Assassination Classroom has made it into 3D. Will it get full marks? Or will its report card be nothing more than a giant F?
The plot is thus: The 'loser' class of an elite highschool is charged with the task of killing their teacher. Their teacher is an apparently indestructible tentacle monster who will blow up the world if they don't succeed.
....and you thought YOUR year 12 exams were stressful.
On one tentacle, this is a crash course in why you should love Class E and their seemingly unkillable teacher. On the other tentacle, the story is skimmed over so quickly you may not be able to truly appreciate the nuances that make both the anime and manga great. On another tentacle (because they're tentacles, not hands so we can have as many as we want) fans of the series may just enjoy seeing some of our favourite parts brought to live.... (Because live action, see? It's a pun).
Going at Mach 20
It would be foolish to think you can fit an entire season of anime into one movie. But that's what they've done. Character development is sacrificed for fitting more 'plot points" into the story, which leaves everything feeling a bit...blank.
In this sense, the movie is acts like Korosensei. It's had a few tentacles lopped off, while still trying to go at break neck speeds and cloning itself, becoming imperfect in the process.
But it's certainly not an F Mark!
Adaptations are rarely going to contain everything we need.
Newcomers to Assassination Classroom are going to get a great surface view. I don't know whether it will be enough for them to really enjoy it. But I hope the movie leads them to consider picking up the manga or watching an episode or two of the anime. If you enjoy the movie, as a newcomer, then you're going to really love the anime.
For fans, I think the best way to watch this film like it's revision in the lead up to the next season of the anime (due out next year!). It's all the things we've learned so far, with a few extras thrown in. I can't say I was thrilled with what may have been spoilers, but I guess that's the way the tentacle melts.....
There are plenty of 'in' jokes for fans, as well as genuine laugh out loud moments for everyone to enjoy. It proves that you CAN take a scene from an anime, bring it into the third dimension and not suck the life out of it.
See it as a highlights reel, the important dot points, in the anime and you'll be fine. Expect it to be the 3D version of an indepth essay about the story and characters and you'll fail.
The Actors: A+
Ninomiya Kazunari's voice acting is nothing short of amazing. It got to the point where I totally forgot my J-pop husband was even voicing the character of Korosensei. And that laugh....Oh the laugh....
Kippei Shiina makes for a good Karasuma (You may remember the actor from J-drama Nazotoki wa Dinner no Ato de/The After Dinner Mysteries. He acted with ANOTHER Arashi member, Sakurai Sho!).
Attention to characters is important in this film, if for no other reason than creator Yusei Matsui makes a note in the manga that each student in the class is unique. They achieve this with the main characters who all put in a solid effort, easily achieving an overall A.
But the star pupil?
Nagisa Shota is the voice of the anime. His voice is so important. It's a gentle voice, a voice you can mistake as weak or feeble and you would do so at your own peril. Being able to speak like this character would be no small victory for whoever played him in the live-action (especially given he's voiced by female voice actors).
Add to that the physical presence of Nagisa Shota, which is one of hardly there but always present and you've got a very difficult character on your hands. I always think it's impressive when young actors are able to play characters who have such subltle, restrained balance to their natures. Ryosuke Yamada (another Johnny from group Hey! Say! Jump!) does this impeccably in speech and action.
Assassination Classroom's live-action adaptation has done a lot of things right. The plot is recognisable, even with a few changes, they've kept the characters the way we like them and it feels like it's made by people who genuinely love the story they're telling. There are many points in the film where it felt like it was trying desperately hard to keep our attention, which it didn't need to do. Afterall, a good assassin has confidence in their ability.
There's room for improvement, but a thoroughly good effort!
7 and a half tentacles out of 10.
What mark did you give Assassination Classroom's live action?