Book Review: Assassination Classroom (Volumes 1&2)

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Teenager assassins tasked with killing their monster teacher!

Well this certainly is a shift in regards to my usual manga reading. I’m pretty into the rom-com style manga and My Hero Academia, but this was listed as a new “classic” in a few places so I figured I’d give it a shot. One page in and a bunch of junior high kids are trying to gun down their incredibly creepy teacher before homeroom stars. I am here for this.

The basic premise of this is genius. A class of junior high students are presented with a new teacher; one who has odd powers and strength, a permanent smiley face and has already destroyed 70% of the moon. He is threatening to destroy the rest of the world in one years time, UNLESS the members of the class are successful at killing him first. The world’s governments have come together and have decided to give whoever kills the teacher 10 billion dollars. The students in the class are all considered failures in some way. Some are failing classes, some are troublemakers who come from broken homes, and some have such low self esteem they think they’re basically invisible. It’s surprisingly interesting how trying to kill their teacher gives purpose and drive to some of these kids, and also how much he seems to weirdly care about them and their studies. It’s weird all around to be honest.

Koro Sensei, their otherworldly teacher, is such a cool character. Sure he’s seeking out world devastation, but before he gets to that, he is going to show the kids of 3E that they aren’t worthless like everyone has led them to believe. Okuda, a student who loves chemistry but lacks comprehension skills works with Koro Sensei on poisons and he teachers her how reading comprehension and talking to people helps her with science work. He helps Sugino, the ex baseball player, realize there isn’t just one way to pitch and how to use the strength he does have to build his own style and not imitate someone else. Assassination Classroom is weirdly heartwarming and made my heart hurt while also definitely being about kids killing their teacher. This is an infinitely more interesting Hunger Games style situation.

I didn’t love the second volume as much as the first, mostly because the author upped the use of sexuality with the character of Irina Hellavich, who is a sorta Black Widow style Eastern European sexy assassin. She does get some funny segements where the kids call her out on her bullshit, but it wasn’t entirely for me. I did love all the stuff involving Class E and the rest of the school and how Koro Sensei and Karasuma are realizing how much they love these kids and want them to succeed in life as well as with the assassination. It’s a cool concept of kids teaching they can’t just bank on one thing in life, they have to work hard to have a variety of options by having good grades and dedication and that will allow them to raise above their current station.

I will read this entire series, it’s so odd and funny but also life affirming and I adore it.

Title:  Assassination Vacation (Volumes 1&2)
Author: Yusei Matsui
Format:  Paperback
Pages: 192 // 195
ISBN: 9781421576077 &  9781421576084

Three Descriptors: Dark, Fantastical, Compelling

 

 

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