Tag Archives: school life

Kern’s Collections: Assassination Classroom

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Video Production of This Script

This is the finished video regarding the script. It is written, edited, and read aloud by Kernook of “The Demented Ferrets”. You can watch the video on this blog and on YouTube. I hope you enjoy the content.

The Script

A world filled with unreasonable expectations, and a class of students unable to match them. For them, it’s the end of the line, What sits before them is a task they can’t hope to achieve as they are, and this world will only accept them at their best. Their job is to do what the adult world cannot. They need to take down their teacher, and do it before the planet itself ceases to exist.

Hello everyone, it’s Kernook here, and welcome to another Kern’s Collections.

Today I’ll be speaking about Assassination Classroom.

Once again. these are not full fledged review. These are merely glimpses of media, any why they may be worth your time.

So, let’s take a look at the misfit students who’ve been cast aside to the small schoolhouse on the hill, and the monster that is their teacher.

On the surface, Assassination Classroom has a school life vibe from the very start, mixed with more than a few shounen elements for good measure. The series doesn’t let you be fooled by this for long. Sure, it may seem to have all of the trappings of both genre’s crammed together, but that’s just the surface.

Instead of merely the protagonist being down on his luck, the whole class are labeled outcasts in a society that expects only the best out of them. These students are a strong ensemble cast, each of them unique, and with their own views of the world around them.

There’s an innocence that has been corrupted here, twisted by the malignancy of their own minds. Be it a poor self image, discontentment with their lots in life, or merely a failure to mold themselves into the people they wish to be, every student in this class faces adversity in one way, shape, or form.

They’re all underdogs to the world at large, even if among themselves there is clear pecking order when it comes to popularity and the friends they surround themselves with. Even from the first episode there’s a thick tension in the room, all of it made worse by their teacher.

Korosensei is not quite a monster, but he’s certainly no longer human either. His reasons for his current existence is a spoiler, so I’m not going to dig into it. What I will say instead, is that he is a reflection of his students in many ways, and therefore proves himself to be their ultimate foe.

Korosensi is in every way their superior. In fact, he is in every way superior to humanity itself. This is both because he understands human nature, and values the concept of nurturing the youths that will grab hold of the future.

If the students can beat him, they can beat anyone. If they can aspire to learn what he has to teach, they will no doubt be better for it. Ultimately the real battle is the one that takes place within themselves, however it manifests on screen in the form of combat against Korosensi purely icing on the cake.

This is a battle of wits. It all comes down to the heart and soul of the matter. How the students feel, and what they hope to gain largely influences the entire series to a point that the on screen battles never could.

Viewers will find at least one character to relate to, of that I am sure. What can be questioned are the characters themselves, and just how far they will eventually go. The ending is very fitting, but it’s laid out from the start.

This series doesn’t have a lot of plot twists, but the ones it has are darkly implied. In practice it never goes too far, the series is usually very light and easy to consume, but there are a few villains in the series that well and truly mean to do harm in ways that are not forgivable.

This brings me to the subject of morality, a key focal point in the series. Things are morally gray, both for the students aiming to take down their teacher, and the seedy underbelly they’re introduced to because of it. The students are trained by assassins, military, and their teacher directly.

The series paints two logical ideologies for the students to cling onto. Self worth can be found both in their own personal merits as people, or it can be found at the sharp end of a blade and forced victory. Neither of these ideologies are painted as wrong, or inaccurate. Therefore it’s up to the students to decide how best to go about reaching their ambitions.

Korosensei is the the vessel for all of this. Contrasting world views muddle and mix in a way that I find more interesting than the fights themselves. While it’s true you could just enjoy the anime like your typical popcorn shounen, there is a deeper narrative to be found here. All you have to do is search for those darker implications buried beneath the dialogue.

Ultimately, I really enjoy this series. Assassination Classroom is an anime that touches on the heart and soul of the matter. For these characters, victory would be biter sweet, and failure isn’t an option that they can accept. The struggle is as much personal to each character, as it is a group endeavor.

The series is not gigantically long, making it very easy to enjoy. At forty-seven episodes and an OVA, there’s enough content to dive deep into many of the characters, while keeping the plot fairly tight.

