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Assassination Classroom Season 2 Collection 1 Blu-ray Anime Review

9 min read

assassination-classroom-header-1-5It’s time for the second semester to get underway!

What They Say:
It’s time for second term, and the assassination classroom is ready for a semester filled with intense training, studying, and new ways to kill their teacher. But even their most creative plans are falling flatter than a two-ton pudding. That is, until a powerful student decides to come back to class! Koro Sensei’s days may finally be numbered.

As their skills grow, so does their confidence. But will this lead to a successful assassination or reckless missteps that land them in trouble? They’ll have to keep their attitudes in check because a dangerous lesson with the Reaper awaits them. Not to mention clashing against A Class in another harsh round of midterms!

Through it all, they’ll have to face a question more challenging than any final exam-do they save the world or save the world’s greatest teacher!?

The Review:
Audio:
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.

Video:
Originally airing in 2016, the transfer for this TV series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 in 1080p using the AVC codec. The thirteen episodes with this set are spread across two discs with nine on the first and four 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.

Packaging:
The packaging for the regular edition comes with a standard sized Blu-ray case that has an o-card the has different artwork than the case artwork. The front cover goes with the large face of Kuro in yellow with green bars across it while the case uses the white background with all the stars and moon widgets that’s also from the Japanese releases. The back cover goes for an black background that changes things up from the first series but makes it easy to check everything out. The premise is easily covered and very easy to read with the white on black text, unlike the case itself that is so busy with the background so as to be unreadable. 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 with more of the Japanese artwork on both sides using the same white background with all the widgets. No show related inserts are included with the release but we do get a promotional insert for the manga from Viz Media.

Menu:
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.

Extras:
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.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
After the successful first season of Assassination Classroom, it was revealed that things were in production for the second and that its timing was going to be pretty sweet. The series was going to conclude at roughly the same time as the manga and that meant that anime fans would be getting something that worked alongside it well, making both feel complete – a real rarity in the anime world. I had liked the first season, which ran for twenty-two episodes, pretty well as it started to come together better in the second half. This season clocks in at twenty-five episodes and has a feeling that’s similar in a lot of ways to the first half of the first season rather than the second but without the continual character introductions and growth. What we do get is a fairly good overall arc with it, however.

What we do get with this half of the season that’s a little frustrating is that there are a lot of familiar beats to it. The kids have really come into their own and discovered their groove so they’re working hard to defeat Koro and intend to do it their way and not with the help or involvement of others that would discredit their efforts. That makes the kids appealing to a good degree because they’re earnest and have realized their place in things, along with the value of hard work. The downside is that just like the first half I’m very disconnected from the kids because there are so many and even the couple that get a little extra development end up feeling superficial in a way as they’re quickly relegated to the background afterward. It’s a solid ensemble show but one without the depth it really needs to make it hit that superior spot. What it does, however, is drive the story itself as the focus and that clicks pretty well for me.

So, what we get are some of the usual attempts on Koro’s life that are fun to watch alongside some of the familiar school activities. We get the episode involving the sports festival and there’s buildup toward the cultural festival and these have cute moments but are largely forgettable in a lot of ways. A decent bit of time is spent early on with Itona in getting him where he needs to be in regards to the fight with Koro and that’s all well and decent, nicely played and all, but at the same time it feels like an echo of some of the events of the first season. One part that I like with this kids is that in addition to working through getting ready for midterms, which are obviously a bit different here, we also get the class getting some nice upgrades from the government. While their skill and strategy is what will win the day in the end in this fight, and rightly so, they’re getting better tools to do so. This works very well visually as they get some stronger suits to work with rather than school uniforms for missions that aren’t over the top combat suits or anything. They offer up some additional power and protection but also help to forge the class into a stronger unit as a whole, something that was dealt with pretty well on the character front in the first season.

There are two stronger serious points that work in this half of the season. The first is a two-part story involving an attempt by a man known as The Reaper to deal with the situation as a whole and it works nicely to show how far the kids have yet to go and how far Koro will go to protect them. The more interesting piece for me is what makes the “midseason finale” aspect work so well as it focuses on Asano, his background, and why he’s intent on closing down this part of the school and eliminating Koro and the students that cause him so much trouble. His backstory is fairly interesting overall as it shows some new layers to him but it delivers when it comes to his confrontation with Koro. We’ve had him as the orchestrating bad guy in the background getting others to deliver hard blows against Class E, but it’s here that he really does step up and face off against Koro directly, putting himself into a position where his own life is on the line. Which makes a lot of sense since the loss of the world due to Koro’s promise to destroy it is a huge motivating factor.

In Summary:
Assassination Classroom is a show that I have a certain appreciation for because it was able to accomplish the rare thing across its two seasons in covering the manga as a whole and giving it a complete story. That makes going through some of the more mundane aspects of this half of the season easier to deal with because you know it’s going to hit all the right big material as it moves into the final half and it’s building everything up for it. Though I’m still not connecting with any of the students and mostly just watching it as an ensemble piece with a focus on the story and concepts itself, Koro continues to delight and I like how Asano is dealt with here as it progresses. This is a solid start to the season and it accomplishes a lot of what it sets out to do while mixing in some fun and engaging assassination attempts along the way all while building the bonds of the students with their teacher.

Features:
Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0 Language, English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Language, English Subtitles

Content Grade: B+
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: A-
Packaging Grade: B+
Menu Grade: B+
Extras Grade: B+

Released By: Funimation
Release Date: February 21st, 2017
MSRP: $64.98
Running Time: 325 Minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen

Review Equipment:
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.

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