Assassination Classroom Season 1&2, a Japanese Animation Series that didn’t get enough to deliver

I came to known the Assassination Classroom series because my friends were watching it on a train ride. I decided to give it a try, which ended up as just another topic for our casual chats, no more.

The plot: a supernatural monster destroys 70% of the moon and then threatens to destroy earth one year later, while he teaches class 3-E at Kunugigaoka Junior High, which is the end class of the whole school, during which time he successfully gets away with numerous assassination attempts made by the students thanks to his Mach 20 speed, while teaching the students lessons for life.

At first sight, this seems to be an interesting plot. However, at second sight one would naturally bring it up against any Marvel movie that’s out there. Yet for a Marvel movie to be worthwhile, special effects should be sufficient if batman or superman flexing muscles alone isn’t. By contrast, I don’t think Assassination Classroom with its two seasons and 45 episodes delivered enough to validate the audiences’ time. Yes, during the two seasons of Assassination Classroom the smiling octopus influenced, and ultimately changed the lives of students at class 3-E. This would add a significant amount of human touches to make the series distinct from the brutalities of Marvel series, it seems to end up as a goal, too grand to reach.

Assassination Classroom is not short of grand goals beyond reach. School chancellor Asano Gakusyuu sees any group as 20% people working and 20% people skiving. In creating the class-E system he hopes to reduce the latter number down to 5%. Reality check as class 3-E still make up 20% of the third-grader population. Well, an easy fix to the problem is to make class A the good guys, class B to Y the ordinary guys and change the series title to class 3-Z. But in doing this the series risks marginalizing the protagonists, as well as the audiences who can relate themselves to the protagonists.

As for transition of the students, I don’t think they are well-developed, at least not well enough. Probably because there are so many characters, which means if you are not the very important ones like Shiota Nagisa then you would get one episode, probably less. Take the example of Sugino Tomohito, the baseball pitcher, and Okuda Manami, the future scientists, during whose episodes it’s just the supernatural octopus doing a little bit extra for the students, like telling Sugino that his pitch can have other merits than speed, or teaching Okuda that expression skills are also important for scientists. Rare moments like this are which should make the series stand out, however, since time is limited for most individuals, elaborations are really limited.

Apart from that, I’m really struggling to find any merits of the series. Since the students are tasked with killing the supernatural octopus, a lot of time is devoted to the student’s assassination attempts. But just as one doesn’t turn detective by just watching Detective Conan, one wouldn’t learn skills of assassination (or how to get away from one) by watching it on TV. Yet apart from multitudinous clips, the series contain two full episodes (Season 2, episode 17~18) of students fighting against each other exercising their assassination skills. Apart from being a tribute to Battle Royale (which I’m not a fun of), I really couldn’t think of a better explanation for this.

Perhaps, I find a more serious problem of the series, that it touches on things, and leaves it there. During the whole series, we saw the street thugs, we saw inhumane brutality in the military, we saw drug traffickers and corrupted officials having fun on a remote island, we saw a discriminative justice system, we saw press reporters being easily manipulated by authorities. The series could dig deeper into any one of these, it didn’t. Maybe, it’s like the many not-so-important characters, time limited. Maybe, it just wants to be an all-rounded animations series, the less controversial the better. Anyhow, I just don’t know if they only wants to be superficial on these things, why not ignore them in the first place?

As for the music, I’m not so sure that a spirited and lively OP and a smoothing and gentle ED are a good combination for the series. Maybe, they represent the two aspect of the series, the boisterous OP for the action-packed assassination, the peaceful ED for the growth of the characters. I prefer Marvel movies for the former, I find the latter not well-delivered.

To conclude, for subscribers of National Geographic that are into watching African zebras and hippos, that don’t mind watching either aliens or Japanese Junior High students, Assassination Classroom would satisfy them. For the rest, I don’t think Assassination Classroom has got enough to deliver.

CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 Assassination Classroom Season 1&2, a Japanese Animation Series that didn’t get enough to deliver by Huang's Site is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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