After showing off some brilliance in the first season, Assassination Classroom takes things to the next level in its sequel. “Amazing” doesn’t even begin to describe the sheer quality of this season of octopus killing.
The season is divided into two distinct halves. The first deals with the student-teacher bond – a continuation of the prequel – and the second, labeled as the “Final Season” by the show itself, deals with Koro-sensei’s past and the accompanying problems after it is revealed.
The first half, similar to the prequel, is great. The bond between Koro-sensei and his students is put to the test on a number of occasions and the kids put to good use what they’ve been taught in class while learning more things, along with wrapping up the fight between the two educationists, Koro-sensei and Asano.
The students have three encounters with the students of 3-A, all of which are won by our 3-E assassins. Stark differences between the two pedagogues’ methods are revealed here through showcasing what makes 3-E better than 3-A.
What makes a true and successful leader is shown through the sports festival encounter – the assassins come out on top mainly because Isogai is an amazing leader who takes his class to the top despite being at a disadvantage in the beginning. Each student is used perfectly in obtaining victory. The 3-E kids also almost defeat 3-A in sales during the cultural festival in a restaurant competition despite seemingly being in an unfavorable location. The kids use whatever is at their disposal and put their skills to good use to flawlessly run a restaurant in the middle of a forest.
The students also learn a sense of responsibility. They learn that their actions can effect those around them in different ways – if they’re reckless they can hurt people and be a menace to society, like how their parkour skills injured an old man. And they can help people and be useful to society if they put their heads to it, just like how they refurbished and ran the elementary school perfectly in the old man’s absence.
They all mature significantly during the first half of the show. They deal with Itona and have him join their class with little help from Koro-sensei; they take on the Reaper for the sake of their beloved Bitch-sensei without informing Koro-sensei so as to not cause him any trouble; they take responsibility for their actions and learn from their mistakes; they learn to speak up where they should and learn to decide their future themselves. All these things are shown in the usual AssClass quality.
The climax of the first half is the finale between Asano and Koro-sensei, which, of course, is won by Mr. Tentacles. The basic difference is not in what they hope to achieve as teachers, but the way in which they attempt to achieve said goals. Both teachers want their students to be strong enough to survive the harsh society and be productive kids. Asano does this by turning his kids into arrogant little brats who think they’re superior to everyone while Koro-sensei does this by having his kids believe that they’re not perfect and makes them take on new challenges in order to perfect them.
The first half is basically an extension of the prequel, having the same lessons for the kids, the same kind of challenges and everything – except that it wraps up things which were started in the previous year. The show, however, becomes different and exponentially more amazing in the second half.
This one is about Koro-sensei’s past, how he turned into the tentacle creature he is, why he is teaching specifically this class out of the uncountable classes in Japan and elsewhere etc. Revelations about Kayano and Shiro are also made in this half. And as was expected from the start, Koro-sensei’s past being revealed causes problems of different sorts.
The reason for telling his past is Kayano who is revealed to be the imouto of that woman seen in every flashback. Not only that, she is shown to have tentacles hidden in the back of her neck so that she can kill Koro-sensei easily for revenge when the time comes. This revelation works perfectly, since it was expected from the beginning that there is more to Kayano as she’s always front and center everywhere but doesn’t exactly do anything.
Koro-sensei’s story is told quite brilliantly here. The storytelling takes around two episodes which reveal everything about Koro-sensei: from the moment he was set up by his disciple, the current Shinigami, to the moment he loses his love, Aguri Yukimura – who is the woman of the flashbacks and was also 3-E’s former homeroom teacher and then becomes the reason he specifically picks up 3-E to teach.
Lerche has always been amazing when it comes to portraying dark or gloomy environments and this flashback is testament to that. Scenes without Aguri get a predominantly greenish color palette showing the darkness of things and the all round seriousness, while parts with her are colored more brightly, showing that she brighten ups Koro-sensei’s world and brings color to it. Lerche’s way with colors always fascinates us.
The entire past of Koro-sensei makes perfect sense – nothing feels off here and thanks to all the hints, most discoveries about Koro-sensei were expected, although some – like the fact that Koro-sensei wrecked the lab and that it wasn’t him who blew up the moon – were more surprising. Koro-sensei formerly being an assassin is believable since his teaching methods employ assassination as a central theme. The fact that he wants his students to become anything but assassins also makes sense since he has experienced the bloody world assassins live in first hand and doesn’t want them to enter it. The current Reaper being Koro-sensei’s disciple makes his rather underwhelming attempt perfectly understandable, too, as the current Shinigami was hasty and didn’t learn all the tricks in the book in order to succeed.
