What’s it about ?
Adaptation of a comedy shonen manga series.
There was an OVA in 2013 adapting a random manga chapter, from a completely different cast, crew and studio. It’s everything but required watching, as this is a much better introduction to the premise. The OVA was kinda crap, anyway.
Koro-sensei is a weird yellow tentacle monster that showed up out of nowhere one day and destroyed most of the moon. As you do. He plans on doing the same to Earth in a year’s time ; but it the meantime, since just hiding would be no fun, he’s going to teach this random high school class in Japan. They can try their best and kill him ; he promises never to harm them. It just won’t be easy, as he can move at up to Mach 20.
Mr Karasuma, from the Department of Defense, explained all this to a bemused classroom. He added that the world’s governments were happy to comply with Koro-sensei’s wishes, as (1) nothing they’ve tried has more than very temporarily inconvenienced him ; (2) at least this way they can keep an eye on him ; and (3) you never know, maybe one of the students will get lucky and nail the freak. By the way, there’s a $10-million for whoever does the deed, if saving the world wasn’t enough motivation.
Now, most of the class are background figures and barely get a few lines each ; presumably they’re going to be developed properly in future episodes. We’re starting with…
Nagisa, who gets the second half of this first episode. He’s so wimpy and feminine that it took me a while to realize he was a guy. A few of the bigger boys coerce him into trying to suicide-bomb Koro-sensei. The point here is to make clear that the yellow freak WON’T allow his students to hurt each other, or indeed any harm to come to them. He is quite impressed by Nagisa, though, which must be the first time someone has ever said this with the poor little dude.
Hey, did they get the character designer from Dangaronpa ? (Yes.) There’s some very heavy linework here, giving characters much more presence than you’d expect from their relatively generic looks. It helps compensate for the okay-ish-at-best animation.
I was wary of director Seiji Kishi’s involvement, but he does have a knack for comedic timing and brutal mood swings ; this is thus the kind of material he’s best suited for.
Hmm. I have a strong suspicion this is hewing very close to the manga’s original structure, which is always a challenge given how you don’t pace a joke the same way for different mediums. But so far, it’s mostly working out ; the manga was already strong enough to support this approach, I guess.
Now, the big question is whether the joke can support 22 episodes. I’m not sure ; a lot will depend on how much the other students can stand on their own. A good sign is the hint of a secondary plotline, with this class actually being the rejects and dropouts who didn’t cut it for the better classes ; and Koro-sensei turning out to actually be a darn good teacher.
Anyway, the gags are more hit than miss as of now, so I’m willing to give it at least a few more episodes to see where it’s going.