Assassination Classroom (and why we’re not friends.)

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This is less of a review, and more of an explanation to why Assassination Classroom and I did not get along during the Winter and Spring seasons–we danced a dance of surprise and disappoint, we did. Please don’t take personal offense, fans, I’ll try to share my conflicted feelings as nicely as possible. 😉

For those unaware, Assassination Classroom is an incredibly popular comedy/action/shounen manga that only recently got its 22 episode anime adaption (with a sequel coming next year.)

It follows an alien who destroys the moon and then promises to destroy Earth if he is not killed in one year. However, for some unknown reason, he agrees to allow E-class, a group of struggling middle grade misfit students, to make any assassination attempt on his life that they can attempt… while being their very responsible and caring teacher. The kids call him Koro Sensei.

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That’s one crazy and ridiculous synopsis, no? Frankly, this is a very fun premise with lots of potential..if it had been allowed to be.

The episodes could have been dedicated to students each week, where we learn a new student’s back story and motivation, and how having Koro Sensei as a good teacher, or becoming an assassin, effects their particular view of life. We could have gotten a wacky comedy that understood its ridiculous premise and poked fun at itself with unabashed over the top humor. And I’ll give credit where credit is due, because every once and awhile, we did get some amazing episodes!

But mostly….mostly it just didn’t work. Now, I’m a little hesitate writing this up as I always dislike landing on the unpopular side of things, but I figure an honest post from me would be more interesting than a semi-polished-fake-smiling-review that I could write. So bare with me. 😉

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Lets hit the pros first, because there are several things I did enjoy–enough to keep me coming back each week.

A. Most importantly, because this is not common knowledge: the OST for this anime is PHENOMENAL. You will never hear a more diverse sounding OST than Assassination Classroom’s. Sadly, the show really under uses its music, so I didn’t even appreciate it during the show! However, it deserves all your love, so go listen to my favorite tracks here for a taste!

B. Of the few children we got to meet intimately from the classroom, Karma was the stand-out character. He did get a full episode, which really displayed how lethal and dark he was. He was a worthy opponent for Korro Sensei as both a student and assassin–and unlike most of the characters, Karma got some development by the end.

Karma kept me coming back and he became one of my favorite characters of the spring season!

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C. Koro Sensei was a fun character! He had a goofy fun voice, his face would change colors, and he had eccentric behaviors which were entertaining to watch. He also seemed like a really great guy…so I’m not really sure why he’s so set on destroying Earth in a year. As their teacher, he was honestly their biggest cheerleader and taught them how to stand up for themselves, which I liked a lot.

D. There were some fantastic episodes. This has to do with C., in that my favorite episodes were often the ones were Koro Sensei was helping E-Class stand up for themselves against the rest of the school who saw them as losers. These episodes were often very entertaining and had a high level of satisfaction. The other good episodes were the rare ones that actually focused on one of the students–like Karma or the introduction to the AI student.

These episodes were the ones that teased and drew me back each week, hoping to see more. But that’s about all the pros I can come up with!

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Now on to things that just didn’t work. I’ll try to write these as even-tempered as I can (I did get most of my seething out to Sensei already–thanks for listening to my exasperated fumes and swears for six months. XD)

A. Assassination Classroom’s biggest crime was taking itself too seriously. The story’s premise is ridiculous and the show should have reveled in its outlandish-ness: Instead, we got a lot of legitimizing dialogue from characters trying to stress how serious everything was and a narrative that took itself WAY. TOO. SERIOUSLY.

This killed a potentially great comedy action show for me. Looks-like-a-girl-for-no-reason Nagisa didn’t help by saying dramatically and deeply “We’re an assassination classroom, assigned to kill our sensei” every other episode. That got really tiring really fast because I get it. We all get it. Can we have some real fun now? No? Darn.

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B. The word “classroom” is literally in the title, but outside of a couple of kids, we really didn’t get to know most of the characters! Instead the show focused on bringing outside assassins into the classroom to take a swing at killing Koro Sensei, leaving the kids with not enough time for development. This was such a sad waste of potential–I wish the show had capitalized on its large cast and focused on a different child each (or every other) episode… but that just didn’t happen.

The result is that I was with a lot of semi-familiar faces each week but left completely un-invested mentally or emotionally with them as characters. I couldn’t cheer them on and I couldn’t feel devastated when their assassination plots were foiled. I only felt annoyed.

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C. The main problem is that, ultimately, the story can’t go anywhere because of its premise. The point is to kill Koro Sensei–if they kill him, the show is over…therefore as an audience we now know that every attempt will fail, no matter how well thought out and executed each one is. This made it hard to become invested in the training and assassination attempts. No matter how impossible it seemed, Koro Sensei would always survive.

Of course, this wouldn’t be so bad if I was actually getting invested in the characters and how they were affected by Koro Sensei’s excellent tutelage and “what would we do if we actually did kill him?” ideas but nope…the show just didn’t want to do good character development.

