From Beyond Fest: “Assassination Classroom”

img0140Continuing our coverage for Beyond Fest, we bring you “Assassination Classroom”, the Live Action adaptation of the Manga “Ansatsu Kyoshitsu” created by Yusei Matsui. In a couple of minutes we are told that how one day an Alien Life form destroyed 70 percent of the moon, and promised to do the same with our planet in a year. In the spirit of giving humankind a chance to change their fate, the alien makes an agreement with the Japanese government, and takes a position as a teacher for a high school class with the condition that the students will have to find a way to kill him before the years is up.

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For this mission, the students of the classroom 3-E,  which has all the students that the Kunugigaoka High School deem as hopeless, unworthy and without a future, are chosen, and suddenly the kids finds themselves fighting with the yellow 3 meter-high, tentacled alien that has a giant smiley round face and a Mach 10 speed to boot, armed only with some toy weapons that are harmless to humans but that can hurt the alien. After several unsuccessful attempts to kill their teacher, the students decide to name him “Koro-Sensei” (using a wordplay that in Japanese sounds like “Indestructible”), and as the days go by, the alien teacher and his students start bonding, something that probably will make things awkward when the time comes for somebody to pull the trigger in order to stop the destruction of the planet.

Assss 5Ok, in my opinion, the films starts with very good pacing, and in about 20 minutes covers about 5-6 episodes of the Anime series, managing to introduce the main characters and making some stand out from others (Let’s keep in mind that unlike an anime or manga, most of the characters here don’t have colorful hairdos) but sadly there is a moment where the movie seems to just be aiming to keep introducing characters left and right and after giving them some spotlight for 5-10 minutes, they are push to the background for long periods of time. Although there are many funny and entertaining sequences, the film tries to cover all the first arc of the anime (22 episodes) in around 2 hours and that ironically made me feel that the story was getting stuck a couple of times, and could make some people in the audience to start checking their clock.

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The special effects are very good, and the design for Koro-Sensei (or “UT” if you want to go with the nickname in the subtitles) works very well, dodging the chances to look too fake and taking us out the picture. Kudos to the combination of the voicework by Kazunari Ninomiya (Kei Kurono in the Gantz live action movie) and a very effective CGI work, which made the Sarcastic Chummy teacher come to life effortlessly.  I got to give props for the creators of the film for not shying away from the external shots with lots daylight where the flaws on the special effects could be more noticeable, not and going for the easier route of lots of dark shots or sequences in the nighttime (I am looking at you “Attack On Titan”).

 

The acting of the cast was good, no complaints, and although I was a little disappointed that Irina (Ms Bitch) Jelavic’s character was very toned down, and there was almost no play with her “assets” (Something that is part of a running gag on the series), I was glad to see how Kang Ji-Young brought her to life. Another thing that the film did right was defining from the start that Nagisa (the main character)  is a male student, since on the anime his design is more like a girl in masculine clothes with a very female tone of voice, that everybody treats like a boy. As you might guess, like most of the live action adaptations of works coming from anime and manga, this film ends up in a “To Be Continued…”  note, with the second film due in 2016, most likely with it’s own original conclusion, since the manga is still being published.

The film was directed by Eichiro Hasumi, and the script was done by Tatsuya Kanazawa, the cast includes Ryosuke Yamada, Masaki Suda, Kippei Shiina, Kazunari Ninomiya, Maika Yamamoto, Seika Taketomi, Mio Yuki, Miku Uehara, Kanna Hashimoto, Seishiro Kato, Kang Ji-Young and Masanobu Takashima

In conclusion: “Assassination Classroom” is an entertaining film, with several funny moments, good actions sequences and visually well done, however, there are moments were the pacing seems to drag, mainly because its effort to cover so much ground in the less than two hours runtime. I haven’t read the whole manga yet, therefore I can’t tell how faithful is the adaptation as a whole, but I dare to say that at least the first 8 episodes of the anime are very well translated and it can be a good way to jump in to the series, since the plot is, at least to this point, very straight forward, can also can make the people not interested in reading manga (but that can appreciate a good WTF movie) give this flick a chance and have a good time.

Before the screening of “Assassination Classroom” we had the chance to see the short “Crow Hand!!!” a funny short story where a couple learns the hard way to not pick up crow totems laying around in the street

2 thoughts on “From Beyond Fest: “Assassination Classroom”

  1. Hi Zed! Thanks for writing up about Beyond Fest. I directed CROW HAND and was excited to play before Assassination Classroom. How did the audience like CROW HAND?

    • Hi Brian!
      I thought “Crow Hand!!!!” Was very funny and very well done (I don’t want to spoil nothing here) I’m sure the audience also liked a lot (I heard laughs and I heard Gasps in the right places). Hope to see more from your works in the future, keep me posted and I’ll be sure to give a shout out… Thanks for stopping by! Keep it gory and keep it funny!

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