Assassination Classroom, a science fiction comedy anime series, uses modern-day psychology, specifically color psychology, in the creation of its main characters and in the progression of its plot. Having characters with crazy hair colors is a feature that is widely overlooked due to its saturation in the anime industry. However, in the case of Assassination Classroom, the series takes it beyond the stereotype using it to reveal major plot twists by hiding them in plain sight.

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In collaboration with the original manga artist, Yusei Matsui, and Lerche, the animation brand owned by Studio Hibari, Assassination Classroom takes place in modern-day Japan at Kunugigaoka Junior High School, a school for the elite. The show follows Class 3-E, the outcasts of the school, as they attempt to assassinate an otherworldly being in the form of Korosensei, an indestructible octopus monster who destroyed half of the moon. Due to its widespread popularity, the anime series ran from 2013 to 2016 with two TV seasons, one live-action movie, and several video games created by the gaming giant, Bandai Namco Entertainment.

RELATED: Assassination Classroom: A Kill or be Killed Anime You Need to Watch


What is Color Psychology?

Color psychology is the study of how color affects our emotions and behaviors.

Color Psychology dates all the way back to Ancient Egypt, China, and Greece, where colors were discovered to evoke certain emotions. With Isaac Newton’s discovery of wavelengths and the creation of the color wheel, it served as the foundation for Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s research, The Theory of Colors. This, in turn, created modern-day color psychology and its applications in graphic design, therapy, marketing, and advertising.

One of the most noticeable features of a person is his or her hair color. Since hair dye comes in unnatural colors such as purples, pinks, greens, and blues, the self-expression of a person’s hair color choice could subconsciously link him or her to a specific emotion or personality trait in the minds of others. In the realm of anime, this is a common occurrence, as many main characters are known for their crazy hair colors.

In the case of Assassination Classroom, the students of Classroom 3-E along with the members of the audience are the primary targets of this effect which highlights not only their personality traits but also unravels key plot points.

Korosensei’s Yellow

Korosensei is the main antagonist of the series, as he holds the students of Classroom 3-E hostage. The main dilemma throughout the series is whether the students of Classroom 3-E will be able to assassinate Korosensei before he destroys the earth at the end of the school year.

But for such a villainous character, his entire body is a bright yellow color which is usually associated with positive emotions such as joy and cheerfulness. This tends to be true, as throughout the series, Korosensei is a bubbly, energetic teacher who wants to see his students grow to their full academic and personal potential. However, the negative emotions are also telling of his character, as yellow can also be a sign of caution and frustration. This can be seen in flashbacks to when he was being experimented on during his time as a world-class assassin.

Unlike the other characters whose color schemes are fixed, Korosensei’s body is subject to change colors. In one of the episodes, Nagisa, the main character of the series, makes detailed notes revealing that Korosensei will subconsciously show visible indicators of his current mood through his body’s color. For example, yellow-and-green stripes exhibit mockery, pink exhibits sleepiness or love, black exhibits fury, and blue exhibits sadness. This is extremely important to the plot, as the students of Classroom 3-E use the change in colors to their advantage when creating assassination plots. One example of this is when they lure Kurosensei out into the open with an erotic magazine which creates a split-second opportunity for the students to stab him with anti-Korosensei weapons.

Nagisa’s Blue

Nagisa Shiota is the main character of the series and is revealed to have a double-sided nature to him. He has light blue tones in his character design which goes beyond just his hair color to his eye color and to his clothing choice. According to Rasmussen University, the positive emotions linked with blue are peace, tranquility, stability, and trust; whereas, the negative emotions linked with blue are sadness and distance.

When first introduced to Nagisa, he seems to have a very unassuming presence. Classroom 3-E treats him like a coward, and he usually plays the role of a peacemaker. His innate abilities are introduced early on, when he enacts the first of many failed assassination plots. Using an anti-Korosensei knife and himself as bait, the bullies of Classroom 3-E force him to wear and to explode a grenade around his neck filled with anti-Korosensei bullets inside it.

Later on in the series, he uses his unnatural ability to maintain extreme levels of composure and stability to create false senses of security within his opponents and take advantage of their slips in focus. This ability was formed by dealing with his verbally-abusive mother, who controls every aspect of his life. He hones this ability turning it into something spectacular, as he is able to perceive other people’s emotions based on the slight variance in frequency in their speech. Years of practice in a stressful environment turned out to be a crucial strength for an assassin.

Karma’s Red

Karma Akabane, the deuteragonist of the series, also has a double-sided nature to him. While the dual sides of his personality are more obvious than Nagisa’s, they do tend to be more extreme by nature. Karma has red and orange tones to his character design, specifically in his hair and his eye color. According to Rasmussen University, reds and oranges portray positive emotions such as passion, warmth, excitement, and enthusiasm; whereas, the negative emotions portrayed are anger and danger.

When first introduced to Karma, he is a violent troublemaker who just got off school suspension for beating up people in his past classroom. Although it is revealed later on that he had been misguided by his teacher, who allowed the behavior as long as he did well in school, his anger was the main reason that he got demoted to Classroom 3-E.

Later on in the series, his character is more developed, and he shows signs of deeply caring for his classmates in roundabout ways and overcoming the hurdle of not wanting to try in fears of failing. Unlike what he shows on the outside, he is passionate about the activities and subjects that he likes. And the negative qualities of his character which held him back from achieving academic success were overcome by the positive qualities growing within him.

Kayano’s Green

Perhaps one of the biggest plot twists in the anime came in the form of Kaede Kayano, who is revealed to be Akari Yukimura, the younger sister of the original teacher of Classroom 3-E. Out of all the characters in the series who have multi-faceted personalities, Kayano’s character is the most extreme, as her personality is based on an advanced form of method acting. It is so realistic that at some point even she is unable to recognize whether her true self is Kaede Kayano or Akari Yukimura.

Kaede Kayano’s character design focuses on greens and yellows, specifically in her hair color and her eye color. According to Rasmussen University, greens and yellows portray positive emotions such as soothing, calming, being one with nature, and cheerfulness; whereas, the negative emotions portrayed is primarily jealousy, anger, and frustration. These characteristics fit perfectly with Kayano’s character, as she works hand in hand on a separate assassination plot that is orchestrated by the Japanese government.

When first introduced in the series, she is shown to be an optimistic and people-loving character who just wants everyone to be happy and to have a good time. She is also very creative, as she is often the main one who organizes and sets up the assassination plots done by Classroom 3-E. For example, in one of the episodes, she attempts to blow Korosensei up with bombs hidden in a giant pudding contraption outside the classroom. While she is unsuccessful, she is able to connect deeper with her classmates and fulfill her sweet tooth.

Her public persona, Kaede Kayano, is the direct emulation of the positive emotions that come with her character design; whereas, Akira Yukimura, her true identity, is the direct emulation of the negative emotions due to her misdirected hatred at Korosensei who she thinks killed her older sister prior to classes starting in the fall.

Assassination Classroom covers a wide range of unique characters who evolve from surface-level tropes to complex-level characteristics. While the application of color psychology might not be a one-to-one link to all the characters from the anime series, the audience can at least draw some general conclusions based on the main characters and how their color schemes and designs reveal relevant information to the overarching plot.

MORE: How Hair Color Reveals Anime Characters’ Personalities

Source: AnimeNewsNetwork, Rasmussen University, PsychologyToday, IMDb.

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