This is where I leave it for now. The rest is up to you. If you want to watch Assassination Classroom, you can do that on the Funimation and Hulu…

This has been Kernook of the Demented Ferrets…

“Where stupidity is at its finest and level grinds are par for the course…”

The Demented Ferrets…

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Anime Review: Fruits Basket (2001)

Hey guys, it’s Kernook here. Back in the early 2000’s there were plenty of great anime out there for seasoned anime fans. Today we’re going to talk about one of those anime; Fruits Basket.

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The anime industry continued to grow at a steady rate. Thanks to the wider range of anime coming to the west, the medium attracted plenty of newcomers to anime fandom.

Gateway shows began flooding out of the woodwork for a new group of fans to latch onto. Few shows exemplify this time in anime history better than Fruits Basket.

The anime was approachable, and that made the show extremely popular for a huge number of people. Even if you haven’t seen the anime yourself, chances are good that you’ve at least heard about it.

At the time of its release, Fruits Basket was a simple story with a lot of heart and soul. It was easy enough to digest for the casual viewer. However, it has deep characters that help carry the narrative of this slice-of-life show. The show has many core themes that qualify as tragic, but the healthy dose of comedic levity makes the tragedy palatable.

Unfortunately, the anime paled in comparison to the written material. The story was changed in a few key ways, and went on to go unfinished. Fruits Basket ended after a short twenty-five episode run with an unsatisfying ending that had fans of the show begging for more.

Thankfully in 2019, fans got their wish. Fruits Basket is being entirely remade with the full story left intact. The first season of the remake aired in 2019, and it was everything I expected to see and more. In light of this, I decided to watch the original Fruits Basket made in 2001 in order to do a proper review of the old show.

More Compelling Than You Might Think

Fruits Basket is an anime based off of a manga of the same name. Directed by Akitaro Daichi and animated by Studio Deen, the anime is a slice-of-life series. The series has both a sub and a dub. Either of them will serve you well.

I’ve seen both, and I prefer to watch the subbed version. That said, the dub cast manages the English adaptation well.

More importantly, if you are a dub fan, you have more to look forward to. Most of the 2001 English dub cast reprise their roles for the 2019 remake. I’ll review the 2019 remake of the series once the entire series finishes to completion.

For now the 2001 iteration of Fruits Basket deserves to be remembered fondly for what it brought to the table. It wasn’t a perfect series by far, and there were some issues with it.

The musical quality in Fruits Basket is about what you can expect for the early 2000’s. It isn’t completely amazing. I certainly don’t listen to the soundtrack on its own. That said, it functions, and melts into every scene the way it should.

The animation is much the same. It isn’t amazing, it doesn’t stand the test of time in the slightest, but it functions. Even if we were back in 2001, I’d be hard pressed to say that the series is beautiful or stunning visually. It just isn’t now, and it wasn’t back then either. That said, it doesn’t need to be.

Fruits Basket isn’t about impressive visuals or musical talent. Instead, the series offers an emotional journey. That is where the series excels. If you’re looking for show that can offer an emotional experience, Fruits Basket is the show for you.

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The Story: Heart and Soul

The series is tragic, but it never feels too depressing. In fact there is plenty of levity to be found within the confines of despair.

The series follows a girl named Tohru Honda as she bumbles her way through life. She has a part time job and attends high school.

At the start, Tohru speaks about her deceased mother who passed away off-screen a few months before the series begins. Tohru’s father passed away when she was still just a little girl, so now she’s mostly on her own.

The loss of her mother completely up-heaved Tohru’s life. Not only was it sudden, since her mother’s death was caused by a car accident. It was also a turning point for Tohru that happened off screen. After her mother passed away, Tohru moved in with her paternal grandfather.

With such a positive and important influence that Tohru had in her life taken away from her, she strives to do everything she can to make ends meet on her own. Tohru had always been fairly independent to a degree, but now with both parents gone, this is exacerbated.

Her need to be successful weighs on her, because she doesn’t like being a burden to others. She will go to great lengths to be an asset. Occasionally, she actually becomes the burden she doesn’t want to be. This flaw of hers is very problematic for her.

We even see this in the beginning of the show.

She’s living in a tent in the woods. Why? Well, her grandfather’s house is under renovation. He’s staying with people that don’t tolerate Tohru. She claims that she doesn’t want to cause problems for her other relatives.

Though she has great intentions, she has lied to her grandfather, saying that she’s staying with a friend. In truth, she just doesn’t want him to worry about her. In spite of her loss, Tohru is an optimist. She doesn’t let the weight of her grieving weigh her down.

