The second (and final) season of last year’s Assassination Classroom (Ansatsu Kyoshitsu) was dropped upon us and it concluded with the manga’s ending. This review may be a bit shorter because I don’t want to repeat anything I’ve already covered in my original review, but I will touch upon everything new that has come out in this season! So how did the show fare when compared to its first season? Let’s find out!
The story picks up where season one left off. Koro-sensei comes out of his ultimate defense mode and the kids finish their island vacation. When they get back to school, we get another exam battle which felt kind of flat. It was exciting to see it the first time around, but you can tell nobody wanted to see it a second time since they rushed through the second battle rather quickly. The end of the show was set up when we were introduced to Reaper, one of the world’s greatest assassins, who was targeting Koro-sensei and using Bitch-sensei as bait. The students manage to find a way to defeat Reaper and save Koro-sensei, but while this seemed like just another assassination plot, it ended up being some pretty important foreshadowing.
The series then transitioned into a story arc that resulted in some of the best episodes of Assassination Classroom I’ve seen. We not only get an amazing backstory on Kaede, but we also get to learn of Koro-sensei’s origins. I don’t want to go in depth on this here because I REALLY want people to watch that story arc because I felt it was some of the best background storytelling I’ve seen all year. I will go into more detail in the characters section so treat that section as spoiler territory. I’m just keeping the story section spoiler-free to give readers both options if they want to know more or less about the second season. Be that as it may, the amount of emotion you felt for Koro-sensei and Kaede was absolutely amazing and I did not expect that level of emotion to come out of a show like Assassination Classroom. VERY well done, if I do say so myself.
Just like how the Reaper story foreshadowed the background arc; it, too, foreshadowed the final arc. After the background arc concluded, it took the past forty plus episodes and made you question whether or not Koro-sensei would get assassinated in the end. It made you wonder if there was an alternative way. I won’t spoil the ending in case you haven’t read the manga or watched the show, but I also felt that the ending was well-done and emotional. The only qualm I had about it was they seemed to draw it out just a tad too long, but then again, I am not completely sure if condensing it would have done the ending any sort of justice. It’s an odd situation where you think it should be shorter, but at the same time, you’re also okay with the length of it.
All in all, I felt the second season easily trumped the first due to the back half of it. The first half was more of what you would expect from Assassination Classroom, which is just light-hearted humor and just a feel-good atmosphere. Since I am reading and reviewing the manga, I am noticing some things left out of the anime, but that’s fine because what was left out isn’t paramount to the story and won’t be missed. It was still a pretty faithful adaptation from beginning to end and I don’t think any manga readers will be disappointed with the anime.
In this section, I’m going to touch upon the characters that didn’t get covered in my original review and also touch upon some of the character development we got. There WILL be some spoilers as it would be hard to talk about them without spoiling some things. You’ve been warned.
In the first season, he was another tentacle user who attacked Koro-sensei. In the second season, he becomes a part of Class E, but sadly, that’s about the extent of it. He really fades into the background and becomes an easily forgettable character. This has been a problem with Assassination Classroom and that’s all due in part to the MASSIVE cast that it has. They focus on one character and when they are done, they just place them all together in a giant pot on the back burner just to let you know that they are still there.
SPOILERS AFOOT!! – Kaede is the opposite of Itona. She was a fly-on-the-wall background character in season one, but she got a BIG focus on in season two. She, like Itona, is another tentacle user that attempts to kill Koro-sensei. Her mother was the person Koro-sensei made the promise to when he was asked to go become a teacher. In the end, Kaede is saved and unlike the other characters, if there was a middle burner on a stove, she’d be placed on it. While they tried to put her into the background, they still found a way to keep her relevant. It’s probably due to the fact that her story ended up so close to the end of the series that they really had no choice, but her emotions after everything she went through, had a pretty profound impact on the ending to the series.
MAJOR SPOILERS AFOOT!! – He is the main antagonist of Assassination Classroom and the scientist responsible for the creation of Koro-sensei. It was his experiments that ended up destroying the moon when he conducted tentacle research on gerbils. One gerbil was sent to the moon and… BOOM.. it blew up and took ¾ of the moon with it. I know that was supposed to be a serious moment in the show, but seeing a gerbil explode and take out a planetary satellite had me laughing my ass off! Kotarou ends up creating a “Koro-sensei 2.0” in an effort to kill the original Koro-sensei, but he is thwarted in the end. His character was one you really came to loathe. The way he treated both Koro-sensei and Kaede’s mother, who was his assistant, we’re about on part as Shinji’s father from Neon Genesis Evangelion. If anyone deserved the fate that they got, it was him.
