Review for Assassination Classroom Season 2 Part 2 - Collectors
It seems I’m always frustrated by something. The gaps between part releases from Anime Limited tend to frustrate me. They’re always just about far enough apart that I’ll have forgotten what happened in the previous instalment just as the latest one arrives. That’s great for a fan; just the perfect excuse to watch the first part again, but for a reviewer with a never ending to-watch pile, re-watching a show is a luxury that I can rarely spend the time on. Another frustration is that of completion. Just when I think that I’m done and dusted with a franchise, something new is added to the oeuvre. There I was thinking that the second part of season 2 of Assassination Classroom would be the end of the story, only it turns out that Funimation is now gearing up for the release of Koro-Sensei Quest, a chibi spin-off that throws magic into the mix. More shows should get chibi spin-offs, where the main characters are shrunk to diminutive proportions for comic effect. I’d watch a chibi-Eastenders... but I digress.
The moon has been destroyed! Most of it has been blown away, leaving a permanent crescent in the sky and a field of debris. And the one who has destroyed it, an enigmatic figure with a large round yellow head, and tentacles (but definitely not an alien, he claims) has threatened to destroy the Earth the following year, unless he is killed first. But killing him isn’t easy when he can move at Mach 20. And for the year before he destroys the world, he wants to be a teacher. He’s been installed at Kunagigaoka High School, teaching class 3-E. So the government come up with a proposition for this class, kill Koro-Sensei, and get 10 billion Yen in reward money. Education has never been so lethal. But it’s not easy to kill Koro-Sensei, not easy at all. After several attempts in their first semester, including an elaborate scheme that almost succeeded on their summer school trip, it’s back to school for the second semester, and another shot at taking their teacher out...
12 episodes of Assassination Classroom Season 2 are presented across 2 Blu-rays. This time the label switches from All the Anime to Funimation, but the discs are the same either way.
14. Secret Identity Time
15. Confession Time
16. Past Time
17. Discord Time
18. Outcome Time
19. Outer Space Time
20. Valentine’s Day Time
21. Trust Time
22. Happy Birthday Time
23. Final Boss Time
24. Graduation Time
25. Future Time
It’s getting harder and harder to comment on the video quality of Blu-ray anime, as they all seem to approach the same level of consistency. You get wonderful HD transfers, offering great detail, colours and animation, and there’s usually the consistent niggle of digital banding across colour gradation. Assassination Classroom’s 1.78:1 widescreen 1080p transfer is just like that, and like every other Funimation and Sentai Blu-ray that gets released these days. The only times that the digital banding will annoy here is when there are close-ups of Koro-sensei’s head.
Assassination Classroom is a noitaminA show, but don’t expect the usual adult sensibilities, the more complex world designs and adult character designs. Assassination Classroom might as well be any mainstream show, and it looks just like the Shonen Jump adaptation that it actually is. It has the look of many a high school comedy, with likeable character designs, a simpler world design, but with strong animation. There’s a hint of the Baka and Test to the show, not least because of the low rent campus that Class 3-E get, but also a little Nagisa/Hideyoshi crossover in design and voice actor choice. The real creativity comes in the form of Koro-Sensei, a moon-faced tentacle creature in a teacher’s gown, and the object of the many assassination attempts in this show.
The images in this review were sourced from the DVD version of the show and don’t reflect the quality of the Blu-ray.
I could say the same thing about commenting on Blu-ray audio. With anime hardly challenging the boundaries of home cinema audio in the same way as the latest summer blockbuster, you’re going to get good quality sound each time, and Funimation has this sussed out by now. You get the usual Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Surround English, 2.0 Stereo Japanese, and as is so often the case these days, translated English subtitles and a signs only track locked to the appropriate audio stream. I sampled the English dub to ensure that it existed, but I stuck with the Japanese throughout this time. The audio was clear with no glitches or dropouts, the characters voiced appropriately, the action coming across well, and the show’s rather quirky music suiting its irreverent tone. The subtitles were timed accurately and free of typos.
