Update: The DVD/Blu-ray for the movie will be released on 12 Oct 2016, pre-orders are now available, scroll to the bottom of the page for links!
Hi all, I’m back with another movie review! Assassination Classroom: Graduation. Or 暗殺教室 -卒業編- (Ansatsu Kyoshitsu -Sotsugyou Hen-) as the title goes in Japanese.
I had the luxury of watching Assassination Classroom 2 in the theatres last Thursday with my sister. We actually thought the show would stop airing last Friday, because there was no information about the show from Friday onwards… It sparked a rush to the cinemas for us, and the only timings left were 10 PM and 11 PM in Plaza Singapura – quite a far out place from my house. But then when I searched today, the movie is still airing till the coming Wednesday. Geez! Thankfully, my sis took the car that day since she had exams… Else we were gonna have trouble getting transport back after 12 midnight…
Anyway, I watched the first movie in the cinemas as well, and wrote a review about it here. I actually enjoyed the first movie a lot, and after the wonderful ending on the manga, I was looking forward to the second movie a lot.
They continued on from where the story left off in the first movie, and there were loads of Shinigami, or God of Death flashback scenes starring the voice actor behing Korosensei, Arashi’s Ninomiya Kazunari. Well actually, the movie began with a flashback. It started off showing a full moon – which puzzled me because as we all know, Korosensei has destroyed 70% of the moon before the first movie even started. It was only when they revealed a masked Nino, in tons of chains, that I finally understood what I was watching. I guess the more discerning viewers would have understood right away, with the talk about the prisoner and the hordes of police/military men surrounding the transport vehicle. But yeah, I was stumped for quite a while there. I blame it on the fact that it’s past 10 PM. (My bed time the week before was around 10:30 – 11 PM.)
Anyway, they went back to the ‘present’ time and gave a short recap on what happened in the previous movie, as well as give a short introduction to the characters. The story fidelity towards the manga is pretty darn good, like in the first movie. However… Instead of scaling things up like might happen in Hollywood (ok, not that I’m all that familiar with Hollywood movies), things kind of gets scaled down in Assassination Classroom. I guess the movie budget is a factor here… Certainly time constrains play a huge factor in many of the omissions, but some exclusions were clearly due to budget. Take for example when Kayano revealed her true self and trapped Korosensei in the shed. In the manga, she dug a huge pit filled with anti-sensei material and pushed Korosensei down the pit, which Korosensei escaped from by blasting away the walls of the pit. No pitfall trap, and no blasting of pit walls in the movie though. It certainly wouldn’t have taken much more time to show the the movie, but I can imagine the budget wise might be a little different. Or maybe it’s trouble with showing the viewers clearly how Korosensei blast his way out of the pit. Something that is easily done in a manga, but would need different ways of representation in a live action movie.
Of course it’s impossible to condense the manga into a movie while retaining every single detail, so I wasn’t surprised that the whole International Space Station arc was not in the movie. Still, I was hoping to see it in the movie though. Would be nice to see the yellow octopus flying alongside a rocket, and then losing in terms of speed as the rocket sped up and away from Earth. There was a pretty touching and philosophical line there too, about how for the first time, the students were surpassing their teacher.
Ah, the God of Death. I laughed when the God of Death appeared, in his full glory as the world’s top assassin, unchained and all. Because… Let’s face it. It’s Nino. Nino is pretty decent in height for the Asian guy – yeah, he’s taller than me – but in the entertainment industry? He’s short. And they had to make him fight a bunch of tall Westerners. I’m sorry… But couldn’t you make him fight other Japanese people instead? Japanese people can look pretty badass too, you know. They had Nino standing on some sort of stage, with the camera filming from a high, almost bird’s eye view sort of angle. Still, it looked as if the bad guys were still taller than Nino on the stage. Doesn’t help that he was wearing a suit which made him look even smaller. I think they could have done a better job with the outfit… I seem to remember him wearing a bowtie, and the seemingly padded shoulders made him look more like a little boy who stole his father’s suit than an assassin. It’s certainly quite different from the God of Death in the manga…
Nino as the test subject though, did pretty well. Like in his Door to Door and other touching dramas, Nino plays the role of a weaker human very well, and that role certainly suited him. As for the rest of the characters… well my gripes about Kippei Shiina as Karasuma remains, as with Kang Ji-Young for Irina. Again, I feel that Yamada did a pretty good job as Nagisa, and I don’t find him awkward in the role. The rest of the students were well casted too, Masaki Suda and his naturally badass punk look for example. As for the other two new casts, Mirei Kiritani did a great job of portraying the innocent and kind hearted Aguri Yukimura, and Hiroki Narimiya plays the evil scientist role of Kotaro Yanagisawa to satisfaction.
