Time to look at Assassination Classroom, definitely a title that was a pretty big hit everywhere. This is one of those shows that definitely got a lot of attention while it was around. It had a pretty cool premise and a lot of potential although it ended up holding itself back. The first season makes for a pretty fun adventure. You’ll get to see the exploits of a supernatural teacher as he tries to get Class E into shape. Of course they’re all in Class E for a reason so this won’t be as easy as it seems.
The show starts by explaining that a mysterious being has blown up 755 of the world. He makes a deal with humanity. He won’t blow up the Earth yet but then he will get to teach a classroom of kids how to be great academics as well as assassins. They have 1 year in which to destroy Koro-sensei. If they are unable to complete this mission, then he will blow up the planet. As part of the deal, the government and other fighters can try to murder him as well so long as it doesn’t interfere with the classroom. Additionally, he is not allowed to harm any of the students so it’s a pretty generous deal right? At the same time, what can some kids do against an alien like Koro who moves at mach speed and travels the world on a whim?
From the human characters Nagisa is definitely the main one. He doesn’t have a whole lot of confidence in part because he has never found anything that he is really good at. He tries a lot of things but nothing ever turns out to be a perfect match for him. This class changes everything as he finds out he has a knack for being an assassin. Definitely not the career path he had initially thought of but it could be perfect for this role.
Part of the trouble though is the kids start to doubt if they want to destroy Koro. He seems like a really nice guy and at the end of the day all of his tips and tricks help make them better people. Kuro is always teaching the kids things they didn’t even know about themselves and they are all the stronger for it. Nagisa’s a good character. He could definitely use more confidence but he does get better as the season goes on. He’s got a very tangible character arc there.
The best character has to be Karma though. He’s essentially the opposite of Nagisa. This guy is incredibly confident but also a complete delinquent. He isn’t afraid to attack a teacher or get into fights with gang members. These are skills that help him a lot in this class but would definitely put him in a pickle for normal studies. It’s part of why he’s in Class E since technically his academic abilities are some of the best in the class. Karma can effectively do anything as a student but at the same time this does cause him to be overconfident. While all of the kids seem doomed against Koro since he can move faster than they can even think, at least Karma comes up with a lot of great plans to stop him.
He steals the show in the big story arcs as well like when he faces off against one of the pro assassins’ who can crush anyone with a single grab. Karma also does well against a group of thugs who attack his classmates and on some who tried bullying Nagisa. At the end of the day you can always count on him to defend his allies. Karma definitely didn’t have the easiest time growing up but he puts all of his energy into helping out his classmates in Class E so what else could you ask for from the guy?
Then we have the teacher himself. Well, Koro is definitely a very complex character. On one hand, he clearly has a whole lot of skill even aside from his super abilities. He’s got an analytical mind and is serious about being a teacher so he builds an individual curriculum for each of the kids. That being said, he doesn’t like to show this side of him to the point where he goes all out in making himself look as bad as possible.
Where Koro’s character really gets ruined is in how he is responsible for bringing quite a bit of the fanservice into the show. He is obsessed with reading certain magazines or falling for other characters’ wiles. He has enough ability to purposefully fall into a trap an still escape after all. It may all be an act but he has so much fun with it that it is impossible to find the guy likable. It would be nice if he was serious all the time but it happens so rarely that he even tends to get embarrassed afterwards. Koro’s good at teaching but he’s a bad character overall.
That is the show’s greatest weak point though. It does have a considerable amount of fanservice throughout the show. Mainly this shows up every time Irina appears or for some of Koro’s gags. Irina is the main culprit though. It’s unfortunate since she is a pro agent who actually has a good amount of skills but unfortunately she was trained in the art of seduction as well which the show likes to focus on. She isn’t afraid to mess with the students either if she thinks it will help her out which is definitely rather shameless. This is why she won’t be able to catch up to Karasuma.
Karasuma is an excellent character and definitely one of the standouts in the show. He can fight really well and definitely acts like a full commander. Without him the kids would be in a bit of a tricky spot but with him you feel like they have a chance…at least as much as Koro lets them have one anyway. Against any human you can expect Karasuma to take the win because of his high degree of skill. That said, Koro is a different beast entirely.