SPOILERS AFOOT!! – She is Kaede’s mother and the former teacher of Class E. She also was Kotarou Yanagisawa’s assistant. When the lab she was working at experienced an incident, Koro-sensei used his newfound abilities to try and escape. During the escape, she noticed Aguri trapped under some rocks and fallen debris. Aguri, sadly, passed away from her injuries, but Kaede was there and witnessed everything. She mistook the scene as Koro-sensei killing her mother and swore revenge at all costs, even if it meant injecting herself with the drug that caused the tentacle mutation. Aguri was the only person who showed Koro-sensei any compassion at the lab and is the person who fell in love with him. I really loved her character as she played such a pivotal point in the entire backstory of the show. She was a character you could easily relate and sympathize with. The emotional impact she brought to the show also helped create some of the best episodes this series had produced. For a supporting character, she sure as hell felt as important as a main character.
MAJOR SPOILERS AFOOT!! – Koro-sensei, in the first season, said he was an Earth-born alien. Thanks to season two, we know exactly why that is. What we also learn the reason why he was captured. Prior to being captured for experimentation, Koro-sensei was an assassin. In fact, he was the original Reaper. That title of Reaper (or Shinigami) is handed down to people who excel at assassination and doesn’t belong to any one character in the show. After the incident at the lab resulting in Aguri’s death, Koro-sensei fulfilled his promise and became the teacher of Class E. The reason why he threatened the destruction of Earth is because there was no way to avoid it other than to be killed. If the exploding gerbil taught us anything is that the drug used to cause tentacle mutation was unstable and anyone injected with it was a ticking time bomb with Koro-sensei being no different. If something the size of a gerbil could take out ¾ of the moon, a being the size of Koro-sensei could easily take out the entire planet. Koro-sensei knew his expiration date and used that to his benefit so that he could fulfill his promise and teach Aguri’s class. It makes you wonder if Koro-sensei would have allowed himself to get killed had time run out on him.
That’s going to do it for the new characters. Nagisa did get some more development as at one point he felt that assassination could be the only life for him, but he was talked out of it. We also got some background information on Nagisa and why he looks like a girl. It wasn’t exactly his choice and when you find out the reason, you kind of want to turn into Wayne Brady. Yes… I just used a Chappelle Show reference in an effort to avoid spoilers because I’ve done enough of that already in this section!
Art, Animation, & Sound
The artwork maintains its quality in season two. The characters are still really vivid in their color palettes and the backgrounds are pretty well-done. The animation is still pretty standard with the exception of the final battle of the show. It seems like the budget was increased for that moment and rightfully so.
I didn’t really car much for the second opening to the show, but the first opening “Question” was amazingly catchy to the point where I still have it on an MP3 disc in my car to listen to on the way to and from work. Out of the show’s four openings across both seasons, I think this one was the best! Both openings for the show were sung by the voice actors in the series.
Yeah, this section of the review is kind of short, but there really isn’t much to say outside of what was said in my original review.
Across all 50 episodes, Assassination Classroom takes you on a great journey filled with comedy that will make you laugh. Then at the end, it turns the dial in the opposite direction and brings forth some well-done drama. The second season had some of the best storytelling I’ve seen out of any show in 2016 so far and I think fans of the series owe it to themselves to watch this season. In my first review, I stated that this show was the kind of show that you could set aside and binge watch without feeling the need to see the next episode and that still holds true for the first half of this season. The back half; however, made me want to see the next episode.
I actually followed my game plan from season one by letting some episodes pile up and I just so happened to stop right before the Koro-sensei backstory arc. When I binged that arc, I was left with both satisfaction and regrets. Satisfaction because I was able to see it all at once, but regret because it was so good that I wished I had watched it on a weekly basis. It was pretty bittersweet.
This was a pretty great series by Yusei Matsui and while I’m sad the anime is no longer around, I will continue to review the manga because I am sure there are more stories in the manga that were left out of the anime so seeing that extra content there will help fill in some of the blanks for me with this series!
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Until next time,
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Assassination Classroom II
The story gets kicked into high gear, but the character development still suffers in a lot of areas, but still it was a great end to a pretty decent series.
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