Assassination Classroom is banned in Florida and Wisconsin for allegedly promoting violence.
These days, it’s impossible to escape the influence of manga and anime. In addition to Netflix providing live-action adaptations of famous shows like Cowboy Bebop and One Piece, influential directors like Jordan Peele keep adding anime elements to their movies (we all saw that Akira slide in Nope, right?). But the Anime News Network reports that schools in Florida and Wisconsin have begun removing volumes of the popular manga Assassination Classroom because they think the series is encouraging students to shoot their teachers.
As with most politically-motivated attempts to suppress creative works, this interpretation of Assassination Classroom will only seem accurate to those who never read the manga or watched the anime. While it’s true that the premise of the story is that students must kill their teacher, this is at the teacher’s request because he has so much power in him after he was experimented on that he accidentally blew up most of Earth’s moon. None of the Japanese government’s weapons are able to kill him, so he requests to teach a class of students how to finish him off, with the goal of getting killed by graduation before he accidentally destroys Earth itself.
On top of that, the characters aren’t exactly getting in touch with their inner John Wick when they try to kill the mysterious teacher who has named himself Korosensei. He doesn’t allow any traditional weapons, such as guns, in the classroom because the guns cannot kill him, and firing them would only put students’ lives in danger. Instead, Assassination Classroom shows how he provides students with “anti-sensei” weapons that can potentially kill him but cannot seriously harm human lives because these knives and bullets are made out of a kind of rubbery material.
In other words, Assassination Classroom doesn’t encourage any regular students to attack their own teachers, and if someone really did try to copy the manga, they’d just end up getting expelled after firing rubber BB bullets in the classroom. But the simple fact is that we live in a world where we must constantly be wary of horrific events like the Nashville shooting that targeted students and teachers alike at the Covenant School. There is seemingly no public appetite for serious discussions about gun control, so we are left with concerned parents trying to pretend that banning books with scary titles will solve the problem.
Sadly, Assassination Classroom is just one of the books banned in Florida, including The Handmaid’s Tale, the classic Margaret Atwood book that later became a hit series on Hulu. Given recent laws passed by the Florida legislature, it’s questionable why Atwood’s classic would be banned, as it promotes similar rulings, at least when taken at face value. This isn’t the first time media has been banned as a reaction to a tragedy; unfortunately, it won’t be the last.