Volume 11 finally put an end to the conflict between the first years or Kiyo’s peers and damn that was just something. Ryuen’s splendid comeback was one thing but Arisu putting up a fight against Kiyo is just pure hype. Not only was it entertaining but it also finally justify her position as the queen of the first year (well, on paper basically).
It is funny yet interesting to note that the approach from each pair is almost completely opposite to what they had been doing before. While Ryuen does use tricks, he seems to have always preferred a more “brute-force” method to get what he wants. However, for the final term exam, the use of trickery and background manipulation is something refreshing to see.
RIP Ichinose though, I’ve expected her to regain her momentum after taking so many Ls but welp, probably the fate of being an ideal waifu material lmao (no hate).
Class A or Arisu, on the other hand, just simply “charge” into the battle with no underhanded methods whatsoever, unlike what she used to do like in the civil war against Katsuragi or the information manipulation against Ichinose.
All said and done, what truly captivated me the most is definitely the long-awaited showdown between Arisu and Kiyo. I mean, when taken from a birds-eye view this does feel a bit boring and too “ordinary” given the context in Elite Classroom.
However, when we got into what actually happened during the events, it really got me hyped most of the time. One of the most important things is how some of the lesser-known characters got to demonstrate themselves as well such as the bois from Kiyo’s gang and Arisu’s lackeys, which was cool to read through.
Some of the events were standard, but the mental flash arithmetic is probably what I didn’t think would be that hype and intense, even though it was relatively short.
The spotlight, however, still lies in the chess match at the decisive round, and wow it was so engaging in many ways. Firstly, this is probably the first time Kiyo has been pushed this far to a disadvantage.
Yes, we can all tell he’s still league above Arisu but compared to other prominent players in the first year, I don’t think there is anyone else capable of forcing Kiyo to go this seriously.
That being said, the main selling point of this match wasn’t just showcasing Arisu’s true capability but more so about revealing her true goal, which is to guide Kiyo into a more “proper” path of a human being, not as a killing machine (well not literally but you get the idea).
I personally find the relationship between Arisu and Kiyo very fascinating. They might appear as enemies (given how this school operates) but as they interact it slowly develops into something much more complex and whimsical, to say the least. I mean yeah Arisu does have that fiery fighting spirit in her but she did all this just to:
- Have fun. This is probably the most important because she never really cares about winning or losing in the first place.
- Prove that her ideal is correct (nurtured talent vs natural talent)
- Show Kiyo one of the many sides of being a normal person, which also, albeit coincidentally, aligns with his purpose in this school.
So this kinda makes them like frenemies? LMAO I don’t even know anymore but it’s just so fucking hilarious and cool to see how they went from “IMMA KILL YOUR ASS” in the morning to “Let’s chillingly walk back to the dome together” in the evening.
I think it would not be a stretch to say this is how all competition should be. When it comes down to business time, you show no mercy and respond to your opponent in kind. But when it’s all over, they can still relax and have some casual trivial talk without any ulterior motive whatsoever behind (that final illustration whew).
In any case, I don’t think this will be the last time Arisu has a showdown with Kiyo, there are lots to come in the remaining 2 years of their high school time and I sure hope it’ll be even more of a bomb than this one.