The last volume the Assassination Classroom manga will hit shelves this year and although we are sad to see it come to an end many of us are grateful for the amazing and unique journey the story took us on.
Assassination Classroom centers around a class of young children who are training to be assassins by working together to kill their own teacher who has threatened to blow up the world if they don’t. Needless to say the plot is heavy but the story will surely surprise you and possibly tug at your heartstrings. This week we had the chance to interview Annette Roman, the editor for the English translation of the manga.
The story is so unique, did that create any hardships when it came to translating the manga?
Annette: We weren’t sure the pun on the name Koro Sensei would make sense to English speaking audiences, so we considered making up an equivalent in English like “Treacherous Teach’.” (Actually we didn’t come up with any ideas. I just made that up now.) We don’t like to change character’s names if we can avoid it, though. So in the end we just explained his name with a note in the introductory pages and it worked out fine. “Koro senai” means “can’t kill” and “sensei” means teacher (most people know that already), so his name is “Koro Sensei” in the English edition, just as it is in Japan.
The students all have such developed personalities. Is there one you connect with?
Annette: I like Kirara Hazama because she’s always thinking melancholy thoughts. I’m not into horror stories like she is, but I appreciate her gloom and doom approach to life. It’s realistic.
A lot of us fans became pretty emotionally attached to Koro Sensei, did you find yourself rooting for him too?
Annette: I didn’t watch the anime while editing the manga because I didn’t want to know how the story ended before I got there. I edited the bonus chapters before the ending, and I still managed to remain in denial. When people around the office talked about the ending, I covered my ears and sang, “La la la!!!” Even when I saw the covers of the last two volumes of the original Japanese graphic novels with the pictures of Koro Sensei imbedded in nature and the heavenly firmament, I kept up my denial. It finally broke when I had to read the synopsis of the next-to- last volume to write the back cover text… After that, every time I rewrote and edited the translation of the last two volumes, proofed the lettering, and even when I did the very last check of the prepress proof before the pages went to the printer, I kept tearing up…
If you had to try a technique to take Koro Sensei down how would you try?
Annette: I loved the huge exploding flan idea, but I would have done it with a huge chocolate raspberry mousse truffle.
What is the one thing about Assassination Classroom that you find truly unique not found in any other series you edit?
Annette: The overarching metaphor that assassination techniques are strategies everyone can use to succeed in regular life seemed unique at first. But come to think of it, most shonen manga is about training to improve one’s athletic skills and increase one’s will power and mental fortitude to accomplish seemingly impossible goals. For a bookworm like me, though, this is an odd take on how to prepare for life. My idea of pushing myself to my limits is to engage in extreme mental and creative exertion, not physical.