One thing that’s a little different here compared to most titles is that the goal appears to be impossible. In Naruto you can picture him becoming Hokage some day. He may be weak at the start but he knows Ninjutsu and has a Fox inside of him so he can pull it off. Same with Luffy becoming Pirate King as he has a Devil fruit and all. The kids destroying Koro? It’s hard to picture because they are just normal kids and he’s a being that can move faster than a fighter jet. I forget exactly what speed they said he is, mach 50 or something. What’s more important is what you see him do. Koro is so fast he is able to have 20 different conversations at the same time with various after images. He is able to play full sport games by himself on both teams. He can move with such crazy speed that the humans can’t possibly even hope to see him.
Because of that, there is no goal to achieve. The kids can study for thousands of years and never get fast enough to stop Koro without some kind of upgrades because they are pure humans. In that sense, this is probably one of the only series I can think of where the goal is actually 100% impossible. There is just nothing the heroes can do to stop him at least without changing the very formula of the series. Koro just lets them think they are close. He has a lot of weaknesses such as water, getting distracted, letting his guard down, etc. At the same time, you feel like aside from the water he makes up the rest of the weaknesses to help their self esteem.
What the heroes need are more supernatural creatures of their own. There is the mysterious Shiro who is an interesting figure because he actually made another tentacle type monster to fight wit Koro. Now this is the kind of guy you can see accomplishing his goals because this adds a layer of supernatural elements to the mix. Of course he’s a villain though so if he blows up Koro that might be dangerous. At the same time though….maybe the humans have a better chance against these guys so perhaps they should help assist?
It brings you back to their dilemma of wondering if they really want to murder Koro. At the very least they don’t want someone else doing it but that could just be denial. It’s an interesting predicament but I will say I’m on the side of not destroying him. Clearly Koro doesn’t seem like a bad guy here. The whole threat to destroy the Earth sounds intense but it’s hard to say if he’s really on the level or not. At the very least, you get the feeling that murdering him just doesn’t sound right. If he tries to destroy the world then you stop him at that point (Not that they can) but not before.
Back to the characters though, one of the students is named Kaede and you could say she is probably Nagisa’s best friend. She’s not very loud compared to the others but she is always willing to help out. She’s a very low key student who is always around though. Then you have Sugino who is good at sports. He tends to take things with a more light hearted attitude next to the other characters and does leave a good impression on you. It’s not likely that you will remember each student a whole lot but the show does try to give everyone at least one episode so they stand out.
For a more powerful student you have Itona who is the tentacle opponent I referenced earlier. He definitely has one of the more impressive entrances in the show as he just walks through a wall to challenge Koro. He also got some pretty intense music and was able to dodge Karma’s insult and then respond in kind. Itona isn’t really used to being around the other kids and acting normal since he focuses completely on battle. He makes for a fun antagonist though and it’s nice to have someone who can keep up with Koro.
Stepping away from the students for a minute, you have Gakuho, the principal of the school. Next to Karma he is the best character. This guy is incredibly impressive because of his intimidating presence and the fact that he is a principal who can fight. He’s not just going to be sitting around giving lectures. No, this is one of those guys who is absolutely ready to fight at any given moment as seen when he literally made someone eat paper and also when he caught a soccer ball at a speed that shattered windows.
He’s probably the only character in the series to not show even the slightest bit of fear against Koro. He’s probably the only person to actually get a clean win against the guy as well. This guy is definitely a scene stealer and I really like that confidence. He is definitely a villain no matter how you slice it though. We find out he created Class E purely as a way to make the other students have someone below them. It’s a diabolical scheme that improves grades through fear as nobody wants to go to Class E. He allows the other classes to pick on them and insult the kids as well in order to boost morale. It’s quite the vicious tactic and no matter how effective it may be, you can see how it’s not the right thing to do.
Then you have his son Gakusho who is also a lot of fun. While he may not have matched the level of his Dad yet, he does want to ultimately surpass him. Whenever he appears he is trying to find some way to close the gap between them although this is easier said than done. His abilities are still top tier though so he can keep up with any of the kids no problem. He has a good rivalry going with Karma as well. His introduction along with the rest of Class A was a really good way to amp up the stakes for the exam arc.
