Meeting Date: 7/21/2017
Disclaimer: The Herald Anime Club discusses shows as they’re airing. Naturally, there will be spoilers for a given episode. You have been warned!
Mike Ferreira: Hey everyone, and welcome to the Herald Anime Club. I’m Mike Ferreira, and this week’s panel includes Anthony Simpson, L.B. Bryant, and Lydia Rivers.
Anthony Simpson: Evening.
L.B. Bryant: Hello!
Mike Ferreira: And a big welcome back to Lydia. Great to have you back!
L.B. Bryant: *hugs for Lydia!*
Anthony Simpson: yay!
L.B. Bryant: Missed you!
Lydia Rivers: Hiii everyone! It’s so great to be back you guys! *hugs* It feels like I’m waking up from some sort of stasis, for reals.
Mike Ferreira: It’s great to have ya back.
L.B. Bryant: So… Classroom of the Elite. Who wants to do the honors of summing up the story thus far before we start dissecting?
Anthony Simpson: I will try
Anthony Simpson: So to put it simply this school in exists for the privileged. Said school doesn’t tell them how certain things work and they gets screwed over because of said school.
Lydia Rivers: Creators Try Too Hard To Convince Us Apathetic Savant is Cool; and Get Tossed Into The Adult World, Kind Of: High School With A Twist?!
Mike Ferreira: I boiled it down to “Ayn Rand School for the Gifted.”
Lydia Rivers: Leave it to the editor to boil it down into the fewest words, teehee.
Mike Ferreira: I try.
L.B. Bryant: hehe yeah I was about to say that I think I like Mike’s description best and was going to award him the first awesome point.
Anthony Simpson: What you wrote, Lydia, could possibly be the title for the next big hit LN.
Lydia Rivers: One point won’t buy you a lot in this system. It’s only worth a single yen.
Mike Ferreira: But you get 100,000 a month! (some restrictions apply)
L.B. Bryant: So, let’s start with some broad strokes and work our way down to the finer details… what does everyone think so far?
L.B. Bryant: Err, what does everyone think of the show thus far?
Lydia Rivers: Honestly, I’m not expecting a whole lot from this series. It started out interesting for the first five minutes, and the premise itself is pretty interesting, but the way they’re centering the story on this boy instead of the premise itself is going to kill it. Because they try too hard, way way too hard, to make him seem cool.
Lydia Rivers: That energy could be used on more interesting things than him, unfortunately..
Anthony Simpson: I will be blunt. I don’t care about the characters. I don’t care for indifference mcindifference face, holier than thou ice queen, or the questionably ethical teacher who I don’t think anyone would shed any tears if she got run over by a car.
Mike Ferreira: To put it in one simple sentence: “Baka and Test finally had its balls drop.” They take a few concepts from the series – namely the preferential awarding of facilities/cash/etc. to higher-performing classes, and really begin to put this darker twist on them. Unfortunately, like BakaTest, they’re focusing on the wrong characters entirely.
Lydia Rivers: How about you, LB? Are we going to have a rare season where we all agree?
L.B. Bryant: Hm, I’m going to play devil’s advocate and say that I’m actually in the other boat. While I’m not going to say that I’m in love with the characters I am finding them a little more interesting than the rest of the side characters thus far which is keeping me engaged and interested.
L.B. Bryant: If we were discussing the first episode alone I would be in the same boat as you all but the second episode went a long ways towards selling me.
Mike Ferreira: Honestly, I’m just a bit bummed on our main character.
Lydia Rivers: I find the teacher to be the most interesting of all the characters, but based on the writing’s performance I think that might be because of such limited screen time…
Anthony Simpson: The second episode didn’t sell me. It furthered my “I don’t care about these characters”.
Mike Ferreira: I liked the teacher. She’s ruthless
Anthony Simpson: The teacher pissed me off.
Lydia Rivers: She reminded me of college profs. That’s probably why I liked her lol.
Mike Ferreira: Yes! I countless professors just like her.
Lydia Rivers: She responded to everyone who actually had an interest in what she had to say, but she doesn’t care if you don’t.
Mike Ferreira: Exactly.
Mike Ferreira: And she teached, whether the class was listening or not.
Lydia Rivers: Although, she did kind of mock them for being kids…that was pretty rude. I guess better her than their bosses tho…
Anthony Simpson: I think what bothered me the most is that she didn’t tell them about how this system works.
Mike Ferreira: True, but I think she was a bit more justified in twisting the knife here. They’re not your typical class, after all – they’re a bit more wasteful, a bit more careless. She even noted that no class ever blew through their initial 100,000 points ($900) in their first month.
Mike Ferreira: Thing is… the system itself was transparent at the outset. “Keep doing well and the rewards keep coming.”
Mike Ferreira: “The school made an investment in you” implies that it expects a return.
Anthony Simpson: True
Lydia Rivers: I understand that part of the lesson tho. The best way to teach people to plan ahead is to let them feel what it’s like to struggle for a bit. For people who didn’t see any of that growing up, it’s probably the most effective way.
