Sunday, July 10, 2016

Assassination Classroom Anime Review

Assassination Classroom Anime Review
Written by: ClayDragon

It’s often said that ‘school days are the best days of your life’. Whilst that’s certainly debatable for most of us, our school days may have been more exciting were our teacher actually an octopus monster with enough power to destroy the Earth. This is exactly the situation that the students of class 3-E find themselves in in Assassination Classroom, a series about (surprisingly) pupils trying to kill their teacher. (Side note: please, please do not try this in real life).

Filed under 'things you can only get away with in anime'.
After destroying 70% of the moon, the aforementioned octopus monster decides to teach a class of failing students for reasons known only to him. Should the students fail to kill him by the end of the school year, the monster – called Korosensei by his pupils – will blow up the planet. Thankfully, Korosensei is actually an incredible teacher, and so the students of class 3-E have to balance their ordinary schoolwork with the training needed to make them competent assassins.
Career goals.
Speaking of the pupils, the cast for this show is huge. There are 26 students, each with their own name and personality. The problem here is that aside from the three main pupils – Nagisa, Kayano and Karma – the show devotes barely any time to the others. Of course, trying to fit in enough development and backstory for each character whilst keeping the plot going would be nigh-impossible, but it’s a bit of a shame that we don’t see more of certain characters.
I'm not 100% sure why I find this gif so funny, but I do.
However, when it comes to the teachers it’s a different story. Korosensei is easily the best character in the show, as he’s hilarious, well-developed, and manages to teach his pupils a number of valuable life lessons whilst avoiding all their attempts to kill him. He’s joined by fellow teachers Karasuma (a government agent in charge of P.E. classes) and Irina (an assassin who teaches English). Whilst neither of them are as good as Korosensei, they’re both likeable characters in their own right, and their will-they-won’t-they relationship was explored quite well.
An accurate representation of me dodging my responsibilities.
On the pupil’s side, the best characters are definitely Nagisa and Karma. As the series progresses, it becomes obvious how good an influence Korosensei was on their lives, as Nagisa gains a lot of self-confidence whilst Karma becomes more sociable and less arrogant, although he still remains a hugely entertaining troll. Kayano gets the short end of the stick, as for the most part she’s relegated to background appearances until around the middle of the second season, at which point she receives a large boost to her backstory and character development.
With quotes like this, who needs context?
Visually, Assassination Classroom is very pretty. The fights are fast-paced and fluid, and even establishing shots are bright and vivid. The one fault I can find is that the final battle takes place at night, which makes it difficult to see what’s happening at times, but other than that I have zero complaints. Likewise, the soundtrack fits each moment very well, with some fairly memorable tracks. As for the openings and endings, however… The first two openings don’t really fit the series, with only the last two openings being much good (although the final opening is pretty much perfect). Conversely, the first ending is amazing, but the other two aren’t quite as good as the first one.
Another accurate representation of me dodging responsibilities.
There is a dub for this show, but it’s fairly average as dubs go. Most of the characters are voiced well, but both Nagisa and Korosensei sound a bit…off. That being said, Sonny Strait absolutely nails Korosensei’s signature laugh, but the original Japanese is the winner here. Each character is voiced perfectly, and the voice actors give some genuinely moving performances at times.
Devil Karma is my spirit animal.
Assassination Classroom’s main problem stems from the fact that a lot of the superfluous chapters in the manga weren’t adapted. On one hand, this does mean that the plot flows better, and the pacing is smoother. However, these chapters usually focused on a background member of the cast and expanded their characters a bit. As such, this results in a large number of pupils seeming a little flat at best, and introduces one or two plot holes at worst, especially with regards to Nagisa’s relationship with his parents.
But at least it retains Nagisa's most important moments, right?
To be honest, this is one of the very few times when I have difficulty deciding whether to recommend the anime or the manga. On one hand, the anime brings life to the events on the page, and the presentation is near-flawless (and if you’re wanting to buy the DVDs, it’s certainly cheaper). But on the other hand, the manga gives more depth to the side characters, and helps to flesh out the series a bit more, so it’s really up to you which one you go for.
He looks prettier than most of the girls!
Either way, make sure you see this series. It isn’t without its flaws, but it blends action and humour well, and has some incredibly moving scenes (especially the penultimate episode. My heart is still in shreds). All the main characters are fully developed, and even the secondary characters are memorable for the most part. It’s up to you how exactly you choose to view this series (there are also two live-action films, but I’ve not seen them), but either way you won’t regret it.
Well, hopefully you won't regret it.

Good Things:        Who wouldn’t want Korosensei as their teacher?
                                                               
                                The three main pupils are fleshed out and likeable.

                                Animation and soundtrack are both pretty good.

                                Japanese voice acting is top-notch.


Bad Things:           Most of the other twenty-three students are often sidelined.

                                Some relevant plot points from the manga are left out.

                                Mediocre dub.


Final Verdict:    
Great.
 
"My Koro-sense is tingling!"

Got a suggestion for an anime I should review? Let me know in the comments, or submit it to ask.fm/ClayDragon!
This image was also the perfect way to end the series.

ClayDragon:
ClayDragon has finished studying Physics at university, and understands about as much as he did when he started. The main method of contacting him is his Gmail account at claydragon.on@gmail.com. He has an ask.fm account at ask.fm/ClayDragon. When not playing games or reading, he can be found with his head in his hands whilst trying in vain to figure out what to do with his life. He has lots of spirit animals.

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