Fantasia Film Review: Assassination Classroom

(Source: Fuji Television Network / Robot Communications)

(Source: Fuji Television Network / Robot Communications)

Brace yourself. This will make no sense.

An extraterrestrial (without a spaceship, mind you) who looks like a smiley with tentacles rips out most of the moon (it’s still there but now looks like a cartoon depiction) and threatens to destroy the earth. He makes a deal with the Japanese government: he will teach the hopeless 3-E classroom in the arts of assassination so that they can kill him. With me so far?

Wait, get back over here… Yes, the premise of Assassination Classroom is completely outrageous, over the top and taken directly from the pages of the manga of the same name. The execution (pun intended) is surprisingly entertaining. Director Eiichiro Hasumi has basically brought out an anime to life. He’s respectful of each character’s trope. The pensive non-threatening pushover Nagisa keeps a record in his notebook and gets pushed by the bullies to try to kill their alien teacher almost hurting himself. The cool and lone rebel Karma seems distant and uncaring but is secretly paying attention to every lesson. The class even gets another alien to deal with, a psychopathic physical ed teacher and a girl computer with gatling guns that is totally kawaii.

No, don’t click away to watch YouTube yet. Although the setting is completely preposterous, it becomes a fertile ground for comedy. Even if the entire world seems to depend of it, the classroom is its own little word. Erasers have to be cleaned, role call has to be taken while everyone shoots at the teacher and someone has to pick up all the bullet casings everyday. Eventually the students (and us) set into the routine, even giving their teacher a name: UT (Undestructible Teacher) or Koro Sensei according to the translation in your theatre. This movie also has a bit of a slice of life as the students have to get used to studying, having summer events and even develop a rapport with a teacher that they don’t fully understand.

To help them along are two instructors: strict but fair Karasuma, an officer from the Ministry of Defense, and seductive super spy Irina Jelavic, who becomes their english teacher after trying in vain to kill UT.

Is there a lesson to be learned? Teamwork, studying and preparation save the day. Or at least save world destruction for another day. Teenagers are invincible when they work together. Grown ups have no clue what they’re doing.

Highly recommended if you are fan of anime, Japanese pop culture or are willing to see what anime looks like. You’ll either walk out in the first five minutes or will never want to leave.

Coming next! Some changes in the schedule as I pack my Saturday up.

That will do for now.

(Sources: Fantasia International Film Festival, ansatsu-movie.com)

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