Project #207: Assassination Classroom Part 1

Hello and welcome to Project Nitsuj. Being a teacher is one of the most underappreciated jobs in the world today. In the past teachers were seen as mentors to the young, shaping their minds and being that other voice of reason besides a parent. But now, it’s a job that a good number of people have to force themselves to do. Teachers lack the motivation and energy because of being underpaid and students refusing to learn and students refuse to learn because the teacher lacks motivation and energy to teach. It’s a two-way system where both sides feed off the other sort of like a band playing in front of a live audience. The more hype the band is to play the more hype the audience is and vice-versa. I’ve gone on record a number of times saying how Japan takes their education seriously. Unlike here in America where it’s more relaxed and slow-paced to make sure nobody gets left behind, Japan’s education is more intense and serious thus they need teachers who can not only teach them but help whip them into shape and prepare them for the hardships of the world. Good thing they got this strange alien creature teaching a class how the handle the hardships of life in Assassination Classroom. One of the more popular mangas to come out in recent years, Assassination Classroom is a unique tale in which a group of students are being asked to assassinate their homeroom teacher. The series was created by Yūsei Matsui a manga artist who also wrote Neuro: Supernatural Detective and actually served as the assistant for Yoshio Sawai the same artist who created Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo (well this explains the insane idea of Assassination Classroom). The series was featured in Weekly Shonen Jump and quickly became a hit getting started back in 2012 and ending earlier this year. So since it was a Shonen Jump series everybody was wondering when the anime for this series was going to come out and in 2013 their wishes got granted in the form of a one shot OVA as a way to celebrate the one-year anniversary of the series. This got people more hyped for the series getting turned into an anime so finally in 2015 the anime studio Lerche (Danganronpa) took the series and turned it into an anime making it one of the best animes of 2015 for its fun story, characters, and heartfelt lessons. Class is in session and the first period is assassinating 101. Let’s take a look at Assassination Classroom.

Opening and Ending Theme

The opening is “Seishun Satsubatsu-ron” by 3-nen E-gumi Utatan. I didn’t really care for this opening. It’s catchy but in an annoying way. I can barely follow what they’re saying nor do I find myself all that interested in the song. At least the animation is good. We get to see all the characters both major and minor and the dance they do is funny. The ending is “Hello, shooting-star” by moumoon. It’s sad but at the same time peaceful and calming. It really gives you the feels whenever you listen to it. Once again the animation is the one part that really stands out for me. It’s all done on blackboard and you see a number of drawings which are moving and at the end we finally see what it was all making. It’s creative, fun, and it’s done really well.

Episodes 1-4

So the anime begins in the mountains at the prestigious Kunugigaoka Junior High School (middle school students? That’s interesting, its usually high school in these shonen stories. Way to think outside the box Matsui) where a class is awaiting the arrival of their teacher. Once their teacher arrives we see that he’s this strange troll-face smiling tentacle monster (girls, walk carefully in groups and stay out of private areas because I know where this usually leads). They stand up, greet him, and then open fire on him trying to kill him (scene here: //, ironically they’re capturing the true feeling of a classroom). This strange creature is what we will come to call Koro-Sensei voiced by Jun Fukuyama (Keita from Inukami). Nobody knows where he came from or why he’s here all we know is that he’s dangerous and the Japanese government want him dead. Why, well for starters he destroyed 70% of the moon (well that’s gonna mess with the ocean’s tides) and he plans on doing the same thing to Earth in about a year so unless they kill him Earth is doomed (// Now at first this task sounds easy but it’s not because apparently Koro-Sensei can move at a speed of Mach 20 (that means he’s moving at 15,345.5 mph. That is fast! Not even the X-15 the fastest aircraft in the world comes close to reaching his speed. The X-15’s top speed is around mach 7. Even Sonic, The Flash, and Superman would lose to this guy). Despite knowing this the government tried many times to kill him but failed each time (he made them look like a fool). So Koro-Sensei worked out a deal with them in which he will be the homeroom teacher for class 3-E at Kunugigaoka Junior High School. For one full year he would be their teacher teaching them how to kill him and giving them a chance to kill him all while promising not to harm a single hair on their head (and in case you’re wondering these are normal kids. They’re not geniuses nor are they a class of secret or skilled assassins. They’re just regular kids living regular lives in Japan and trying to get into a good high school). The government gives the students the special weapons they need to kill Koro-Sensei and offer a 10-billion-yen reward to any of the students who assassinates Koro-Sensei (okay where do I sign Chibi-Isis up for class?). Even though Koro-Sensei is their target and they’re frustrated by their many failed attempts they do admit that he’s a good and respectable teacher as he does his job properly and is quite knowledgeable. During their lunch break a group of students approach one of their classmates named Nagisa who kind of serves as the main character in the series as the story is told from his perspective (and yes I assure you he is a boy. I know, he looks like a girl, sounds like a girl, and even when I first saw him I thought he was a girl but no he’s 100% boy). They want Nagisa to perform a kamikaze on Koro-Sensei using a grenade filled with anti-pallets which they’ll detonate to kill Koro-Sensei. Nagisa agrees to go through with the act and manages to get within range of Koro-Sensei as the grenade goes off but it doesn’t work. Koro-Sensei not only managed to dodge the blast but he also protected Nagisa by shedding his skin (that’s disgusting). This attempt pisses Koro-Sensei off big time and he tells them that if they ever do something like that again he will attack their families (he said he wouldn’t hurt the students, he never said anything about their families or anyone else in the world). While Koro-Sensei admires Nagisa’s efforts and fearlessness he wants an assassination where at the end everyone is smiling and everyone can be proud of it (scene here: //

