We are given some exposition about the world of this show – specifically, the “National Special-Level University Exam”. Success or failure in this exam determines your success and failure in life. Students are divided into “L-Types” – Learning Types , who use natural intelligence to study and memorize diligently – and “C-Types” – Cheating Types, who use technology and trickery to pass. C-Types who are caught during the exam are stripped naked and flushed out of the building by massive waves.
We are then shown an example of a C-Type student who uses small projectiles hidden in his pens to knock the proctors out and copy off of his L-Type friend. In return, he protects his friend from other jealous L-Types who attack him in an attempt to limit the number who pass. In the end, it is revealed that the C-Type passed and has a successful life while the L-Type failed and is miserable.
…And then, in the final 2 minutes of the episode, we find out that the two men we were following weren’t even the main characters. We’re introduced to a completely new duo, C-Type boy Shokatsu Mumei and L-Type girl Ou Koui, who are about to take the exam. Mumei’s father was wrongly imprisoned, and apparently passing the exam is the only way to free him.
Look, I’m not even going to get into how much the premise of this weirds me out. As someone raised in a society with a heavy emphasis on standardized testing, I feel a less than zero need to watch a show about taking standardized examinations. Already lived it, don’t need to see it.
Instead, let’s talk about how TERRIBLY paced this episode was. It’s a 12 minute short that was about 90% exposition. It focused primarily on a pair of unnamed characters, and didn’t introduce the main characters until the last few minutes. When you have so little time to utilize, focusing on characters that we’re never going to see again is a terrible way to spend it. I didn’t realize until I’d watched the whole thing, but every line of dialogue in this episode was spoken by a narrator. That’s…not a great way to hook in viewers.
Also, it tried to play the whole thing off as way more dramatic than it is. Yes, anime is dramatic, especially sports/competition anime, but there was no need to punctuate EVERY one of the narrator’s lines with pounding, ‘epic’ music. It frankly got exhausting by the end of the episode. The image of the unnamed C-Type boy “triumphing” over the exam by standing on a hill of bodies of “defeated” students was also way overblown rather than cool/effective.
I guess I liked it better than To Be Hero? I mean, at least there wasn’t any fanservice or toilet jokes. Still, the score it gets is only half a Dio higher.