Assassination Classroom Review

Classroom animes are really run of the mill these days as it seems as if every anime is taking place in one, but sometimes one comes along that changes the status quo just enough to the point where it’s highly entertaining. Welcome to Ansatsu Kyoushitsu, otherwise known as, Assassination Classroom!

Let’s go!

The Story

The students of Class E, or End Class as they also refer to is as, don’t exactly perform well in their subjects. Some do, but have misbehaved and therefore have been shipped off to this abysmal classroom. The classroom itself isn’t even on the school campus, but rather, in a makeshift log cabin out in the middle of the woods. The school looks down upon these misfits and wants to keep them out of sight as much as possible, but one day, an event occurs that changes their fates.

The moon blows up.

Yes, you read that correctly, the moon explodes and is now a permanent crescent with its debris rotating around it like the rings of Saturn. How did this happen?

An alien did it.

Meet Koro-sensei. He is, just that, an alien being who blew up the moon and the Earth is next, however, he won’t do it for one full year. His desire is to teach Class 3-E before embarking on his plans for world domination. The government sets it up and makes it so, but not before telling Class 3-E that they will be rewarded with 10 billion yen should they succeed in assassinating him before the school year is out. The kids are motivated to try and kill him, but when Koro-sensei can move at speeds of Mach 20, hitting him has proven to be kind of… well… difficult. 

While the students want the money and a way to save the Earth, they also come to realize that Koro-sensei is also the best teacher they’ve ever had.

This took a whole new spin on the classroom anime. The humor used makes it very light-hearted and the series continuously introduces new character after new character to the point where it would seem overwhelming, but they have it in a controlled environment, making it pretty easy to follow along. Plus, each character plays an integral part of the story and at the end of season one, we get a glimpse of how that becomes so, but to avoid spoilers, I will refrain from discussing that.

Speaking of the characters, there are a TON of them. I mean a TON. I will touch upon the main characters and some of the important side characters, but I’m sure there are Wikipedia entries for anyone who wants to read about the full cast.

The Characters

Nagisa Shiota

Nagisa

Anyone who has seen Clannad knows that Nagisa is a girl’s name and with her beautiful blue hair and piercing blue eyes, it’s really easy to fall in love with Nagisa here in Assassination Classoom. That is until you read something that you think is a typo, but really isn’t. Nagisa is actually a guy. No, Nagisa isn’t gay or a cross dresser by choice, it’s because his mother wanted a daughter so desperately that when Nagisa was born, she was so disappointed and in denial, she forced him to dress and look like a girl every single day of his life just so she could simulate having the daughter she never got. Sometimes women are just crazy like that and you can do nothing but sit back and laugh.

Koro-sensei

koro

In the beginning, he had no name. The kids called him that as a pun on “killing the teacher” taking from the Japanese word for cannot be killed (korosenai) and the honorific for teacher/doctor (sensei). Koro-sensei is an Earth-born alien being that kept a promise to someone who has yet to be fully revealed. He is teaching Class 3-E and actually WANTS to be assassinated. In fact, he encourages his students to do it every chance they get. He also can split himself into many clones and move at speeds of up to Mach 20. This means he can personally assist every single student in his classroom in a 1-on-1 session and help them with their areas of weakness. He actually does this multiple times and the results are pretty amazing. While he does plan on destroying the Earth, it’s easy to see that Koro-sensei truly does care for his students, even though they are trying to kill him.

Koro-sensei is the star of the show. He is a perfect antagonist that’s also a hero. While the students themselves do offer up some comic relief, Koro-sensei is the one who usually initiates it or is the indirect cause of the humor from the students. One nice little touch they did is with Koro-sensei’s facial expressions in the fact that he almost always has none. He usually sports two small beady eyes and a giant smile. Rarely does his expression change, but to convey emotions, they usually give him different skin color as well as patterns on his face such as circles and x’s (which are correct and incorrect in Japanese) or sometimes green stripes. It’s a pretty unique way of conveying emotions!

Karma Akabane

Karma

He’s one of the earliest editions to the cast and is portrayed as a psychotic student who loves the idea of killing, however, after he fails to kill Koro-sensei, his character undergoes a transformation into a more mellowed out character. Sure his nuances are still there and we are reminded of them from time to time, but he’s no longer the overly cold character that was introduced to us early on into the season. I kind of hate it when a series does that to a character.. they try hard in the beginning to make them stand out from the rest only to have them end up rather generic so that they blend in and don’t stand out too much. Karma went from a cool character to one I didn’t really care all that much about and that’s sad because he had potential. Being different is okay, people!

Tadaomi Karasura

Karasuma

He is a government employee in the military defense sector. He is the one who brought Koro-sensei to Class 3-E and announced the 10 billion yen bounty for him. He also becomes a teacher at the class in order to keep a closer eye on things and to help train the students in assassination combat. Other than acting like a guardian and a trainer, there really isn’t much to Karasuma, although towards the end of the season, we get to see how legit he really is.

