Reviewby Rebecca Silverman,
Assassination Classroom - 365 Days' Time
The events of their time in Class 3-E aren't long over, but enough time has passed that the former students of Koro-sensei can look back without too much pain. Karma and Nagisa meet up just before the class reunion to take care of their old school building and reminisce about their time together with their tentacled teacher and just how much he helped them to find their way.
To be blunt, Assassination Classroom - 365 Days' Time is simply a recap of both seasons of the original TV series. That's it. Timeline-wise, it takes place between the end of the final episode of season two and the post-credits epilogue, showing us where Karma and Nagisa were at the time, and it has a heavy focus on that final episode. If you want to relive that particular trauma, this is the film for you.
Of course, you could also just rewatch that final episode and get much the same experience. The movie's goal appears to be to showcase precisely what Koro-sensei did for and meant to Karma and Nagisa specifically, and to that end it really does have a major focus on the way things ended because those final moments were very influential for both boys. Although they perhaps weren't the most traumatized students in Class 3-E, they were two of the ones whose home and school lives prior to meeting Koro-sensei were in a major downward spiral, kids who were lacking both direction and purpose. To emphasize that, it does make sense that the darker moments of the TV series would be the features of the movie's recapping. What this means is that we're treated to the debacle with Nagisa's controlling mother and Karma's learned distrust of adults in general and teachers in specific.
It's tough to argue that those aren't some of the series' best, most important moments. Nagisa's backstory in particular powerfully shapes his character and allows Assassination Classroom to make its points about how kids have their own needs and lives but are often controlled by adults who don't (or can't) see that. Likewise Karma's slide into a fatalistic numbness tempered by violence showcases the harm that a toxic school environment can have on a child – it was the school that truly made him who he was when he entered Class 3-E, and since it had that effect on other classmates as well, going over his history with the school is one of the better choices the film makes in trying to condense the series into an hour.
Likewise it was a good idea to choose just two students as the framework for the piece. As we're reminded in the recap of the final scenes, Class 3-E is huge, and each character has their own specific issues that Koro-sensei helps them deal with. Over the course of the entire series, there's time to develop each and every one of them to a degree; that wouldn't be feasible in an hour-long feature. Since Nagisa and Karma, along with being main characters, encapsulate two of the major issues the series tackles, they make for a good frame story.
That there really isn't much to that frame story is more of an issue. Reminiscing about the past has been successfully used to jumpstart any number of series – Elizabeth Oglivie's High Tide at Noon is one of the best examples, while in manga Those Summer Days does a good job – but it doesn't feel strictly necessary here. A more powerful statement would have been to show us how Koro-sensei influenced everyone's (or at least Karma and Nagisa's) lives by actually showing them, with the odd flashback to remind viewers how they learned to live this way. Granted, that would have required much more new animation and vocal work than this recap, and perhaps would have been more ambitious than what this film was going for.
What makes this disc worth it is the included video commentary with director Apphia Yu and actors Sonny Strait and Austin Tindle. While they don't talk about the film a lot, it's still a fun and relatively interesting extra, and watching Yu attempt to keep Strait on-topic (and her face when Tindle describes eating huevos del toro) makes it worth it. This is not to say that there's no discussion of the work on Assassination Classroom at all; it's just best to go into this commentary expecting to be entertained more than informed.
Unless you're a completist, there really isn't much reason to own this film. The movie itself is a “best of” reel of the TV series with a frame story that makes you expect Karma or Nagisa to jump up on a desk and start reciting Walt Whitman (O Captain! My Captain!), and while the scenes don't lose their impact in this shortened format, it just isn't the best way to experience the story in full. If you're a commentary fan, that adds a fair amount of value to the release, but if you want to experience the highlights of Assassination Classroom, the best way is to just rewatch the episodes that meant the most to you.
Overall (dub) : C
Overall (sub) : C
Story : C
Animation : B
Art : B
Music : B-
+ Powerful scenes don't lose their impact even in condensed form, video commentary is a lot of fun
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