Episode 2 starts with Tomohito a good friend of Nagisa as well as a former baseball player trying to assassinate Koro-Sensei with his pitching skills (*laughs* you’re. . .you’re seriously trying to kill this creature with a baseball pitch *laughing continues*? He moves at mach 20. Unless you’re ready to shatter every bone in your arm I don’t think you’re going to hit him. Scene here: //, how could you not see this coming?). After this failed attempt Tomohito becomes depressed about his skills since baseball is his specialty and after Koro-Sensei tells him he can’t become like the pro-baseball player he admires Nagisa snaps at him for being inconsiderate of Tomohito’s feelings (why? He’s right. You can’t imitate the skills of other people). Koro-Sensei explains to Nagisa and Tomohito that what his statement meant was that Tomohito should instead focus on his own strengths instead of trying to make the strengths of others his strength. Tomohito’s body is structured differently so even if he trained for years on end trying to mimic his hero it would do him more harm than good. Instead, focus on your own style of play. In the second half of the episode we get to meet Karasuma a member of the Ministry of Defense who will be joining the class as their PE teacher, provide support to the students, and to make sure Koro-Sensei is keeping his word and not harming the students (well not physically but he’s trolling them hard). While at the main campus he hears some of the students talk about class 3-E (I’ll talk about this later). While that’s going on back in the mountains the class tries a group attack to assassinate Koro-Sensei only to see it fail and have their weapons get replaced with flowers that he plucked from the class garden which makes some of the girls angry because they had just planted them (bad Koro-Sensei that’s a bad teacher). In order to apologize for his mistakes Koro-Sensei gives the class a free shot at killing him by hanging himself in a tree limiting his movement (scene here: // After that Koro-Sensei gives the class extra homework for the day and the episode ends with the reveal of a new student about to join the class.

Episode 3 is the introduction of Karma Akabane (and with a name like that you know this character is badass). Considered one of the best characters in the series and a fan favorite in terms of popularity Karma was serving a suspension after brutally attacking a teacher but now he’s back and he’s been caught up on the situation going on in class. He’s also Nagisa’s best friend. Once he returns he makes his mark by being the first of the students to actually harm Koro-Sensei (scene here: // Throughout the episode Karma continues to play mind games with Koro-Sensei actually knocking him off his game (the troublesome student. A bane for every teacher). We see that Karma has a deep-hatred for teachers which stems from his suspension a while back. In the past Karma was a model student considered by many to be one of the top students in the school but that all changed when he got into a fight protecting an E-class student from a group of bullies (again, I will touch base on this soon). Rather than be praised for protecting a student a teacher who Karma trusted turned his back on Karma and suspended him caring more about the image of the school rather than the well-being of his student. As Karma continues to torment Koro-Sensei, Koro-Sensei decides to fight back by giving Karma extra attention (scene here: //, the king of trolling, Koro-Sensei). Finally fed up with Koro-Sensei and wanting to bring him down no matter what Karma jumps off a cliff with a gun in hand forcing Koro-Sensei to save him getting killed in the process or destroying his pride as a teacher for letting one of his students get hurt (so he dies trying to save Karma or dies from the shame of knowing that he let one of his students get hurt. This whole scheme has a very Joker like feel to it). Koro-Sensei manages to save Karma while also staying alive using his tentacles to create a safety net and Karma finally opens his heart up to Koro-Sensei and accepts him (only to steal his wallet and take his money. That’s a week’s detention young man).