The discs present their content with rather nifty animated menus.
Disc 1 autoplays with a trailer for Dimension W, while in the sole extra on the disc is the commentary on episode 15 with Sonny Strait (Koro-Sensei), and Monica Rial (Kaede Kayano).
Disc 2 autoplays with a trailer for Grimgar: Ashes and Illusions
You get a commentary on episode 23 from J. Michael Tatum (adaptive writer and voice of Yanagisawa), and Ian Sinclair (Reaper 2.0).
Top Ten Moments: Assassination Classroom S2 lasts 7:05, and is wholly redundant if you’ve actually watched the series.
You get two sets of textless credits with locked subtitles, 3:24 of next episode previews, and trailers for Code Geass: Akito the Exiled, The Seven Deadly Sins, My Hero Academia, Dragon Ball Z Kai, Gangsta, and Pandora in the Crimson Shell: Ghost Urn.
I haven’t seen the physical extras or the packaging to comment.
Be careful what you wish for, you may just get it. We live in an age of entertainment that has become focused more on narrative than ever before. Episodic TV isn’t good enough for us, we need ongoing storylines, we demand character arcs and development, we crave to know how, when, where, what and why, we want exposition, dammit! Once in a while, there comes a series, just like the Wizard of Oz, where peeking behind the curtain spoils the magic. Season 2 of Assassination Classroom is a prime example of a veil lifted, the magic dispelled, and the fun diluted, all because narrative gets in the way.
Season 1 was a nigh on perfect show, a brilliant premise, wonderfully brought to animated life. You have a distorted school set-up, the majority of the elites motivated by the prospect of being exiled to Class 3-E, the class of the losers, the failures and the drop-outs. Only for one year, the status quo has been upset by the arrival of a new teacher, Koro-sensei. He’s an alien looking moon-faced octopus creature that has just blown a hole in the Earth’s moon, and he states that within one year, he’ll destroy the Earth as well. And for one year, he will teach Class 3-E, and for one year, Class 3-E will have the first opportunity to kill him before the world is destroyed.
For me, Season 1 was nothing less than a complex, brilliantly executed, elaborate Tom and Jerry cartoon, and just as much fun, with the students spending their first term trying to assassinate a teacher that is actually good at teaching them. Koro-sensei keeps on eluding their attempts, thwarting their schemes, and helping them in their rivalry with the rest of Kunagigaoka school, proving that Class 3-E is as good as, if not even better than their peers. It was sheer entertainment from beginning to end.
Season 2 started off in the same vein, although it took a while to get back into the groove. It’s just that at the end of the first part, it took some time to fill in the back-story of the Kunagigaoka school chairman, offer some insight into why he has set up the Class 3-E system. The development doesn’t have a chance to play out until we get to this collection of episodes, but it becomes clear that by humanising the chairman, making us sympathise with him, the class rivalry has effectively been neutralised. It really is the end of that story arc.
All that is left therefore is Koro-sensei, and his impending destruction of the world, and Class 3-E’s attempts to assassinate him. The only problem is that they’ve grown to like their teacher a little too much, and one assassination attempt at the start of this collection, triggers some serious exposition and flashbacks as we learn who Koro-sensei actually is. I won’t spoil it for you, but the end result is that the character is effectively humanised even more so than the school chairman was. The ambiguity of season 1 that made it so much fun is replaced by a certainty that can only result in a melancholy and bittersweet conclusion to the show. And really, no truth could ever match what viewers might have speculated as to the nature of Koro-sensei. It was the mystery that made him interesting, the reveal of new strengths and powers, new weaknesses in each episode adding to the fun.
Don’t get me wrong. This is by no means a bad show, and the ending that the creators do come up with is perfectly workable if you’re into narrative and exposition. And when it comes to bittersweet, melancholy endings, Assassination Classroom nails its conclusion, pays it off even more with its epilogue, and especially its final scene. But when it comes down to it, the cat and mouse antics of season 1 are simply more fun than the story focused season 2.