Continuing 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.
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.
Ok, 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.
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”).