My relationship with anime can more or less be described as ‘on again, off again’. Every couple of months I’ll wander back. This time, having been given a 30-day trial to Crunchyroll, i figured it was time to jump back in. However, try as I might to keep up with the latest titles, I always end up at least a year behind trends. In this particular case, I decided to cross off something that’s been on my list for a while: Assassination Classroom.
Now, I won’t go too in-depth as to what I thought of this anime (especially since Céire already gave her two-cents in Otaku Digest) but I will give some context for people who haven’t seen it. The plot is as follows: A strange creature arrives in a middle school class after blowing up the moon. He has requested to teach this class for a year, after which he will blow up the earth. The government have assigned this class with the job of assassinating their teacher to save the world. It sounds pretty far-fetched, which is probably right on par with what you expect from anime.
As the story rolls on, the class begins improving. They find that this super-powered creature is, in fact, the best teacher they could have asked for. He plays to each of their strengths, giving them the tools they need to overcome any obstacle, be it exams or himself. The students start seeing their problems as assassinations, allowing them to take them apart swiftly and efficiently. It’s an interesting way of looking at things but as I would soon discover, it works!
Now when you think of an assassination in literal terms, the students aren’t driving knives into their test papers and handing it to the teacher with a sadistic grin. It’s much more methodical than that. Thanks to their training, they start looking at problems in pieces, finding weaknesses, and looking for the route towards assassination that suits their strength.
It’s not a huge stretch to apply this method to gaming. It may have been coincidence, but after closing down the last episode in my binge I hopped into a game of Overwatch. Strangely, I found I had actually absorbed a lot from Assassination Classroom. My first few games went so smoothly and so effortlessly that I began to wonder if I’d been slipped some reflex enhancing drug in my tea. And that’s when I realised, I wasn’t just looking at the game and it’s objectives as normal, I was thinking of them as assassinations.
Whilst trying to complete objectives, I wasn’t just looking for a way through the enemies defences, I was looking for the way through. Instead of complaining about my team’s picks, I was looking for the most efficient use of them. I was thinking about how I could contribute towards them. In short, I was doing what one should do in order to win some games!
It’s something I hadn’t considered before. I realised I had a tendency to auto-pilot a lot while playing. I’ve played so many rounds of Overwatch at this stage I could almost navigate with my eyes closed. It’s natural that I’d let muscle memory take over. But when I actually started thinking of how to assassinate the capture point it pretty much cranked things up to eleven. My reflexes improved. I was able to make better decisions. And most importantly, I was more engaged than in previous rounds.
Now, it is entirely possible that I’m overhyping things. Maybe I got lucky and those rounds were just easy. But perhaps looking at a problem as an assassination has some merit. After all, I’ve heard plenty of gamers say that they look at life as an RPG. A work deadline becomes a boss to beat. Going to the gym is considered increasing your stats. It’s all a big progression to getting your max level character. It’s an interesting model that I’ve seen work wonders for motivation. Perhaps assassination can be used in a similar way, teaching people to dissect their problems and approach them accordingly.
As with anything, it’s all about your perspective. If you think this method or any other can help improve your life, it’s worth a try! If not, then no love lost. I’d definitely give this one a shot though if you’re looking to improve your reflexes and logical reasoning for games. Who knows, maybe it’ll even help you take down that big project in work!