It all comes down to this as we’re at the finale to this story arc, and the ending to the current season of Assassination Classroom. Last week’s episode ended on a huge cliffhanger as it brought the show into it’s most significant dilemma yet, and one without a simple solution. Of course you can leave it to this series to find an answer that’s satisfying as it ends the arc on a strong note and delivers some of the best material yet.
What They Say:
One day a weird tentacle creature destroys 70% of the moon and threatens to do the same to Earth in a year. However in exchange for being allowed to teach a group of misfit students called the E-Class, he’ll allow them to try and assassinate him. With the chance to earn 10 billion yen and prove their worth to the world, the kids are willing to give it a shot, but this thing might just end up being the best teacher they’ve ever had.
Content (warning as portions of this review may contain spoilers):
To kill or not to kill? That is indeed the dilemma we’ve been left with as Nagisa contemplates murdering Takaoka, and everyone’s worried he’ll go through with it. Even Korosensei who usually has an answer for everything can’t manage to talk him out of the idea and things look grim. However it turns out to be Terasaka who manages to be the voice of reason in this situation and it’s really kind of cute how he’s gone from being a self-serving bully to the heart of the group over the course of these last few episodes .He tries to convince Nagisa it’s not worth it since regardless of how much of a scumbag Takaoka is murder is murder, and he offers him a non-lethal alternative by tossing him a stun gun. Though it initially doesn’t look like he takes that advice to heart as he goes for the knife anyway and begins his duel against Takaoka. Though it’s less of a duel and more of a one-sided beatdown since well…Takaoka IS a well trained/built soldier against a middle school kid, and Nagisa is left on the verge of death appropriately.
It’s then that the solution arrives as Terasaka knows Nagisa has an ace up his sleeve despite how dire the situation looks. Remember that brief moment a few episodes ago where Lovro decided to show Nagisa a special assassination technique? We finally get to see it displayed here as Nagisa’s current situation meets all the current conditions for it. He succeeds and decides not to take Takaoka’s life, but that doesn’t mean he gets off scott-free.
In spite of everything Takaoka’s done. Nagisa’s somewhat grateful to him to teaching him the importance of bloodlust, along with how and not how to direct it at the opponent. So he “thanks” Takaoka with the most eerily serene smile possible before zapping him with the stungun and it’s an imagine that’ll haunt the guy’s nightmares for many years to come. Nagisa may have managed to avoid crossing that moral line this time around, but the evolution of his talent as an assassin is still continuing and still shaping up to be quite the issue to deal with. I’m glad it doesn’t seem like it’ll be the last we see of it since it really makes Nagisa’s character a lot more interesting.
The battle ends, but the whole virus issue still remains and the other assassins they’d defeated show up. However they aren’t interested in revenge and instead inform the class that they swapped out the poison Takaoka wanted to use, for something non-lethal that would only make them think they were at risk. This would normally feel like an extreme cop-out, especially given these guys are pro assassins but the explanation they give makes sense: the moment they realized Takaoka had zero intent of giving the kids the antidote, they had to double cross him or risk being labeled as mass murders (of children no less), which isn’t exactly ideal for assassins who need to keep themselves hidden. It works as a nice resolution to the whole ordeal and manages to avoid feeling cheap.
With this whole situation behind them, the students reflect on what they’ve learned during this whole trip, and they’ve gained something of an admiration for some of the assassins they’ve met and their sense of professionalism. Though the same can’t be said for Takaoka and it leads into a nice line where they mention that taking the good from some of the people you meet and forgetting about the horrible ones is a part of growing up and there’s a pretty clear truth to that one. There’s also a little moment during this scene where Nagisa thanks Terasaka for stopping him since he really would have killed Takaoka otherwise, and makes for an interesting comparison as to how they have something of an odd friendship now as opposed to how they started off in the first episode.
As is par the course for Assassination Classroom though, the show can’t possibly bring itself to end on a serious note, and after one last hilariously failed assassination attempt on Korosensei by the government everyone kicks back to enjoy their vacation (which of course includes trying to kill Korosensei). The show wraps up with the start of the second term, and now the wait for the second season begins, which I eagerly await. This show’s managed to pull off a really nice balance between comedy and serious moments, and I’ve been impressed at how much mileage it’s managed to get out of it’s silly premise. Hopefully the second season continues on that trend.
The season finale for Assassination Classroom delivers on a strong conclusion as Nagisa’s moral dilemma and the story arc as a whole are both resolved in a pretty satisfying manner. With a second season already promised and set for next year I’m looking forward to seeing how the rest of this adaption goes. In the meantime though, this first season has a lot to offer and in spite of a few minor bumps in the road, has been a pretty fun ride and made for an extremely entertaining show. See you in 2016, Korosensei.
Streamed By: Funimation, Hulu