I remember when the Assassination Classroom manga first began publishing and the feeling of excitement I got from reading those early chapters. Fast forward four years and two seasons of anime adaptation, my feelings have not wavered. Assassination Classroom Season One Part One is, simply put, a pure joy to watch!
If you haven’t seen or read Assassination Classroom then it might be difficult to appreciate the specialness of this series. A synopsis can only convey so much information about how good this series is, but here it is anyway. Class 3-E, at Kunugigaoka Junior High School, is the lowest of the low. A collection of hopeless cases and trouble makers sent to class 3-E to set an example to the students of their prestigious school. Used as a tool to instil fear in the rest of the student body, Class 3-E, are doomed to fail in life and to end up there is akin to a death sentence. That is, until a super-powered tentacle creature destroys a large chunk of the moon then insists on becoming their teacher for the year. The students of Class 3-E now have a new focus – to assassinate him before the year is up and stop him from destroying the Earth. If the students manage to pull it off then they’ll be rewarded with ten billion Yen.
Throughout the first 11 episodes that are included in part one, it’s clear that the students of 3-E quickly become rather attached to this super being – Koro-sensei. As do we, but this doesn’t stop them from constantly aiming for his life. Koro-sensei is easily one of the best characters of the series and probably one of my favourite of any series. His ability as a teacher is top-notch and he seeks to give his students the necessary skills to survive everyday life outside of their assassination attempts. As he can move at Mach 20, the attempts on his life usually fail and in the meantime he likes to polish up his students. Tadaomi Karasuma, a Ministry of Defense worker, joins Koro-sensei as the PE teacher for 3-E and is the polar opposite of his colleague, often very stern but very kind towards the students. Irina Jelavić, a professional assassin famed for her use of seduction, joins 3-E as their language teacher and is quickly nicknamed Bitch-sensei, due to the Japanese pronunciation of the letter v, much to her continued annoyance. The pacing throughout part 1 is fantastic and introduces new characters at a comfortable rate. There’s great action throughout and even greater comedy elements that will have you roaring with laughter continuously.
The series features some great visuals, vibrant colours, thick black outlines and phenomenal fast-paced action scenes. The character designs are a noticeable improvement over their manga counterparts. Not to say that the manga designs are bad, far from it, but the anime definitely improves upon the unrefined quality of the manga. I’ve got to praise studio Lerche for the effort they have put into this series. They’ve taken a series best known for its characters and light-hearted story, rather than art style, and have given it a look that fits it perfectly. This release features both English and Japanese audio options, of course, I prefer the Japanese, but both will serve you well. Both the Opening theme “Seishun Satsubatsu-ron” by 3-E Utatan and Ending theme “Hello, shooting star” by Moumoon are very catchy songs.
On-disc extras include episode commentary for episodes 1 & 7, OVA Episode 0 “Meeting Time”, Interview with the Cast (US cast), Textless Opening and Closing Songs, Previews and U.S. Trailer and other Trailers. It’s not a bad selection of extras but very standard and that brings me to the physical extras that include art cards, and a Kunugigaoka Academy Student Handbook & Student Diary notebook. Overall it’s a pretty nice release but I can’t help but take issue with the SRP of £59.99, granted you can find it cheaper, but when compared to Universal Pictures UK’s Seraph of the End Collector’s Edition at £39.99 you expect a lot more and it just doesn’t deliver in terms of value.
SRP price tag aside, Assassination Classroom Season One Part One is a brilliant start to a fantastic series. Based on enjoyment alone Assassination Classroom is well worth the entry price and even comes with OVA Episode 0 which is a big plus. Whether the Collector’s Edition is value for money in terms of content when compared to similar releases is up to you but for me personally, I’m not seeing it.