Assassination Classroom volume 3: 'Time For A Transfer Student' Collecting Chapters 17-25. Story and Art by Yusei Matsui.
Last time around, we met new Language Teacher Irina. She did not fit in too well... but, after a few lessons of her own (care of Koro Sensei), she eventually settled down and stopped trying to kill him long enough to become a more or less passable teacher. We then met the Principal of Kunugigaoka Junior High, who is a Grade A toolbag (shocker). The volume ended with a school trip, which went really wrong, really fast. Want to find out how the unlucky students of Class 3-E pull their buns out of the fire? Then read on, as my Manga Retrospective continues!
Chapter one, "Best time for the travel guide," finds the unlucky Kayano and Kanzaki still in the clutches of the deadbeat highscoolers. Threats are made, the consequences seem dire... but Koro Sensei's guide to surviving the school trip proves to be invaluable. As does his assistance!
Chapter two, "Time to See Red," sees the class's assassination plans kick in! As world famous assassin and master sniper "Red Eye" takes his shot at Koro Sensei. As this isn't the final chapter of the series, you can probably imagine how his attempts turn out!
Chapter three, "Always Time to Be Curious," finds the students and teachers of Class 3-E finally taking some time to relax, unwind and bond, as the drama and murderous intent of the school trip all relaxes. A bit...
Chapter four, "Time for a Transfer Student," sees a new student transfer into class. Shocking twist, I know. This is actually the first of TWO students, who will be transferring into 3-E over the coming chapters. This first student is probably the only one that is actually a stationary weapons platform, controlled by an advanced AI though...
Chapter five, "It's Time For An Upgrade," sees the other students take matters into their own hands, when the transfer student disrupts the lesson. Then, Koro Sensei does what Koro Sensei does best, and turns the sad misfit toy into a fun and functioning member of Class 3-E.
Chapter six, "Time For Independence," sees our new robo-student putting Koro Sensei's upgrades to good use, and becoming extremely popular along the way! But when her creators find out about her new functions, they're less than amused...
Chapter seven, "Time to get Damp," (WORST title ever. At least it wasn't 'Moist') sees Class 3-E's resident 'ladies man' Maehara getting the cold shoulder from a former paramour. But, when Koro Sensei and the rest of the class find out, this act of petty spite becomes the source of a life lesson... and a hilarious revenge plot!
Chapter eight, "Time for Revenge," sees Class 3-E spring into action. Using their combined skills, and Koro Sensei's plan, they wreak a terrible, and embarrassing, revenge on the students that wronged their friend.
Chapter nine, "Time for L & R," brings the volume to a close, on another cliffhanger! As Irina is visited by her old mentor, the 'Assassin Broker' Lovro. A retired hitman-turned-trainer, who makes his money hooking up Assassins, with the people that require their services. It seems he's not too happy with Irina's work of late, and he thinks it might be time for her to get a new job...
And that's another volume down, and another cliffhanger ending! I'm noticing a pattern here...
Volume 3 continues to improve from its predecessors, which is always a good thing. We're meeting new characters, and seeing some real growth in the ones that we've already met. As is quite common, in this "school age" manga, they're throwing quite a few "Very special chapters" at us, trying to teach us life lessons, like "Be happy with who you are", "Appreciate the skills that make you unique" and "Never, ever spy on your teacher in the bath." Which, I think we can all agree, are all pretty strong lessons, no?
Once again, the structure of this volume is a little offset. The first chapters resolve the arcs put in place last volume, the middle is a self contained story, and then we once again finish off on a cliffhanger ending. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, as it ensures that the reader is always excited to pick up the next volume, but it can make reviewing these volumes a little tricky, as you're always dealing with parts of the previous volume, and waiting for parts of the following one, before you can talk about the whole plot. But we work with what we have, so let's dig into what we saw, this time!
The volume kicks off where we left it, with two students of Class 3-E in the clutches of some hilariously over the top mobster highschoolers. But, like 90% of bullies, when confronted with even the minimum amount of actual resistance, they crumbled like a cheap biscuit. And, once more, we got to see just how freakin terrifying Koro Sensei can be, when his targets are anyone other than his students. I think they like to throw these chapters in, every so often, just to remind us that while Koro Sensei is a bit of a teddy bear in class, he really is something of a monster, and we shouldn't forget how afraid of him we really need to be.
This leads on to one of the more intriguing panels, of the volume:
Yup! It seems that although right now he's a super-powered cephalopod... that might not always have been the case! In actual fact, at one point our dear Koro Sensei, might actually have been a normal human! I'm enjoying these little dribbles of information, that we're getting about Koro Sensei, and I'm really hoping that soon we'll get a full backstory for him, or at least the start of one. I know they're not going to totally spill the beans this early, but I'd like to at least know the origins of the yellow meanie. We already know he started out wanting to be a hero, and we now suspect he may have been human at one point. Maybe some kind of Captain America style super serum gone wrong? Maybe something more like a Symbiote, but it totally took over the poor subject? So much potential, and I can't wait to find out which path they take! I have a feeling, that no matter which direction they go with it, it's going to be a really sad outcome.
Koro Sensei is something of a soft touch with his students, but the way that he reacts (or should I say, OVER-reacts) to people disrespecting them, makes me think that his past/origin story isn't exactly light reading. Matsui has shown a proclivity towards playing with emotions, but as of yet hasn't used it to real brutal effect. I can't help but think that Koro Sensei's backstory is going to be the first time he really sets out to hurt us...
The rest of the volume plays out much the way we've come to expect from this series. A new person joins the class, initially they're kind of a bad fit, but Koro Sensei works his magic on them, and soon they realise that they're better off just trying to fit in and accepting themselves for who they are, rather than trying to murder Koro Sensei all the time. You'd think that after three volumes on a very similar track, these chapters would start to get old... But actually, they're still pretty damn good. Matsui has a way of following a similar path, but always putting in just enough new content that you're never exactly struggling to follow the plot, but you're always finding a new aspect to the story, or you're left with something new to think about. It's a delicate balance to maintain and I'm not sure how much longer he can keep it up, but for now, he's managing pretty damn well.
The volume comes to a close, with the set-up for next time. Irina's old teacher comes back, and thinks that she's not right for the job anymore, because it turns out despite all the hype around her last volume, she's actually not THAT great an assassin. As we had all guessed, she's mainly good at seduction games, and using the element of surprise to make her kills. Once people are on to her, her success rate tanks. So, with Koro Sensei very much aware of how she works, her boss thinks that it's in everyone's best interests for her to leave her new position... but will she? Is her time at Kunugigaoka already over? Koro Sensei seems to think not, so it's test time, with Irina's future as the prize!
Overall, Volume 3 was a lot of fun. A few hints at greater mysteries, some new characters introduced, and we got to see more of Koro Sensei being the world's most wholesome savage. Can't really ask for more, can we?
But if you DO want more, why not join me next time, for Assassination Classroom Volume 4, "Time To Face The Unbelievable" collecting chapters 26-34. English teacher Irina’s assassination mentor makes an appearance and the two compete, using special agent Karasuma as their target. Another transfer student/would-be assassin joins the class, accompanied by a guardian who claims to be Koro Sensei’s...little brother?! A tentacle showdown ensues, sending everyone into a tentacle tizzy. Then, the 3-E students face humiliation yet again during a school baseball exhibition match.
If you want to read along with me, you can find every issue on Comixology, collected volumes on Amazon, or read the whole series on the Weekly Shonen Jump App.