So, I started this manga around April back in 2013. It lasted for a decent amount of time I suppose and the concept was certainly original. That being said, the series gradually got worse as it went on. It started out okay and I had actually given it a 6 after the initial volume or so. Maybe it was the premise that got old or the author just was not prepared to keep the series going. Whatever the case, Classroom ends on a whimper and ends up losing another point for mainstream manga.
The series is about an alien who destroyed most of the Moon. He then decided that he wanted to teach a class. Koro chose Class E, a class that is shunned by the rest of the school and treated pretty poorly. The government agrees to this deal in exchange for being able to try and destroy Koro whenever they like. The students are also encouraged to try and destroy him and they could get rich doing so. As the series progresses, the kids grow attached to Koro and decide that he may not be all that bad. Should they still destroy him or have the kids finally learned that murder is wrong. Spoiler alert, they do not.
So, this series is really a comedy first and foremost. There are some action scenes during the series as this is technically still a Shonen, but the vast majority of it is pure slice of life. You could compare the series to Nisekoi except replace the occasional plot chapter with an action one. Unfortunately, this ends up hurting the series. Mainly that’s because the cast isn’t all that good. This ensures that you’re never too invested into the series. Furthermore, the author just isn’t very good at writing a comedy. It’s rarely all that funny or engaging. I was actually pretty bored for almost the entirety of the second half of the series. It felt like nothing was happening for a very long time and I was waiting for the plot to return.
The author also doesn’t even try after a certain point and just starts including fanservice for no real reason. The fanservice is really the only main problem in the series, but it is a significant one. Naturally, being a rather boring series in general is bad as well, but it’s not something that will take too many stars off. Coupling that with recurring fanservice is another issue entirely. It’s almost as if the author is admitting that the series can’t stand on its own and that it needs this element to keep people reading. I wouldn’t be too surprised since most of the comments on the online discussion boards would always focus on this and the Nagisa cross dressing subplot. I don’t think people ever really cared about the plot and most people like it for the comedy and the drama. So if the comedy style works for you, then you’ll like the series. Otherwise, it’s gonna be a long ride.
Surprisingly, the series never really deals with one of its main themes. These kids are being told to murder Koro throughout the series and they naturally accept since they’ll be making a lot of money. The students never really ask themselves if this is the right thing to do. They wonder if they shouldn’t at times since they grow to like the teacher, but never because the act of murdering someone is wrong in itself. It seems like they just don’t really care since Koro’s an alien anyway. It’s rather alarming that they’re all so quick to accept this deal. Having a few kids decide that this just isn’t right would have been a good way to advance the plot and maybe have some characters get kicked out of the class because they refuse to sacrifice their morals. That would have made for an engaging premise if you ask me.
Unfortunately, the series never went in that direction and just continues to do its best to justify why murder is necessary in this case. There will be spoilers coming up in this paragraph so skip it if you haven’t finished the series yet. I’m gonna keep all of the spoilers confined to this paragraph to make it easier to read the rest of the review. Are you out of this paragraph yet? You have been warned! From the start, the kids are told that murdering Koro will make the world a safer place and the money seals the deal. Capturing Koro would be difficult, but it is clearly achievable as several villains do it during the course of the series. Already murder is not completely necessary. Then the end of the series takes it a step further. There is a .001% chance that Koro will blow up and take the Earth with him. It’s simply a flaw in his DNA. Even so, the people decree that Koro must die and after an extended fight, Koro lies on the ground. He is unable to move and cannot do anything. So…the “heroes” wouldn’t destroy him after all that right. The kids have been through a lot with their teacher and they should be friends at this point….nah. Nagisa plunges his knife into Koro and ends him for good. Nothing personal of course, but Nagisa was goaded into doing it and everyone was practically egging him on with their moral support. It was a terrible ending and really brought about the wrong message in the series. It tried to say that destroying Koro was the right thing to do, but that could never be the case. It goes without saying that I lost all respect for the characters and I didn’t really have much to start with. I’d say that was the final nail in the coffin for this title.
All right, lets talk about the characters. Karasuma is the government contact who teaches the kids how to effectively destroy people. He has more of a heart than the rest of the government and is known as one of the best fighters on the planet. He does a good job of pulling his weight, but does tend to let red tape stand in his way. He’s not someone that I would count on in times of trouble, but he is one of the more likable characters in the series. At the very least, he isn’t all talk. Irina is another professional who joined the group, but unfortunately the series gives her absolutely no respect. She is only used for fanservice during about 99% of her screen time and another subplot that’s not even remotely humorous is that the kids always curse her out when she appears. It’s a very mean spirited nickname. She’s able to get past them since all of the kids fall for her feminine wiles, but all that does is degrade her character further while taking the kids with her.
Koro is the big alien in the series and one of the worst written leads that I’ve seen. He’s a very perverted character similar to someone like Master Roshi. This is bad since he appears so often, this personality gets to appear constantly. He is always being tricked through this weakness and uses his super human abilities to make it all the worse. There’s not a whole lot you can do when you’re up against an invincible alien so it’s not like anyone can stop these habits of him. Any time Koro is on screen is usually going to be a cringe worthy moment.
Karma is the big rival of the series and he’s the best character in the series. It may not be saying a whole lot, but at the very least he checks most of the boxes for qualities that a rival should have. He talks a good game even if he loses most of his fights. While Karma is surpassed by Nagisa rather easily, he tries to cover up his humiliation by dishing out a lot of burns. He has a lot of confidence and doesn’t put up with a lot of the stuff that Nagisa has to go through. It would have been nice if he could have gotten a power up or something, but the series was having none of that.
