Spade of Trades’ Winter 2015 First Impressions: Assassination Classroom Episode 1

I feel like I understand what this season’s theme finally may be: Let’s bring the weirdest premises we have left to life. We got teenage boys turning into sailor scouts, bears mowing down lesbians, and now we have a strange tentacle creature threatening to destroy the earth unless he gets to teach a class of misfits, who in turn have to kill him by then of the school year or else his original threat goes through. Of course it had to be a tentacle monster…

Fortunately, unlike most tentacle filled anime, this isn’t a hentai, in fact it’s one of Shonen Jump’s biggest new series… Of course something with tentacles is popular in japan. Okay I’ll stop dicking around.

Assassination Classroom is the latest popular new series from Jump to receive an anime adaptation, and fortunately from what I’ve seen in the first episode, it’s going to be so much better than what World Trigger ended up in almost every way. With an odd premise as this one, I get the feeling that we’re going to get a lot of unique stories out of this one. Mostly episodic if I had to guess. I mean the first episode practically begs for an episodic series and sets up everything you need to know going in. The students coming up with different plans to kill their sensei, who is dubbed Koro-sensei or Unkillable-sensei out of mutual respect in a way as a he is actually a pretty good teacher, only to be outwitted by Koro-sensei’s unpredictable personally and abilities.

There’s such a weird juxtaposition that I’m actually digging, it’s like it takes ques from stories of teacher coming to teach misfits that society has given up on, like the movie Stand and Deliver or Freedom Writers, except they can only get recognition by killing their teacher, though it helps that the one that actually kills him gets ten million yen. I forgot to mention, the class itself is made up of underachieving prep school kids who got segregated to their own school building and is named class E or End Class. So the parallels are more apparent.

But other than that, this anime isn’t too world breaking. The animation is decent, better than World Trigger, but the character designs are a bit bland with the main character sticking out only because of his dumb haircut that made me think he was a girl before I heard his voice, though I still find myself questioning that conclusion. Hopefully their personalities are more vibrant than the character designs as they leave no impression what so ever.

Koro-sensei is the real main attraction here. He can move at the speed of mach 20, he blew a hole out of the moon destroying 70 percent of it, and his emotions are literally color coded, with black being something quite terrifying. He may seem like some sort of Mary-sue-ish character, but the first episode does a great job of selling him as being unkillable with a great opening scene and ends on something more ominous, possibly even a clue to why he is even teaching children in the first place.

I’m looking forward to more as the series continues. It’s first episode was pretty fun, especially Koro-sensei himself, and doesn’t take itself seriously. Is there a possibly of a continuous ongoing story line? Or are we getting episodic adventures from here on? The premise makes me believe both are possible, maybe even a mix of both. Either way, this is something that can hopefully quench any thirst for a new shonen series if you’re not watching Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure or, god forbid, World Trigger.

(animation by Lerche / distributed by FUNimation Entertainment / streaming on FUNimation.com)

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