Assassination Classroom is based on a manga series by Yusei Matsui. The anime is produced by Lerche and directed by Seiji Kishi. As of this writing, FUNimation Entertainment holds the North American streaming license for the series.
At the beginning of the series, we see a group of students trying to kill their teacher; the teacher is a powerful alien octopus creature who destroyed 70% of the moon. The creature claims that within a year, he will destroy Earth, but he offers a chance for mankind to avoid this fate. He declares that he wants to be the teacher for class E-3 at Kunugigaoka Junior High School, and the Japanese government offers the class a 10 billion yen reward to the student who can kill the teacher before the year is up. Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as it sounds, since the alien can move at Mach 20. Also, as part of the agreement, the teacher is unable to harm the students in any way.
We learn that class E-3 is known for containing the students with the lowest grades, and that this class is shunned from the rest of the school; in fact, their classroom is located in an old rundown building that’s nowhere near the actual school building itself. Among the students, the main focus is placed on Nagisa Shiota. He’s the one who is observing their teacher and taking notes on anything he notices.
I read the first volume of the manga before seeing the first episode of the anime series, so I already knew what to expect when it came to the story. What I noticed when the episode started was how effectively the first scene was able to establish the tense mood in the classroom; this scene also did a great job at building up the suspense as the teacher headed to the classroom. The manga tries to do this as well, but the mangaka is limited by the panels and the fact that he can only use visuals to convey his story. The additional images, along with the music and sound effects, allow the anime to more effectively convey the mood of this scene.
Another advantage the anime has is the fact that the episode was able to expound on the reactions in the world when the creature had destroyed 70% of the moon. While this fact was mentioned in the manga, the author could only devote so many panels to it before moving the story along. I thought this was a nice touch.
Overall, this first episode followed the first chapter of the manga rather closely. The only real difference I saw was that the assignment that was given to the students right before Nagisa makes his assassination attempt was slightly different. Speaking of Nagisa’s assassination attempt, I was impressed on how the anime built up the suspense as Nagisa walked toward the teacher with his assignment. So far, the director for the series has been making great use of his visual medium to convey the story that appeared in the manga.
There were a couple of surprises for me when I watched the episode. First, I was a little taken aback by Nagisa’s blue hair. When I read the manga, I had assumed that he was a blond. Second, the voice for Koro Sensei (the teacher, who is given this name at the end of the first episode) didn’t sound like I had expected him to. However, I did grow accustomed to his voice in the anime by the end of the first episode. Knowing what’s coming from reading the rest of the first volume of the manga, I think this voice will end up working well in the long run. But the biggest surprise for me was just how happy the opening credits were. Not only did you have a fun, upbeat song playing in the background, you also see the students in the classroom jumping around and dancing. It was quite a dichotomy between this and the concept of the series. Hopefully the tone of the series gets at least a little lighter as it goes in order to lessen the dichotomy the opening credits have with the rest of the series.
Overall, though, I have to say that I liked what I saw in this anime adaptation for Assassination Classroom. The animation looks good, and the adaptation of the manga source material is working well at this point. It’ll be harder for me to judge the adaptation once we get past the material that appeared in the first volume of the manga, so hopefully it’ll be able to stand up on its own once the series gets to that point. I’m looking forward to seeing Episode Two so I can see how the second chapter of the first volume of Assassination Classroom comes to life on the screen.
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