Blu-ray Review: Assassination Classroom – Season 1 Part 1
07/06/2016 Leave a comment
Violence has never been considered acceptable within the classroom; but when it comes to Assassination Classroom then things take an amusing turn. It’s an interesting storyline thats presented in a colourful fashion but what exactly did I think of this Blu-ray release of Season 1 Part 1 by Anime Limited? Well let’s find out!
At Kunugigaoka Junior High School, class 3-E is the lowest of the low. With abysmal test scores and no future prospects, they’ve been given up on and hidden away from the main campus at the top of a deserted mountain. But when a super-powered tentacled creature with a thirst for destruction becomes their new teacher, they’ve got a brand new assignment to get them inspired about school: take him out.
In addition to reading, writing, and arithmetic, the murderous monster behind the lectern will teach his students everything he knows about the assassination game. Should some eager beaver prove to be a Grade-A assassin, he or she will save Earth from extinction – and collect a hefty reward. But they’d better study up, because their saboteur sensei has already taken out most of the moon, and our planet is next on his list!
Ever since it’s animation debut last year many have hailed Assassination Classroom as one of the best shows of that broadcast season; however after watching all eleven episodes within this Season 1 Part 1 release of the series I can’t help but feel disappointed with what was offered. A rinse and repeat process with an unlikeable set of students and an oddly unique teacher is my interpretation of this set and no matter how hard it tries it fails to impress me. Am I missing something? Most likely; but I can see the appeal this set series may offer.
For those unaware Assassination Classroom follows the events of Kunugigaoka Junior High School’s Class 3-E as they are given the chance of claiming 10 Billion Yen if they manage to defeat their teacher. The problem here is that their teacher is an unknown life form with the appearance of an Octopus that has incredible speed, knowledge and abilities which as a result proves extremely difficult to kill. The pretence is that this life-form, which is believed to be genetically engineered by humans, destroyed part of the moon and claims he will do the same to the earth within a year if he is not stopped. Honestly it’s a completely bonkers storyline and provides a few laughs; but as one might expect each episode sees another attempt at this lifeform’s life, who is later named Kuro-sensei’s, and, as you might also expect, with each attempt failing miserably.
This is where the rinse and repeat process I mentioned comes into effect; as each episode is practically the same. Each episode offers up a reminder that Class 3-E is the ‘lowest of the low’ at Kunugigaoka Junior High School and the students are used as a way of assassinating Kuro-sensei; to which either an assassination attempt will take place or a new character will be introduced which will see them attempting an assassination on him. For example; the two starting episodes provide context to the story and showcase majority of the students trying to kill kuro-sensei; but following on from that each episode introduces a new person trying to assassinate the teacher with very little time spent on the character development of the students themselves. For instance; the third episode sees trouble maker Karma Akabane return to class and make his attempt at assassination known while the fourth episode sees new language teacher, known as Irina Jelavic, make an attempt on Kuro-sensei’s life and failing miserably. This constant barrage of new characters continues throughout the remaining episodes of this set and it quickly becomes old as they all follow the same pattern of failure.
Of course there are some amusing moments to be had; such as the reactions of Irina Jelavic and Kuro-Sensei to mundane human tasks, but on the whole the episodes within this first half of Assassination Classroom proved to be rather uneventful, repetitive and un-entertaining which is a shame as deep-down there is some interesting storylines to be had that go unspoken about. Specifically the schools set-up of making Class 3-E the deterrent for getting low grades in other classes at the school and Kuro-Sensei’s attempt at breaking the mold of this bizarre way of teaching. It’s an interesting story and for one episode it focuses on the students, and school layout in general, as opposed to assassination but other than that it’s never mentioned again and instead opts to focus on the repetitive nature of new characters and assassination attempts.
Ironically enough it’s not just the episode content itself that I found to be disappointing; as the English Dub by FUNimation Entertainment is nothing to brag about either and, in some aspects, it could be the worst dub produced by the studio. For starters some of the voice actors do not seem to fit the role they have been cast; additionally minor changes to the dialogue – such as additional swearing – isn’t exactly needed either. The Japanese audio track, with English subtitles, provide a more enjoyable experience and during the tenth episode sees some impressive English voice-over work portrayed by Japanese actors. It’s a scene which sees Kursama speak in English to a new assassin before returning to speak in Japanese and during this scene it offers an impressive depth of realism that is no way replicated in the English Dub.
