Anime Spotlight: Assassination Classroom

Assassination Classroom is based on a manga series by Yusei Matsui. The anime is produced by Lerche and is directed by Seiji Kishi. The series aired on Japanese television from January 9-June 20, 2015.

As of this writing, FUNimation Entertainment holds the North American license for Assassination Classroom.

A powerful alien octopus creature destroys 70% of the moon and claims that within a year, he will destroy Earth. However, he offers a chance for mankind to avoid this fate. He declares that he wants to be the teacher for class 3-E 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. By the end of the first episode, the students give the alien the name of “Koro-sensei.”

Class 3-E is known for containing the students with the lowest grades and 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 focus is placed on Nagisa Shiota. He’s the one who is observing their teacher and taking notes on anything he notices.

But Koro-sensei isn’t the terrifying monster that he appears to be at first. As he works with his students, we see that he cares about trying to help them succeed in the classroom. As the series progresses, the students start developing a relationship with Koro-sensei; however, this development doesn’t stop them from trying to assassinate their teacher.

Two new staff members join the class over the course of the series. First is Karasuma from the Ministry of Defense becoming Class 3-E’s new P.E. teacher. Irina Jelavic is a female assassin sent to try to take down Koro-sensei, and she ultimately becomes the class’ part-time foreign language teacher.

Assassination Classroom also shows how much the students in Class 3-E are snubbed by their higher-ranking peers. But through Koro-sensei’s guidance and encouragement, his students start gaining more confidence and ultimately start taking on Class 3-A for various reasons.

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. But when I read what the basic premise of this series was on the back cover of the first volume of the manga, I admit that I thought it sounded a little strange. But then I had to remind myself that I had watched the Riddle Story of Devil simulcast in 2014, which was a story where students in a classroom were trying to assassinate one particular classmate. This made me realize that the assassination in a classroom idea wasn’t quite as strange as it seemed at first.

When the episode started, I noticed 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.

As I continued watching the anime and I recognized storylines that I had already seen in the manga, I appreciated how well the anime adapted its original source material. But there came a point where the stories in the anime were new to me, since I hadn’t read beyond a certain point in the Assassination Classroom manga. But I enjoyed the stories that were new to me just as much as the stories that I already had familiarity with. Before I knew it, I found myself genuinely enjoying Assassination Classroom and looked forward to watching it each week. I especially enjoyed seeing how the dynamic between Koro-sensei and his students evolved over the course of the series.

I was sad to see Assassination Classroom come to an end but was happy to learn that there will be another season of the series in 2016. I truly can’t wait to see more episodes to find out what will happen to Koro-sensei, the members of Class 3-E, Karasuma, and Irina.

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