Assassination Classroom is a live action adaptation of the Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Yuusei Matsui. Released on March 21, 2015, the movie has grossed over $20 million and has spawned a sequel Assassination Classrom: Graduation set for release in 2016.
The movie begins with 70% of the moon being destroyed by a powerful creature. This being claims that he will destroy the Earth within a year but offers mankind a chance to avoid destruction. He makes a deal with the Japanese government to work at a junior high school teaching the students of class 3-E regular subjects and the art of assassination.
The Japanese government promises to pay 10 billion yen to the student who manages to kill the teacher. (who the students have named Koro Sensei) This proves to be difficult given that Koro Sensei has several abilities that do not make him an easy target.
So that makes the movie sound pretty decent right? Well, much like other live adaptations that will depend on how familiar you are with the source material or if you went in blind without any knowledge of the back story.
The latter is how I viewed this movie. Honestly, I only knew of Koro Sensei through the J All Starts fighting game for PS4. Other than that, there was no previous exposure to the character or the Assassination Classroom story for me.
Coming from that point of view I found this movie to be a little off, but in a good way. There is a mix of comedy, action and light drama in this movie. None of those elements clash with each other and the pace of film allows for enough basic character development to warrant not needing a guidebook or referring to a Wikipedia entry while viewing. In a nutshell, the movie does not wear out its welcome.
The themes of camaraderie and loyalty are strongly conveyed in this movie. It’s strangely endearing that the students are loyal to Koro Sensei even though their ultimate goal is to kill him to save the world.
Speaking of strange. A CG generated alien octopus was a better actor than most of the living and breathing humans in this film. Koro Sensei was not on the level of epicness of say Gollum from Lord of The Rings, but he was the one character that seemed to generate the most amount of empathy. As you get more engrossed in the movie you kind of forget that he’s not real.
The rest of the cast is not what one would say is full of recognizable actors to casual viewers of Japanese movies and the ones who are known are actually idols or ex-idols. This list includes Ryosuke Yamada of Hey! Say! Jump, Kanna Hashimoto of REV. from DVL and ex KARA member Ji-Young.
Given the whole premise of the movie the acting is just fine. Granted you’re not going to get any academy award winning stuff here, but no one is stinking up the joint with any obviously bad portrayals of their characters or insane over acting or anything of that nature.
The one thing that did bother me about the movie is the ending where it is revealed why Koro Sensei decided to become a teacher for this particular group of kids. It is somewhat perplexing and is probably the one thing that maybe newcomers like me would need to refer to the source material to understand in greater detail. Or maybe all of that will be further explained in the second movie next year. I don’t know. Given that there is an open-ended nature of the ending (the final text is “to be continued”) that is a more than likely scenario to expect.
In the end this is essentially one of those popcorn movies that allow you to check your logical thinking at the door for a couple of hours. It’s best to not take it too seriously otherwise your brain will explode from trying to make sense of it all.
Assassination Classroom (DVD)
Assassination Classroom (BLU-RAY)