Image source: アニメ『暗殺教室 』@ころQ！配信開始！ on Twitter
If you’re a fan of the delightfully bizarre Assassination Classroom and of roleplaying games, you should make it your business to jump on board the Koro Sensei Quest! bandwagon. Combining a fresh and hilarious retelling of the already out-there show–now with familiar Dragon Quest and generic RPG aspects–it’s a bite-sized treat that’s easily digested with a smile on your face and a penchant for adventure.
Koro Sensei Quest! takes the familiar characters and storyline from the original Assassination Classroom and distills them into a chibi-fied set of ten-minute shorts that anyone can sit down and enjoy without having watched any of the actual show.
For the uninitiated, Assassination Classroom follows a group of students who train daily to eventually destroy a powerful squid-like monster who’s already taken out 70% of the moon. The monster himself, Koro-sensei, as the children call him (a pun on “korosenai,” meaning “unkillable” and “sensei” (teacher) is seemingly undefeatable, with a 10 billion yen bounty on his head for the student who can take him out. It’s more than just a contest to see who can kill him the quickest, though. If no one emerges victorious within a year, Koro-sensei will destroy the Earth, too.
It’s nowhere near as serious as it sounds, though. It’s decidedly comedic even before being reborn as a chibi-centric show. But this time around, for laughs, the entire series is set up like a video game, namely a Japanese traditional role-playing game. Dialogue boxes pop up with text that scrolls across them, retelling the classic tale of heroes who begin on a quest with raggedy equipment and terrible level 1 weapons. Koro-sensei is referred to as the “Big Bad”–i.e., the enemy the characters will eventually have to grow strong enough to kill.
Each one of the characters actually has a special “bug,” like Isogai only being able to wear half of a set of armor, or another character’s ability to only use bathroom items like a plunger. Koro-sensei is looking to train the class up until the point where, even with said bugs, he feels like they’re able to defeat him, but mainly because he just wants to fight against stronger opponents.
The anime is riddled with jokes and references to other anime, video games, and popular culture, such as Koro-sensei turning into Goku from Dragon Ball Z or the characters defeating slimes for one of their first assignments. The slimes are obviously a reference to Dragon Quest enemy mainstays and it seems the students are too terrible at their jobs to even manage to defeat them. Another scene in the first episode finds one of the characters having suddenly beefed up into Kenshiro-like proportions, ripped straight from Fist of the North Star.
The ending theme even features a chiptune that sounds as though it was ripped straight from your favorite Nintendo or Super Nintendo title. It’s a lively little ditty that you’d swear was coming from an RPG if you didn’t know it was from an anime series.
It’s little touches like these that manage to make Koro Sensei Quest! feel like a fun love letter to a genre of games that I personally grew up with. It makes what can feel like a tiring series at times feel fresh again. I had felt for the longest that Assassination Classroom’s gimmick had become uninteresting, but this new format has reignited my interest in watching the main series again. If you love classic gaming and silly new situations for familiar characters to explore, I imagine you’ll get a kick out of it too.
Koro Sensei Quest! is available to stream on Crunchyroll with English subtitles.