Mike Ferreira: Exactly
Mike Ferreira: They telegraphed it for the viewer too when they showed the free toiletries. “For people who spend all their points” – it implied that there was a very real possibility that it was going to happen, and mechanisms were in place to ensure it.
Anthony Simpson: Possibly. Since this is an elite school I’m guessing the students all come from well off families.
Mike Ferreira: Bingo.
Lydia Rivers: That’s an immediate plot hole I got just from the copywriting, Anthony. This is supposed to be an elite school that is difficult to become accepted to, yet there’s a flunkie class? I guess we could go with them accepting losers to puff up the “true elites” but that was never inferred was it?
Lydia Rivers: Yet all those kids were goofing off in a school that was apparently super hard to get into.
Mike Ferreira: I can see it, though
Anthony Simpson: I’ve mentioned before that I used teach karate in the past, and I had my beliefs and ways about teaching, and the way the teacher behaves doesn’t sit well me mainly because that is the opposite of how I taught.
Lydia Rivers: Yeah? I guess I got lucky in my accelerated classes. Most of the kids were really serious.
L.B. Bryant: To be fair, the reason why I was able to buy that premise so easily is because I’ve seen it work else where such as in AssClass which has the E Class which is the rejects of the elite.
Anthony Simpson: I wouldn’t say so much that they are flunkies as its very tight in terms of grades and you slip a bit and your in the back so to speak.
Mike Ferreira: Exactly
Anthony Simpson: I was just about mention Assassination Classroom.
Anthony Simpson: Think of it like this. Its like track and field event at the Olympics. You might be the slowest in your race but you still better than those who didn’t make it.
Lydia Rivers: Yeah, but these guys weren’t even trying! They were even tardy and stuff? They weren’t just being dunces. The kids in Assassination Classroom at least tried. And they KNEW they were the heel class. These guys didn’t at first! We saw that when delinquent boy kicked over the trashcan
Mike Ferreira: I’d like to relate with a story from my own experiences.
L.B. Bryant: Additionally I work as a teacher as well but the method the teacher uses in this series doesn’t offend me at all. I’m not going to use that method in my classes but it certainly makes for a nice addition to the darkness that this series is putting out.
Mike Ferreira: I took a semester at URI. I was in more than a few high-level courses at the school, many of which were filled with freshmen.
Mike Ferreira: And, really, in a few of these courses, the teachers didn’t enforce homework rules, they didn’t care if you were there – they only bothered if you missed the exam.
Mike Ferreira: With a bunch of 17-18 year olds – many of whom were incredibly intelligent people – gaining their first dose of freedom and independence, they began to slack off.
Mike Ferreira: Suddenly, people started coming to class less, assignments didn’t get turned in.
Mike Ferreira: More than a quarter in each class failed outright, because they fell into the exact same traps these kids did.
Mike Ferreira: The teacher give you the rope – it’s up to you whether you fashion a lifeline or a noose
Mike Ferreira: Is it my teaching style? Of course not – but it’s a very real one.
L.B. Bryant: @Lydia: See I’m still not convinced that the students aren’t totally unrealistic. From what I’ve gathered, the students led privileged lives and now are getting their own lives in an elite school with a 100,000 yen monthly allowance. To me it feels like they’re slacking off because they think the hard part is over and the rest is easy. I’ve heard more than one anecdote about Japan where colleges and prep schools are hard to get into but incredibly easy to get out of and I think that might be the case here.
Anthony Simpson: You have a point there Mike.
Lydia Rivers: Oh I see. So instead of moving onto the next challenge, the students felt like they could relax?
L.B. Bryant: In a matter of speaking.
Mike Ferreira: Bingo.
Lydia Rivers: I think I was insulated from that kind of student because we were all looking ahead to graduate school…there’s no way we could slack off for one second and be competitive for a fellowship haha.
L.B. Bryant: Yeah, that’s not the case here and I think that in many schools or classrooms across Japan (the world even) you’re going to run into situations that are similar to what this series presents.
Mike Ferreira: Well, they do say that some schools get easier as the price goes up…
L.B. Bryant: I’ve heard that.
Lydia Rivers: So ok! These guys slacked off and got a slap in the face! POW! But not our three main characters! They saw it coming.
Mike Ferreira: Yep.
Anthony Simpson: I have heard about stuff like that as well. I did see it a bit in tech school with some people slacking off.
Lydia Rivers: Do you know who the main character, Ayanokoji, reminded me of tho? Kirito from Sword Art Online, and I think that’s partly why I hated him so much. There is no Asuna to make me tolerate his presence.
Mike Ferreira: Really?
Mike Ferreira: His listless behavior reminded me a lot of a very boring Saitama.
Lydia Rivers: Yeah. I got that smell from him
Anthony Simpson: I just call him indifference mcindifference face
Mike Ferreira: We could just call him Keanu.
Lydia Rivers: He’s not though. They just want us to think he is artificially, to build up his coolness factor.
Anthony Simpson: I did like Kirito from SAO so I know I am an outlier.
Lydia Rivers: It’s ok, I’m overly critical of him and I admit it.