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D. I get it, Assassination Classroom is a shounen, not a seinen, I can’t expect the world from it right? Hmmmmmmmmm, well, here’s the thing: This was a fun show that was sometimes really funny and it delivered a fantastic episode every once and awhile. I know it had great potential because we got peeks at it! So it’s very frustrating when you see a potential for greatness but you only receive a majority of average episodes.

Assassination Classroom REALLY DID have amazing potential–that’s why I kept coming back, hoping it would pull its act together and deliver the greatness that I saw it do every few episodes. But that never happened, which really frustrated me. And frankly, I don’t have much hope for the sequel to be any better unless it can go for an actual ending.

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I wanted to like Assassination Classroom so bad. So bad. I wanted to like the characters more than I did. I wanted to know more about Koro Sensei but his back story was only touched on once. I wanted the show to stop “legitimizing” itself and just have fun. I wanted the show to be the best I knew it could be.

But our six month dance was mostly frustration, tripping over dress hems and toe-stepping, before getting left cold in the center of the dance floor by ridiculous filler episodes and a tonally messy finale. Color me flushed, disappointed, and peeved…at the mildest.

Star Rating: 3.5/5 | Rewatchability: Low | Definition: Assassinated Itself

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17 Comments Add yours

  1. Keep meaning to look at the manga series. 🙂 I have tagged you in the Would you rather book tag on my blog. Hope you find it fun! 🙂

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    1. Jamie says:

      Actually, yeah, I wonder how similar the manga is to the anime. Oh thank you! I’ll come check it out!!! ❤

      Like

  2. shiroyuni says:

    Hello!! I enjoyed your review on this, you listed out the exact same reasons why I didn’t actually continue watching AssClass -ahem- beyond episode 7. I was waiting to see if by the end of the first season, there was anything redeeming such that it would be worth my time to pick it up again. But after reading your review, I am glad I didn’t actually continue watching this. ^^

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    1. Jamie says:

      Hello! Yep, you didn’t really miss anything by dropping it and I don’t think its worth catching up for the sequel. I’m glad at least someone has appreciated my honest review, I was a little nervous I was going to get hate. XD Thank you so much for commenting!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This sounds super frustrating, to not develop the whole cast and to base the premise on one individual dying, however unlikely that seems. I have not watched this series, and only avoided it because I had too many other shows to watch. Listening to your and others’ thoughts, however, I think I’ll avoid this show, or at least until I hear the sequel is great. I enjoyed this kind of review from you! It was humorous and different! 🙂

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    1. Jamie says:

      YES it was very very frustrating, you should have heard the rants I made over Skype to my friend–I’m absolutely baffled as to why its so popular. Sounds like a good plan on your part!

      Thank you very very much!!! I’m so glad it worked and was enjoyable!

      ~Jamie

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I kept looking at this and now you have inspired me to go ahead and try it 🙂 Thank you. I have nominated you for the Book Tour Award on my blog 🙂

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    1. Jamie says:

      I will be interested to hear your thoughts on it when you finish it! Odds are you’ll enjoy it a lot! 😀 Oooh, thank you, I’ll come check it out!

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Great 🙂 I certainly will let you know what I think. It looks hilarious.

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    3. Jamie says:

      It did have it moments! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Angela says:

    I’ve actually always found the second season better than the first season, since to me it developed the characters more. I feel the best part of Assassination Classroom was its ending, which tied up most, if not all loose ends and was really quite satisfying, though somewhat sad.

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  6. Reuel says:

    Thank you for your review; I kept wondering why I hated assclass so much and your review really put things into perspective for me. Yeah, you shouldn’t read the manga, I read the manga and forced myself through 20 chapters before giving up. It’s so bad.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jamie says:

      awww wow that makes me happy! Glad I’m not alone either. ^_^

      Like

  7. Katie says:

    I totally agree with you. I only made it to about episode 8 and cannot for the life of me will myself to actually sit down & watch it again.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. man says:

    Developing a side character EVERY episode would get redundant. I thought it did well to establish them. It kept them relevant but, it focused on the main characters. It works either way. “It takes itself to seriously” is bullshit. It is mostly humor. I agree on the Koro sensei thing with him dying and all, though. Frankly, this show had lots of emotion, humor, and care put into it. Sorry but, I am going to have to disagree on your review. A lot of the side characters were touched up on but, there wasn’t really much to say or anything. You generally want to save the big development for main characters.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jamie says:

      Hey, people are bound to disagree with me, this is a popular show. But I think we had a great cast of characters truly wasted because I didn’t feel like I knew them well at all. And every other episode or every few episodes would have been fine–why did they show off that huge cast so intimately in all the freaking openings if we weren’t even going to know them? And it wouldn’t be redundant if done well! A wide range of backstories and motivations and character exploration would have been fascinating! And disagree with me, but its humor took its self very seriously; totally threw me off. I stand by my review; this was a decent show that got completely wasted, especially in the second season. I liked the second season even less. But hey, disagree with me, that’s totally chill–although if you want to use language like bullshit on my site, I’d love to see you not hiding behind an anonymous name. 😉
      Thanks for your comment!

      ~Jamie

      Like

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