Flash Review – Classroom of the Elite (Vol. 4.5)

It’s summer vacation, which means hardly a soul of the student body has any obligations to schoolwork, so, with so much free time, the cast run about doing the things this collection of short stories tells.

The Plainness:

These being short stories, there’s a limit to how mesmerizing any of the chapters can be, and this volume decides that if nothing can be great, everything should be acceptable. I wouldn’t describe any of the shorts as boring, but none of the things the characters do barely get an uptick on the excitement meter. There’s a noticeable increase near the end, when Ayakanoji gets conniving, but the rest is just everybody milling about until someone recommends a game of pool volleyball.

The Cunning Protagonist:

It’s no secret by this point that Ayakanoji is a manipulative psychopath, and I have mixed feelings about this reveal. On the one hand, there was a suspenseful air of mystery at not knowing what he was really up to. On the opposite hand, it’s thrilling getting to see his active behind-the-scenes work, but, being the unreliable narrator he is, the lack of reveal worked better in enforcing use of that trope, and it’s mildly annoying when he acts like he’s the same normal person he’s always been.

The Fortunetelling:

For my skeptical self, the worst story by far was the first. A fortuneteller drops by, and Ayakanoji goes to see them. He acknowledges that fortunetelling is just cold reading and he’s only going to see the art done in person, except he doesn’t. He gets his vague fortune told, makes no observations of the cold reading being done nor tries to fool the fortuneteller, then before he leaves is warned about a stroke of bad luck coming up and runs into said stroke fifty-nine seconds later. So which is it? Are fortunetellers full of it, or are they the real deal? This series wants to have its cake and eat it, too.

The Verdict:

Bland through and through. It tries to be clever by having the shorts lead into one another, but the connections are the most insignificant thing, like borrowing someone’s cell phone. This, combined with the fortunetelling whoopsie, has me thinking that this series isn’t as clever as it lets on to be. Ayakanoji’s schemes often are clever in their own right, but then it turns around and exclaims, “Look! That cute anime girl has huge knockers!”

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