• Ansatsu kyôshitsu / Assassination Classroom (2015) - Quirky potpourri for fans of Japanese culture - 8/10 (25/06/20)

    Ansatsu kyôshitsu / Assassination Classroom (2015)

    Most people who come here complain about the movie and express almost religiously how much better the original manga and anime are. I'm not a big fan of comics and animation films that mostly have children and teenagers as target audience. However, I had heard about Assassination Classroom and wanted to give it a shot. It turns out that watching this live action science-fiction comedy spectacle was the right decision for me. I can't compare it to the manga and anime but highly recommend this outstanding movie to fans of Japanese culture.

    For those who aren't familiar with the story, this first of two movies talks about a mysterious creature with supernatural powers that has destroyed half of the Moon and menaces to destroy the Earth next year. However, this creature has made a deal with the Japanese government: it wants to work as a teacher for an isolated class of hopeless delinquents and undesirables of an elite junior high school. The creature even offers the students the opportunity to kill it and earn a hefty reward. It teaches different techniques, strategies and plans to see the assassination through. The mysterious creature is assisted by a careful government official and a seductive Serbian assassin who starts working as an English teacher. The class also welcomes some new students such as a radical loner who had been suspended from school for a violent brawl, an artificial intelligence presented as a hot-tempered girl living in a box and a strange youngster who claims to be the creature's blood brother. There are also influences from the outside who plan on getting involved such as a brutal drill instructor. As if all those distractions weren't enough, the students also need to study for their mid-term exams and deal with their everyday lives. The biggest secret however is what the creature's true motives are.

    This movie convinces on numerous levels. The story is quirky, diversified and creative as an unsuspecting viewer couldn't possibly foresee what might happen next in this highly entertaining potpourri. The characters are unique, memorable and have interesting dynamics with one another. The special effects are employed with care but thankfully not as exaggerated as in many other live action movies.

    Assassination Classroom might be difficult to digest for Western viewers who aren't used to quirky, fast and experimental live action cinema. This film features science-fiction, action, comedy, drama, horror and slice of life elements in this exact order of preference and proportion. I got used to the movie's unique style right from the start and the film went by much faster than its running time seems to indicate. This charismatic frantic pace can't be reproduced by a manga or anime. Please be aware that this isn't a stand-alone movie since its sequel Assassination Classroom: Graduation tells the second and final part of the story.

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