Anime Reporter starts up another series; Assassination Classroom, the bizarre high school tale brought to the world via the mind of Yusei Matsui. Volume 01 contains the first seven chapters of the series, which is really about six and a half chapters more than it took for this anime reporter to feel like he was on to something pretty special.
Assassination Classroom is centered largely around Class 3-E at Kunugigaoka Junior High School. The E class, largely considered to be the hopeless dregs of their school, are given their own ramshackle building in another part of the campus where they can’t possibly drag the rest of the student body down with them. Dreamers, delinquents and, well, kids who just aren’t that good at school make up 3-E class, but each of them is highly motivated to do one thing; kill their teacher.
While it’s hardly unusual for students to perhaps wish something bad would happen to their teachers, this isn’t exactly the same thing. You see, 3-E’s teacher is a smiley-faced, tentacle super-being who can quite casually move at mach20, recently blew a giant hole in the moon and has assured the world’s governments that in a year’s time, he’s going to blow up the Earth. Naturally, the reaction to this was to do absolutely everything possible to kill the creature, but, moving at incredible speeds, as well as boasting a genius intellect, means that there’s really no challenge in evading missiles, hitmen or fighter jets, so the would-be planet killer had a proposition to make things a little bit more interesting.
The creature, or “Korosensei” as he comes to be known, has agreed to show up and teach the students of class 3-E and the students are to be outfitted with special weapons which can’t hurt humans but have a seriously destructive effect on him. The world governments won’t be allowed to interfere, but the students are actively encouraged to find new and clever ways to try to kill Korosensei. In fact, an important part of what Korosensei sees as his role is helping and guiding his students to develop their skills and personal strengths. He’s also an excellent teacher when it comes to actual school subjects, encouraging each of his students and finding ways to reach each of them. (Really, you’d think a teacher who expects the planet to be gone in a year’s time would just phone it in). Aside from this, Korosensei is just… well, an oddball who’s happy to fly to the North Pole for ice to make snow cones and who doesn’t actually know how many tentacles he has. While he’s very understanding and patient when it comes to Maths and English, he has no problems being smug and condescending each time he thwarts his students attempts to kill him.
The students of class 3-E, seem to really care for and respect their new teacher, but since they’re also quite keen on the Earth (and the 10 billion Yen reward they’ve been offered), they’re most definitely aiming to pass this particular assignment. The premise is odd, but it’s also brilliant and, without giving too much away in terms of plot development, the relationship between Korosensei and his students, as well as the truly wonderful mix of harsh violence with witty, cartoon humour, all make for a phenomenal opening volume. Not since Katekyo Hitman Reborn! have I been so amused and surprised by a new series. This series deserves your attention.
86% – “Top Class!”– Assassination Classroom Volume One introduces a frenzied, violent plot to send children to kill the most courteous and likeable teacher to ever threaten all life on Earth. If, like me, you’ve never quite recovered from Reborn’s cancellation, you might just find a new favourite here.