Nagisa is the kind of main character that I don’t like. He’s comic relief 90% of the time, but then he’ll suddenly get serious and unlikable. When he’s in assassin mode he turns into a try-hard rather than a hardcore character. He does manage to score a win against an actual villain, which is one more than just about anyone from the students so I’ll give him that. Still, the contrast between him as a pushover who lets people dress him as a girl and his assassin mode is way too drastic. The ending of the series doesn’t help his case at all either.
There are a lot of other students in the class, but only hardcore fans will bother to learn their names. Even the author probably came close to forgetting them because some don’t actually get introduced until you’re past volume 10. That’s a long time to wait to learn about someone who is in the background since day 1 right? Aside from Karma and Nagisa, some of them are important though. Ritsu is notable because she is actually a computer program who is just allowed to be in the class for kicks. She acts like a student at the very least and while she ultimately doesn’t help out much, she ensures that the group can always communicate with each other. Kayano is the main heroine I suppose. Her role is extremely small until the series gets close to the end, but that’s good enough. Even if she tends to jump the gun and come to hasty conclusions, she actually plans things out well. She’s definitely the best student behind Karma even if a lot of her potential was wasted by the end. Her plot could have been so much more epic if it wasn’t shut down as soon as it began.
Itona was one of the early villains, but he was quickly defeated and turned into a good guy. This is one of those characters who was completely ditched as soon as he turned good. Suddenly he became completely powerless and never did anything again. It was a shame because he could have brought something new to the table. Instead he just ended up as a personality-less student who had no real stake in the whole business. To think that he started out as a mysterious villain who was actually a threat.
Gakusho is the big rival of the series and especially likes to compete with Karma. He’s in class A so he always has a lot to prove. His father is the principal so he is always in a lot of pressure. He actually does a good job of living up to it and excelling though. He’s a little more fair than his father and will honor his agreements even if he doesn’t like them. He made for a fun antagonist and helped make some of the events more fun like the athletics competition and the test arcs. Gakuho was also a good villain. He looks a little like Aizen and is as exaggerated as a principal can get. He’s supposed to be purely human, but he can mind control people and even knocked out three really strong guys with no real effort. It was 3 against 1 and they were pros, but he downed them with ease. The author never gave him powers or added anything extra to it as expected, but he was still a great character. Honestly, he should have kept on appearing. Giving him powers or something would have been awesome.
The God of Death is one of the big villains in the series. He’s definitely the most likable villain even if he does come across as rather petty in his origin. He’s very good at what he does and his plan was basically fool proof. His design is really cool and while his abilities are a bit of a stretch, it showed that he wasn’t like your average human. You definitely don’t want to mess around with this guy. It’s a shame that he never got to appear much. I don’t even count his final appearance because he cracked by the end and was nothing like the character that I got to see the first time. Takaoka is a relatively minor villain who showed up from the government. He overworked everyone and was basically a bully who always got his way. The students had to take care of him since everyone else kept turning the other way. It was definitely one of those subplots that was annoying to watch since nobody would help at all. You’d think Koro would have been a little more vigilant right?
Finally, we have Shiro. He’s the main villain of the series and wears a cloak to hide his true form until the very end. The true form is a little underwhelming as is the character in general. He was portrayed as a very mysterious individual, but after getting thwarted several times in a row, it was hard to take him as seriously. You could go whole volumes without seeing this guy appear and I don’t get why he was waiting so long. His master plan just didn’t make a whole lot of sense and without his constant hostages, the guy wouldn’t even be all that tough. He could have been a cool villain, but squandered his opportunity.
Another problem with the series has to be the power levels. It’s always annoying to see the main characters because none of them can fight for beans. They’re all just kids so whenever an actual villain shows up, they just have to hide. They can’t hold their own because all of the big villains have super powers and could beat the kids in an instant. At first I was waiting for a time skip or some kind of power up, but gradually I realized that this wasn’t that kind of series. It actually tries to be very realistic for the most part which means that the kids just stay as kids the whole time. They never really get any development or improve at all in combat. Maybe you won’t mind that, but I found it extremely annoying by the end. I mean, what’s the point of having them around if they’re never gonna help? I haven’t seen a group of main characters as helpless as these guys.
As mentioned earlier, I think this series just lasted too long. I believe the author just couldn’t come up with enough ideas which is why some plots were stretched to oblivion and why the series had a noticeable dip in quality in the second half. Some characters were basically ditched and others never got a whole lot of development. The series was just all over the place and made sure to mess up its opportunities whenever possible. It’s a shame, but I guess they can’t all be winners in Shonen Jump.
Overall, There’s a reason why nobody really talks about Classroom anymore. It was a huge thing when the first anime was airing and everyone was talking about the manga. It still sells well, but people just don’t talk about it anymore. The series just went downhill and should have quite while it was ahead. As it is, the series was at a 4 for a very long time, but then the author just had to go through with the terrible ending and lower it even further. A bad ending can go a long way and this was one of the worst endings that I’ve seen in a manga. Another title that I’ll be reviewing soon also had a dicey ending, but at least he was so bad that it was played for laughs which worked to an extent. This one played it serious and seriously giving out bad morals is a good way for me to shave off some points. I’d recommend skipping this series. It simply doesn’t live up to the hype and you’re better off just reading DBZZZZzzzzz yet another time.