Title: Assassination Classroom Vol. 13
Author: Yusei Matsui
Publisher: Viz Media
Genre: Shonen, Battle, Comedy
Publication Date: December 6, 2016
Volume thirteen of Assassination Classroom wraps up the previous volumes story arc with The Grim Reaper and begins a new chapter where we get some pretty deep backstory on Nagisa. Just I had predicted in my review of Volume 12, The Grim Reaper became a bit overconfident. He let his guard down and Karasuma took full advantage of that, pulling him down into a large pit with a pool of water below. The weird thing about this was that they fell a tremendous distance into water and made a huge splash which showed how deep the water should be, but then they were able to stand up and fight in it with the water only being deep enough to cover just below their knee? This seems like Final Fantasy VII all over again!
Reaper was defeated when he shot Karasuma in the heart with a miniature bullet he had hidden…. In his finger? However, Koro-sensei had placed a tentacle on him and was chugging from tomato juice so Grim Reaper only hit the tentacle and not Karasuma’s heart? Okay…. Last review I praised the series for going the darker route with their story, but this… this just made me shake my head. It was about as convoluted of a plot device as they come and it really made for a disappointing end to this story arc. It would have been nice to see Karasuma overpower and take down the Grim Reaper on his own, but Matsui-sensei decided that this would have been the best course of action.
Nevertheless, we get treated to some “dramedy” for the next story arc. We are introduced to Nagisa’s mother and while she looks very sweet and innocent at first, you come to quickly realize that she is a control freak and extremely delusional. I’ll get into that when I detail Nagisa’s character development in the next section, but the story aspect here is Nagisa questioning whether or not he wants to become a full-fledged assassin. He goes to Koro-sensei for career advice, but this is something Nagisa has to decide on his own. Of course, his mother intervenes and now Nagisa is faced with a new battle: to break free from his mother’s will and to declare to her that his is grown up and can make his own decisions.
I really liked this backstory mainly because I know it’s going to stick. Most, if not all, of the characters who get highlighted disappear into the background once they’ve had their moment in the sun, but since Nagisa is a main character, this is something that will have an impact and stick with us for the remainder of the series. For that, I really enjoyed the direction Assassination Classroom took here as it finally decided to outline the backstory of its main character.
Speaking of Nagisa, let’s talk about him because this volume gave him the spotlight big time. It is finally revealed why Nagisa looks like a girl. His mom wanted a girl when she was pregnant, but when he was born, she was so disappointed, she gave him a girl’s name and forced him to look like a girl at all times just to fill the void left behind by her own disappointment. When you read that, you really feel sorry for Nagisa. Not only do you feel sorry for Nagisa, but you also come to hate his mother and it is that hatred that causes you to root for Nagisa when it comes time for him to stand up to his mother. Couple all of this with the inner conflict Nagisa is having about what to do with his life and it really gives a deep look inside of his character. How Nagisa comes out of it showed a lot of maturity and confidence and you can attribute that to everything he has done up until this point. For the first time in this series, you get to see a character come to their apex based off of everything that has happened over the course of the past twelve volumes. It also makes you wonder where Nagisa will go from here, character-wise.
The end of the Grim Reaper arc did finally patch things up between Irina and Karasuma. Karasuma is still a bit dense but he seems to finally get the idea of what is going on. Of course, Ms. Vitch (Bitch-sensei for you Japanese readers) seems to have reverted back to her old self and shows that she still has feelings for Karasuma when he gives her a single rose. Just like I expected, she went right back to where she was before the Grim Reaper arc and it makes you wonder why they even bothered with developing her in the first place.
This volume of Assassination Classroom stood out because of Nagisa’s character development. It’s the best development they’ve done in the entire series and I would love to see how they build upon it. The Grim Reaper arc was really strong in the previous volume and then went out with a whimper here. I would have loved it if they kept it dark all the way to the end, but I guess it wouldn’t be Assassination Classroom without that tongue-in-cheek humor. After so many volumes in this series, it makes sense to not abandon it completely.
Another thing I didn’t touch on was the ending to this volume. The school festival battle is coming up next volume so it tells me that the main stories are done for a bit and we’re going to get a bit of side story coming up. After two pretty big arcs, it makes sense to throw in a bit of filler to cool us down, but who knows? Maybe this is a diversion and we will start the next main arc? I guess we’ll have to wait until the 14th volume to find out!
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This item was provided for review by Viz Media