Classroom of the Elite Volume 1 [Manga] Review - High School Fantasy Turned Nightmare!

High School Fantasy Turned Nightmare!
  • Mangaka : KINUGASA Syougo (Story), ICHINO Yuyu (art), TOMOSESHUNSAKU (character design)
  • Publisher : Seven Seas Entertainment
  • Genre : Seinen, Harem, Ecchi, Psychological, Drama, School Life
  • Published : March 2022 — present

The psychological school drama Youkoso Jitsuryoku Shijou Shugi no Kyoshitsu e (Classroom of the Elite) stormed onto the anime scene in 2017, quickly gathering fans thanks to its characters and plot. In early March of this year, the series was approved for a second season, and almost at the same time, the first volume of the manga adaptation hit the shelves as well.
Classroom of the Elite has a huge following of devoted fans, and we’ve heard plenty about the light novels and anime, so before we binge-watch the anime in time for Season 2, we’re checking out Volume 1 of the manga!

Today on Honey’s Anime, we’re reviewing Youkoso Jitsuryoku Shijou Shugi no Kyoshitsu e (Classroom of the Elite) manga volume 1!

Contains Spoilers

Discussion Time

Classroom of the Elite takes place in an unusual high school known as the “Tokyo Metropolitan Advanced Nurturing High School”, which promises to place graduates in high-ranking universities or jobs. For most of the students, this place seems like a dream come true — all students live on-campus in luxury dorms, are given monthly budgets, and are allowed to purchase anything from food to clothes to video games at the on-campus facilities.

Our main character Ayanokouji Kiyotaka is smart and capable, and seemingly has his own motives for wanting to stay in Class D — the so-called “loser class”. Meanwhile, his classmate and obligatory tsundere, Horikita Suzune, is intent on climbing the class ladder to the prestigious Class A.

Despite promises of a cutthroat psychological drama, there isn’t much to talk about in Volume 1. Most of the content sets up the various characters, and although we can tell that many of them are scheming for themselves, this volume mostly plays out like a high school slice-of-life.

The art-style deserves special praise — every panel and drawing drips with the same brilliant quality as the light novel’s full-page artwork, which is an impressive feat for a manga adaptation. There are also lots of ecchi moments that appeal to a broader range of readers, with plenty of opportunities to show off the female classmates’ bodies (both real and imagined).

Why You Should Read Youkoso Jitsuryoku Jitsuryoku Shijou Shugi no Kyoshitsu e (Classroom of the Elite) (Manga) Volume 1

1. Watch This Space

From what we know of the light novels and the general premise of the series itself, there’ll be plenty of psychological manipulation and drama to come. The first volume seeds the idea that not everything is what it appears to be at this school. Most of the characters have ulterior motives, including our main character himself!
If this volume is all about setting up the school and the characters, we think the next few volumes will reveal more of the plot. There are definitely good things to come, but it might take more than a single volume to get there.

2. It’s Pretty To Look At

There’s no beating around the bush when it comes to reading manga — readers want something pleasing to the eye. In that regard, this first volume is an absolute treat. As we mentioned above, the character designs and full-page spreads are stunning, with no expense spared, even in the gag panels.

With such a large roster of characters, it’s important that they all look distinct, and the mangaka has done a fantastic job here. The girls are all gorgeous but have unique personalities, and the guys have enough distinction to them to be identifiable. It’s definitely something worthy of mentioning, particularly if you’ve been reading the light novels and want to see your favorite characters drawn more often!

Why You Should Skip Youkoso Jitsuryoku Shijou Shugi no Kyoshitsu e (Classroom of the Elite) (Manga) Volume 1

1. Adaptation vs Reinterpretation?

The manga definitely wants to appeal to a broader audience, and that’s created a bigger emphasis on ecchi elements. There are incredibly suggestive scenes that probably should’ve bumped the manga’s rating from “Teen” to “Older Teen” in our opinion, with direct references to some more ‘adult’ activities, shall we say?

And although we do love fan-service, it feels forced, as though the team were afraid that readers wouldn’t engage with the characters unless we had a swimsuit or bra panel every thirty pages or so. It dampens the ’psychological drama’ aspect of Classroom of the Elite, instead pulling this closer into ‘high school harem’ territory.

Final Thoughts

There’s definitely room to grow for Classroom of the Elite, but when there’s already an anime and an entire series of light novels to read, recommending the first volume of the manga is a little hard. We’ll be waiting for the second and third volumes to see how the team tackles the main storyline.

If you’ve already consumed Classroom of the Elite and are looking for more of your favorite characters, then definitely pick up the manga! You’ll find plenty to love, even if the adaptation deviates from the original tone; and besides, the drawings alone are worth the price of admission.

Are you a Classroom of the Elite fan? Have you read the manga adaptation yet? Let’s talk down in the comments below, and as always, thanks for reading!

Yokoso-Jitsuryoku-Shijo-Shugi-no-Kyoshitsu-e-1-Wallpaper-700x420 Classroom of the Elite Volume 1 [Manga] Review - High School Fantasy Turned Nightmare!


Author: Brett Michael Orr

I'm a writer, gamer, and reviewer of manga & light novels, from Melbourne, Australia. When I'm not creating a new world, I'll be absorbed in a good JRPG, watching some anime, or reading up a storm!

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