Episode 4 introduces us to another popular character (and our only source of fanservice) Irina (aka Bitch-sensei) a professional assassin who uses her good looks and amazing body to seduce her targets and then kill them (Jack Frost: What I wouldn’t give to be one of her targets. (Nitsuj): She would kill you. (Jack Frost): Going out with a gorgeous woman on top of you? I die with no regrets). She quickly infiltrates the class and manages to work her magic on Koro-Sensei while also pissing off the rest of the students with her attitude and manners. After getting the notes of Koro-Sensei’s weakness from Nagisa she proceeds with her plan to kill Koro-Sensei only to fail and get raped in the storage shed (scene here: //, that is not the face of an innocent man at the end. That is the face of a rapist). Not wanting to accept defeat Irina tries to come up with a new plan while completely ignoring the class and not teaching them anything. Even going as far as insulting them (and they offence to that). After being booted from the class Karasuma shows her how even though Koro-Sensei is their target the class has a bond with him. Karasuma shows Irina how Koro-Sensei spends his free time making individual tests for the students and the students in their spare time train in an effort to increase their assassination skills. Yes, it’s true that Koro-Sensei is their target but at same time he’s their teacher and he’s earned their respect. After seeing all of this Irina decides to give teaching a try (serious this time) by teaching the students how to speak English and in the process earns the respect of her students (and with this you have grown as an assassin and person).

Episodes 5-8

In episode 5 we start off with Manami a smart girl who was sent to class E due to her poor communication skills (I know you’re tired of me saying this but give me one more minute and I will explain the situation of the class). At the start of the episode she attempts to assassinate Koro-Sensei by trying to poison him and he openly drinks her poison (scene here: //, good Lord woman she really came prepared to kill him! Those last two were seriously dangerous). So Koro-Sensei helps her create a new poison to kill him while also teaching her the importance of communication (it doesn’t kill him in the end but still Manami learned the importance of communicating with others and that’s all that matters). In the second half of the episode we finally learn the situation of the E class in the whole school. Okay, so if you haven’t picked it up yet getting sent to the E class is like the worst thing to happen to you at this school. Why, because of the school’s system. The best way to describe the school is Lelouch elitism. Basically, all the classes above class E are taught to believe that they are the superior ones in the school because of their higher grades. Now here’s where the Lelouchism comes in to play. The school goes out of his way to make class E have the poorest grades and school experience in order to encourage other students to maintain high grades or they’ll dropped down to class E where they’ll have a horrible school life and future. Hell, even the teachers insult class E and encourage the students to bully and make fun of them (it’s downright sadistic). This is why class E has classes in the mountain instead of on the main campus. It’s the school’s way of looking down on them. Anyway, in the second half of the episode the class has to go to a school assembly and since Koro-Sensei is a national secret he can’t go. The students are forced to climb down the mountain themselves and they reach the assembly where right away other students and teachers make fun of them. But this all changes when they see how cool Karasuma is and how sexy Irina is as their teachers (we got eye candy for the boys and eye candy for the girls because we respect both genders equally in this school). The teacher at the assembly tries to make a fool out of them by not giving them the handout (dude, what the hell? Okay I know Japan has a bullying problem but this goes beyond bullying this is straight up malice for class E) but Koro-Sensei shows up and hands it to them making them save face. After the assembly as everyone prepares to go up the mountain Nagisa gets stopped by a few of his old friends who threaten to kill him and Nagisa shows off his badass swagger (scene here: // (Seras): Such bloodlust. If only he were a few years older I take him right there in the schoolyard for everyone to see). The principal sees this display of rebellion finding it unacceptable (// and decides to rectify this situation himself.

