Every quarter we are running a Manga Review Contest where you can submit a review from a selected list of manga. If you want to participate or learn more, click the link. Read on to learn what others think of Classroom of the Elite Manga Volume 1 and Let's Go Karaoke!.
Classroom of the Elite Manga Volume 1 Review By Jake
By now, nearly everyone in the animanga community has at least heard of the Classroom of the Elite (COTE for short). Famous for being an anime that "never got a season two"—until it got a season two—COTE has amassed quite a large following of fans throughout the years, despite not getting another season of the anime for five years. After hearing about all the hype, I was interested in trying out the manga.
Kiyotaka Ayanokoji is a teenager accepted into a prestigious high school program put in place by the government to encourage Japanese students to go into the workforce. At the school, the students get a monthly allowance of points (a system of currency that allows them to purchase anything they may need). Not only do they get a large amount of money to spend, but the teachers seem extremely lenient, allowing students to talk and misbehave in class. Everything seems too good to be true...
This volume was such a different take on the standard high school storyline that many manga follow. There were many scenes that left me speechless, and I am dying to read more. Most of the characters have relatable motivations, and a lot of these interlocking interests of different characters are what drive the conflict. This manga appears to have a heavy theme of hiding appearances, as nothing and no one in this story can be taken at face value. Everyone seems to have a trick up their sleeve, and I love how engaging the character interactions are. The art is also quite good. The category that this manga really shines in is its main character. Ayanokoji is such a dynamic character from the start, with sarcastic quips and inner monologues that reminds me of my inner thoughts. I am interested in seeing where the story takes his character.
In conclusion, COTE volume one was engaging right from the start, producing a twisty spin on a classic high school trope. I loved the characters because while the plot may be lacking in some regards (they only seem to be doing high school activities at the moment), the characters' motivations are what take the story to another level. I rate the first volume at 9.2/10, and I am excited to read more!
Review By Cyndi
Classroom of the Elite is told from Ayanokouji Kiyotaka's point of view. Our protagonist is what you call an unreliable narrator. The manga is a very good companion for the light novel. I read the manga for the art and novel for more in-depth content and watched the anime just to see everything in action. The story has little elements of mystery, drama, comedy, and suspense.
The story follows Kiyotaka as he enters a new school that places students based on a merit system. Kiyotaka is placed in Class D, which is where all the "problem" students go. Despite his apathetic looks, quietness, and average grades, there is more to him than meets the eye. In the first volume, you can glean various information that hints that he is smarter than he lets on.
I think that the school system is very thought out and cannot wait to dive into this series more. The characters are well thought out and so far I cannot wait to find out more about other characters. You do have your typical tropes, but I do not feel like it takes away from the story. Tropes are there for a reason, because they work (on some people). The story explores/points out social issues and even issues that were always there but never thought about in-depth.
In conclusion, this would be nice to have in your collection, but to have a complete experience I would definitely get the light novel. The light novel just offers so much more details that the manga and anime leave out.
From the outside, attending the Tokyo Metropolitan Advanced Nurturing High School seems like a dream come true. Its students are given remarkable freedom, and it boasts a placement rate of almost one hundred percent. Tokyo Metropolitan can get students their places in the elite jobs and universities of their dreams—if they can win, barter, or save enough points to work their way up the ranks!Add to CartLearn More
Let's Go Karaoke! Review By Elizabeth
For decades, karaoke has been a polarizing activity. Many find it the perfect way to enjoy great songs with friends in a party atmosphere. For the introverted, tone-deaf, or merely shy person, however, a karaoke booth can feel like a house of horrors. I've had both reactions at different times, and so I appreciate films and stories that acknowledge this duality. Where does Yama Wayama's manga Let's Go Karaoke! fall in this scenario?
Middle-schooler Satomi is a star choral student preparing for his final vocal competition. His talent catches the ear of yakuza Kyouji, who is dreading a more sinister singing contest: his boss forces the mobsters to compete at karaoke and then tattoos the losers himself in an inept and painful fashion. Satomi is now Kyouji's vocal coach, juggling school and the demands of his unlikely new friend.
There are definitely some sketchy dynamics at play here, but Wayama does a great job with the tonal shifts. Just when the thought of a middle schooler plunged into the yakuza world starts to feel outrageous, a comic moment shows that Kyouji is also a pawn in this situation. When the buddy-buddy situation veers towards sugarcoating, Wayama starkly reminds readers that this is in fact a mob story. There's a surprising (and appreciated) lack of carnage in the panels, which convey a stylish noir mood with occasional touches of slapstick.
I don't normally seek out karaoke nights or yakuza stories, but they're an unexpected delight when they go well. Part comedy, part coming-of-age tale, part thriller, and entirely entertaining, Let's Go Karaoke! is a standalone gem.
Satomi, president of his school's choir club, gets embroiled in a bizarre situation when he's asked by Kyouji the yakuza to give him voice lessons. Surprisingly, Kyouji's quite serious and diligent in his practice too! As the two spend time together, where will this odd friendship take them...?Add to CartLearn More
Check back every month for our manga review contest page as we will be adding new manga to the list! Don't forget to submit your reviews for a chance to win a $75 gift card like Jake, Cyndi, and Elizabeth did!