Flash Review – Classroom of the Elite (Vol. 5)

Summer vacation is tragically over for the students of the Advanced Nurturing High School, and already they’re pitted against one another in fierce competition, this time athleticism being put to the test for the school-wide sports festival. However, scheming and plotting is afoot as another of the classes guns for gutting Class D alive, and to make matters worse, there’s a traitor among the midst.

The Focus:

This volume cuts the meaningless small-talk of previous volumes and focuses squarely on the sports festival and the various conflicts arising from it. There’s no question as to whether a given conversation is relevant to the plot at hand, so there’s no letdown that the novel wasted pages on Ayakanoji’s chitchat with some hopeless virgin about his hopeless virginity.

The Character Growth:

Probably the most pleasantly shocking thing to come out of this volume is character growth, and from two of the most stubborn characters to boot. It almost feels like a miracle that it happened, since light novels and manga, for all the length they’re afforded, are character growth deserts. I’m a bit apprehensive at the growth cropping up at the series’s tender age, but it does make me look forward to seeing how the pair will treat themselves and others moving forward.

The Dialogue Tags:

The very first criticism I had for this series was the confusion concocted by its sparsity of dialogue tags, and the books have addressed this issue. However, they’re doing so spitefully, because now they’ll make it obvious who’s talking before a quote but still add the tag afterward, like the series thinks I’m a total buffoon who can’t tell who’s speaking unless it’s spelled out for me with a flashing neon sign.

The Verdict:

This is what Classroom of the Elite should be. Brilliant strategies and counter-strategies abound, turncoats, and almost literal cutthroat class warfare. If every volume could achieve, or better yet succeed, this level of thrill and suspense, I would hop on new releases the second they were put on the shelves. And all it took was the series stopping to chat up or ogle every stranger it passes on the street.

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