Back in 2015, when I was browsing through anime to watch, I stumbled upon this peculiar title. The annotation piqued my interest and I decided to give it a try, not expecting anything special. Little I knew back then that I discovered a show I would today consider the best title of the last 3 years. This review serves for both seasons of the show.
We are introduced to a middle school with a twisted education policy of discrimination against a small portion of worst-performing students in order to cultivate the potential of the rest through fear. From this point on, we withess the struggle of the ostracized class 3-E, which strives to earn their rightful place in society by assassinating their teacher, an octopus-like invincible monster threatening to destroy the Earth. During their one year long fight, the students grow in both intellect and physical abilities. By overcoming many tough trials with help of their remarkable teacher, they transform from demoralized misfits to outstanding and proud human beings.
As the name of the series suggests, the main theme for the show is an assassination. For his own personal reasons, Koro-sensei decides that he will expose himself to a danger of being killed, and demands that he is allowed to teach the class 3-E at prestigeous middle school in compensation. With the 10 billion bounty on his head, he makes an effort to teach the misfit students the values, which they should hold in high regard, to force each of the students to overcome their personal weaknesses and for every student to realize that they can cultivate their own potential and use it for the greater good. To motivate them, he offers his generous bounty to anyone who manages to kill him during the year they spend together. As the story progresses, the students become skilled and formidable. They learn to use their own strengths to bring down many enemies, including the elite students who looked down on them, various bad guys who threatened to destroy the environment the students began to love and to take down the whole messed up education system. They also begin to view their awkward teacher as something else than just an assassination target and, gradually, a deep bond between them starts to form. After they spend the whole year together and the fated day draws near, the students have to face the most difficult problem they ever encountered. To kill Koro-sensei or to save him.
When you ask me what I treasure the most in a good anime, I can answer with no hesitation: the characters. In this regard, Assassination Classroom does an excellent job. We are presented with a large roster of characters, including 28 students, their 3 teachers, one fear-instilling school director, several bad guys and many others. Every single character is unique in its own way, which makes the interaction between students and their acquaintances an enjoyable experience. My most favourite characters were Koro-sensei - the best octopus teacher in the universe, Bitch-sensei - lovely and seductive assassin teacher with a child-like personality, Kayano - timid girl with her own surprising secrets, and finally Nagisa - the trap (*cough*), I mean the innocent looking kid with a knack for assassination.
Probably the most outstanding aspect of the show is the way it captivates the spectator with its atmosphere. It starts in a fairly comedic manner and becomes more serious later on. As the story progresses, we share happines, laughs, fears, depressions and tears with the students, which slowly prepares us for the climax, which comes in the form of an emotional nuclear bomb. Since this is a no-spoiler review, let me just state, that the conclusion to this story was outstanding. I can say that the way this show ended fitted so perfectly into the overal mood of the series that it raised the overal rating of the show at least one level up.
Concerning audiovisual side of the series, I was very satisfied. The visuals worked great to enhance the atmosphere (centipedes, skeleton-flashes, Nagisa's eyes etc.) and the music also fitted in. I was kind of dissapointed with the first three openings though. But the fourth opening was great, as well as all the endings.
Let me share some negatives as well, to make this review more objective. One of the things that don't allow me to rate the show 10/10 is the pacing of the second season. In the first season, we witnessed the formation of bonds between students and their teacher. In a series of various events, the students underwent huge transformations and placed their trust in their teachers. There also was a big focus on the studying itself, which took the strange forms of assassination analogies. On the other hand, the second season seemed to lose that special unifying element. We witnessed many events as the students encountered one mighty foe after another and in all this mess, the elements of the ingenious Koro-sensei's education kind of dissipated. In the end, the overall gradation of the story kind of suffered, since I felt like I was at the end of the story from like the half of the second season. I was also kind of disappointed that some characters which seemed interesting, didn't get as much screen time as they deserved. I am talking about young Asano-kun or Shinigami 2.0. But that's only to be expected since the number of episodes was limited. I also have my own issues with the intelligence of professional soldiers and assassins who get defeated by a group of kids with no real experience, but I am not such a butthurt to nitpick on every single detail. From now on it gets a little spoiler-ish so feel free to skip to the last paragraph if you haven't finished the show yet. My last remark is about the crazy last fight. What I liked about the show was that Koro-sensei was the only supernatural element in the whole show and moreover, he acted more like human than anyone else in the series. When they brought super strong sci-fi weapons and monsters into the last fight, I felt like it was kind of out of place.
To conclude this review, let me say a few final words. In the dark times of anime production with endless tides of primitive ecchi titles, cheap duplicates of succesful mainstream shows and series without soul the titles that used to come out before possessed, it is always a pleasant surprise to discover a gem such as Assassination Classroom. Brimming with emotion, the show comes with many thoughts for us to process. Maybe I can also grow as a human being? Is it right to judge people solely by their reputation? Can porn really save the world? While I still savor the various emotions this wonderful show blessed me with, I have but one thing to say to anyone who made it to this point through the long review: Go and watch Assassination Classroom yourself, you won't regret it.
