Assassination Classroom Volume 17: Time for a breakup, collecting chapters 143-151. Story and art by Yusei Matsui.
Last volume, Koro Sensei's past was finally revealed! Spurred on by an attack from within, Koro Sensei told his students all about his life pre-squidification and his fairly awkward relationship with a student's sister. Somehow, this made her want to kill him less, and everything ended happily. A little TOO happily, in fact. Now half the class no longer wish to assassination Koro Sensei, and instead wish to find a way to cure him of his current condition... How will they decide what to do? Read on, and find out!
Chapter one, "Time for a breakup," find the class divided. Should they seek to heal Koro Sensei, or continue on their path to assassinate him? How ever will they decide. With wargames, of course!
Chapter two, "Time for Assassins," finds the students splitting into two teams, and the first "blood" is spilled in this war to decide the fate of Koro Sensei... and maybe, of the world itself. Okay, mostly just Koro Sensei.
Chapter three, "Time for hidden talents:" As the battle rages on and students continue to fall, we take a moment to appreciate some of the skills of our murderous classmates.
Chapter four, "Time for a fierce battle." The battle reaches its peak! as more than half the students have fallen, team "Save Koro" deploys their ace in the whole. Can team "Kill Koro" stop the unstoppable?
Chapter five, "Time for the Stage" It's all come down to this! Only the two team leaders remain... But this fight is about far more than just Koro's fate. As a showdown years in the making is finally about to begin!
Chapter six, "Time for the process:" the great duel begins! Nagisa vs Karma, the academic all-star versus the hidden blade. Who will reign victorious and who will face crushing defeat... and is the fight really that simple?
Chapter seven, "Time for the result." That title is kind of a spoiler. Yeah, the battle is decided and a winner emerges! The path to the future is set and everyone is friends again. Some, more strongly than ever before!
Chapter eight, "Time for a research project." With the future of the class decided, everyone sets their attention to their new project. But getting the data they need is going to require some... outside of the box thinking.
Chapter nine, "Time for speed." Gotta go fast! The class puts their plan into action, and the results are out of this world! Soon, they'll have all the data they need.
And that concludes this interesting, but ultimately flawed volume! We got some great action, a lot of fun, and a chance for some of the lesser shown characters to have their moment in the spotlight. The class's path going forward is set, kinda, and now The End Class has shot off, into space! Because... sure. Why not.
Okay, I'm going to deal with that second little set-up arc first, because I have things to say about that first part and I don't want to get carried away and forget:
So... The class has decided to save Koro Sensei, and to do so they need to go into space to steal classified information from the ISS. I mean... It's not exactly the most plausible plot, and the fact they manage to pull it all off so easily doesn't say much for the security of the Japanese Space agencies. But when the lead of the series is a superpowered squid who can travel at Mach 20, you've already left plausibility so far behind you, what's a little more insanity between friends?
Right now, it all feels a little rushed, so I'm hoping that they're going to put a lot more into the back half of this little aside, because if the whole story is literally "Okay, lets go to space! Okay, we're in space... now let's go home. YAY, we did it." I'm going to be pretty disappointed, especially as of all the students they could have chosen for this mission they chose, you guessed it, Karma and Nagisa. What bold choices...
After arcs like the "Hotel Infiltration" and "The End Class Vs The Grim Reaper," it feels like "Let's take a trip to space!" could have been REALLY fun. But, as it stands, they're moving a little too quickly through it, and I can't help but feel like it's going to end badly... Fingers crossed I'm wrong, though.
Okay, with that out of the way, let's talk about the main arc this volume:
After hearing his tragic back story, half the class have decided that they no longer want to kill Koro Sensei. Koro Sensei decides to pick the class's path forward in the most Koro Sensei way possible. By making the class split into two teams and shoot each other.
The arc is a lot of fun, really. Lots of really strong moments where we get to see our classmates shine. We even got a few chances to see people that we don't know, as well show off talents we never knew they had.
In fact, given how many classic "Unexpectedly Wholesome" moments there were, and with some really amazing fight art, this was ALMOST an amazing arc!
There was just one teeny tiny problem. After getting their chances to shine, albeit rather briefly, the class were all killed off, and only the two team leaders were left, to decide the war.
Karma and Nagisa. AKA, two of the most overused characters in the whole freakin series. I mean, really, when was the last time we had a major arc that WASN'T decided by one of these two doing something fancy?
Given how this whole arc was about under-appreciated members of the class getting a chance to show off skills we didn't know they had, it seems a little pointless when the culmination of the arc was two characters we've seen show off multiple times, getting yet another chance to show off.
Don't get me wrong: The flashbacks were interesting and it was nice to fill out their joint history a little... but did we really need to know that Karma always suspected Nagisa was a stone cold killer, when that has literally been the takeaway from every person that has met Nagisa so far this series? We get it, he's tiny and is often mistaken for a lady, but he's got the soul of a murderer and that scares people. That's awesome. But it's also been done. A LOT.
How about having this arc be decided by characters that HAVEN'T been major players in every single arc so far?
But do you want to know the worst part of it all? Because, sadly, the arc once again coming down to the same characters isn't actually the worst thing.
So, Nagisa and Karma have their super bromantic fight, then end up hugging it out, and Karma decides to surrender.
So, yay. Team "Save Koro Sensei" are the winners! An interesting choice, but I'm behind it. I'm interested to see how they try to save Koro Sensei, and while I'm about 90% sure this series will end with him dying, the fact that the back half of the series is about them trying to save him, will just make it all the more upsetting when they inevitably have to murder him...
Karasuma informs the class that "Team Save Koro Sensei" has won! So, they now have a month to try and save him, and if they can't, then they have to revert to their old plan of trying to kill him by the end of term.
Sooo, basically, despite all the hype and build up around this showdown, it was really just "Decide the plot of the next arc, before we return to business as usual afterwards."
So, not only was this arc rather unsatisfying, due to its reliance on the same characters using the same techniques to win... but it literally doesn't matter anyway, because at best it'll change the plot of the next volume, MAYBE two, before everything returns to the status quo for the climax of the series.
I've noticed that tends to happen a lot, with this series. We'll get one REALLY amazing arc, that changes everything. Then the next volume will be mostly forgettable filler. Then we get a GREAT arc! Then a really pointless one.
I like this series, I really do. It has great characters, solid lore, and when it hits, it hits HARD. But seriously, consistency is KEY, and this series really doesn't have it.
I'd rather read a series that is a 7 across the board, than one that bounces wildly back and forth between a 3 and a 9.
Overall, Volume 17 was deeply frustrating. A solid arc that had some great moments, let down by a deeply repetitive feeling that feels all the more disappointing when you think about the potential that this arc had. Then, to cap it off, the same two students that dominated the previous arc are being sent into space, in the start of a hopefully not as rushed as it feels attempt to save Koro Sensei... before business as normal resumes in Volume 19.
So, if you want to see how wrong I am, come back next time for Assassination Classroom Volume 18: Time for Valentine's Day, collecting chapters 152-160. Nagisa and Karma travel to the International Space Station in hopes of learning the secret to saving Koro Sensei's life. Meanwhile, Yanagisawa and the upstart Grim Reaper II train ever harder to assassinate him. Then, when academic setbacks lower the spirits of his students, Koro Sensei comes up with an ingenious — or perhaps idiotic — way to cheer them up. Next, Valentine's Day arrives! Will any of the 3-E students or teachers find true love? And will the meddling and teasing of the others help or hinder Cupid's arrow in finding its target...?
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.