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Assassination Classroom is the story of a ninth grade class that is taught by an insanely powerful creature that the students are tasked with assassinating. It’s a crazy concept, but at its core, it teaches some very important lessons, and the new movie drives that point home.

[This article contains spoilers for the TV anime Assassination Classroom.]

Assassination Classroom the Movie: 365 Days is a new anime movie that takes place one day before the final episode of the TV anime series–one day before the 7th anniversary class reunion of Class 3-E of the Kunugigaoka Junior High School. Two former students, Nagisa Shiota and Karma Akabane visit their old school and reminisce about the year they spent under their teacher, Koro-sensei (a tentacled creature with the ability to move at a hypervelocity of Mach 20).

For those who are wondering, the movie is a recap film. It covers the 47 episodes of the anime series with brief interludes of original material between Nagisa and Karma. If you are unfamiliar with the source material, there will be brief moments and characters that will leave you wondering what’s going on. But the movie does an excellent job of broadening the focus to the class as a whole and their growth together over the year.

From the outset, Assassination Classroom looks wacky and almost childish from its initial setup of the moon getting a hole blown in it to the smiley face design of Koro-sensei. And yet, underneath, it tells many important and heartwarming tales about growing up, from bullying, isolation, parenting, and what it means to be a teacher to facing the problems that students face everyday.

Its arguably most important lesson reminded me of a real life incident from the early 90s. A teacher conducted a class at an Osaka prefecture elementary school where, over the course of three years, the students would care for and raise a pig. At the end of the three years, the pig was sent to a meat processing plant. The purpose was for the children to understand the weight of a life: what it means when they eat the food on their tables.

Watching Assassination Classroom, I was struck with the similarity of the situation of the children with that of the young elementary school students raising the pig. In this case, however, the teacher, Koro-sensei, was the pig. Over the course of a year, the students for Class 3-E form a bond with their teacher, who starts outs as their target, but ends up as their guardian, supporter, and friend. And yet, the specter of death looms over them through it all. Assassination Classroom does not hide from its most powerful message and does not try to find a cheap way out of important decisions where a lesser series would.

Assassination Classroom the Movie: 365 Days cuts all the asides and tangents from the story of Assassination Classroom and leaves a strong core that is both entertaining and touching. It does everything right and doesn’t talk down to its audience–almost like a teacher talking face to face with a student.

Assassination Classroom the Movie: 365 Days is currently playing in theaters in Japan. No word on a Western release.

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