Title: Assassination Classroom Vol. 12
Author: Yusei Matsui
Publisher: Viz Media
Genre: Shonen, Battle, Comedy
Publication Date: October 4, 2016
Volume twelve of Assassination Classroom deals with one major story arc that doesn’t resolve until the next volume and that is the Grim Reaper arc. The Grim Reaper is a title bestowed upon the world’s greatest assassin. There have been many Grim Reapers, but the current one is targeting Irina-sensei, also known as Ms. Vitch (which is kind of humorous since in the Japanese version, she’s known as Bitch-sensei.)
It also happens to be Irina’s birthday so we get a bit more build up to the Irina/Karasuma love angle. After some disappointing results to Irina’s birthday gift, Lovro contacts the students to warn them that the Grim Reaper has been going around and eliminating his top assassins, but it’s too late. The flower delivery guy, who delivered Irina’s birthday gift, turns out to be the Grim Reaper and he has kidnapped Irina. The students, along with Karasuma, prepare for a counterattack and the rest of the volume deals with the battle between the Grim Reaper and Class E. The volume ends on a notion that there may be a way to defeat the Grim Reaper.
There wasn’t much story in this volume, but there was plenty of action and strategy to be had. The plot twist of Ms. Vitch siding with the Grim Reaper was something that few people would have seen coming, though and I thought that made for a very interesting plot twist. Nagisa also went through another transformation, much like that time where he fought Akira during their summer vacation on the island, but things didn’t go his way this time which shows that he still has a lot to learn.
This Grim Reaper arc is a bit on the dark side for a light-hearted series such as this, but we’ve seen some dark tones used in the past, but it looks like Matsui-sensei went a little deeper into the darkness pool on this one. It really is a nice change of pace from the usual antics that we get, but the volume did start off on a light note as if to lure the reader into a false sense of security and then you’re hit with the serious back half of the volume. It’s a refreshing mix that definitely has me interested in Volume 13 of Assassination Classroom.
As aforementioned, Nagisa went into serious killer mode here again, but he didn’t seem as out of control like he was when he fought Akira. He seemed more mature and calm this time around which should be a sign of strength, but Grim Reaper was just too powerful and he couldn’t get the job done. It’s a nice piece of development because it showed just how far Nagisa has come in his confidence as an assassin, but as the same time it is still blatantly obvious that he has a long way to go.
Karasuma and Irina each got a bit of development in their love story. The odd twist with Irina wanting to keep their relationship on a business level, after all the inner desires she’s had in the past couple of volumes, seemed like it came out of left field. Of course, Karasuma was a bit baffled by all of her actions as would anyone, but Karasuma has been dense this entire time, so something like that was to be expected of him. Despite this, Irina does get some time to give us some monologue which doesn’t really explain much about her past, but it’s enough to get you to raise an eyebrow. I have a feeling this will be fleshed out a bit more in Volume 13 before she’s put back onto the back burner with all the other characters who get their five minutes in the spotlight.
The Grim Reaper character though…. Just wow. This is what I was talking about when I said that this series took a darker tone. He says some pretty disturbing stuff and it clearly shows his maniacal personality. He is the kind of character that likes to make reality itself his plaything. Despite being sadistic, he is egomaniac and extremely arrogant. If you were the world’s top assassin, I guess you would be too after a while. Typically, this kind of mentality leads to a person’s downfall so I’m wondering if that is what will do him in next volume. Still, this has to be the most threatening villain Class E has faced thus far and the character really makes you want to see him get taken down!
All in all, I liked this edition of Assassination Classroom because it gave the readers something different and more mature. There were nuances of the light-hearted tone this series is known for sprinkled here and there, but the dark overtones definitely took center stage on this one. The Grim Reaper character has really drawn me in and he makes a fantastic villain for the kids to really test their skills against. The plot twists in the volume keep things fresh and interesting as well which makes this for an enjoyable read.
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This item was provided for review by Viz Media