Assassination Classroom Vol. 1 (Viz Media)


CREDIT: Viz Media

Rating: 3/5 – These Students Would Kill to Reach Graduation.
by ComicSpectrum reviewer Al Sparrow.

Chances are, as you went through high school, you had that one teacher…the one you just didn’t like. Maybe they flunked you on that one exam. Maybe they were just boring and you hated every minute of their class. Maybe you felt they didn’t like you as much as you didn’t like them. Whatever the case may be, you might have…just as a fantasy, of course…entertained the notion of doing away with them. Assassination Classroom takes this fantasy a step further: What if you had to kill your teacher in order to save the planet?

First: Let’s suspend our disbelief, as we often must for a comic book. The story begins when a strange being cuts a huge hole in the moon, leaving it in a permanent crescent shape. We’ll leave the scientific implications of this to the Neil DeGrasse-Tyson’s of the world, but the being has now threatened to do the same to the earth at the end of class 3-E’s graduation, unless they can kill him first. To make this a seemingly simple prospect, the would-be worldkiller is the teacher of class 3-E, making him a fairly easy target for the students. The problem? This being is nigh impossible to kill, moving at speeds that would give Barry Allen pause, with skin that heals faster than Wolverine’s, and an unsettling demeanor that would confuse even Deadpool.

This isn’t to say the students aren’t willing to give it their all. Class 3-E are the rejects from the main academy. The flunkies. The losers. The no-talents. As mentioned, they have until graduation to kill the being they’ve dubbed “Koro Sensei”…but until then, why not get along with him as much as they can? Here lies the humor and perhaps the overall message of the book – Koro Sensei (who looks like an octopus with an emoticon for a face) is perhaps the most enjoyable world-destroyer you’re like to meet in a manga, and he (we assume he’s a “he”) seems to genuinely care about teaching his students how to better themselves. Even if it’s instructing them on how to improve on ways to kill him, he’s pleasant, attentive, and willing to dispense as much advice as he can. He even goes so far as to point out he wants his students to succeed in stopping him.

Usually a story set around a classroom involves a core group of four or five students with a host of background characters we seldom meet. Assassination Classroom takes a bit of a different path by focusing on one, Nigisa, while bringing a different “student of the moment” to the forefront to relate a story or lesson to the reader. For example, one student excels in science but does poorly in English. Koro Sensei helps her create a poison to kill him, but because her English is poor, she has difficulty deceiving him into drinking it….and hilarity, of a sort, ensues.

Despite its title, Assassination Classroom is not a dark, horrifying blood and guts manga like one might expect from the title or description. There’s more going on here than meets the eye, and it’s worth checking out if for no other reason than to see if the kids succeed or if the world ends. If they learn something about themselves, even to the point of oblivion, that’s still the point of a good education, right?

Reviewed by: Al Sparrow
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