MANGA: Victory followed by betrayal has got to sting! Assassination Classroom Vol 9: A Shocking Time
Assassination Classroom Volume 9: A Shocking Time, collecting chapters 71-79.
Story and art by Yusei Matsui.
Last time, we saw the students of Class 3-E ascending the super fancy hotel, dealing with all manner of trials, including three Master Assassins, all in an attempt to secure the antidote to cure their friends. They finally reached the penthouse, only to find that this whole scheme was masterminded by none other than Akira "Daddy" Takaoka, who has a grudge to settle with The End Class. And more specifically, with baby-faced killer Nagisa Shiota. But, who will win this fatal duel? Read on, to find out!
Chapter one, "Time for a pep talk," sees Nagisa and Takaoka's final showdown. With the fate of Class 3-E at stake, Nagisa can hold nothing back. But, to take down such a brutal opponent, will he have to cross THAT line?
Chapter two, "Time for a sound check," finds Nagisa about to unleash the secret technique he learned off of Assassin Broker Lovro. But will it be enough to take down the SpecOps-trained Takaoka?
Chapter three, "Time for grown ups - 2nd Period," begins with the Master Assassins sharing a few details we missed, before the students take a moment to relax and congratulate themselves on a job well done... but next up? Koro Sensei's bravery test!
Chapter four, "A horrifying time," finds the students stuck in Koro Sensei's bravery test... which is really just an excuse for him to try and pair the students off... with his only success coming from a rather unexpected place!
Chapter five, "Time for the kill," sees the class attempting to secure a relationship between dangerous beauty Mrs Irina, and hopeless, clueless PE teacher Karasuma. I think this is a problem even Koro Sensei can't fix...
Chapter six, "A shocking time," finds Koro Sensei organising an end of summer festival. And, while everyone has a great time, tragedy strikes. Twice. As one recurring character finds themselves in a bad way, and one student decides to leave Class 3-E.
Chapter seven, "A cursed time," begins with the opening ceremony for the new term. Things go badly, even by the usual standards, as Kotaro Takebayashi announces to the whole school that he's leaving the 'Living Hell' of Class 3-E. Our only question? Who the hell is Kotaro Takebayashi...
Chapter eight, "Time for Takebayashi," seeks to answer our question from the previous chapter, as we find our more about Class 3-E's resident turncoat. But, while he may have his reasons for abandoning the mission... it turns out Asano has his own plans, as always.
Chapter nine, "Time to go to the principal's office - 2nd Period," is awarded the title for longest chapter name, so far. It also sees Principal Asano's plan go into full effect, and Takebayashi's true character emerge. For better, or worse...
And thus concludes the arc, and indeed, the volume! Volume 9 felt like a bit of a dip, after the epic nature of the Hotel Attack arc, but was still pretty strong in terms of character growth, which is always a good thing.
I wasn't entirely sure how Nagisa was going to be able to defeat Takaoka. I know Nagisa is actually a pretty scary dude, and has shown himself to be an incredibly capable student, but he was up against a special forces soldier, who was also batshit crazy.
Thankfully, while there were distinct whiffs of "This isn't even my final form!" around the conclusion of this arc, I was ultimately quite satisfied with the way things played out. They made a point to really highlight Takaoka's unstable mental state, and the fact that Lovro's "special technique" required a pretty strict set of circumstances to pull off, so while it did feel a little Deus Ex Machina, it was forgivable, because the real point of the fight, wasn't actually the fight.
The real battle went down in Nagisa's head. As he stood there, knife in one hand and stun stick in the other, he had to decide: Was he going to kill Takaoka, or merely subdue him, and let the authorities sort him out?
It's been shown multiple times now, that Nagisa is probably the closest to a 'real' assassin that Class 3-E has. But, as of yet, he's not actually killed anyone, or even really HURT them. So, seeing this mental and spiritual battle within him was rather interesting. Was he going to take that final step, and really start down the path to becoming an Assassin, or would he stay a student a little longer?
I think he made the right choice. While he is certainly headed in that direction, it would feel a little wrong having this kid just straight up MURDER someone. Even someone as deserving as Takaoka.
I'm sure it won't play out this way, but I'd like the first 'person' the class actually kills to be Koro Sensei (we all know that is where the series is headed), and, if possible, I'd like Nagisa to be the one to deliver the true final blow. But, until that day, in about 10 volumes' time, I think it's best that the students keep their hands clean, as much as they can anyway.
This choice is instantly shown to be the correct one, as it's revealed that the Master Assassins knew from the start that Takaoka was a nut-job, and switched out the lethal poison he wanted to use, for one that makes you FEEL like you're dying for about 24 hours, and then you make a total recovery from.
