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The wikia page stated that Toshinou Kyouko is 14 years old, Funami Yui is 14, Akaza Akari is 13 and Chinatsu is 13. Chinatsu added the honorific senpai when she called Kyouko and Yui's name. However Akari who is of the same age as her did not.

Is this because Akari is close enough to Kyouko and Yui that she dropped the honorific despite being the kouhai (junior)? Or is she actually the same grade as Kyouko and Yui despite being one year younger?

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I belive they are different years as on the Wikia there are 2 categories for First Year and Second Year Students

you'll notice that Akari, Chinatsu, Himawari and Sakurako are all first year students with Akari's profile on Wikiapedia saying that...

Chinatsu, Sakurako and Himawari are her classmates.

For Second Year Students we Ayano and Chitose however we don't see Yui or Kyoko on there but their character songs, but in the first years category Akari's and Chinatsu's character songs appeared here aswell.

Also in Yui's trivia section it says

Although she is arguably the most mature, she is the youngest of the Second-Year students.

While Kyoko is 25 days older

Oddly enough, as well as being best friends with Yui since they were very little, they were also born only 25 days apart.

also in this My Anime List forum post

Well, you know, I guess this is may be because of the difference of school cultures between Japan and Western countries, it seems translaters changed and translated from 'top in her grade' to 'top in her class'.
But actually, 'gakunen top' meant 'She always wins the top in her second grade'
Well, at any rate, just studying one night and getting such a high grade every time is so amazing.

while further down

In the US at least class generally refers to your grade level. When you refer to top of the class, that would be the top student of your year. Saying top of your grade is pretty much never used (I've never heard anyone use it personally). So that's a logical translation, it still means the same thing but is phrased appropriately for the US, which is CrunchyRoll's main target audience.

these are talking about what happened in Season 1 - Episode 2: The Student Council Meeting

Ayano, as Kyouko's rival, is upset that Kyouko beat her in the placement test. Ayano bursts into the Amusement Club room, followed by Chitose. Ayano is annoyed at Kyouko because although she hardy studies, she always gains top of the class.

Logically it would not make sense for Ayano, a Second Year, to be beaten by Kyoko if she was a first year.

Thus all this seems to indicate that Kyoko is a Second Year with Yui.

As for Akari not using -senpai to address Yui and Kyoko like what Chinatsu does this is probably as you suggest due to their closeness as later in the series

we see Akari, Yui and Kyoko as children when they were young with Kyoko being bullied by a young Chinatsu (who they don't recognize when they are older) and Akari standing up for Kyoko

  • I know this is an old post but I have to point out a mistake in your answer: Yui is actually the eldest of the three girls and Kyoko is younger than Yui by almost one year. To make this more clear, let us assume that Akari starts her middle school life in April 2011, then the three girls' dates of birth are as follows: Funami Yui: April 22, 1997; _Toshino Kyoko: March 28, 1998 and Akaza Akari: July 24, 1998. As a matter of fact, children born between April 2nd, year x and April 1st, year x+1 go to the same grade according to Japanese law. – user23823 Oct 17 '16 at 14:29
  • The following site calculates when one should enter school given one's date of birth: keisan.casio.jp/exec/system/1183101742 – user23823 Oct 17 '16 at 14:31
  • @user23823 i would like to see a citation of those birthdates as it does conflict with my linked reference and quote stating that Toshino is 28 days older and Yui – Memor-X Oct 17 '16 at 21:27
  • I am afraid that no official source mentions the exact years these characters are born, and the trivia page does not cite any official source either. The author of the trivia page seems to assume that Kyoko and Yui are born in the same year since they are both of age 14, but this assumption can be wrong if you consider your birthday as the day when your age increase by 1. My view is based on common practice in Japan and this unofficial blog page (in Japanese) seems to agree with me. – user23823 Oct 18 '16 at 3:11
  • @user23823 true the wikia doesn't have any citation and you present a valid point but i also like to believe that aside being being best friends when they were little they are so close is because they were born so close together in terms of time which is why i am more inclined to believe the wikia – Memor-X Oct 18 '16 at 22:07

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