The popular manga by Yusei Matsui has become an anime series and then, this live-action version which brings the core elements and tweaks some pieces up is a fun watch thanks to the lead character of the beloved Koro-Sensei.
Class 3-E of the Kunugigaoka Junior High School is the worst class of the school. They are ridiculed by the more elite students and are forced to have their class in a small building on a mountaintop. As if things have not been bad enough for the class, they are about to get a new teacher, an octopus-like creature who has destroyed most of the moon, causing it to have a permanent crescent. The creature has plan a man to destroy the Earth in March, when it is time for these kids to graduate. In the meantime, the Ministry of Defense sends in Tadaomi Karasuma to inform the kids of the situation and give them one mission: kill the creature.
Interestingly enough, the creature has many skills, including moving at mach speed and other fancy skills. The creature is given a name by the students, Koro-Sensei. The deal between Koro-Sensei and the Ministry of Defense is that Koro-Sensei is not allowed to harm the students but they can try to kill him with a reward of 10 billion yen. However, it takes more than simple BB pellets and rubber knives to kill the beast. And even more the insane, the students are not the only ones who want the reward. However, what will happen if and when the students begin to warm up to Koro-Sensei?
The Yusei Matsui manga, released by Shonen Jump and recently ended as of last week, is a wild ride that involves a strange octopus like creature who plans to destroy the Earth but makes a deal with the government to become a teacher at first. Yes, if you have been used to Japanese pop culture, it is a known fact they can go anywhere from cute to borderline madness. Consider this film a definite middle of the road. It is sometimes cute, sometimes insane, but overall fun.
Kazunari Ninomiya of the boy band Arashi is the voice of Koro-Sensei and does a fantastic job, even emulating the laugh to perfection. It is Koro-Sensei who does plan to destroy the Earth at the end of graduation but in the meantime, because of a promise, vows to teach the kids of the worst class of a junior high and in a surprise move, the kids actually warm up to him. Two of the students especially see how much Koro-Sensei has impacted their lives in a positive way, and they are the very shy Shiota Nagisa, played by Ryosuke Yamada, and the hooky-playing prankster Karma Akabane, played by Masaki Suda. While there is that sense of warmth and respect between the students and Koro-Sensei, there is a method to the madness as well.
Former K-Pop starlet Kang Ji-Young of the recently disbanded KARA, makes a terrific Japanese film debut as the foreign assassin Irina Jelavic. While she uses her looks to approach her targets, she eyes the prize of killing Koro-Sensei as well but seems to also have respect for him. However, a very funny scene involves Irina telling fellow girls about her love life and who just happens to be there disguised as a girl? Hint? It’s not a student. Kippei Shiina is also great to watch as the government official who informs the kids of Koro-Sensei and teaches the kids the ways to be an assassin. This impresses Koro-Sensei and the two have a sense of respect. There is a villain of the film and it is a psychotic former drill sergeant who treats the kids as family when he replaces Karasuma only to have a real violent sense of discipline.
Assassination Classroom is a fun wild ride of an adaptation. Kazunari Ninomiya is hilarious as the voice of Koro-Sensei and the cast is fun to watch, especially Ryosuke Yamada, Masaki Suda, and Kang Ji-Young.
WFG RATING: A
Toho presents a Fuji Television Network/Shueisha production in association with J-Storm & Robot Communications. Director: Eiichiro Hasumi. Producer: Juichi Uehara. Writer: Tatsuya Nakazawa; based on the manga by Yusei Matsui.
Cast: Ryosuke Yamada, Masaki Suda, Maika Yamamoto, Seika Taketomi, Mio Yuki, Miku Uehara, Kippei Shiina, Kang Ji-Young, Masanobu Takashima, Kenji Sugawara, Seishiro Kato, Kazunari Ninomiya.