The show handles the exams in a fun way where it looks like the heroes enter a gladiator arena or an RPG to battle monsters. Each question is a monster with the most powerful ones appearing as boss creatures. This was just a good way to make each scene interesting. In general I thought the animation was quite solid here. The colors are very striking with everyone’s distinct hair colors being a good way to tell them apart. All of the character designs are different enough where you could even without the hair I suppose, but it helped ensure that each scene was always colorful. In fact, the animation is even a whole tier above Astra Lost in Space which came out by the same studio a few years later so it shows how much effort was put into this one. In particular aside from the eyes you have the striking eyes which really have a lot of intensity on any zoom in. I think there this show was able to show off the animation was in the impact shots where they put in a lot of shading and contrast effects. The animation was very impressive.
The action scenes are also on point when they happened as well. This may not be a full blown action scene but there were different mini arcs where you would get a fight and they always tended to look good. I also enjoyed the ost. The danger theme such as when Itona burst through the door is definitely the best track of the bunch. It has good range though so you should easily find a good track that you enjoy.
Back to the characters, Ritsu was another student who got a big role here. As an A.I. she is certainly a very different kind of student. Her debut episode was fun as she decided to mess with everyone to the point where they eventually decided to ban her entirely. Her arsenal of weapons is no joke. After her initial appearance she never quite gets a big role like that again but she is always around and tends to be more useful than some of the other students.
Then there is Terasaka who is the most annoying of the students and dare I say he may be the worst one? You can’t trust him for beans and strength is his whole thing but he would lose in a fight to Nagisa or Karma. His whole character just got nullified in an instant. I could brush that all aside if he wasn’t someone who was quick to betray the others but that’s just not the case here. As a result, his character gets a thumbs down.
Finally you have one of the big villains, Akira. This guy gets a decent amount of hype since he is one of the only characters to appear more than once. As a full fledged adult he makes for a difficult opponents for the kids to face off against. Karasuma or Koro could handle him no problem but it’s a different matter for the students. He even assembled a team of assassins which made for a fun mini arc. Some of them were definitely on the real crazy side like the guy who keeps munching on his gun but they all had skills. Akira comes off as really petty next to the other characters though as his life’s mission is to beat up on a kid.
Now, one thing with this show that sticks out more than most is you feel like the kids never truly have a shot against the adults. I’d say the reason for that is because the show is set up as a much more realistic experience than most Shounen titles. So these kids really are just kids. I mean they move with more anime speed than a normal kid of course but the adults still seem out of their level. With the assassins the show gives us a good reason why the fights went the way they did, but for the Akira fight I think you’ll always be a bit skeptical of those moments. I remember during the manga I kept thinking there would be a big time skip to where the main characters are adults but I guess there would need to be a good reason on why Koro just didn’t blow up the planet.
The power levels aren’t enough to change the score or anything but something that’s just worth a note. Either way the show establishes that Karasuma is still the strongest so there’s just usually a story reason why he can’t run in and save the day. Of course there are more characters I could mention but I would say these are the key ones. The next season should also introduce more characters as we still don’t know exactly what happened in Koro’s past. That should be a fun plot point and of course we need some closure for the principal. There’s still a lot of adventures to be had.
Overall, That’s the first season of Assassination Classroom. It’s a well balanced show with a colorful cast and a good amount of action. I’d call the series more of an adventure comedy as we see the characters try out different plans against Koro as opposed to a lot of big fights. That said, I guess those would fall under general action so that works as a genre as well. Their most impressive attempt was near the end of the season at the hotel resort where they set up a ton of explosives and even a TV as they tried getting Koro in a tight spot. It’s another reminder that he is just out of their league though. If you could just tone down the fanservice a good amount and improve Koro-sensei’s character then this show would be able to make it to the next level. Still, if you’re looking for an interesting anime to watch with a fun atmosphere then this is a good one to check out. Definitely be on the lookout for the hype principal.