she could gain Manabu’s acknowledgement. Like that’s her end game.

This dozen of episodes are too short to do justification to the many characters even for the main ones. If Ayanokouji and Horikita already have this much focus but yet we are still clueless about them, imagine the other characters. Like Kushida who isn’t really a nice girl and has a very dark and evil side that unfortunately Ayanokouji had the misfortune to come across. Even there is more than meets the eye for Hirata. He might look like a reliable and nice guy but we saw him at breaking point at one time. Again, it prompts us to ask if he is really all that seems and is there something darker lurking beneath the surface. After all, another saying about still waters run deep rings true for most and possibly all the characters in this school. Sakura is more straightforward as she admits she does not deal well with interacting with others and hence that masking personality, the other face, the internet idol Shizuku whom she pretends to be.

Sudou, Yamauchi and Ike are also more straightforward since they aren’t the brightest and are mostly simpletons. But just because we haven’t come across something that would put their talents to good use doesn’t mean we can write them off as useless. We would never know Ike was good at camping knowledge had this survival test did not come up. I believe one of the most ‘disappointing’ characters in 1-D is Kouenji. Because this vain guy is so full of himself and he cares about no one but himself. He is the least cooperative among the 1-D classmates and he looks more like a sleeping villain biding his time to take centre stage. I thought he would play some sort of a major role or at least something like Ryuuen but Tarzan boy for now is just in a world of his own. Just admiring his good looks, not giving a f*ck about the rest… You’re so vain, you think the song is all about you…

Although Class 1-D gets the main focus and it is unfortunate that we do not get to know the composition of the rest of the class (because again, the dozen episodes are not enough to squeeze everybody in), the other classes of the same grade too are interesting to watch. And it is unfortunate that there is not enough time to flesh out all of them. All we know that 1-C is currently being run by a dictator, there is some sort of secret power struggle between 2 opposing factions in 1-A and perhaps the best and most peaceful class is 1-B but they lack being perfect thanks to their homeroom teacher who is a klutz and drunkard. And that I mean of the cute anime girl kind of klutz and drunkard. I wonder when she’ll start talking about her love problems… She is the only faculty member to look so out of place because even Chabashira is no angel (a devil in disguise?) and a menacing teacher herself and she sounds like she too has an ulterior motive trying to blackmail Ayanokouji to get to 1-A. Even 1-C’s teacher looks like some sort of sneaky evil lawyer kind of person. Serious. Even if 1-B looks great and nice, if this series has taught me something, it is to suspect everyone and trust no one but yourself. They may look nice on the outside but even nice people have their problems. Just that the world doesn’t know. All these characters really look interesting with their different approaches too. It looks like they are heading for a huge collision course but too bad we won’t get to see it this season.

Art and animation looks rather okay but nothing to shout about. I just feel that some of the students here, especially the intimidating looking ones feel a bit out of place. What I mean is that they don’t really look like they are high school students. I know it is bad to judge a book by its cover but this elite school isn’t exactly a delinquent school and yeah, it houses all sorts of students of different shapes and sizes. For example, bald guy Katsuragi looks more like some sort of president’s bodyguard rather than a high school student. It’s like he got into the wrong show. The same for that black American guy, Yamada. Like as though he was hired straight out from America because he really only speaks with that American accent. It makes you question if this guy is really a transfer student. Kouenji looks more like a villain than a high school delinquent if you ask me. Ryuuen looks fit as some sort of a pimp or criminal mastermind ring leader than one too. Sudou isn’t that bad since I thought he looks like that guy from Yuu Yuu Hakusho or that delinquent basketball newbie in Slam Dunk. This series is animated by Lerche who did Ansatsu Kyoushitsu, the Danganronpa series, Kuzu No Honkai, Mahou Shoujo Ikusei Keikaku and Monster Musume No Iru Nichijou.

Voice acting is pretty normal too. Because the main character duo of Ayanokouji and Horikita sound so monotonous and deadpan, it feels like they need to talk because they have to. Therefore hearing the very lively Kushida by Yurika Kubo (Hanayo in Love Live) and Sudou by Eiji Takeuchi feels so much better since they bring some emotions to their character. And handful of seiyuus I recognized include Ayana Taketatsu as Karuizawa, Mikako Komatsu as Ibuki, Nao Touyama as Ichinose and Rina Satou as Chabashira. The rest are Shouya Chiba as Ayanokouji (Kotarou in Tsuki Ga Kirei), Akari Kitou as Horikita (Yonaga in Alice To Zoroku), Mao Ichimichi as Sakura (Bada in ClassicaLoid), Ryota Ohsaka as Hirata (Zen in Akagami No Shirayuki-hime), Toshiki Iwasawa as Kouenji, Masaki Mizunaka as Ryuuen, Satoshi Hino as Katsuragi (Saito in Zero No Tsukaima), Rina Hidaka as Sakayanagi (Ririchiyo in Inu x Boku SS), Daiki Abe as Ike, Mutsuki Iwanaka as Yamauchi and Yuichiro Umehara as Manabu (En in Binan Koukou Chikyuu Bouei-bu Love).

The opening theme is Cast Room by ZAQ. Surprisingly this is quite a catchy tune incorporating some hip hop elements in it and funky bass line. At least that was the beginning part. Then slowly it turns into some fast beat pop. But overall this song isn’t that entire bad. The ending theme, Beautiful Soldier by Minami plays to a slower beat. Also not too shabby. In the ending credits animation, we get a glimpse of the total points of certain individuals as well as the total class points. Not like it really matters because I don’t see how the class points really play a pivotal role or significant part in this anime. At least not in the current plotline. I mean, so what this guy or 1-A has this much points? It means they can afford almost anything but knowing that doesn’t really change anything.

As long as there is a ranking system, somebody has to be top, somebody has to be bottom. In trying to strive for a perfect world or system, we make it even more imperfect. It shows that all of us aren’t born with equal talents in the first place. It brings for the debate of equality versus equity. Would you rather have everyone have the same starting point (equality) or the same outcome (equity). Sometimes the sad truth is that some who genuine work so hard their entire lives will never end up getting anywhere. It makes us truly ask if humans will ever be equal to each other. Not expecting to be perfectly perfect but do we even come close to that ideal.

This series is interesting that it examines the psychological aspects of human nature. Although if you want to go into deeper and more technical and complex matters, there is a whole subject and books and researches for you to check out on your own. As far as this anime is concerned, it has interesting characters and setting but the pacing might be a little bit slow and ultimately it is too short to resolve anything in a satisfying way. So basically being human is one big contradiction itself because there will always be 2 sides of the coin and the sword will always be double edged. For everything good, there is something bad. Vice versa. So for an elite school that promotes meritocracy and talents for future sustainable generation may be good as it fosters competitiveness and as such brings out the best in people. But it also creates a dog eat dog world and brings out the worst there is just to be at the top or to just survive. You can never be perfect, but you can be better. After all, there is this saying that goes: Mankind makes living contradictory.