Manga Review: Assassination Classroom Vol. 9 Review

41HQbIz-SdL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Title: Assassination Classroom Vol. 9
Author: Yusei Matsui
Publisher: Viz Media
Language: English
Format: Paperback
Pages: 192
Genre: Shounen, Battle, Comedy
Publication Date: April 5, 2016

The Story

As a warning, the events in this manga take place at the end of season one and the beginning of season two of the anime. If you are reading this and have not seen the anime nor read this volume, then it should be known that some of the things discussed in here could be considered spoilers.

Volume 9 of Assassination Classroom (Ansatsu Kyoshitsu), covers a variety of different stories, some of which you will see in the anime and one story that the anime has left out, so if you are an anime-only watcher, you’ll end up getting a little something extra here in volume nine. It covers chapters 71-79 of the manga and is comprised of three different stories that detracts away from the main plot of assassinating Koro-sensei.

The volume opens up right where the cliffhanger left us at the end of volume 8. As a brief recap: the students were poisoned and a mysterious man at the top of a hotel on a mountain demanded that Koro-sensei be brought to him. The students rally and the volume ended with Nagisa facing off against Akira Takaoka, a former guest teacher of Class E and a well-trained soldier. Akira hasn’t forgotten how Nagisa embarrassed him back in volume five and now Akira wants his revenge! Akira holds the antidotes to the poison he administered to the students of Class E and he won’t hand them over until Nagisa can best him in battle!

The second arc gives us a more lighthearted approach to the story. The students look to enjoy the end of their summer vacation by attending a festival in which they are banned from playing any of the games due to their assassination skills. The second part of this story arc is themed around love and our perverted Koro-sensei looks to play cupid with the students. He goes to some great lengths to set up a situation which might being one of manga’s most beloved tropes: The good ol’ fashioned summer vacation romance.

Our third arc revolved around Takebayashi. Takebayashi isn’t all that great with assassination and is a major otaku to boot. He decides to leave Class E and head back to the main building in order to become a better person in the eyes of his parents. It is here that he ends up getting some character development which I’ll touch upon in the next section.

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The Summer Festival Begins

Characters

It’s a pretty safe bet to say that with Assassination Classroom being 70+ chapters in, we’re not going to get much in the way of new characters, but we do get some good character development. Nagisa, Takebayashi, and even Bitch-sensei all get touched upon.

Before we get to them there is a bit to be said about Akira Takaoka. He underwent a transformation from being a gruff and tough military instructor to a man obsessed with revenge. Not only did he change mentally, he changed physically. The most noticeable difference were the self-inflicted scars on his face due to his anger over Nagisa embarrassing him.

Nagisa, on the other hand, shows just how far he has come since the beginning of Assassination Classroom as a whole. Nagisa has developed quite a bloodlust, but despite this, he’s been trying really hard to keep it repressed, but at the same time, Nagisa is using that bloodlust to overcome a more experienced opponent in Akira. This is a drastic change from the our typical Nagisa who is usually timid, but as it typically is with Shounen manga, when you push someone hard enough to their breaking point, you’ll soon discover that they have a strong power lying within them.

Bitch-sensei’s development came during the Summer Festival. We got to see the details of her first assassination, which was something she accomplished when she was only twelve. We also get to see how that affected her mentally. A tragic past is pretty common among anime and manga, but it’s a dynamic that works as it makes you understand and even sympathize with Bitch-sensei. Despite being a trained assassin, she shows her human qualities in her own way as well – like when she confessed her feelings to the ever dimwitted Karasuma-sensei. Rather than be a walking busty punchline, Bitch-sensei becomes a character that people can relate to.

Finally, there is Takebayashi. Here in Assassination Classroom volume 9, he is the one who gets the most development. His story involves around him leaving Class E for the much more advanced Class A which is a move he believes will make his successful family respect him. Being the son of a family of doctors certainly adds a lot of pressure so it’s no surprise that he would take such a drastic measure to gain their acceptance. Takebayashi, however, realizes that Class A’s teaching methods are vastly different than that of Class E, but not in the way you might think. In the end, it’s a story about individualism versus seeking the approval of others.

Final Thoughts

Overall, Assassination Classroom is a great read. There’s a lot of character development here and a bit of a reprieve from the main story with the Summer Festival. It’s like a nice breath of fresh air after being locked away in a room for a long period of time. It serves as a great transitional volume from one story arc to the next. I like the way they are developing Nagisa as well as the other characters, but this series has a pretty bad habit of developing characters and then forgetting that they spent time developing them. Karma is a great example of a character that came into the series as a dark and cold-hearted character and now just seemingly floats in the background with only slight nods to his former persona.

pantsI do want to point something out about the artwork. The art in the manga was pretty superb, but I noticed a rather small error. In the scene where Nagisa sticks a cattle prod into Takaoka, his pants were on backwards. His belt buckle and everything were facing the opposite direction, which was pretty hilarious. 

Things like that happen sometimes and even the artists themselves fail to catch it, but there were a few instances that the translation team at Viz Media forgot to proofread their own work as well. There were a few grammar errors throughout the book and some parts read like a quick and easy scanlation rather than something that should come from an acclaimed publisher.

Other than that, the manga was an enjoyable read and as someone who has only watched the anime, it was nice seeing the backstory chapter on Takebayashi. I can understand why it was cut from the anime. It doesn’t really add much to the overall story, but for manga readers, it gives that sense of completion that people are looking for. I think because of the small scale and impact this chapter had, skipping it in the anime is pretty forgivable.

Another great volume from a great series. I highly recommend checking it out!

 

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This item was provided for review by Viz Media

About The Author

Josh Piedra

Josh (or J.J. as some have come to call him), is a long-time geek culture enthusiast with a deep passion for anime, manga and Japanese culture. Josh also has a Bachelor of Arts in Game Design and is a creative writer who has created original content for over 20 years! He is also the author of the original English light novel Final Hope.