The woods just so happen to part of the Sohma family property, Tohru doesn’t know that. While she’s walking to school one morning she passes by the front of a house. She stops to look at the small figures that have been freshly painted.

These little figures are replicas of the Chinese zodiac. She comes to find out that one of the boys living in the house is Yuki Sohma, a classmate at her school. The other person living there is Yuki’s older cousin, Shigure.

Later, a storm strikes a tall hill near Tohru’s tent. Rocks fall down, completely destroying it. Tohru has nowhere to go. Her lie of good intentions caused this.

Taking pity on the homeless girl, Shigure invites Tohru to stay with him and Yuki at the house. She agrees, offering to do the cooking and cleaning as a Taking pity on the homeless girl, Shigure invites Tohru to stay with him and Yuki at the house. replacement for rent. Eventually another Sohma family member, Kyo, joins the household.

The anime largely revolves around life within this newly formed family unit. There is no shortage of individual character stories. Supporting characters have time in the spotlight too. Each episode usually introduces a new Sohma family member, and a personal problem along with it.

So what’s the meat of the story then?

It just so happens that some members of the Sohma family has a curse upon them. These cursed few are also members of the Chinese zodiac.

When someone of the opposite gender fully embraces a cursed Soma, they turn into their animal counterpart.

This is where a large part of the humor comes into play. However, for the Soma family it comes with its fair share of emotional turmoil as well.

The anime is rather episodic in nature. None of the plot points overstay their welcome. This makes for quick patterns of trauma and catharsis. Due to the way the series is set up, Fruits Basket is easy to consume. After a few episodes, long running plot elements begin to fold in-between each episodic arc in order to carry the narrative forward.

Below is a gallery of several characters, each of them compelling, but they aren’t the only ones.

As you can see, the large cast is as different as they are robust, and this is only a small sampling.

The only problem is, with the series being twenty-five episodes long, some of those arcs don’t end in a satisfying way. You would need to go read the manga to fill that void.

The 2001 iteration of Fruits Basket only covers the first part of the entire narrative. Therefore if you watch it, you’ll be getting an incomplete telling of the story.

Final Thoughts

The series has a lot of heart. It’s well written and the core themes revolve around the concept of family. Fruits Basket stands out to me in a way that few anime can.

These characters come from broken homes and painful pasts. In spite of this, the series never feels like a drama or tragedy. The fact that it could, and the core weight of some of the themes is what lingers after the series ends.

I think of this scene, a picnic at a grave. Simply because Torhu’s mother would have wanted then to have a good time is a great example of levity in darkness.

That being said, the series doesn’t age well. If you want a polished series, the 2019 version is the better option. The original Fruits Basket was released back in 2001, and it shows its age in all ways.

From the music, animation, running gags, and common tropes, this anime is like a time capsule. It perfectly preserves what slice-of-life anime was like in the early 2000’s.

That alone might be a reason to go back and give it a watch. The problem is, I have trouble saying that you’ll actually like it.

The reason that it was so popular in the past just doesn’t hold up anymore. The reason that I’m still fond of it now comes strictly from nostalgia.

The standards of anime production in recent years has skyrocketed. I think that makes a huge difference.

Just look at this 2019 poster of the new iteration and retelling, you can see the jump in quality. Fruits Basket has a new breath of life now, and the 2001 anime just can’t compete.

For this reason alone, I can’t wholeheartedly recommend the 2001 version of Fruits Basket 2001. Now there is a better alternative. That said, I won’t say not to watch this version of Fruits Basket, either.

I think that regardless of its age, we as a community have a lot to thank the series for. It wasn’t meant to be a “land mark” show in anime history. Yet, that is exactly what happened. It became greater than I think it was ever intended to be.

It bridged a huge gap between anime and non-anime fans. For many people, it was the first anime they ever watched that wasn’t on prime time network television. That’s the crazy thing.

Networks could have stuck it on a Saturday morning cartoon line-up right along with Sailor Moon or Pokemon. That’s how consumable it was. If that alone doesn’t merit a little respect for this version of the anime, I don’t know what does.

Honestly, thinking about all of that really is amazing. I’ve got to say, Fruits Basket 2001 is still pretty cool. Even if it is only for the nostalgia trip.

This has been Kernook of The Demented Ferrets, where stupidity is at its finest and level grinds are par for the course. I’ll see you next time.

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