Nanase's father has just been arrested for murder. While his guilt remains in question, a perverted gang of Nanase's classmates have already passed judgment, and are punishing her for her father's crimes. To atone for his sins, she must obey their every sexual command to satisfy their twisted desires. At school, in her room, and even on a crowded train. No matter where they are, Nanase must pleasure them in any way possible. But not all of Nanase's classmates can be so easily satiated. Someone's publishing very detailed articles about her nightly lustful escapades in a special Atonement Newspaper! Spread across campus, this public humiliation might just be worse than her nightly tortures!
Classroom of Atonement is a very, very odd hentai, and I don't think I mean that in a good way. The animation is really underwhelming, the sound is nothing to write home about, making this kinda fail as erotica. The characters and plot seem a little reminiscent of School Days, except this is ACTUALLY a hentai. I should mention I didn't like School Days, so I do NOT mean that in a good way.
CoA follows our leading lady, Nanase, as she gets raped repeatedly (as atonement) because her dad is a murderer.
"Wait, what?" you say? Nope, it's exactly what
it says on the tin. Rape, rape, one consensual sex scene out of nowhere, and more rape. Sometimes other girls get raped, too, because they're concerned about Nanase and/or nearby. Yeah. That's it.
I can't tell what CoA is trying to say about anything, and I don't attribute this to excellently artistic ambiguity. Is it saying that children are responsible for their parents' crimes? Is it saying that sinfulness is inescapably heritable? Is it saying that eye-for-an-eye punishment is a good method of justice? Or is it showing us the aftermath of these attitudes as a warning not to accept them? It's hard to tell, because the presentation is just so bad.
For one, the art has not aged well. CoA is an exercise in dynamic panning, which does not work nowadays, especially in hentai. So anyways, as such, there's a lot of still art, which goes off-model very, very often. I'm not entirely sure there WERE models. The colors are dreary, although not in an X TV sort of way where it's intentionally nearly grayscale. Overall, CoA is nothing much to look at. This goes for the sex as well, the seximatography of which is bland.
The sound was, well, for the most part not there. The voice acting was okay. I can't even remember any of the music or anything about the sound effects, not even during sex, when I usually pay attention. As said before, CoA has a bad presentation, and there's really little way to get around that.
The characters aren't much, either. Most of them (read: non-main) have so little personality that I honestly couldn't understand WHY they'd do such things. Cookie-cutter is the very best I could say about them, and that's a stretch. Not that humanizing rapists is necessarily a good thing. After all, that might make the viewers, GASP, think!
Nanase, the main heroine, is somewhat intriguing in how she deals with the stress of being assaulted and her own feelings of guilt, whether about her father's crime or about her own predicament, for which, of course, she is entirely unresponsible. How realistic you think her reactions are might make all the difference. In my opinion, episode 2 developments didn't quite take things the way I expected, which is to say I became a bit skeptical of her character.
There's one other interesting character, whom I shall call The Organizer, who facilitates but doesn't participate in any of the rapes. He's also the one who guilt-trips Nanase all the time. A lot of my interest in CoA came from wanting to know what was up with him. Come the end of episode 2, we find out. I was not hugely impressed.
The story is largely intertwined with the character development of Nanase, and, as mentioned earlier, it basically revolves around her getting raped and wondering why she has to atone for anything and/or feeling guilty about just about everything. This is kinda hard to watch, unsurprisingly. It's partly because Nanase ends up walking the line between starting to like getting raped and just plain shutting down emotionally. This is a bit awkward, because that's the line between typical rape-based erotica and something psychologically dark, and those two types of stories are meant to produce very different feelings in the viewers. And, since CoA walks this line with approximately the same grace as a drunken pit bull trying to chase a runaway tennis ball, we don't get a complex, deep, and titillating piece of cinema. No, what we get is bad hentai.
And yet, for all this ranting about how bad it is, I've not totally bomb-rated it. Why? Well, despite how cumbersome it is about it, CoA brings up a number of philosophical questions, as well as presenting what might be a realistic portrayal of a repeated-rape-victim's mindset. It's gripping, in a way, and I can imagine some viewers finding it very interesting.
Regardless, however, CoA fails as erotica, which means it's hard to recommend it to anyone. I mean, what would I ask? "Hey, do you want to witness the psychological deterioration of a girl who is explicitly raped and guilt-tripped about both it and other things in her life that aren't her fault?" Not exactly going to grab many viewers, I'd say. Oh well.