Anime Blu-ray Review: Assassination Classroom Season One

Assassination Classroom Season One includes all 22 episodes of the first season of the anime. Audio options include the original Japanese with English subtitles and the English dub.

Assassination Classroom Season One
English Publisher: FUNimation Entertainment
Format: Blu-ray
Release Date: August 14, 2018

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 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 have to admit that I thought it sounded a little strange.

When the first 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 from reading the manga, I appreciated how well the anime adapted its original source material. Before I knew it, I found myself genuinely enjoying Assassination Classroom, and I especially enjoyed seeing how the dynamic between Koro-sensei and his students evolved over the course of the series.

The Blu-ray video for this set has 1080p High Definition 16:9 (HD Native), and the audio includes Dolby TrueHD: English 5.1 and Dolby TrueHD: Japanese 2.0. I had no complaints about either the video or audio quality of this release.

Two discs in the set include bonus feature. The second disc has Episode 0 “Meeting Time,” which sees Koro-sensei telling a story about his first meeting with Karasuma. When it opens, it feels different than what you expect from the series, but by the end, it has the tone and humor that viewers know from the series.

There is a roughly 20-minute interview with some of the cast members. To be honest, I remember that Sonny Strait, the ADR Director, and a couple of other people were part of this feature but I don’t really remember what it was they were talking about. Sigh. If it had been more interesting, I might have remembered some of it. The previews for the next episode were not included with the episodes on the disc and were instead included in the bonus features. I’m at a loss as to why FUNimation decided to do it this way. Especially with the format of the next episode previews, it would have worked better to have included them as part of the episode. There is a textless opening and closing song, a U.S. trailer for Assassination Classroom, as well as trailers for other FUNimation Entertainment releases.

The fourth disc includes “Top 10 Moments,” where some of the voice actors and the ADR director talk about the top 10 moments in the first season of Assassination Classroom. This was much more interesting and more memorable than the cast interview on the second disc. This disc also has textless versions of both versions of the opening in this section of the season, as well as a textless closing. The previews for the episodes in the second half are also included, as well as another U.S. trailer for the series and trailers for other FUNimation Entertainment releases.

Even if the bonus features weren’t quite as impressive as I’d hoped, this set is still worth it in order to have the first season of Assassination Classroom in my anime home video library.

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