Episodes: 22 for Season 1 and 25 for Season 2 (English Dub of Japanese series)
Assassination Classroom Online: Wikipedia, MyAnimeList for Season 1 and Season 2, IMDB, Funimation, AnimeLab, Hulu
Genre: Shounen, Action, Comedy, School Life, Drama + Science Fiction
After holding off on watching the last few episodes for several months, I finally took the plunge and finished Assassination Classroom yesterday. It was odd, seeing something that I had grown attached to finally coming to an end. What is even odder, is that I nearly didn’t watch past the first episode.
For those of you that are unaware, Assassination Classroom is a story about kids in their last year of Junior High that are the unwitting students of a tentacled creature that recently blew up a large portion of the moon. They are offered a large sum of money if they kill the creature by graduation.
As mentioned before, I nearly didn’t watch past the first episode of this series. A first episode is typically used to introduce the characters and their situation. With Assassination Classroom, the viewers are dropped right in the middle of it. This left me feeling a tad lost and confused. However, hubby and I both made the choice of continuing the series. In spite of a rocky start, the show quickly became a favourite.
The premise is somewhat simple and very twisted. We see a bunch of ninth graders being forced to plan and implement ways to killer a teacher that is a very real threat to the world. Over time, though, we see them grow attached to a creature that is a lot more complicated than his squishy toy appearance suggests. The mystery of his origins will also be unravelled as more people enter the fray in an attempt to collect the bounty.
The ticking clock aspect of this series is played out well by the growing cast. Throughout, we also see a strong focus on character growth. This is a huge factor that led to me enjoying the show. Sure, the situation is screwed up, but we see a lot of characters changing positively because of their time in 3E under Kuro-Sensei’s teaching. There is also the understanding that not all situations are as cut and dry as they initially appear.
On a further note about characters, the series has a rather large cast of characters. All in all, you are looking at around twenty-five characters that get a lot of air-time. Most storytellers would make a mess of it, but Assassination Classroom makes use of a task-driven situation in order to allow the characters to shine in their own special ways. It was really neat to watch.
To the comedic and dramatic elements, the show allows those assassination attempts to facilitate humour and WTF?!!! moments for the viewer. This is deliberate in intent, but also adds to the character development elements of the series. These sequences give an opportunity for the students to learn about the weaknesses and “tells” of Kuro. We also see a few legitimately sad moments as we learn more and more about Kuro-Sensei.
To the setting, the backdrop of the academy adds in some solid opportunities for storytelling. We see the building of history and background allowing us to make sense of why the school has been devised in the way that it has by the principal. The sequences out of the school are also noteworthy, as the students have to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of an area in order to work towards their particular goals.
In conclusion, I highly recommend this series for anyone looking for an intelligently-written, mildly twisted, character-driven Shounen action series with some comedic elements. Note that the comedy often relies on a certain level of Ecchi, though, and won’t necessarily appeal to everyone. In any case, be sure to give it a few episodes after you start watching, as the first episode is not necessarily a great indication of what to expect from the series.
Next stop, finishing Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-Kun…