First Impressions – Assassination Classroom – METANORN

First Impressions – Assassination Classroom

(✖╭╮✖) ☜ This did not happen.

Welcome to the Assassination Classroom, where dangerous things happen. This tag team is already pretty dangerous with our individual notorious genre fixes but let’s get on with how the first episode faired for us. After all, we really don’t see a yellow tentacled monster in a shounen these days!

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I’m torn. On one hand, I would love to be in Koro-sensei’s class and experience his effective yet unique teaching style. He seems like a pretty chill guy when you stay on his good side. On the other hand, I don’t want my planet blow up. The intensity of the duality between having a fun school life and being responsible for the survival of the entirety of the Earth is the basis of Assassination Classroom (lovingly nicknamed AssClass).

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FukuJun voicing a tentacle monster/teacher/threat to humanity? …Okay then. Sure. I’m in. Actually, I think I started reading this a couple of years ago, but wasn’t too interested. I’m pretty interested now though.

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The Setting

Assassination Classroom - 09Assassination Classroom - 10

//kyokai – Kunugigaoka Junior High School seems to be a quaint establishment in a very small city in Japan. Why it is the centre-stage for a yellow tentancled monster to teach a bunch of students can be anybody’s guess. A home grown monster, no less, resultant of extreme experimentation by a governmental institution maybe? His actual identity is still up for grabs but we know the dude is here to stay and pretty serious in destroying earth just like moon. This really makes you question his motives on why he would want to destroy the world that gave him life and then teach some random kids in the process too. Silly setting or not, this mashup of genre and setting definitely makes you sit up and take notice.

Specifically, Class-E, who were handpicked by Koro for his special brand of teaching in his negotiations with Ministry of Defense. As he volunteered his services, there must be some foggy reasoning behind it and the flashback sure gives you some plot hints for later. The destroyed building definitely looked like a laboratory and the dying woman wore a labcoat so it’s pretty easy to put two and two together for Koro’s origin at least. Was he human before and what are his real intentions, I guess we’ll find out if we keep watching.

The Assassins

Assassination Classroom - 04

//overcooled – What is an assassin to do when they’re told to kill someone they’re fond of? At first it’s not a big problem for the students of the E Class to imagine killing Koro sensei. He’s a big, scary “alien” who appeared out of nowhere and threatened to blow up the Earth (after showing off his power by busting up the moon). He doesn’t even look human. This makes it very easy, at first, for these students to tap into their murderous side and go all in out in trying to take a life. It’s not so hard to resort to something like murder when your target just looks like a giant octopus you could fry up and toss into some takoyaki batter. A bright yellow monster just isn’t something that’s easy to sympathize with…especially when it’s clearly dangerous.

But slowly, the students begin to like Koro. Even in episode 1, it’s apparent that the students are becoming oddly fond of Koro. He’s actually taking his job as a teacher seriously, to the point where it’s hard to tell if he’s really a bad guy or not. Why would he go out of his way to become a teacher when he could destroy the planet whenever he wanted? Why put forth so much effort as a teacher when all his students just want to get close to him in order to kill him? It makes no sense for Koro sensei to do the things he does and to care the way he does about his students. His concern is oddly genuine, and this resonates with the E class since they’ve been ignored (and even insulted) by teachers in the past.

So, the interesting part of AssClass is seeing the students fret over whether or not they want to kill their teacher. I admit that I’m cheating a bit because I’ve read part of the manga. That’s partly why I’m so interested in seeing how the students bond with Koro sensei. Nagisa’s bond with him will be particularly important because 1) he’s the main character so OBVIOUSLY and 2) he’s bullied so badly that he really craves a kind sensei like Koro.

The Target

Assassination Classroom - 07

//karakuri – A lot of stories fail from taking themselves way too seriously, but Assassination Classroom doesn’t seem to be in any danger of that. Koro-sensei is extremely ridiculous in every way. A class made of assassins? That’s been done (and the anime I’m thinking of, Akuma no Riddle, was one of those anime that seemed to take itself seriously). Really, it’s the ridiculousness of Koro-sensei that makes this a bit more innovative. The scale of the plot is also pretty ridiculous, where the number one threat to the world is expected to be killed by a room of 30-ish teenagers with no training in how to kill people. However, they also have a good balance of seriousness as well. While the smiley face with tentacles is the class’ teacher, he also proved himself a huge threat by the end of the episode. Not just with blowing up the moon in the first place, but in how he seemed extremely angry at his students since Nagisa’s safety was overlooked. They can say that Koro-sensei blew up the moon all they want and people might not take it seriously due to his appearance and because he seems like a pretty decent guy. But then by the end of this episode, the plot also ended up proving otherwise. There is a real threat there underneath the ridiculousness, and the way they balanced it out in the episode was pretty interesting. It seems like he has a reason for being a good guy to the students too, so it should also be interesting to see how they develop this balance of “nice, somewhat silly guy(?) vs. threat to the world” over the episodes. Will the students really want to kill the one teacher that seems to treat them well in this school? Or even on the opposite side, would Koro sensei want to kill these students after trying so hard to look after them like this?