In episode 6 we get to meet the school principal Gakuho Asano and the man responsible for implementing the school’s education system (your system is bad and you should feel bad). He’s also the guy who gave the government permission to let Koro-Sensei teach and is receiving a large sum of cash to stay quiet about it. Don’t let this guy underestimate you. He may look normal but this is an oppressive fucked up individual who is dedicated to his beliefs and will do anything to get his way. After seeing Nagisa stand up to the students of the main campus he goes to meet Koro-Sensei who tells him to adhere to his education system (or be destroyed. The scary part about this guy is despite his twisted ideology it does seem to work. I don’t agree with it but I do respect it). So after this confrontation and knowing that midterms are around the corner Koro-Sensei takes this chance to challenge Gakuho and bring down his ideology. Koro-Sensei quickly gets to work tutoring the students at amazing speed but many of the students believe that trying to get a good grade on the test is pointless (these tests decide what school you can get into. I say they’re pretty damn important) saying that as long as they assassinate him they’ll be set for life (and how has that been going huh? Because the last time I checked only one of you was able to injure him and that was only because he dropped his guard). This makes Koro-Sensei mad (why do you guys piss off the moon destroying teacher? You think that would be the last thing you would want to do) and he takes them outside where he talks about preparing and sharpening their second blade (in other words stop settling for what society expects from you). Having taken Koro-Sensei’s message to heart the next day rolls around as midterms are about to begin (// where the students use Koro-Sensei’s teaching to solve the problems (scenes here: // and // I do love the imagery they use to describe the tests in this anime because it’s true. For some people myself included test are like monsters you have to sleigh using your knowledge and if your wrong you’re pretty much dead). They keep solving until they reach a monster they hadn’t prepared to fight. It turns out that Gakuho added in new last minute questions which he personally taught the other classes without telling class E anything (// Because of this the students don’t make the top 50 and Koro-Sensei blames himself for underestimating Gakuho and putting so much stress on the students. Just when he’s about to quit his students encourage him to stay and even egg him on by calling him a coward trying to run away from them. He stays determined to win on the next exams and despite losing they did get one victory in the form of Karma who actually did make the top 50 (it’s only one, but it’s a sign of good things to come).

In episode 7 the class prepares for their class trip to Kyoto which will be used as a venue to assassinate Koro-Sensei with the help of a hired sniper named Red Eye. They get arranged in groups with Nagisa being in a group with Karma, his good friend Kaede, Tomohito, Manami, and Yukiko the class idol that everyone likes. On the train ride to Kyoto we see that Koro-Sensei has the ability to camouflage his skin and we see some delinquent high school students steal Yukiko’s itinerary detailing what her group would be doing that day. Once they arrive in Kyoto the next day while Nagisa’s group is out taking in the sights to setup for an assassination attempt they get ambushed by the delinquents who knock the boys out and kidnap Kaede and Yukiko (surprise they didn’t take Manami or Nagisa for that matter). The boys want revenge so they call up Koro-Sensei (// and using his guidebook  detailing what to do in case someone gets kidnapped (he’s like an overprotective parent) they manage to find where the delinquents are hiding, raid the place, and using their training manage to save the girls. During their kidnapping we learn a little more about Yukiko. We find out that in the past she was actually a rebellious girl who would skip school and hang out at the arcade all the time with the wrong crowd (that is so hot! (Isis): Really? (Nitsuj): Well it is). The reason for this behavior was because of her parents who expected her to be perfect which drove her insane and eventually her grades kept slipping until she finally wound up in the E class. Koro-Sensei encourages her saying those with the will to move forward will become strong (and those who mess with the students of a monster will seriously be fucked. More funny scenes here: //

Episode 8 starts off with the Koro-Sensei drawing song (why? Why not? Scene here: // After that we return to Kyoto for the school trip where each group puts their assassination attempt in motion except for Nagisa’s group because during this time the events of episode 7 took place. Anyway, Red Eye tries to shoot Koro-Sensei but in all of his attempts he fails because Koro-Sensei is an unconventional target (if it was any other target you would have won Red Eye). So after his failed attempts he gets depressed and loses confidence in his abilities until Koro-Sensei comes to treat him to a meal and thanks him for helping his students think outside the box and get them interested in the city. Koro-Sensei’s kind words make Red Eye feel better and he acknowledges Koro-Sensei as a teacher. He decides to quit and go off on a journey to see the world and the various colors it has to offer. In the second half of the episode we have fun at the inn the class is staying where they try to peep in on Koro-Sensei and then go to their respected rooms where they chat amongst themselves until Koro-Sensei comes in to hear their gossip (scene here: // and it turns into a manhunt for him when he also hears the gossip of the girls (scenes here: // During the chase he ducks into Karasuma’s room where we find out that in the past he used to be a human (must have been one hell of a pervert given his personality. (Pyro Jack): I feel as if we would have been the best of friends). The next day the trip comes to an end and everyone returns safely.

