Comic Book Spotlight of the Day: Assassination Classroom vol. 1 – December 2014 (Viz Media)

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TITLE: Assassination Classroom vol. 1

YEAR: December 2014 (USA release)

COMPANY: Viz Media

Story and Art by Yusei Matsui

In 2012, mangaka Yusei Matsui created the manga series “Assassination Classroom” (Ansatsu Kyoshitsu).

Matsui, who was known for the manga series “Majin Tantei Nougami Neuro” and also was a former assistant of mangaka, Yoshio Sawai, would eventually create one of the best selling manga series in the past few years.

Serialized in “Weekly Shonen Jump”, a total of 12 volumes have been collected into Tankobon format and the first volume has had over one million copies printed and was on the list for best-selling manga in 2013. Came second in Media Factory’s “Book of the Year” and won the #1 position for “2014 Kono Manga ga Sugoi!” voted by male readers for Takarajimasha.

With an anime adaptation in Japan to debut in 2015, the English translated version was released in the United States in Dec. 2014

The series begins by introducing us to a powerful alien creature that destroyed 70% of the moon, making it a crescent moon forever. The alien has said that within a year, he will destroy the Earth but he does give mankind a chance to prevent it.

Having special speed and quick reflexes, with a number of tentacles like an octopus, the alien known as Koro-sensei, becomes a teacher for the lowly class 3-E at the prestigious Kunugigaoka Junior High School.

Government worker Tadaomi Karasuma tells the entire class 3-E what problems they are facing and how Koro-sensei will destroy the Earth. But the deal the alien made with the government and military is that if he is assassinated before the end of the year, he will spare Earth. So, Tadaomi Karasuma announces that the focus of class 3-E is to kill their homeroom teacher.

And Koro-sensei is hoping the students can do it..but can they?

For volume 1, we are introduced to Nagisa Shiota, a weak student but very observant and smart and studies Koro-sensei’s color-changing moods and tries to find any weakness that he can.

Meanwhile, bad boy Karma Akabane joins class 3-E and was suspended from school prior to Korosensei’s arrival and now, Karma wants to do all he can to kill Koro-sensei.

But each time the students try to kill Koro-sensei, his mach 5 ability makes him difficult to see and kill and all fail. But when they try to kill him, Koro-sensei tries to teach each student on becoming a better person and in someways, making him likeable to a point.

With the destruction of Earth many months away, can these students kill Koro-sensei before it’s too late.

My first introduction to “Assassination Classroom” was from the Vita video game “J-Stars Victory Vs.” And was wondering why there is yellow octopus in the game.

After googling and doing my research, I eventually learned about “Assassination Classroom” and wasn’t sure if it was a horror-based storyline or a manga series with humor and action.

So, I have been anticipating Yusei Matsui’s “Assassination Classroom” because it has done so well in Japan.

And now after reading vol. 1, I have to say that it’s an interesting concept. An alien who threatens to destroy the planet, unless the students of class 3-E can kill him before the year is over. I wonder how Yusei Matsui came up with the idea to make this series. It’s so far out but yet you welcome anything new and fresh.

While I’m sure the book will feature each student of class E-3, for volume 1 it focuses on three students. The weak but smart Nagisa Shiota; the cunning, smart and coldblooded Karma Akabane; and then there is Tomohito Sugino, who dreamed of becoming a baseball player, but his hopes lost when his grades got worse and thus, having him become part of class 3-E.

As the students do all they can to kill Koro-sensei, we get to learn how difficult it is because he is lightning quick and has various tricks, also many tentacles to have him do multiple things all at once.

As for the artwork, Yusei Matsui does a good shop with character designs, as well as creating detailed backgrounds during the more action-driven scenes.

Overall, the first volume of “Assassination Classroom” is an enjoyable, humorous and action-packed manga series thus far. The first volume features a lot of introductions but I do look forward in seeing how this manga series evolve. For now, it’s a manga series worth recommending!


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