Assassination Classroom, streaming now on Hulu, is probably one of the most bizarre anime series we’ve come across—and that’s saying something. Based on the manga of the same name, the series concerns a strange, tentacled creature coming to Earth after destroying 70 percent of the Moon, leaving it in a permanent crescent shape. He warns that he will destroy the Earth as well within a year but gives humanity the opportunity to kill him if they can.
Assassination Classroom, streaming on Hulu, follows Koro-sensei, and the class of students he teaches, tasked with making sure he doesn’t destroy the planet.
The classroom of Assassination Classroom houses class 3-E, a group of misfits who are rejected from the wider school. It is here that the alien creature becomes a teacher, and the students are tasked with the challenge of assassinating him. The Japanese government offers ¥10 billion to anyone who can kill him, which proves to be a seemingly impossible task given his many superpowers, including an invincibility mode, the ability to move and fly at Mach 20, rapid regeneration, and more.
The students of the assassination classroom name their teacher Koro-sensei, which means “unkillable teacher,” after they discover just how difficult it is to end his life. But, for the fate of the planet, they must persist in trying to do so, even though he happens to be an excellent and even wonderful teacher, helping them in their studies and preparing them for their futures. As they learn more about him and where he comes from, it becomes apparent why he is such a good teacher and why he must be killed by the end of the school year.
The original Assassination Classroom manga, written by Yusei Matsui, first appeared in serialized form in Shueisha’s Weekly Shōnen Jump magazine, the same magazine in which the original One Piece manga also appeared, from July 2012 to March 2016. These chapters were later collected into 21 tankōbon volumes. By the end of its run, there were over 25 million copies in print. With that kind of popularity, it was only a matter of time before it made the leap to animation.
The first Assassination Classroom animation produced was an original video animation (OVA) adaptation from Brian’s Base, which premiered at the Jump Super Anime Tour in 2013. After that, in 2015, the animated television series by Lerche began, running from January of that year to June of 2016. There was also a live-action film adaptation in 2015 and a 2016 sequel, Assassination Classroom: Graduation.
Koro-sensei, the being at the center of Assassination Classroom, is a giant yellow smiley face with tentacles, but he’s also an incredible teacher.
The entire animated Assassination Classroom series is available now on Hulu, and the bizarre nature of the story is just as intriguing as it sounds, not to mention the fact that the tentacled creature known as Koro-sensei is also a giant, yellow smiley face. While all this seems incredibly strange, it is also broadly appealing and has resulted in a number of accolades and awards for both the original manga and the anime adaptation around the world.
In 2013, it was at the top of the Hoya Club website’s “Nationwide Bookstore Employees’ Recommended Comics” and that same year, was named the best work on the “Recommended Comic Books Across the Country Clerk’s Choice” list by Nippon Shuppan Hanbai.
In 2015, the Assassination Classroom manga was also among nine nominees for Asahi Shimbun‘s Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize. In addition to several other nominations and “best of” lists from a variety of publications, it was also nominated for an Eisner Award for Best U.S. Edition of International Material—Asia in 2016. As for the anime, Polygon named it one of the best anime of the 2010s in 2019.
Assassination Classroom, in both manga and anime forms, has won countless awards, including an Eisner, one of the highest honors for a graphic novel.
There has been some understandable controversy regarding the violence in Assassination Classroom, particularly gun violence toward a teacher, causing the manga to be removed from some American school libraries, especially those that have been affected by gun violence. It also drew the ire of some conservative groups for sexual imagery. Still, that has not kept audiences worldwide from both enthusiastically reading and praising the manga and enjoying the anime with equal fervor.
So, if you like creative stories, weird aliens, ethical conundrums, and unusual science fiction, Assassination Classroom might just be a choice for you. It’s certainly worth checking out for fans of anime who have yet to experience it. You can stream Assassination Classroom right now on Hulu.