In my eyes at least Assassination Classroom – Season 1 Part 1 is a beautifully animated show and has an entertaining storyline with some impressive Japanese voice-over work; but generally speaking it’s repetitive and a bit boring.
As of late Anime Limited have opted to use discs authored by FUNimation in America and as a result the same amount the discs we have here are the same as those released in America; which also means that the bonus content is exactly the same. In this instance we have two English Cast commentary tracks on the first disc, each of which provide a mediocre insight into the series and what dubbing work is like, while the second disc contains all of the worthwhile bonus content including a bonus mini-episode.
The bonus episode, known as Meeting Time, was – from my understanding at least – initially shown at an event in Japan and sees Kuro-Sensei explain how he initially met Kursama before teaching at the school. It’s a relatively uneventful episode and provides more questions than answers on the origins of Kuro-sensei but it does offer its share of laughs. Other bonus content included on this disc is an interview with the English Dub cast, which seems very unprofessional and potentially painful to watch, a selection of Japanese Next Episode previews that weren’t included on the episodes themselves and the usual selection of content such as trailers and textless songs.
The inclusion of the bonus episode and next episode previews is a nice touch; but unfortunately the English produced content do not really do the show any favours; however if you enjoyed the English Dub then it’s probably worth taking a look at that content as well. In any event its a nice well rounded selection of content and exactly what you would expect to receive from a FUNimation release.
Media: BD 50 x1, BD 25 x1
Region: A & B
Running Time: 3:04:26 (Disc 1), 1:09:16 (Disc 2)
Video: MPEG-4 AVC
Audio: Dolby TrueHD 5.1 (English), Dolby TrueHD 2.0 (Japanese)
Subtitles: English (White)
Resolution: 1920×1080 (1080p)
Aspect Ratio: 16:9
Frame Rate: 23.976 fps
Assassination Classroom is a colourful quirky series that sees the students of Class 3-E tasked with killing their alien-like teacher in hopes of being awarded the 10-billion-yen reward from the government. The reason? This alien-like-teacher, who goes by the name of Kuro-Sensei, plans to destroy to world within a year if he is not killed and in the meantime opts to give the students of Class 3-E the best education ever received.
This Season 1 Part 1 instalment of the series features the first eleven episodes and depicts numerous assassination attempts done by both students and outside sources on a episodic basis with each following the same presentation and pattern which steadily becomes boring. Hopefully this will improve within the later episodes and offer-up a more progressive storyline with a plot; but for the time being at least it’s pretty much singular episodes with a new assassination attempt and very little in ways of character development or progression.
It’s not just the episodes found within this part one instalment of the series I found to be disappointing either as the dubbing, which I mentioned earlier, could have been handled better and some aspects of the subtitles could have been presented better as well. After two episodes I found the English dub unbearable, something which usually occurs on Sentai Filmwork produced dubs, and as such I changed to the Japanese audio track with English subtitles. As you would expect the subtitles were presented cleanly and easy to read but as I ploughed through the episodes I noticed some concerns. On episode five the subtitles for one particular characters dialogue were spelled incorrectly (so maybe it was trying to replicate that persons speaking pattern?) but yet in the English Dub there were no such speaking pattern present; furthermore on later episodes, such as episode nine onwards, when multiple characters were speaking (such as on screen and in the background) it was hard to follow which piece of subtitled dialogue was for what character. Personally I didn’t find it to be a clear-cut easy to watch experience, either in English or Japanese, so it’s another disappointing nod to this release.
Overall Assassination Classroom – Season 1 Part 1 I found to be a rather repetitive but amusing experience that I won’t see myself watching again anytime soon. I understand that some people highly recommend the show; but personally for me I didn’t enjoy what was offered and I was hoping for a more progressive storyline as opposed to one-shot-approaches with new characters. My enjoyment of this release isn’t helped by either by the questionable dubbing choices and subtitles. It’s also worth noting that Anime Limited have opted to replicate the discs used by FUNimation entertainment; so the content is exactly the same as the US release – whether that is a good or bad thing is entirely up to you! Generally speaking it is a good release but as I personally didn’t enjoy the show I couldn’t really recommend it.
Assassination Classroom – Season 1 Part 1 is now available on Blu-ray via Anime Limited within the UK.