Bitch-sensei

bitch

Also known as Irina Jelavic, she is a highly regarded assassin sent to the school in order to kill Koro-sensei. She fails and ends up becoming a teacher there, teaching the kids English and other foreign languages. She knows she has a tremendous body and flaunts the fact that she uses it to seduce her targets before assassinating them. She’s also very crude towards the students in general so they decided to name her Bitch-sensei. She, too, undergoes a bit of a transformation. She ends up caring about the students, but she still retains that harshness about her. It’s almost if they are trying to make her a tsundere character, but just aren’t quite there with it. As the season progresses, she actually becomes quite the afterthought and gets sporadic screen time. The life of a support character, I suppose.

There are many sub-characters such as the school’s 5 Virtuosos who are the cream of the crop when it comes to academics. They become the enemies of Class 3-E during exam periods. The principal of the school also goes through great lengths to make sure Class 3-E is suppressed as much as possible.

They also introduce us to another Earth-born alien, named Itona Horibe, that seems to have ties with Koro-sensei. He disappears after he, too, is defeated, but they never really revisit him. Seeing how there is a season two, I am guessing we’ll see more of itona then. In fact, I’m sure that we’ll see more of everyone since there are just a lot of plots that were left wide opened and unresolved.

Art, Animation, & Sound

The artwork is really nice. The characters are really vivid in their color palettes and while this show is about saving the world, the comedic nature of the show along with its light-heartedness are accentuated by the characters themselves. Everything from their look to their personalities ties the overall show together.

The backgrounds are pretty well-done, too, but then again unless an anime is being produced in Adobe Flash, then it’s going to look good at worst. Technology and animation techniques have come a very long way to the point where having boring CG backgrounds is almost an impossibility these days.

The animation itself is pretty standard with the exception of the two openings for the show. Both openings had very fluid animation and looked completely done in CG while retaining the non-CG look to it. It didn’t have that stop animation look and feel that 20 minutes between the opening and ending has. It’s clear that some budget was spent there, but I wish if companies could do that for a 1:30 opening, they could put that much effort into the main show, but I digress.

The OST is quite forgettable. There are a couple of tracks during tense situations that stand out, but the rest is just background music. Not every anime can have an epic OST, but then again, this isn’t an epic thrill ride like Tokyo Ghoul, Attack on Titan, or Fairy Tail. Being a comedy, a lacking OST is to be expected, but it did provide a nice atmosphere to the show so it did its job in the intended way.

Here are some scene’s from the anime for your enjoyment.

 

Overall Thoughts

Assassination Classroom‘s first season spans 22 episodes with a second season of, which I am assuming to be, equal length. It’s nice to see an anime get this much attention and length to it because I am getting pretty tired of 11-13 episode anime adaptations. The comedy in here makes y ou smile, but I will be completely honest here. This wasn’t an anime that made me beg for the next episode, but it wasn’t bland enough for me to hate binge watching the show 3-4 episodes at a time. It was consistent enough to hold my attention while binge watching and didn’t make me regret doing so, but on the same token, I didn’t really feel compelled to want the next episode.

That’s not to say Assassination Classroom is bad, however. I did enjoy the show overall and I am looking forward to the second season when it airs sometime in 2016. I am guessing it will air in January since that’s when the first season started earlier this year.

I really loved the Koro-sensei character, but the overall character development was a bit shallow. I think the vast size of the cast really hurt the focus and attention on the characters. Even Nagisa seemed like an afterthought in some episodes and he’s supposed to be the main character. In fact, there were a few episodes where they placed him in such a way as if to say “Hey look! Here’s Nagisa!” and that’s all they really did with him.

Recommendations

Danganronpa
A bunch of school students are trapped inside of their school and are being detained by Monokuma, a black and white stuffed Teddy Bear. One by one they must kill each other AND get away with it in order to win and have their freedom granted, however, each time a murder takes place, they must solve the crime and out the killer. If the killer is outed, they too, will die as punishment.

Baka to Test to Shokanjuu
Or Idiots, Tests, and Summoned Beings. It’s also in a school environment with a class full of failures. They go up against the higher classes in academic battles where the battles themselves are represented by Chibi versions of their own characters. It has an RPG video game feel to it mixed with some AMAZING humor. Definitely a must watch if you like the genre.

Hopefully between those two you will find something to y our liking.

Like my review? Hate it? Have something for me that I should look at and review? Drop me a line at joshpiedra@theouterhaven.net. Also, if you feel inclined to do so, follow me on Twitter @TheAnimePulse

Until next time,

Ja ne!

Yes, Nagisa is a Guy

A pretty decent comedy that holds your attention just enough to keep you interested in seeing more, but doesn’t really do anything to make you WANT to see more.

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About The Author

Josh Piedra

Josh (or J.J. as some have come to call him), is a long-time geek culture enthusiast with a deep passion for anime, manga and Japanese culture. Josh also has a Bachelor of Arts in Game Design and is a creative writer who has created original content for over 20 years! He is also the author of the original English light novel Final Hope.