What They Say:
After the battle with Itona, the students of Class 3-E settle back into a normal routine. Well, normal for a class filled with would-be assassins! As the weather turns warm, the class can’t afford to laze about, and up their training under the guidance of Karasuma. But with the semester already half over, the government decides to send a new teacher to take over their training. Are his methods too extreme? Or will it be the push they need to become real killers?
While training is all well and good, they can’t forget about final exams! And if they want to up their chances of taking out Koro Sensei, they’re going to have to do their very best. The stakes are raised even higher when Class A makes a bet that could send Class E on the best summer vacation ever. Could an island retreat help them set up the perfect assassination?
The audio presentation for this series is done with the original Japanese language track in stereo and the English language adaptation in 5.1, both of which are encoded using the Dolby TrueHD lossless codec. The series is a fairly active one with the size of the cast involved and the antics of the teacher which involves a lot of motion and the opportunity to go outlandish with things. The baseline mix is a solid one that works the forward soundstage in an engaging way when given the opportunity since a lot of the quieter scenes are very basic and minimal. That lets the larger moments with the cast talking across the classroom or the assassination attempts stand out all the more. The wacky moments certainly ramp up well and the 5.1 mix gives it a bit of an extra boost in a pretty good way that makes it even more fun to listen to and engage with. Both mixes are solid with clean and clear presentations throughout as we didn’t have any problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.
Originally airing in 2015, the transfer for this TV series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 in 1080p using the AVC codec. The eleven episodes with this set are spread across two discs with eight on the first and three on the second. Animated by studio Lerche, the show has a great look about it with some very vibrant colors and pop with both character designs and the various action components – including the anti-Koro bullets that are pink. The series works a solid character design that gives it a flavor of distinctive without going too far and the result is something that has really good fluidity in the high action sequences but also look great when standing around talking. The colors are solid throughout and the look of Koro is great with the way he dominates. Backgrounds hold a good bit of detail to them whether it’s the classroom, outdoors, or off-campus material, resulting in a very appealing looking show throughout.
The packaging for the regular edition comes with a standard sized Blu-ray case that has an o-card the replicates the case artwork, albeit with a bit more pop and color to it due to the difference in material. The front cover goes with a fun piece that has Kuro front and center with tentacles all around as we see a range of weapons being pushed toward him, giving it a very fun perspective. The back cover goes for an all-yellow background that’s certainly cute and it gives it some great pop with the blue of the Blu-ray banner and the like. The premise is easily covered and very easy to read with the black on yellow while the shots from the show add a little more variety to it all. The discs extras are clearly listed and the technical grid breaks everything down very cleanly in an easy to read way so you know what you’re getting. The reverse side of the case itself is done as a blackboard with some cute doodles from Koro on the left and more detailed but unintelligible pieces on the right. No show related inserts are included with the release.
The menu design for this release certainly delights as it works the playful aspect of the series by going with a full yellow background while working all sorts of CG designed weapons floating around in different configurations. It leans towards the weapon side in a way that’s definitely appealing and a welcome change from just the usual in-show clips that we get that may be a little disjointed. The smoothness of it makes it fun to leave running for a bit and it has a different kind of polished feeling about it. The logo is kept through the center while the navigation strip along the bottom, done in the same yellow so that it blends, has the headshot of Koro on the left that’s cute when used as a pop-up menu during playback .The navigation itself is simple and straightforward with black on the yellow making it easy to read and move about with.
The extras for this release are a bit similar to what we had before which works pretty well. English dub fans get another pair of commentary tracks from the production team where they have fun riffing on the show and their experiences with it and their character. We get the clean opening and closing sequences and a new round of episode previews. The big new extra this time is a twelve-minute Top 10 Moments piece that has time spent with the actors talking with each other about their favorite moments and showing some of them. It’s a good bit of fun back and forth with the actors that certainly makes them feel a bit more accessible.
