…or Assassination Classroom.
It was a manga that caught my eye some time ago, but I never really thought much about it until recently, when I was bored and spotted it again. So, with too much time on my hands, I decided to give it a go.
At first, I was expecting something along the lines of Deadman Wonderland, with a serious tone to the story. But it turned out to be Baka to Test meets Great Teacher Onizuka, with a hilarious octopus-like creature that destroyed the Moon and threatens to do the same to Earth, while teaching a class of kids whom he’s training to assassinate him.
The whole school system reminds me of Baka to Test, where the best students get the best facilities and the worst students are in the crappiest classrooms. Of course, our main characters are in Class E, the worst class. The theme here is far darker than in Baka to Test thought, with a principal that created the system to ensure that the majority of his students are top-notch, while those unfortunate enough to land into Class E became the butt of jokes and bullying.
As for the connections to GTO, Korosensei makes me think of Onizuka, with his way with students and stupid quirks and perversion. Granted, Onizuka isn’t smart like Korosensei, but despite their differences, they strike a huge resemblance in my eyes. Then there’s Karma, who also reminds me of Mayu; both incredibly smart, and incredibly motivated to screw over the teacher.
Beyond the similarities though, Ansatsu Kyoushitsu stands alone as a very creative and novel manga concept. It’s shōnen and gag mixed together in a well-paced story, and cracked me up a lot more than most comedy manga do. It does have the standard characters, like Karasuma-sensei, the stern military man who only knows his duty (and is so dense that when Irina gave him an indirect kiss, he thought she was practising a new assassination move).
Irina Jelavic (affectionately known as Bitch-sensei) is the satire of the dumb-blonde stereotype, who can act incredibly bimbo, but is truly talented in many areas. Her love travails have just begun in the manga though, and given that it’s September in the series now, there’s only about half a year left for her to win over Karasuma’s super-dense heart.
As for the students, not many are truly remarkable, but that’s a given with so many individuals and not enough time to develop each and every one. Nagisa is probably the scariest student in the context of the story, who takes to assassinations like a fish to water. It’s not even about being good at killing; it’s about being so natural at it it’s like breathing. This isn’t even a ‘wolf in sheep’s clothing’ scenario; Nagisa is genuinely nice even as an assassin. A person who finds assassination just like any other daily routine task in life, is someone to avoid like hell.
If anyone is going to kill Korosensei at the end of the series, I’ll wager it’ll be Nagisa.
The series even has antagonists, which is typical fare for shōnen I suppose. But it’s all pretty well-done, if a bit forced in the sense that it doesn’t really make sense for the students to stop Shirō. It’s all to make the series end with the students being the ones to kill Korosensei, but given the quality of the series thus far, I can live with that.
Given it’s a shōnen series, Korosensei will definitely be killed just before his deadline of March. Or he’ll renege on his promise to destroy Earth and continue to train the students, which is unlikely but entirely possible. Then, I’d expect Nagisa to become a top-class, baby-face, cross-dressing, smiling assassin, and poor Bitch-sensei will still be wooing Karasuma-sensei to no avail.
So, a heady mix of light-hearted classroom humour, dark school politics, child assassins and now even romance. Two thumbs-up from me!