Episodes 9-11

After returning from their trip the class gets a new transfer student all the way from Norway. The transfer student is an AI-powered artillery machine that’s been created to kill Koro-Sensei. Using calculations and studying her target she can adjust her rate of fire and shoot more accurately to hit Koro-Sensei. As soon as class begins she begins her attack (endless supply of BBs. They’ll have to hit him eventually) and she continues her attack until the end of class (this is not an ideal study environment). The next day the class tape up her weapons so she can’t attack anymore and so that they can study properly (a power AI machine stopped by duct tape. Quite the design flaw don’t you think? Also, just teach class in another room or outside). Wanting the AI to get along better with the students, Koro-Sensei decides to make some modifications to her and make her more cooperative with the other students. His modifications not only make the AI cooperate with the class more but it also made her personality more human. She begins to fit in with everyone becoming popular and making friends where they decide to name her Ritsu (or box o’ moe as the fans like to call her). Somehow the creators of Ritsu find out about her modifications and are pissed about it (how dare you turn our heartless killing machine into a moe 2D girl). They remove all the modifications and return her back to normal (all in one night apparently. Pretty impressive. Much faster than the Geek Squad) forbidding anyone from tampering with her again. The next day in class everyone expects her to start an endless attack again but instead she presents the class flowers (kill them before they attract bees). Apparently before Ritsu’s creators removed her modifications she hid them deciding to defy her creators (she’s reach the age of rebellion. A parent’s worst nightmare) in order to keep her relationship with the class.

Episode 10 is a filler episode (well actually I can’t really call it a filler seeing as how these events take place in the manga but you know what I mean). In the first half we meet Lovro a legendary assassin who is Irina’s master and retired. He tries his hand at assassinating Koro-Sensei but fails and gives up realizing he’s outmatched (talent recognizes talent). He also tells Irina to give up as well saying this is beyond her skills (which is true. She’s a femme fatale, their specialty is using their charms to get close to their targets, lowering their guard and then assassinating them. Now that Irina’s cover has been blown, Koro-Sensei knows what to expect from her and will keep his guard up. Her specialty has become useless in this battle). But she refuses to give up so Koro-Sensei makes a suggestion for the two. The two will have a mock assassination where their target is Karasuma and the one who assassinates him first wins. Koro-Sensei also makes a bet with Karasuma behind the scenes saying that if he can survive both of them he’ll get a free shot at Koro-Sensei (something I’m sure he’s been wanting to do all anime). Karasuma survives Lovro’s attempt but Irina manages to beat him using the talents and skills she learned from targeting Koro-Sensei. Lovro takes his leave acknowledging Irina’s skills and wishing her the best of luck in the future. In the second half of the episode Nagisa and Karma ask Koro-Sensei to take them to the premiere of a movie they like in Hawaii and Ritsu joins them since she transferred her data into all their phones. Koro-Sensei takes them to the movie and they have a good time (except for the movie giving us a cliché cliffhanger with the main character and villain being long lost brothers. What a disappointing end).

In episode 11 we get another transfer student (if this turns into a running gag in the series God help me I will curb stomp the next person I see on the side of the street). This new transfer student is Itona who claims to be Koro-Sensei’s little brother (were they foreshadowing this in the last episode?). The class is rightfully shocked by this news with some starting to form their own origin stories (scene here: //, I get the feeling the characters are making fun of the author’s ideas here. That, or making fun of fan theories). Sometime later Itona challenges Koro-Sensei to a fight in the classroom (oh hey, I didn’t know this anime had a fight club. (Shizuku): First rule of fight club, you don’t talk about fight club) where Itona reveals that his hair is made out of the same tentacles as Koro-Sensei (// This throws Koro-Sensei off his game and Itona uses all of his weaknesses against him pushing Koro-Sensei into a corner until he begins to use anti-knives to knock Itona out of the ring and win the fight (scene here: //, that was a little cheap. (Shizuku): Second rule of fight club, if it’s within grabbing distance of the ring it’s all fair). Angry by his defeat and refusing to conform to Koro-Sensei’s way of thinking Itona tries to attack him but Shino his handler and the one who gave Itona those tentacles (why are you going around giving tentacle hair to boys? (Shino): It’s my fetish! It’s my thing alright. I like to bind. I like to watch girls struggle and- I’m not taking anymore questions. Good day) knocks him out and takes him. He seems to know a lot about Koro-Sensei such as all his weaknesses and how to hurt him as well as has a deep hatred for him. After they leave the class tries to get answers from Koro-Sensei about his past but he remains tight-lipped saying that if they want answers they’ll have to keep on trying to assassinate him. The class than goes to Karasuma and ask him to train them more assassination techniques because this whole experience opened their eyes to the thought that yes, someone can come in and steal their kill which is something they don’t want and won’t stand for (if anybody’s gonna kill that octopus it’s gonna be the students who are close to him). Karasuma agrees to train them and the class gets ready.

Well that’s all for today. Class dismissed. Be sure to study as there might be a pop quiz next week. Thanks for reading and I’ll see you next time on Project Nitsuj.

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