Assassination Classroom (AC) is a show about a class of F-grade misfits who are one day given the task of assassinating their new homeroom teacher. And if that’s not strange enough, their teacher, Koro-sensei, is actually a seemingly untouchable, tentacled creature who threatens to destroy Earth should they fail in their assassination. Follow the link at the bottom of this post for more info.
But more than a high-octane thrill ride featuring elaborate assassination attempts and exciting fight scenes, AC is an unexpectedly touching show about growth. This particular group of young adults have been looked down on all of their lives, by their parents, peers, and teachers. They have repeatedly been told that they will not amount to anything just because their grades are mediocre. Who can’t relate to that on some level? Who hasn’t felt that crushing sense of shame when made to feel like a loser by the people you look up to most? I can certainly relate to that, having attended a grades-focused, well-to-do academy myself. Middling (though hard-working) B grade students like me were always overlooked in favour of the A+ students, who were showered with accolades, praise, and opportunities that I could only dream of. So the treatment of the E-class absolutely struck a chord with me and I expect it will you, too, should you identify with any of what I just wrote.
But under Koro-sensei’s tutelage these students were able to shine. He didn’t take a one-size-fits-all approach to education, but gave each student advice specifically tailored to them, taking into account their experiences, personalities, strengths, and weaknesses. And rather than cramming their heads with facts, Koro-sensei would attempt to engage his students as well as teach them useful life skills, such as conversations skills, the joy of reading, and not succumbing to peer pressure. And even when the students didn’t succeed, with their exams or their assassination attempts, he never branded them as being failures, but continued to encourage and support them. It was so uplifting to see the students grow in ability and confidence as the show progressed. It demonstrated just how much of a positive effect having somebody believe in and encourage you can have on your life.
But in addition to being touching, AC was hella funny. Because of Koro-sensei’s varied and astounding abilities, it had an anything goes vibe and often featured ridiculous and unlikely scenarios, such as using porn mags to lure Koro-sensei into a trap as part of an assassination attempt. AC was also pretty self-aware, often breaking the fourth wall for a laugh. In that way it felt a lot like another one of Jump’s babies, Gintama.
AC had a large cast, which included the 3-E class, their adversaries, their contemporaries, and their teachers. The standout characters were Koro-sensei, who I have already gushed about, and Nagisa. Nagisa was the character who exhibited the most growth throughout the show. It was satisfying to see him go from being the class punchbag to the one who everybody looked up to. But instead of letting this go to his head, Nagisa remained humble and was quietly confident and self-assured. He made a nice change from many other (Jump and otherwise) male protags, whose abilities make them arrogant, loud, and annoying.
However, AC didn’t really benefit from having so large a cast of characters, as most of the E-class were pretty forgettable. And there wasn’t a female character who especially stood out to me. Irina-sensei made a living off of her sex appeal, Kayano was obsessed with her flat chest, and Hara was mocked for being chubby. The women were little more than the total sum of their body parts, which was a shame.
AC was fairly good-looking and had catchy opening and ending themes. Its art style and sound design weren’t especially outstanding or unique, but they definitely get a passing grade.
In conclusion, AC was unexpectedly touching and a lot of fun. It had a few lovable and memorable characters and looked and sounded good. I’d recommend AC if you’re a fan of Gintama and/or Sakamoto desu ga? as both are equally silly and the latter also features a seemingly untouchable character who, despite the best schemes of those around him, excels in every situation.
External links: MyAnimeList synopsis