Another major omission in the movie was the absence of the current God of Death. God of Death no. 2 if you will. This is most certainly due to time constrains, it would complicate the things too much to bring in another character, so the God of Death gen. 2 was left out of the story completely. While from the big picture point of view, it made sense not to bring that character in – since none of the earlier meetings with the God of Death was described in the movie – it made the premise for how the first gen God of Death got caught a little weak. In the manga, the God of Death was betrayed and set up by his disciple. In the movie, Nino in his undersized suit dispatched a batch of assailants before the lid of the bin even fall down, then, as he stood back on the stage, huffing and admiring his handiwork, the wall behind him burst open, and the bricks knocked him unconscious. There weren’t even THAT many bricks. That certainly makes the ‘God of Death’ even less convincing. So, with no God of Death gen 2, Yanagisawa fought alone in the laser barrier. In another minor departure from the manga, Yanagisawa disrupted the students when Korosensei was about to give out the graduation certificates, instead of when they were celebrating Korosensei’s birthday. In contrast to the earlier toned downs from the manga however, the CG department totally overdid Yanagisawa’s transformation. At the end of his transformation, he didn’t even look remotely human. More like some sort of Terminator. It kind of looked familiar actually. Terminator? Transformers? Both me and sis felt like we’ve seen that sort of bad guy before, in some other western movie. Hmmmm….
I was a little sad that they didn’t give Korosensei a chance to show how he adapts to the insane speed and strength of Yanagisawa monster, as he did in the manga, as with how I wished they showed the crazy guidebooks that Korosensei made for each and everyone of the students. (Just some additional props after all.) Still, a lot of the dialogue followed the manga really closely, and I certainly was pleased with that. How the students killed Korosensei at the end was exactly as it is in the manga, and I’d admit that I got teary eyed at that point too.
I love the very end. They didn’t show much about the students’ futures, only the one where it counts the most – that of Nagisa becoming a teacher. It is definitely the most fitting way to end the movie.
Overall, despite my nit pickings about the differences between the movie and the manga, I throughly enjoyed myself when watching the movie. It has a fairly somber mood throughout, with bits of humour interspersed here and there. If you’re expecting loads of explosions and fire, then well this isn’t the movie for you. Granted, there were some explosions when Irina used a shoulder fired rocket launcher to burn down some satellite dishes and military vehicles, there aren’t much explosions on the whole. Instead, if you are looking for a cheeky yet heartwarming movie about a group of middle school students overcoming the impossible, Assassination Classroom: Graduation promises to be just that.
The DVD/Blu-ray has yet to be released though, so you’ll have to wait a while before you can pre-order the discs. You can watch the first movie in the mean time though, or (if you can read Japanese) read the novels based on the movie, I’ve linked the second book below, couldn’t find the first book online :X. Both the novels from the two movies are out already. I got my copy for the first book from Kinokuniya.
Art/manga fans would also want to check out the Vol. 6 Jump Ryu. It includes a DVD (region code 2) on how to draw, a 20 page booklet, and also includes printed illustration of Matsui Yuusei’s drawing of Korosensei, his autograph (again, it’s printed – it’s only 12 USD, can’t expect him to sign each and every one of those can you?), and a replica of his manga board.
Oh a last note for Nino fans: Yup, there certainly was Nino/Korosensei voice overload in this movie. So much so that I left inclined a play a bunch of Nino solos and covers on the ride home.
Preorders for the DVD/Blu Ray are now available!
Assassination Classroom: Graduation Special Edition
DVD Special Edition
Blu-Ray Special Edition
Assassination Classroom: Graduation Standard Edition
DVD Standard Edition
Blu-Ray Standard Edition
Assassination Classroom: Graduation Movie Light Novel
JUMP Ryu! with DVD April 7, 2016 Issue Vol.6 Matsui Yuusei (Assassination Classroom)
Assassination Classroom Manga Light Novel
Assassination Classroom 1
Assassination Classroom 1
Assassination Classroom Manga