Extra Assassins

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I remember checking out the manga few months ago and found it mildly interesting after watching the OVA with Tomokazu Seki voicing Koro. Everyone knows how much I like Gil, so it was a really treat. I thought Fukuyama Jun as Koro would need some getting used to but damn, he’s too talented as Koro. The first episode was entertaining and very silly because of all the mashups. The pacing was not perfect but how many shounen series have you watched to know that first episodes are not always good. Sure, Bleach was good but Gintama was horrible! And everyone knows I love Gintama more than I could ever even bother to talk about Bleach. So, for starters, this was okay, let’s see how the next two fair.

The core concept of AssClass never gets old: students try to kill an “alien” teacher to save the world, but end up falling in love with his kindness. As such, there’s a lot of switching between heart-warming moments, comedy, and THE IMPENDING DOOM OF THE PLANET. Oftentimes, the way things switch is so sudden that the transition ruins the impact of the previous scene. For example, after Nagisa goes for his suicide bomber plan – things get serious. However, the dark tone melts away quickly to being…a touching moment where Nagisa feels closer to the teacher he just tried to kill. He’s not even slightly shaken that he almost died from a grenade. The mix of genres don’t really work together most of the time, and they generally just dampen each other. I’d say this anime is a comedy at heart – but even the comedy isn’t all that funny. I think AssClass ends up as an entirely average show because of this. It maintains a sense of charm because watching students switch from smiling sweetly to pulling out switchblades from behind their back is inherently amusing. But that’s the only area the genre mash-up really pays off for me. I’ll be continuing to watch it because it’s pretty good…just nothing amazing.

Well that was undeniably weird, but it was pretty fun! Hearing FukuJun in this role took some getting used to (isn’t Miyano the go-to guy for these kind of silly/serious roles?), but it seems like it works well. To understate things, he seems distinct as a character. This is fine though, since the number of students seems kind of large. Though I guess that’s the average size of a class, and the episode seemed to put emphasis on that these kids were pretty normal aside from their current task of assassination and the fact that they’ve all been branded as failures by the school they’re in. Plus some of them are more distinct looking than others (like Nagisa with his blue hair as opposed to generic bully-type characters 1, 2, and 3). Maybe they can make things easier to keep track of out by focusing more on some characters than others. But enough worrying about the future. This episode was really interesting as an introduction and it should be entertaining to see where things go from here!

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40 Responses to “First Impressions – Assassination Classroom”

  1. Di Gi Kazune says:

    *double taps all the targets*

    *summons Assassin*

    *summons Jack the Ripper*

    The best assassins are innocent looking lolis/shotas with HE strapped on them.

  2. BlackBriar says:

    Kora!! The three sadistic ladies of Metanorn are together again! I’m quaking in my boots. 😀 To be honest, this was one of the shows I was worried wouldn’t get a First Impression seeing how much time was flying by since the season started. There’s still Durarara!!x2.

    AssClass? Hahaha, I think I’ll stick with saying the entire title, necessary or not. Basically, these students are in a rock and a hard place. Killing a monster is one thing but I’m particularly looking at what should motivate them to carry the task out: The survival of mankind or simple greed of monetary gain. The story went all out in its premise. A creature that can move at mach 20? That isn’t even remotely fair. Plus Koro-sensei is one arrogant son of a bitch. If I took that kind of taunting, I’d want to kick his ass as well. The knockout for me here isn’t in how the students are going to succeed, it’s finding out Nagisa is a trap. He has been so feminine for the most part.

    Most of the character designs scream Danganronpa to me. Gotta ask if there’s a relation. Other than that, this was an interesting and funny opening. Apparently there’s a lot to show since there’ll be a total of 22 episodes which I’ll be eager to see what happens next.

    @Karakuri, Kyokai, Overcooled: Since I know this is an adaptation from a manga and you’ve most likely read it, I’ve got a recommendation for you three: Seraph of the End (Owari no Serafu). I’ve got a good idea of your likes so I’m sure you’ll enjoy this. It has a good build-up and the story gets better as it progresses. If my judgment isn’t enough, give the first five chapters a trial run. I strongly recommend this.

