No sooner have our heroes gotten off the boat then they move right into their next test—the yearly sports festival. Like all the previous tests in the series, this one once again pits the success of the individual against the success of the group. In this case, the best chance for winning as a team comes at the expense of the individual—the choice for the students is to either give up their chance at getting bonus points on the upcoming test (if they’re more athletically inclined) or , alternatively, risk losing points on said test (if they’re less athletically inclined). While the 100 class points they would get for winning should logically offset this, at the end of the day, some members of the class will win big while others will lose big.
But the actual issue here is the problem it reveals about human psychology. For the most part, individuals see themselves in one of two ways: either A) they are “normal” and assume that their views and experiences are in line with the majority of people or B) they assume that they are better than everyone else in one way or another.
Horikita’s problem is that she sees herself as both: not only does she believe herself to be better than everyone else, she also believes she is “normal” in the sense that anyone can be as physically and academically gifted as she is through perseverance and hard work. To her, everyone else in the class is just lazy when it comes to academics, physical activities, or both. She also sees it as each individual’s responsibility to come up to her level. This toxic mindset is why Ayanokoji refuses to go along with her plan: he sees how her logical, goal-oriented path to victory will ultimately harm the psychologically class as a whole in the long run.
Remember, Ayanokoji’s goal is not necessarily to win every competition, but to make his class the new Class-A. He needs to forge Class-D into a group capable of becoming Class-A before anything else. That means doing things like teaching Horikita that she can’t simply expect people to come up to her level. After all, despite her talent and hard work she cannot keep up with Ayanokoji in the three-legged race—and this gives her the rude awakening that him coming down to her pace and supporting her will produce better results than him simply running full-out and trying to drag her along.
Horikita has to learn that she needs to help her companions in becoming the best they can be—even if she lowers herself a bit in the process. Whether she realizes it or not, in this situation, victory requires a team effort and even the MVP can’t win games alone. An above-average player with a solid team can beat a superior player with a weak team any day. At the end of the day, it’s the overall skill of the team that matters.
• Poor Sakura proves the folly to Horikita’s way of thinking. She’s out there trying her best in the background but she’ll never reach Horikita’s level through hard work alone. She needs someone with experience to show her the way.
• Ayanokoji sees himself as better than everyone else, which is why his arrogance is also his biggest weakness. As a result, Sudo is able to trick him into revealing more than he intended about his actual physical strength, as evidenced by Sudo’s sly smile after the fact.
• I wonder if Ayanokoji realizes that Karuizawa’s not trying to second-guess him. Rather, she is trying to understand his goals so that she can go above and beyond in supporting him instead of simply following orders. Her goal is to become an irreplaceable tool so that she never has to worry about him cutting off his protection.
• As I understand the whole traitor thing going on, Ayanokoji is trying to manufacture a traitor rather than let one appear naturally. Knowing who the traitor is allows him to control the information that the enemy receives.
• I’m not sure at this point if there actually was a Class-D traitor in the last test or if Aynokoji is simply pretending there was to plant the idea of becoming a traitor in someone’s mind.
• The way Class-D is planning their team around a single person—ie, sudo—is worrying. Sure, he may be the most athletic of the group, but the sheer number of events almost guarantees he won’t be at his best in the later ones. But more than that, all another team has to do is take him out (assuming the class has no backups ready) to ensure a major loss for Class-D as a whole.
• The other thing to remember with this whole sports festival ordeal is that their team isn’t simply Class 1-A and Class 1-D but all Class-As and all Class-Ds across all three years. But something tells me we’ll get into that more in the coming weeks.
Classroom of the Elite II is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
Richard is an anime and video game journalist with over a decade of experience living and working in Japan. For more of his writings, check out his Twitter and blog.