assassination_classrooom_4guide__largeWhen I first realized that I was going to be covering the sequel to a live action adaptation of an anime and manga, the completist within me instantly started tracking down the first live action film, the anime, and how I could get a hold of the manga series as well. The critic in me however took over, as any sequel or adaptation should be able to hold up to anyone off the street. It shouldn’t require full knowledge of the source material in order to enjoy a film based on its own merit’s alone. Thus, after stopping myself a few episodes into the anime, I embarked into the world of Classroom 3-E and the students facing off against their inhuman teacher in the second part of the ASSASSINATION CLASSROOM series, with THE GRADUATION.

Six months prior, 2/3 of the moon is destroyed by a yellow tentacled creature impervious to normal weapons. He threatens to do the same to the Earth if he isn’t stopped and his demands aren’t met. His demands: To teach a specific classroom of remedial students at a private school in Japan. While his syllabus is filled with normal schoolwork, it also includes the deadly art of assassination, with him as the ultimate target. ASSASSINATION CLASSROOM: THE GRADUATION picks up six months into the school year with the students still not knowing everything about their new teacher, and the looming deadline approaching.

Being a live action adaptation of a manga, I didn’t have high hopes going in. The source material cames from the long running Shonen Jump magazine, which compiles some of the most action packed stories out there, and live action adaptations haven’t been that succcessful given such a wide scope. However, in this, they utilize a great mix of practical and CGI effects to make a believable world.

The relationship between Koro-Sensei (The Unkillable Teacher, or “UT” for short) and his students is a charming one. Despite the fact that they are training to kill him, he still instills hope within a group of students that have never been given a chance. They are the losers and flunkies that all other schools have cast aside, and yet, under this bizarre tutelage, they are thriving.

assassination_classrooom_1__largeWHAT DOESN’T:
Despite many scenes with well earned sentimentality, there is a tendency to lean heavy on the melodrama. While you do need some melodrama to balance out the action and comedy, relying on it too much can make the story seem loathsome at points. Thankfully, this wasn’t overused too much to completely jade the experience.

As I mentioned in my intro, a sequel should be able to stand alone, doubly so if it is an adaptation. And despite a joke about another teacher’s name, all is explained in this film. And despite all the explanation, it is done so in a comic book-like aspect that works well, without slowing down the storytelling process.

The film serves as a great device to deliver an edict about the powers of government, as well the importance of individualized education. By each student’s skill in the art of killing being developed, it also helps their personalities blossom into their truest potential. As bizarre as it may sound, it like watching a blend of Barney the Dinosaur transplanted into the film BATTLE ROYALE.

Some of the best sentimental scenes involving tentacles since Aaron Moorhead and Justin Benson’s SPRING.

Nagisa Shiota: Ryôsuke Yamada (Kindaichi shônen no jikenbo, FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST)
Kaede Kayano: Maika Yamamoto (Kamen Teacher, Yoru No Sensei)

Writers: Yûsei Matsui (manga), Tatsuya Kanazawa (screenplay) (Tankentai no eikô)

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