Title: Assassination Classroom Vol. 18
Author: Yusei Matsui
Publisher: Viz Media
Genre: Shonen, Battle, Comedy
Publication Date: October 3, 2017
Volume eighteen of Assassination Classroom was divided into three parts. The first part shows the results of Nagisa and Karma’s trip to the International Space Station. They persuaded the astronauts there to hand over the research data on Koro-sensei. The data suggests that the larger the organism, the less of a chance there will be for an explosion to take place. With the right serum, Koro-sensei’s chances of exploding would be reduced to less than one percent. This gives the students an option that doesn’t involve killing their beloved teacher. Despite this option, the students came to a different decision. They decided that they will still try and assassinate Koro-sensei, but if they fail to do so by graduation, they will cease assassination attempts and move on with their lives.
The second part of the book is a bit of filler material. Koro-sensei missed out on Christmas and New Year’s activities so he decides to celebrate them all at once in the month of February. This rolls into another side arc about Valentine’s Day chocolate that focuses on Maehara using Okano as bait in an assassination attempt on Koro-sensei. This, of course, breaks Okano’s heart and causes her to become very violent towards Maehara. Koro-sensei even states that he will list Maehara as a playboy on his report card if he can’t get Okano to give him chocolates. It was a fun way to build the relationship between the two of them and a pretty nice side story.
In between and after the holiday arcs, two new threats are emerging for Koro-sensei. We are revisited by Yanigasawa, the scientist that was responsible for turning Grim Reaper into Koro-sensei. Somehow, Yanigasawa got a hold of Grim Reaper II’s body after he was dealt with by Koro-sensei many volumes ago. It appears the two of them have teamed up and are looking to eliminate Koro-sensei once and for all. On the flipside, Karasuma caught wind of a major assassination plan being put into motion by the world’s superpowers. A glimpse of a massive device is shown noting that it’s only part of the joint efforts to kill Koro-sensei. Our volume ends with a conversation between Karasuma and Irina where he alerts her about this plan and then conveniently asks her to give up her assassination career and to come work at the Ministry of Defense with him!
This was an okay volume of Assassination Classroom, story-wise. The new threats to Koro-sensei made things interesting, but the filler arcs caused the story to drag on a bit. At this point, it just seems that Yusei Matsui is dragging the series out and with three volumes left, I’m hoping the story shies away from filler and starts heading into a better direction. When the main story is in full force, this series runs on all cylinders, but these side arcs are really hurting the pacing.
Assassination Classroom doesn’t really do a good job with character development. With a massive cast, it’s a difficult task to stay on top of every character, but it was good to see Maehara and Okano get a bit of advancement in their relationship.
Takebayashi got the spotlight placed on him for the second time in this series, though! Sadly, it’s because he failed his entrance exam to his first school of choice so the rest of the class humorously tried to cheer him up, which did more harm than good. Was weird seeing everyone in the class with a different hairstyle, though!
Nagisa and Kayano’s relationship took a small step forward when Kayano was too embarrassed to give him chocolates, but after a lot of consideration, she mustered up the courage and gave them to him, even if it took a bit of her acting abilities to do so. It was a rather cute moment in the series and a nice wrap up to the Valentine’s Day arc. Since this was so prominent, most of the character development was focused on relationship building, but in a lot of cases, it’s futile since the class will be split up upon graduation and they all go to their respective high schools. It makes for a lot of bittersweet moments.
With only three volumes of Assassination Classroom left, volume eighteen looked to set the final stage for the series. It looks like there’s going to be a major battle ahead for Koro-sensei and with Yanigasawa/Grim Reaper II, the superpowers of the world and the students of Class E all gunning for him, he’s going to have a huge challenge in front of him if he is to survive.
While the side arcs are entertaining, they really need to stop. Material like this is fine for the beginning or even midpoints in the series, but when you’re this close to the end, all efforts should be focused on wrapping the series up. To go from Koro-sensei’s backstory into just bits and pieces of what’s to come next creates a broken flow that can take the reader right out of the story. Filler arcs are great for breaks after a major arc, but here it seems like they’re just being used to extend the lifetime of the series. Between volumes seventeen and eighteen, the final major arc has been built up and then interrupted with filler arcs and I just can’t express how annoying I find that.
Despite all of that, the final arc does seem to be absolutely epic so I can only hope that Matsui-sensei puts the pedal to the floor and brings us a darker, more serious volume next time around!
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This item was provided for review by Viz Media