    • akagami says:

      I read the manga a while back (well, a few chapters anyway) because the premise initially sounded interesting. I don’t remember the MC being a trap (Nagisa). I mean, what guy has pigtails?

      • BlackBriar says:

        Well, believe it, he’s a guy. They addressed him with “he” a couple of times.

        • Kyokai says:

          I didn’t take much notice over Nagisa’s uniform choice but why is she wearing pants? Is this a trap theory as I haven’t read too much into the manga…. Though, most of the He’s were for Koro.

          • JPNIgor says:

            That’s one important thing I wanted to understand. He’s addressed as a guy the whole time, but he has pigtails, he has a feminine build, he has a feminine voice. His VA seems to make a bunch of voices for pokerface characters like Iona from Arpeggio and FrogKaede-chan from Sakura Trick. And she made Skill from Hamatora, who is quite a trap-like character as well.

            • Kyokai says:

              Just got confirmation. It’s a TRAAAAAAP!

            • Di Gi Kazune says:

              Traps are good.

            • Highway says:

              Mai Fuchigama has also commanded a tank and ruled a country. 🙂

              I’ll also point out that she’s a really good singer, but she might be a little too good at singing in character, since her songs for Miho Nishizumi and Petralka end up really nasal. But her character song for Kaede from Sakura Trick just has an excellent voice.

            • Overcooled says:

              I don’t know why anyone thought twintails was a good hairstyle for a dude but it happened anyways. Poor Nagisa-kun…

            • Di Gi Kazune says:

              I don’t know why anyone thought twintails was a good hairstyle for a dude but it happened anyways.

              “I wanna be the TwinTails!” 😛

  3. zztop says:

    Assassination Classroom’s getting a live-action movie this March; Yamada Ryosuke of the HeySayJump idol group will play Nagisa.

    Nagisa will also get a movie-original childhood friend and love interest, Saito Ayaka.

    Koro-sensei will be fully CGI.

    • Kyokai says:

      Saw the Key Visuals for that. Looks pretty interesting; something similar to Parasyte live action.

  4. Irenesharda says:

    I don’t know, something about this series just didn’t gel for me. I haven’t read the manga or anything and was purely introduced to the story with this episode, and I have to say that it wasn’t an instant hate or instant love. It was mostly just “meh”.

    Koro-sensei actually kind of got on my nerves and none of the students really stuck with me. I like the premise, but there’s really not many places it can go. You can see where it will all be headed before the show even starts.

    I’ll look at another episode, but I’m doubting this is one that I’ll be sticking with. 🙁

    • Kyokai says:

      It’s been too much of a mashup. I’ll be giving this a three-episode test and might stick around for the seiyuu cast rather than plot.

  5. skylion says:

    I’m hoping that it isn’t much like Danganronpa. That show doubled down on so many character tropes and the overall catch was just insane. This one looks like it might take a lighter approach, of course. I’m hoping for an interesting character narrative…

    • akagami says:

      How did you like Danganronpa? I read a play-by-play of the game and it was pretty awesome (and played a bit), but wasn’t sure how I’d like to see it in a visual form so I skipped it.

      • skylion says:

        I felt it was overblown, honestly. Lots of style and little substance. It had a few moments, but they were far between. I don’t really have much interest in games (IKR…what is he up too?)

      • Highway says:

        I personally disliked Danganronpa quite a lot. Snuff films are not my idea of fun.

        • Overcooled says:

          The Dangan Ronpa anime turned me off but I’m in the same boat as akagami because I read the translated playthrough and loved it.

          From what I read of the Assclass manga, I’d say it’s not very much like Dangan Ronpa. The students are pretty tame. It’s only Koro that’s the overpowered, ridiculous one. Then again, most of the students had very little personality to speak of so I don’t know if that’s better or worse than being an overzealous cliche.

  6. akagami says:

    And agreed, FukuJun was pretty good as Koro-sensei. I haven’t seen as much of his work recently, more FukuJun is always good!

  7. skylion says:

    Well, since I’m going to bed now, and won’t have to deal with the aftermath until after my morning coffee tomorrow…

    Nagisa…trap or not? The obvious answer after the question…What Do? or Not?

  8. Highway says:

    The thing that struck me in the second episode? How many cheap dodges they put in to avoid animating things. Multiple conversations from behind people. Lots of off-screen action. Repeated frames and sequences. Just started feeling really cheap.

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