12 Days of Anime #2: “Assembly Time” December 24, 2015Posted by navycherub in 12 days of anime, Anime, Assassination Classroom, Essay.
Tags: 12 Days of Anime, Anime, Assassination Classroom, Essay
It’s toxin time.
Assassination Classroom has a strange but heartwarming approach to education. As anyone who has even sampled the strange world of Assassination Classroom can attest to, just about every story in the show (especially near the beginning) follows a similar formula with the same basic goal: show the value of nurturing individual talents over standardized education. This also always comes with the assassination-flavored wrapping that makes the show so endearingly weird.
For this installment we are properly introduced to the shy Manami Okuda, a timid girl who makes the uncharacteristically forward decision to simply ask their moon-destroying teacher to drink the poison she concocted. Impressed by her audacity, Koro-sensei drinks it but it only has humorous effects on his body instead of killing him. He doesn’t let the chance go to waste, though – Koro-sensei decides to help her develop her skills in chemistry by assisting her in making a poison to kill him.
Throughout this funny sequence, Koro-sensei begins to understand Manami’s predicament. Much like a younger Koyomi Araragi, Manami finds comfort in the sciences because of their puzzle-like features; unlike messy people, equations and formulas can be solved. Koro-sensei, in his unlimited wisdom, doesn’t discourage her, which surprised me at first. He agrees that relationships are hard, and expressing yourself properly is even harder.
Of course, it is all part of his master plan in helping her grow. Giving Manami all the answers only to turn it around on her serves a dual purpose. Manami gets the immediate satisfaction of following a formula to its inevitable conclusion, and she gets to learn from that experience. This is supplemented, though, by her experiment not working (not killing Koro-sensei) because she didn’t put in the more messy, human work of finding his weaknesses. This is such a nice conclusion to her little arc because it doesn’t devalue her interest and talents in chemistry – instead, it marries her fascination with science and her need to grow more confident with socialization, acknowledging that these things are not separate but indeed complementary aspects of her life.
It’s an odd way to teach these values, but Assassination Classroom is possibly more effective because it can have so much fun with itself in that way.