- Genre : Action, Sci Fi, comedy, drama
- Episodes: 25
- Studio: Lerche
The students of class 3-E are running out of time. They only have a few short months left to get their grades up enough to graduate, figure out what they want to do with the rest of their lives, get their stuff in order and oh yeah, save the entire world by murdering their teacher….who happens to be a super human monster. But is killing the best teacher they’ve ever had really the only option? Resolves are tested, and loyalties strained as the countdown goes to zero.
I realize that title may be a bit misleading. I really don’t mean to imply that season 1 failed in any way. Rather it’s my review of season 1 that was somewhat lacking but I’m still glad I wrote it. I now have a much better grasp of what I want to say. I have a good feeling about this one guys. Also it refers to the students unending assassination attempts. See – even my title works on multiple levels. Wait did I already set the bar too high?
Assassination Classroom season 2 is largely unchanged from season 1 as far as production values go. If you really want to know what I think about them you can read them here. In short though, the visuals are distinctive and beautiful. The cast has grown a little more familiar with each other and voice acting might have gone up one notch which is saying something as it was impressive to begin with.
One note, the penultimate episode which was magnificent in many ways, features an absolutely devastating performance by Mai Fuchigami as Nagisa. With stripped down sound design focusing only on Nagisa for minutes at the time, the emotional delivery was mind blowing and award worthy.
The only negative I can say about the technical aspects is that I preferred the first opening out of all of them. All of them are pretty good but how can you resist not jumping around to this:
It says something that, despite being thoroughly impressed with just about every practical aspect of Assassination Classroom, as I sit don to write this post, I can only think of the story. You guys already know this since half of you told me to watch the series but let me confirm. This is a good show. I mean a good show.
For the first 3 quarter of season 2, Koro sensei takes a step back giving the audience one more chance to thoroughly get to know the students. Where season 1 had themes of systemic discrimination explored through the school system (this is still a very present topic in season 2 and it’s handled well if a touch overly optimistic), season two takes us out of the classroom looking at the children’s pasts and home lives. We start getting echoes of abuse and abandonment. The responsibilities we each have towards the next generation and the consequences our actions have on the more vulnerable and impressionable are explored with occasionally chilling conclusions.
And when Koro Sensei finally takes center stage again, it’s no longer the humorously lighthearted caricature we had gotten to know. We discover a deeply flawed and morally compromised individual, desperately trying to grasp some thread of redemption and sense of meaning. Just as vulnerable and lost as is students but putting up a brave front. The larger than life almost omnipotent creature is replaced by a man who made some very big mistakes and is trying very hard to fix them. If I had to explain to someone that has not seen the series, I would say: it’s pretty.
As Assassination Classroom started towards it’s conclusion I was grasped by this odd sense of dread. The episodes were fun, even funny, and delightful to watch but there was something ineffable and heavy hanging over everything. I was reminded of Noragami. In fact, I would say the two series are in many ways very similar in a number of ways and if you liked one, you are likely to enjoy the other.
It’s not a one to one correlation or anything, the actual stories are very different, but the atmosphere is similar and there is significant thematic overlap. Much like Noragami, Assassination Classroom insists on the importance of breaking patterns of abuse in order to get to a better place. It also doesn’t deny the fact that a tale based in pain will inevitably detour back into pain, even if only for a while. Life simply goes that way sometimes.
There’s also an appeal to human decency that resonates in both tales. These stories of gods and monsters are both about children and how we treat each other. A simple message is repeated over and over again in Assassination Classroom: everyone deserves a chance. The kids of class 3E are trying to fight against a system that stacked in the other guy’s favor. They’re good kids but they can’t do it alone. All they need is a tiny bit of encouragement, a kind word or just a plain acknowledgement of their existence. They just need to be seen and heard.
We get wrapped up in life and forget that we aren’t alone. We mistake goals for purposes and blind ourselves to everything else. We save time by relying on assumptions. It’s fine, I do it too. This anime reminded me that I may be missing some very important things that way.
And then there was that before last episode. Fact is there were many great episodes this season. Nagisa and Karma’s past was a nice way to feature a friendship relationship. I love Karma as a character and wish he’d been used more. Kaede’s arc held some powerful moments even if I think there was a cop out in the end. Irina’s (still weird) character went through some beautiful growth. Even without any of that, Assassination Classroom is worth your time for episode 25 alone.
I’m always impressed when a show decides to trust its audience. Assassination Classroom had been for the most part fast paced and irreverent. Although season 2 dips into more dramatic elements, it remains recognizable in that regard. As such, it took a certain leap of faith, a good degree of confidence in their stories, for the writers to essentially end everything (the last episode being a fun flash forward that serves as an epilogue) on a largely silent, entirely solemn episode in which almost nothing happens.
SPOILER FOR EPISODE 25 – BIG ONE
I won’t lie, I was a little miffed that they Deus Ex Machinaed Kaede back to life. Also, unlike some viewers, I never expected it to end any other way. The show told us right from episode 1 what was going to happen (it reminded me of John Dies at the End) and I was prepared the outcome. So I went into the episode frankly rather indifferent. I just wanted to wrap things up and move on to the obvious afterword because I like those. It started off as expected the tension went up quickly. I did find it a little touching in spite of myself. But as the episode progressed and the camera stayed uncompromisingly on the students, resigned to doing want must be done, all the while fully immersed in their grief, I started to flinch. I felt a little uncomfortable. No witty dialogue, no snappy repartee. Koro Sensei simply doing one last roll call as the now familiar students flashed on the screen forcing us to fully acknowledge every last one of them, slowly, one by one. to share in their pain and acknowledge their growth. And then, as even that bit of dialogue disappears we have absolutely nothing to distract us from the cruel reality as Nagisa’s strangled sobs (I cannot insist enough on this, it’s a devastating performance in the best possible way) keep us rooted to the agony of the moment for a full 5 minutes.
This is gutsy writing. It’s a logical end to your story, the only way it could go really, but it demands that your audience accept a bitter reality. It asks that we focus our attention span on a story that has suddenly slowed to a crawl when we’ve been running as fast as we could up until now. It offers little in way of assurances and refuses to lighten the mood. We have to trust that this pain is for the best, we have no choice.
By the end of the episode I had scratched over all those notes about how the ending was a let down. This was a masterful episode. I was grateful that the show chose to trust me. I should have trusted it.
END OF SPOILER FOR EPISODE 25 – BIG ONE
TLDR: I think you should watch Assassination Classroom.
It taught me a lot of things. It taught me that it takes a particular type of strength to accept weakness. That life is a succession of celebrations and mournings and we have to learn to appreciate both. It reminded me that underestimating people is risky at best and stupid at worst. I hope it can teach you something as well.
Favorite character: Karma
What this anime taught me: um… I just said..But also – it’s still super weird to hear my name in an anime!
Alcohol is really just liquid Photoshop
Suggested drink: Hot for Teacher
- Every time Karma does his evil face – take a sip (to settle your nerves)
Every time Irina tries to seduce Karasuma– take a sip
- if the class tries to help – cheers!
- Every time Karasuma is being dense – yell at him
- Every time Koro sensei is eating sweets – have a snack
- Every time we see the crescent moon – take a sip
- Every time Koro sensei has an adorable weakness – awww
- Every time anyone says Nagisa – take a breath
- Every time there’s a flashback – take a sip
- Every time Kaede blushes – giggle