The opening half of the first season of Assassination Classroom was certainly a lot of fun and it became more so as time went on as the second season and the manga itself finished earlier this year. While you know that the first season of the anime won’t have an ending because there’s more to come, there’s something refreshing in going into this set in knowing that there is an ending ahead and a sense of completeness about the work. That makes going through the episodes here a little more engaging since it’s building toward something even if it doesn’t achieve anything significant in a sense here. What this set does is present us more of the class as they deal with their various struggles but also how those struggles are bonding them together in ways that they don’t even realize yet.
Not surprising is that the first half of this half of the season focuses on much of what we saw before where it’s all about individual character exploration amid the group. We get to see these kids from E Class doing their best to succeed, though there are less attempts overall at Koro than before since they’re getting a handle on what he’s like and are learning to be creative with it. Some of what we get is just standard school fare that also involves E Class being the real misfits and outsiders that are mocked. The opening episode focuses on a baseball game that has the club really showing their skills and dominating other classes but finding themselves given a significant pushback from E Class. It’s amusing in how the mood changes along the way as the presence of E Class’ players makes the pitcher feel like he’s being targeted as represented by laser sights.
Another episode has some fun in the woods nearby as Koro creates a private pool for everyone and they have a lot of fun just being junior high kids in that regard. There’s some real amusement when some of the characters are surprised that Nagisa’s actually a boy since his looks are uncertain in some ways and there’s the usual swimsuit silliness. It takes a darker turn as one of the students is actually working with another group outside the school to try and take down Koro and that leads to some real chaos as the whole class literally gets swept up in it. Water based events are definitely fun within the construct of the series since Koro has revealed through past actions that water is a weakness and the kids do their best to take advantage of it. It gets only so far because of Terasaka’s actions but there’s a lot to like in seeing them both having fun and setting traps to try and eliminate his tentacles to get to the core itself.
I also like that he uses his tentacles later on as incentive by having those that become top in a particular subject during end of term testing to be able to remove on. If they can eliminate enough of his tentacles they have a greater shot at getting at him. Naturally, you know that this won’t actually pan out for obvious reasons but it’s yet another solid instance of how Koro really is educating and training them for something larger. The easy goal is that they’re still all trying to kill him to save the world but the reality is even easier to understand in that he’s forging together a very powerful and skilled set of players for something else. Each new block for this foundation comes across really well and I like seeing how the kids work together without realizing it sometimes and become better people across the board – even if some are realizing just how skilled they are at assassination, even with the actual killing part being against the rules outside of Koro.
While that takes up a nice chunk of time but not too much, it’s the end arc that works the best as we get the kids taking a summer trip to an island. There’s plenty of fanservice here, though it’s restrained as the series has been to date, and obviously some assassination attempts. But we get the problem where Koro ends up getting hit pretty well as he’s reduced to the size of maybe a baseball and encases himself in an indestructible clear barrier. The only way to “win” at that point is to shoot him off into space and they’re not able to do that. The visuals are a lot of fun with this as the kids mess with him with some other torture devices along the way but we also get things turning serious as the kids themselves end up being poisoned by someone. It’s revealed to be a group operating out of a hotel that has the remedy, and a grudge, that’s made up of several assassins. Suffice to say, they storm the castle and we see just how they’ve grown as a group and there are no real surprises here. But it’s really well executed as it shows the skills of the group and how they work together but also just how capable some of them are like Karma and Nagisa.
While Assassination Classroom plays to plenty of familiar things to the genre and its origins it’s also a series that has a defined goal to it that it’s working toward. This is not a series with a lot of padding and fluff but rather things it’s looking to achieve with each episode in terms of growth and bonding. Koro obviously is working something larger here and it’s fun watching how it all comes together. The release is just as well put together as the first with a good looking transfer, a fun package all around, and some amusing and enjoyable extras. The draw is the show but it’s a well-rounded release that makes it an easy addition to the library.
Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0 Language, English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Language, English Subtitles, Episode Commentaries, Top 10 Moments, Textless Opening Song – Jiriki Hongan Revolution, Textless Closing Song – Hello, shooting-star, Previews for episodes 12-22
Content Grade: B+
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: A-
Packaging Grade: B+
Menu Grade: B+
Extras Grade: B+
Released By: Funimation
Release Date: August 16th, 2016
Running Time: 275 Minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen
Sony KDL70R550A 70″ LED 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.