Entering Kodo Ikusei Senior High School is equivalent to playing a completely different ball game, since each student is evaluated on his “merits” and behavior in everyday behavior, which is constantly evaluated with the help of strange interactive exams that do not require special training.
Those who are considered adequate are generously rewarded with large sums of money, and the rest are ranked according to the points system and treated accordingly. The biggest catch? No one seems to fully know the rules of the school, and climbing the ladder seems to involve ruthless, merciless judgments at the expense of the less deserving; which makes the “Elite Class” a perfect example of social Darwinism in action.
Unpacking Social Darwinism
The term “social Darwinism” combines the concept of “survival of the fittest” with the social structures that exist in any community. Those who follow this ideology are usually not the cutest characters, as they usually believe that natural selection matters more than the concept of good and evil. Social Darwinists will either stand aside and watch someone else’s struggle, or actively escalate the situation, while increasing their status. Two of the most famous examples of social Darwinism in the history of anime are presented in the form of Light Yagami from The Death Note and Vegeta from The Dragon Pearl Z, who both had a God complex in relation to society and took matters into their own hands.
Social Darwinists idolize a capitalist society with a strong hierarchical system in which they have to constantly justify their superiority by belittling others. Not only does Kodo Ikusei High School encourage such behavior, many of its students also seem to have adopted a social Darwinian mentality in their lives. Generally speaking, in a fictional setting, these corrupt characters will begin to see reason only if an inferior weakling personally knocks them off a high horse, especially when there is a “friendship force” on their weak opposition.
To avoid further stereotypes, social Darwinism has been divided into subcategories with different levels of ambition and sociopathic tendencies as follows:
Straw meritocrats: they believe that their superiority elevates them above the need for morality, and ambitions are valued higher than kindness. Nazis: not only do they belong to the master race, but all inferior patterns must be eliminated in order to create a “pure” society. Evolutionary biologists: perhaps they do not contribute to the death of others, like the Nazis, but they strongly advocate the eradication of inferiority “for the good of the species.” Morons-justifiers: Just use the concept of social Darwinism as an excuse for Sociopathic actions; an unjustified superiority complex that takes advantage of the system. Wrestlers: believe that survival in a harsh competitive environment builds character and, as a rule, have a cynical outlook on life, since those who have power do not necessarily deserve it. They don’t condemn the use of manipulation tactics or ruthlessness to get to the top. Punishers of Weakness: Being a superior species, they are responsible for tracking down weaklings and making their lives miserable. Hooligans especially love this perverted ideology.
Some of Koudo Ikusei’s students radiate social Darwinian qualities, but the following applicants exhibit the strongest traits. Kiyotaka Ayanakoji believes that those who want to succeed must fight, and therefore his goal is not to make people’s lives easier, but also that he will not stand idly by and watch someone cause significant harm. Ayanakoji does not interfere when Kei Karuizawa is bullied, he watches over her, but leaves her to her fate, but does not hesitate to help Airi Sakura. His complete lack of emotion causes strong sociopathic vibrations, but he clearly knows how to play this game, and seems to be well versed in the school grading system.
Suzune Horikita is also the patron saint of fighters against certain ideologies of evolutionary biology, as she will go out of her way to help others only if their failure directly affects her. She is outwardly cynical and seems to consider herself superior to the other members of Class 1-D, acting as if she is constantly surrounded by complete idiots. Ken Sudo, on the other hand, is more in the category of justifying jerks, along with Rokusuke Koenji, who both fulfill their own mission – to drag their inflated egos with them; whereas Kakeru Ryuen is undoubtedly a Punisher of Weaknesses (no explanation required!)
As the head of the student council, Manabu Horikita seems to fully support the social structure in Kodo Ikusei, however, he does not shy away from resorting to violence to teach his subordinates a valuable lesson.