I can't help but think that if Nagisa HAD killed Takaoka, and then it had been revealed that his classmates were never in any trouble, that would have been a blow to his spirits that he might never have recovered from. So, once again, staying your hand before the final blow turns out to be the right choice.
For now. I have a feeling that we've not seen the last of Daddy...
With the class saved, and everyone well on their way to recovery, Koro Sensei turns his hand to matchmaking. And, naturally he's terrible at it.
However, even a broken clock is right twice a day! Koro Sensei notices that our resident man-eater and master of seduction, Mrs Irina, has something of a crush on Karasuma.
I shouldn't still be surprised, when this series pulls out an unexpectedly wholesome moment, but they get me every time. This little mini arc turned out to be unexpectedly sweet. As master seductress Irina realises that she actually doesn't know how to flirt anymore, when it's not part of a mission. She knows she wants to be with Karasuma, but she doesn't want to rely on her old tricks, because they just feel wrong.
So, the class attempt to set her up, and make sure everything goes just right. Only one problem...
Karasuma is utterly clueless, and even after sharing a nice meal in a beautiful setting with Irina, he still seems utterly oblivious to her intentions. As someone who misses all but the most obvious clues, I found this all too relatable!
The chapter ends on something of a 'to be continued' as the two don't get together... but Irina seems far from defeated! I'm surprisingly invested in seeing where this ends up. I'm guessing it'll be with one of the two dead, but I've been wrong before.
Speaking of people getting killed off: In what initially seemed like a funny filly chapter, Koro Sensei organises a festival for his students. Along the way, he invited Assassin Broker Lovro, who says he can't attend, as he's currently out of the country, on an assignment.
He hangs up the phone, only to be greeted by a dude standing WAY too freakin close.
It's the Reaper. He kills Lovro. It's messed up.
It's a scene which hits all the harder, as it's intercut with Class 3-E having run and messing around at the festival. You can almost hear the sad music and laughter playing, as he bleeds out in a random back alley...
And, of course, the Reaper's face isn't revealed, which just makes it all the more likely that it's a character we know. The outline (assuming it's accurate) looked like a male, and the haircut was vaguely familiar. I'm still leaning towards it being one of the Asano's, probably the father. I guess we'll find out sooner or later. And I'm starting to think it'll be sooner.
Just as we're recovering from that shock, we're hit by a second: One of the students is leaving Class 3-E!
The shock is mitigated somewhat, when we realise it's a dude we've barely met before. Not exactly a huge loss...
But, as is the way with Assassination Classroom, we then spend three chapters getting to know this guy, and realising that he actually would be quite a loss, for the class.
I'm not going to lie. This arc should have been CHEESY AS SHIT. It's like a bad '80s movie. A student betrays his class, we find out why, and then he redeems himself at the end, in front of the whole school. It's just... it's so predictable.
But, as I'm starting to realise, that's kind of the strong point of this series. It's super cheesy, and should be kinda lame. But Matsui just has this way of taking plot arcs, and character moments which have NO right in working, and making them oddly endearing.
I mean, the whole reason this guy left the class is because his family don't accept him. Something I'm sure many people can relate to. He's an average student, in a family of the academically inclined... what other choice does he have?
But, over the arc, he realises that he actually learns far better in Koro Sensei's class, due to the... somewhat unique methods that Koro Sensei employs.
There's an old expression I'm rather fond of. "Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid." It's often credited to Einstein, but that's just because people on the internet love giving credit to people they know.
And, I'm guessing Matsui is a fan of this saying too. Because it really feels like this is the core concept of Koro Sensei's whole outlook. He doesn't change his students to fit the class, he changes his class to fit the students, and everyone is better for it. It also really highlights the difference between Koro Sensei's outlook and Principal Asano's... I guess only time will tell which mindset is right.
Pretty sure it's Koro Sensei's. Just saying.
Overall, Volume 9 wasn't quite as strong as the two that proceeded it, but was still a very fun read, that asked some interesting moments, some strong character growth, and a few shocks thrown in, just to mess with our heads. I do hope that we start to see more ongoing plotwork, but if the standalone chapters and short arcs can maintain this level of quality, then I'm sure we'll still enjoy the ride.
If you're enjoying it too, join me next time for Assassination Classroom Volume 10: Time for Robbery, containing chapters 80-88. The students of 3-E turn a surplus of eggs to good use—in pursuit of their usual goal. Karasuma teaches them the art of parkour while Koro Sensei teaches them the game of cops and robbers. Then, someone is stealing lingerie, and naturally Koro Sensei is the prime suspect! But is he being framed…and if so, by whom? Lastly, biologically modified Itona discovers that sometimes tentacles can be a burden rather than a gift. He puts everything he’s got into his latest assassination attempt on Koro Sensei…but who will save Itona from himself?!
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.