Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Koro Sensei Quest First Impression

Assassination Classroom is my favorite comedy anime. It's got a ton of hilarious moments throughout it's two-season run, lots of heart, some great art, good animation, and it's just all around a blast to watch and think about. Koro Sensei and the rest of E-Class had so many great adventures in the original series, and I was sad to see it go. Thankfully, the good people of Japan decided "hey, that series was fun, let's do more with it!" And so, CHIBIS! 
You may recall that another popular series did this, with marginal success: Attack on Titan with Attack on Titan: Junior High. I quite liked the show, and you can see my in-depth thoughts on it here.

The basic premises of both this and AoT is to turn the series from well drawn to...okay, still well-drawn, but make the characters little chibi versions. 

So from this: 

Into this: 

And it is adorable. 

Koro Sensei Quest mostly relies on you having seen the original Assassination Classroom anime or at least read the manga to get the basic premise of the show. While in the original series the premise was comedic yet daunting, this one is just funny. 

E-Class, a group of misfits trying to become heroes, are assigned by the magic government to kill their teacher, Koro Sensei the Demon King. Koro Sensei picked this class in order for them to use their "bugs" to the full potential. Essentially, he wants the children to realize that what they see as their faults can actually be their greatest strength. All the while shenanigans will ensue! 

Koro Sensei's character hasn't changed much at all from the original series, except he's the slightest bit more relaxed. I think it fits the environment a bit more. Since this is a far more chilled, comedic atmosphere that the show has reached, Koro Sensei being a thing intent on blowing up the Earth just wouldn't gel much here. Instead, he's just the final boss. Simple, but effective. 

The show doesn't got for some in-depth lore or for you to really have to get into the characters to understand what is going on. In fact, you get the characteristics of much of the main cast. Koro Sensei runs through many of their "bugs" and you understand their flaws and strengths. Episode 1 ends with Nagisa's strength, his blood-lust, on full display, although it does lead to a pretty thoughtful bit of comedy. 

While watching this episode, I found that this show may actually be catered to a younger audience. There are some jokes that will go over their heads, yes, and there is one incredibly random scene in the middle that is there simply for fan-service (seriously, it was weird), but besides that this felt like a kids' show. 

Like I said, it's about a group of kids going on a quest to kill "the big bad." That's it. The characters look like kids, the jokes are ones that kids and adults can laugh at, and the overall aesthetic is child-friendly. The still-shot they use for E-Class's classroom looks like something out of a children's book, too. I can imagine an older fan of Assassination Classroom sitting down and watching this episode with their kids and both parties having fun. 

The lone episode that's out, at the time of this writing, is also only about seven minutes long. Well, the actual episode, that is, given the length of the opening and ending songs. 

The opening gives a pretty good hint at what's in store for the viewer for the episode. I like it just fine, it has that childlike J-Pop sound to it, as well as a bit of an 8-bit sound in the background. The ending, though, I really enjoyed, taking one of the old opening themes from the anime and turning it into an 8-bit version. 

On the whole, the series is meant to represent a videogame. The students are going to "level up" each episode and are given various quests to go on. The "bug" subplot hints at that as well, since each character has a bug in the game they will explore. This is an ingenious way of telling the story. It's not like there's someone else playing the game. The characters are aware this is a video-game, as the story opens with them complaining about the weapons they start with at level one, as well as some of the random stats and drops they've already received (like a suit of armor that only covers half the body, or using the shaft of a plunger as your main weapon). It's like playing an RPG, with an open-world and levels and a big party system to be explored against each boss. 

They even go out to farm levels at the end of the episode. Cool! 

And it wouldn't be Assassination Classroom without some nice references. The big one is Koro Sensei suddenly wearing Goku's attire from Dragon Ball, even down to the hair. One character almost says the anime version of another character's name, and that same character asks how long the quest will last. After Koro Sensei can't answer, she interrupts with, "Oh, right, it depends on our ratings." 

The art and animation remain, for the most part, the same as the original series. The characters lend themselves to this chibi world very well and I can't wait to see more of them. I always love hearing the English voice actors, who do serious work, in this style. I think the Attack on Titan: Junior High verions nailed it more, since Assassination Classroom was originally a comedy. Still, Sonny Strait nails it as Koro Sensei again and Monica Rial as Kayano is the standout from this episode (as well as the original anime). 

If you have ten minutes to spare and want a good laugh, this is a great series to watch. It's over on (the new) funimation.com, with the first episode for free in English! If you're a fan of the original series, definitely give this a watch for the rest of the season. I sure know I will be! 

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