We also learn a great deal about Koro-sensei, like his reason for living, what he was before and how he’s changed now etc. Koro-sensei used to look down on every weak being because he was almost invincible. But after meeting Aguri, he began to think that having weaknesses may not be that bad after all as he falls in love with her precisely because of her weaknesses. And that leads to a big change in him as he asks the tentacles for weaknesses so that he can become more human and approachable. He picks up 3-E because Aguri saw potential in them and he wanted to make up for his mistake of letting Aguri die by at least trying to fulfill her last wish. And it is with this class that his change in character is seen, as he picks up the weakest class in school and turns them into the very best.
Koro-sensei having gone on a rampage to destroy the lab contrasts with his current character that wouldn’t even want to hurt a fly. But it’s consistent with his old ways: who knows how many people he killed back then. Koro-sensei’s pre-Aguri and post-Aguri characters are revealed here and it only makes him a more likable character, as we see how he changed and became a better person who could be looked up to rather than scorned.
Another “before-and-after” effect here is related to Koro-sensei’s teaching skills. While he was the Reaper, he had a student whom he’d almost never encourage or look at. He would continuously show the kid the difference in their skills and experience and would undermine his hard work without actually teaching him anything useful. The kid learned everything through observing and despite everything, would constantly try to make his sensei recognize him for his skills. The thirst for recognition resulted in the disciple setting up the master and taking the Reaper name for himself. Koro-sensei learns from that mistake as he does not repeat any of that with his students at 3-E – he looks at them all, encourages them, teaches them. He doesn’t give them a reason to hate him, he becomes an overall better teacher. And he has Aguri to thank for letting him in the teaching profession again and allowing him to make up for his mistakes.
The first season made him a lovable teacher, but this one makes him an all round amazing character. The impact Aguri had in his life is shown quite wonderfully here. However, there was room for improvement here as the first time we even heard that 3-E had a teacher named Aguri Yukimura was during Koro-sensei’s past being told. Things would have tied in perfectly had they mentioned that name earlier in the series.
The grand finale of the show is the assassination of Koro-sensei, which is hinted at in the OP for the second half by both the song lyrics and the animation.
The anime ties all loose ends before going in for the finale. Koro-sensei’s past is revealed, his story with his first disciple is wrapped up, Kayano and Shiro’s true identities are revealed, the Reaper and Yanagisawa (Shiro) are killed, Karasuma and Bitch-sensei become an official pair – Assassination Classroom finishes everything it started before concluding almost flawlessly.
The ending was expected to pack an emotional punch and it did not disappoint one bit. Everything about the ending to the story was perfect; though “perfect” might be an understatement here with how it was pulled off.
Throughout the first three arcs, the show managed to get the viewers attached to Koro-sensei, and the final season told us his past to make him a character with emotional weight who would surely be missed. They also developed a strong bond between Koro-sensei and his students throughout the course of the series. All that build-up resulted in the students becoming confused as to whether they should really carry on with the assassination or try to save Koro-sensei from blowing up – the decision becomes even tougher after learning about his past. They decide to save him after a fight between the two groups formed after his story was revealed and end up finding a way to save him, but the government ignores that and carries on with their final, almost foolproof, assassination attempt. It is after this that the kids reluctantly decide to kill Koro-sensei themselves: it’s either the government or them and Koro-sensei wouldn’t like being killed by the government. The students killing Koro-sensei is their way of repaying him and showing gratitude for everything he’s done for them – what better way to thank the teacher of the assassination classroom than by assassination?
Episode 24 is easily the best episode of the entire series for how it flawlessly pulls the ending off. The roll call shows each student before the main event – some are putting up a brave face, some are simply looking away, and some are letting their emotions loose. And Nagisa’s hesitation before doing the deed makes the scene even more emotional as he, along with the entire class, doesn’t want to kill Koro-sensei deep down, but has no other choice. And Koro-sensei’s death lets out a burst of emotions for the whole class as even the badass Karma can’t hold back his tears. This ending is probably one of the best tearjerker endings out there.
Assassination Classroom gives itself a proper ending – most shows would ride on their popularity by turning the plot into a never ending ordeal and drag it to the end of time. But Assassination Classroom doesn’t have any potential for another season or any other form of continuation and it doesn’t even need one either – it ended things perfectly, at the right time, with a wonderfully executed finale.
Assassination Classroom is one of the best shows out there – it has had brilliant story telling, great character development, well executed comedy, an amazing sensei, and to top it all off, a flawless ending. Assassination Classroom is one amazing ride you don’t want to miss.