First Look: Assassination Classroom

[HorribleSubs] Assassination Classroom - 01 [720p].mkv_snapshot_03.31_[2015.01.12_22.22.59]

Alternative titles: Ansatsu Kyoushitsu, Ass Class
Manga Adaptation by Lerche.
Streaming on Funimation.

Premise

A strange yellow alien destroys 70% of the moon and threatens to blow up the Earth. After numerous failed assassination attempts, the military manage to make a deal with the alien, allowing him to teach class 3-E at Kunugigaoka School. The students must assassinate their teacher within a year, while receiving assassination training from the alien himself.

Euri’s verdict: Armed and Dangerous

I feel like there was a brief period of Assassination Classroom excitement a few months before the release of J-Stars Victory VS. The excitement over the manga in combination with Koro-sensei being a playable character in the then-upcoming fighting game turned at least a few of us onto the series. It meant that there was at least a mild anticipation for the anime adaptation outside of Japan, but I was a little apprehensive about how it would turn out. We’ve done the ‘new shounen hype’ game a few times now, and Medaka Box and Toriko haven’t caught on as people might have assumed they would. This is also being animated by Lerche, who have a spotty track record with shows like Danganronpa: The Animation and Persona 4: The Animation.

Fortunately, the first episode does well in convincing that this won’t be the case. It serves to set up the ridiculous scenario that will carry the show for a reported twenty-two episodes, while not getting too bogged down in explanations and back story. For example, the guy from the Ministry of Defence demonstrates that Koro-sensei is basically impossible to kill whilst also explaining the situation. We also see his mood in both extremes, and a demonstration of how crazy the assassination attempts will be with help from a few bullies and Nagisa, who appears to be the protagonist of the show.

[HorribleSubs] Assassination Classroom - 01 [720p].mkv_snapshot_01.02_[2015.01.12_22.21.26]I feel like the sheer insanity of the scenario goes a long way, and it’s complimented by just how nice Koro-sensei seems to be. He’s taking his students’ education seriously and is completely friendly towards them all, even though they are trying to kill him. He does not seem like an alien that would blow a hole into the moon or destroy the Earth, and this is hinted at slightly in a flashback towards the end of the episode, where it appears Koro-sensei has motive to teach this particular class of students. I think it is important to remember that we don’t know who class 3-E’s previous teacher was. It may very well have been the lady talking to Koro-sensei in the flashback. It’s been a while since I read the first chapter of the manga, but this is the only scene in the episode that I didn’t recognise.

What I’m hoping we’ll see in the next episode and beyond is a focus on some of the other students in the class. The OP seems to hint at this, as all of the students seem to have designs that would suggest they are more than just background characters, plus student numbers that may indicate that episodes will change focus between students, while keeping the assassination of Koro-sensei the central theme. Whether it does and whether it will even work is another thing entirely, but let’s see something a bit different. Hell, Nagisa doesn’t even sit at the back left of the classroom, and there’s no such thing as a student protagonist that doesn’t stare out of the window.

It might be jumping the gun slightly, but if huge backlogs of episodes is a put-off, it may be worth jumping in as soon as you can. The manga seems to be doing well and has enjoyed over two years of publication in Shonen Jump, so I’m pretty certain that the possibility of poor sales is the only thing standing between this show and further anime seasons.

[HorribleSubs] Assassination Classroom - 01 [720p].mkv_snapshot_05.08_[2015.01.12_22.25.06]

Marlin’s verdict: Full Marks

I was afraid that this was going to be some kind of gritty show like what has been in vogue with Parasyte, Tokyo Ghoul, and Attack on Titan. Obviously those types of shows aren’t inherently bad, but it’s been getting to a point that seeing a new one come out ever season was becoming cliche. That’s why I was happy to find this show more of a black comedy. These students are obviously outmatched, and I love how quickly they realize he’s not that bad aside from the wanting to murder everyone thing. This week’s assassination attempt was a great characterization moment. It shows the alien has some strange feeling of responsibility towards these students, which most likely deals with that flashback. It also shows our main protagonist going through a bit of a existential crisis. Seems something’s not right with these students, that this class is actually some kind of punishment for failure. Thus we see Koro-sensei’s goal seems to be giving these kids a reason to live. While making them want to kill him is a little extreme, he shows by the end of this episode that he cares about their development, and that finally gets through to Nagisa by the end. It seems that Koro-sensei is crazy overpowered to me, but that means the plans will have to be that crazy. I’m sure a lot of the fun will be seeing what schemes the kids come up with in the weeks ahead.

[HorribleSubs] Assassination Classroom - 01 [720p].mkv_snapshot_22.04_[2015.01.12_22.29.58]

Colons’ verdict: A nice balance of miserable children and funny jokes

The first few minutes of the intro imply Ass Class is gonna be a dark, super-gritty, super-serious show about murder, and the subversion of that implication threw me off for a while. I wasn’t expecting the dark humour to pervade into the cheerful-looking bits, but the teachers’ attitudes towards the students of class E and Nagisa’s easy acceptance of a suicide mission were pretty damn grim, and were delivered casually enough that I didn’t realise quite what had happened to our hilarious alternate universe Squid Girl comedy until the grenade exploded. My only complaint is that I felt the first half dragged a little; some exposition felt repeated or unnecessary. But that’s over with now, so they can get on with telling a story and making jokes, and I hope they have fun with it.

[HorribleSubs] Assassination Classroom - 01 [720p].mkv_snapshot_03.22_[2015.01.12_22.22.10]

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3 thoughts on “First Look: Assassination Classroom

  1. Having read the manga, I can say that the writing can feel pretty amateur and cliche at times. “These super special intelligence agency government people from the government”, “World leaders blah blah blah”. But it’s easier to deal with since it’s a comedy. Also, they gave Nagisa an even more feminine waistline.

    • I kinda wonder if that was the point. They make it seem like such a grimdark show, but it’s got this sense of self-awareness that makes the dark humor work.

      • In the manga, there are some dark moments, such as when a character was given a dark backstory, but it ended up pretty textbook cliche and vague. I didn’t think that part was meant to be dark humour. The manga is self-aware alot, yes, but sometimes it wants to be dark and serious. I mean, they actually kill off characters later on, and not the humorous way. Don’t get me wrong. The manga is good as a whole. And the comedy is pretty funny. Random sometimes.

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