The desert island episodes of Classroom of the Elite have been a chance to step back, reset, and look at the students individually as well as the structure of each of Tokyo Metropolitan Advanced Nurturing School’s four freshman classes. Of course, D-Class takes center stage, and especially of note is how the class is managed by its leadership. Like any typical classroom, D-Class is full of disparate characters, and their differences come to light during this excursion. It’s a time of intense activity and stress, making it an interesting case study in how to manage a group of kids with different abilities and different goals in a time of crisis.
The week on the island is an immediate challenge for D-Class’ leadership. An activity that invites what could be a high level of stress or, if taken less seriously, great enjoyment, reveals the personal objectives of individuals, which don’t always align with the loose mission of the class. Most obvious is Koenji, who does what he wishes without any regard to points or money. He’s never been on board for any collective goal, and makes that abundantly clear when he jumps (back onto the) ship.
While the situation with Koenji is difficult to address (and it’s too late to try to being working with him on the island hoping that it’ll pay dividends for that events), others can be. There’s an immediate divide that begins to happen on the island, with some split between boys and girls (the portable toilet issue). There are also lots of other little problems that aren’t as evident, like Horikita’s opposition to doing just about anything. These problems are dealt with when central leadership merges in the form of Hirata.
But having some form of leadership isn’t enough; it has to be strong. Hirata does a good job of this, providing D-Class a common goal maybe best described as “winning but not at all costs,” creating compromise that is acceptable for most members of the class. The goal is a little looser than ones developed by A-Class and C-Class, but it’s still effective. Hirata also does a good job of delegating, giving out jobs to students that help them grow, but which are often also related to their strengths, such as Ike’s general camp knowledge. Meanwhile, by creating a culture of choice and community, students take initiative, aiding the group, such as when Ayanokōji discovers the “leader” of A-Class, which may result in extra points. Hirata develops his classmates’ trust (also certainly due to his actions previous to the trip), which is critical in keeping the miniature organization going during the stolen pantsu incident (not words I ever thought I’d write, by the way). That one event may not have only destroyed all they worked toward on the island, but their class as a whole.
I’m sure further challenges await D-Class – not only now, but in the future. For instance, what about the personal issues related to the strongest members of the class – Ayanokōji, Horikita, Kushida, and Hirata himself? What about the slow progress toward moving up in the point tally? But the class is in a unique position because of this event, collectively learning how they can be successful while moving toward a goal and working under a manager that encourages an atmosphere of collaboration, excellence, and reason – items that are lacking in the more talented A-Class.