L.B. Bryant: Give the ice queen a bit of time to thaw. There are layers to her that need time to come to the surface, which we’re already starting to see with the physical fight she had with her older brother.
Mike Ferreira: Yep. Still, her brother’s a cock.
Mike Ferreira: You don’t punch someone in the stomach – that’s how Houdini died, dammit!
Lydia Rivers: I bet it’s going to plot twist into something like, he’s trying to shelter her from something by being mean….
L.B. Bryant: I’m holding out hope that there’s more to it than that.
Mike Ferreira: mm, probably. Just like how miss “I wanna be everybody’s friend!” will likely turn out to be the biggest two-face on earth.
Lydia Rivers: Nah, see they gave her the bubbly figure so that’s got to match her personality
Lydia Rivers: I bet they just give her a dark past as a reason she has to be everyone’s friend
L.B. Bryant: I agree with Lydia there.
Mike Ferreira: I dunno. It just seems weird to have someone so… kind in a school where even the faculty laughs at your failure
Lydia Rivers: …Sorry, I just smell so many tropes from this show that I’m extrapolating upon them for it. I am 100% open to being wrong in the best ways.
Lydia Rivers: I mean even the way they made his internal dialogue, the part where he got his first contact info in high school from a girl? He was like I guess I should be happy SIIIIGH, but I’m NOOOOT, BUT I GUESS I SHOULD KEEP IT LOL. Really?
Lydia Rivers: I’m pretty sure I became a facedesk meme at that point.
Anthony Simpson: I think another reason for my issues with the teacher is something that happened to my dad when he was in elementary school that he told me about. He told me he had a teacher call him stupid when he made a mistake and he told me that really bothered him as a little kid and it made him feel worthless.
Mike Ferreira: Indeed. It’s like… “dude. We should call you Shadow the Hedgehog, you’ve got so much edge”
Anthony Simpson: I think I’m going to call him edgelord mcedgelord.
Lydia Rivers: Yeah, there is no mercy for kids who don’t go well with the negative motivation stuff.
Mike Ferreira: Indeed.
Lydia Rivers: Well it’s just that we know from his actions that he’s not as apathetic as he seems, so they don’t need to go out of their way and waste AIR on stupid lines like that. We realize that he’s totally capricious now, mkay?
Mike Ferreira: Exactly.
L.B. Bryant: Yeah, I got force fed negative reinforcement as a child from both family members and peers so the teacher still doesn’t strike me as particularly harsh. She’s pretty chill comparatively so what I’ve experienced in the past.
Mike Ferreira: Yeah. I saw a lot of my college profs in her.
Mike Ferreira: Odd question: Was anyone else hit with some tonal whiplash when episode 2 opened with that Gainax-y “BEWBS” moment in the pool?
Anthony Simpson: I wasn’t.
L.B. Bryant: The thing about Ayanokouji that is striking me right now though is that there’s more to him. When he fought ice queen’s brother he showed some real skills so there’s something to him that has me curious.
L.B. Bryant: And no, I wasn’t either.
Anthony Simpson: I mean we had a shot in episode 1 of the MC looking at the cheerful girls breasts from his POV.
Lydia Rivers: Nope, because they’d already at that point used fan service as a filler….
Mike Ferreira: Fair enough.
Lydia Rivers: I mean, I’m not against fan service. It’s just that it’s easier for me to notice when they’re using it as a transition (so cheap) because it does nothing for me.
Mike Ferreira: I was just caught off guard because I went straight into episode 2 after the first. It went from “lol, yeah… you blew your money, get fucked” to “bouncy water battle at the pool!”
Anthony Simpson: It would have stood out more of if the POV of looking at that girls breasts didn’t happen in episode 1.
Mike Ferreira: Fair enough.
Lydia Rivers: Omg, and then~~! I actually LOL’d when she answered the phone with the hair dryer on. I don’t know any person who would do that, except for maybe someone who’s never used one before? So artificial. I have to tease it.
Mike Ferreira: I’ll admit – I had a good chuckle there.
Anthony Simpson: In my line of work in a call center I’ve heard a lot of things in the background with calls before.
Mike Ferreira: I believe it
Mike Ferreira: Hrm. Any final comments before we close the books on this week’s discussion?
Anthony Simpson: If it wasn’t for watching it weekly for the chat I would have dropped it after the first episode.
L.B. Bryant: I’m on board for awhile longer.
L.B. Bryant: I want to know what these characters and the school is hiding.
Lydia Rivers: I’m looking forward to there being more to the lead boy’s character than the one hook of being a savant who amuses himself by pretending to be apathetic. I really hope there is such a thing or I will be very bored and choose to amuse -myself- with teasing every single plot crutch they manage to summon. I also still find the premise pretty interesting.
Mike Ferreira: At this point, there’s an equal chance of it being a decent show or a dumpster fire. I’m kind of curious to see which way it goes.
Lydia Rivers: Agreed!
L.B. Bryant: Yups
Mike Ferreira: Aniwho, that’s all for this week’s meeting. Have a great night, everybody!
Anthony Simpson: Have a good night.
L.B. Bryant: Night!
Lydia Rivers: Bye everyone! Stay shiny!