Contrary to popular belief, I’m not the biggest fan of the ‘super-smart/super perfect’ protagonist trope in anime. I am a Himbo truther, through and through. So, it takes a lot for the called ‘smarter’ characters like Ayanokoji to impress me. It especially sucks if said main characters don’t have a reason why they are so intelligent, because it makes whatever skill they utilize those smarts for seem very ill-earned. A truly well-written main lead should be balanced in both its pros and cons. I mean, consider Ayanokoji of Classroom Of The Elite.
Now, Kiyotaka Ayanokōji wasn’t born with a high IQ. It was honed into him thanks to his experiences in the White Room. He was trained from a very young age to master his mental and physical skills, down to an almost frightening accuracy. But that doesn’t take away from his naturally perceptive nature which is how he’s getting through life at Tokyo Metropolitan Advanced Nurturing High School. After all, it takes more than brains to survive in an environment as cutthroat.
But it’s also a defense mechanism. With the kind of competitiveness that goes on in the halls of the esteemed high school, you can’t just skate through life there. A student has to be extremely aware of their surroundings, and of the people in those surroundings. They have to navigate their experiences with the utmost carefulness or risk failure and possible social expulsion.
So, why does our main lead fare so high in the brains category yet still only achieve entry into mid-tier Class D? Welcome to Character Analysis, the section of the website where we take a closer look at some of the most popular characters across the Anime stratosphere and break their attributes down to see what makes them so iconic. Today, we’re taking a look at what made Kiyotaka Ayanokōji the genius he is today. So, let’s dive in.
Kiyotaka Ayanokoji: The Genius Hides In Plain Sight
For all the hype his character gets, Ayanokōji himself isn’t much for fanfare. He’s pretty subdued as far as ‘intelligent’ protagonists go, trying to stay more hidden away. Instead of standing out, he chooses to blend in. And that is a testament to his incredible perception.
He knows standing out means having a target painted on your back. Ayanokōji is well aware of the art of coercion through mediocrity. If people don’t consider you a threat, they open up more easily to you. And he takes full advantage of this fact. He only involves himself as much as it furthers his agenda, knowing that unnecessary confrontation will only deter his goal.
And what helps him further is how, despite his quiet demeanor, he is very good at reading the people around him. He’s not a people person but that doesn’t mean he can’t discern their ambitions from a single conversation. It’s one of his main skills that, outside of his general knowledge, have come in serious clutch. I mean, nothing worse than being amongst awkward teenagers while being an awkward teenager yourself, right?
The High IQ Stems From High Pressure:
It’s no surprise that the level of skill Ayanokōji boasts isn’t natural. He was trained in the elusive White Room program, headed by his father.
He was also the only survivor of said program, which was brutal to the point where he came to view everyone around him as mere tools. Life, to Ayanokōji, is like a game of chess, with people as his pawns to manipulate.
And the only goal for someone trained in such a manner, is to win above all cost. It doesn’t matter what lengths he’d have to go through. All stakes are off when it comes to achieving his goals.
Ayanokoji Can Ace Almost Everything:
Be it class subjects, worldly topics such as art and philosophy, or even athletic sports that require a strict sense of tactical skill, Kiyotaka Ayanokoji has mastered it all. When he first arrives at the school, he purposefully gets a deliberate score of 50% exactly. That wasn’t because he didn’t know half the questions, but because he knew the answer to each one and chose his position in the high school.
And it’s this bending of the rules already in place that he has mastered so well. Ayanokoji has used this skill before, skirting around the rules and the purpose of points to bribe his teacher to make sure that his classmate, Ken Sudō, didn’t get expelled.
Beyond this, Ayanokoji is well-versed in history, with his ability to quote prolific figures out of nowhere. His tactical skills are far ahead enough that he can concoct plans like figuring out certain test answers. It is heavily implied that Ayanokoji was a shoo-in for A-Class, but he deliberately held back during the entrance exams.