I cried for over an hour after watching this anime. It was such a change from the previous 2 seasons because every episode then I laughed and enjoyed every moment with 3-E. I cannot think of this anime or watch a vine of it without tearing up a little. Everyone should at least give it a try.
I really enjoyed the second season.
The character development was brilliant and I especially like how we learnt more of Koro-Sensei's past especially how he cared about Aguri and how he had learnt to protect his students, so that if the students ever get into a situation that Aguri got into then he'd know how to save one of his students.
I enjoyed this season so much more than the first season. The ending was perfect, the way they ended the season, the last few episodes brought tears to my eyes and that has only been possible by a few animes that I've watched. If you're planning on watching a very good action anime with a good character development and untold secrets until the later seasons/episodes, then this is the anime for you!
10/10 overall for me!
This is one of the best anime i have ever watched!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Notice: This review covers both seasons.
The premise of the series has to do with a class of losers being forced to kill their tentacle hentai teacher within a year. If they succeed, they will be rich. If they fail, the whole world will be destroyed. It’s silly, it makes no sense, and it’s just an excuse for fantasy empowerment. “Hey low-esteem student watching Assclass. Are you constantly being victimized by your society? Is everybody treating you like you are the scum of the earth, who will never succeed in anything in his life? Well, here’s a show to escape the harsh reality. You get to be an assassin who gets back on his bullies, kills his own teachers, gets lots of money for it, saves the world, and has lots of fun doing repetitive school activities! Thug life!”
And yes, I know it’s a comedy and it doesn’t need to make sense or be pragmatic, but it tries so much to be dramatic with high stakes that you simply can’t see it as a silly past-timer. Everybody has a tragic past but they are constantly doing silly things such as cross-dressing or spying on girls. One moment it’s supposed to be telling you important life lessons, and the immediate next it’s presenting assassination as a cool profession teenagers can go after. Remember kids, be good to your parents, wash your teeth every night, and kill people for a living because this yellow octopus trained you.
I can excuse the nonsense plot or the weak theme exploration, but not its lack of variety. I am not talking about different quirks for each character, it does that, I am referring to motivations. There is only one thing everybody wants to do: Kill the teacher. And there is only one thing the teacher is doing with everyone: Makes them work hard for a better future. It gets so formulaic and repetitive that you feel like you watching the exact same episode again and again.
I mean, yeah, the details change all the time, such as who is trying to kill the teacher, with what method, or in which location, but the end result is the same no matter what. There is always a battle of some sorts, Koro-sensei wins, and he lashes out a message about training hard to be better next time. I can give Assclass the credit of having a focused theme instead of being all over the place. And I like how there is variety in methods and locations. I also like how sometimes the stakes are as low as studying to score high in exams and sometimes they are high where lots of lives are at stake.
The problem is, the resolution is the same, no matter how grave the situation is. Despite the constant tactics and planning everybody seems to be using, the result is whatever the author wants it to be, since superpowers are abused and the laws of physics mean nothing. Koro-sensei has very broken powers, and thus has epic levels of plot armor. Yeah, that changes towards the end but it’s only because the show needs to end and not because someone overpowered him. As for the students using superpowers, it becomes meaningless when there are stuff such as mind control and instant healing. Free will and death lose their meaning, there is never actual tension because no matter what happens it can be easily undone. Thus the characterization is laughably meaningless.
I didn’t feel that in other anime about a teacher, such as Great Teacher Onizuka and Sayonara Zetsubo Sensei. Over there, everybody was doing something outside of a main objective. The students and assassins in Assclass on the other hand are moving like a mob and thus it becomes very hard to see them as individuals. You see them as plot devices rather than people trying to do things differently and thus developing into unique personalities. My point is, having the same goal for everybody is damaging for characterization. I understand that if they fail, the world will be destroyed, but it’s still damaging.
In fact, it goes against the core theme. If the show was promoting teamwork above everything else, I would understand the persistence of a common goal. But the formula of most episodes doesn’t play out as if it’s about working as a team. It’s mostly about a single student or assassin going after the teacher, and along the way showing something tragic in his past that made him the way he is today. What’s the point of individual backdrop stories when the end goal is the same for everyone? They are all moving towards the exact same destination no matter what they do.
What’s the point of the theme being about success when the objective is to kill the teacher? You know everybody will be constantly failing before the last episode. For a premise that is built around making the characters succeed in life, 99% of the duration is about them constantly failing. Also, it is a terrible objective. Nobody wants the planet to blow up, and nobody wants the teacher to die. The ending is either going to be a cop-out or it’s going to not feel like a success.
Beyond all that, it comes down to Assclass having dozens of unnecessary characters. The theme of the series is very specific and simple to need more than a handful for exploring it. In fact, it doesn’t need more than 2, Nagisa and the teacher. All the others are slight alterations of the exact same archetype, and the plot is basically the same in every episode: Work hard for a better future. The problem is, there is not much screen time allocated for each one of them before the focus switches to someone else, thus nobody manages to be memorable, outside the ridiculous design of the yellow octopus. And that is what leaves Assclass as nothing more that yet another forgettable school comedy.