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Assassination Classroom Season 2 Part 1 Collector’s Edition UK Blu-ray Anime Review

12 min read

Assassination Classroom Season 2 Part 1 UK PackagingIs it just hijinks or is there more subtly going on showcasing the end of days????

What They Say:
Class 3E is about to begin their second semester! And while some things have changed, the class assignment is still the same: kill their teacher before the end of the year! Easier said than done since Koro Sensei’s made it clear he won’t go down without a fight. Will these students be able to take down the tentacled monster that moves at Mach 20 before he can destroy the world?

The Review:
Audio:
The audio has a 5.1 release in English and a 2.0 in Japanese – I watched half of it in English and Japanese to compare – and with the Japanese release I did have to raise the volume a little from my default settings, however, there were no other issues regarding sound quality, echoing, synching with subtitles, etc. The show has a real unique theme combining comedy, action and that panic over the time that Koro-sensei blows up the Earth so everything with the music, voice acting and sound effects all perfectly coming through on the Blu-Ray – a quality dub and a fantastic Japanese track makes this a treat to enjoy in either language.

Video:
Video wise, colours were fine and flashy, and no issues in terms of video to audio on a 16:9 – 1.78:1 aspect ratio though set NTSC style with top/bottom wide screen, no problems video wise with subtitles synching, no video freezing or any slack animation when pausing the show and the colours do come out very vividly and look rather good on a Blu-Ray set up – no problems found so overall very strong. There was one moment however when I paused that the animation did the dreaded blurring which whilst not really a problem is kind of year nowadays and more commonly found in DVD releases so it is noticeable.

Packaging:
There was no packaging for this test release, however if you get the collector’s edition you do get deluxe packaging.

Menu:
2 discs which have the same menu on them, basically Koro-sensei’s face melting into various types of weapons on a red background, whilst on the bottom left is an easily navigational menu of Play All, Episodes, Set Up and Extras. Like most Blu-Rays, it has a popup menu which you can select in-show if you wish to change things (useful if like me, you wish to switch from English to Japanese and vice versa), easily selectable and fast acting (though you can’t select extras from the popup menu) – very easy to navigate and serves its purpose for the show.

Extras:
We have mostly commentary extras for this release – both on the 1st disc. We have one for episode 3 featuring Ricco Fajardo (Itona), Marcus D. Stimac (Terasaka) and Terri Doty (Hazama) – with a cast of background characters involved in the plot as this is the episode Itona becomes one of the students permanently and becomes good, you get a lot of fun moments involved as the cast comically announce how to explain the show to newcomers, how the characters change and involve with learning from Koro-sensei. Also lots of stories involving J. Michael Tatum because yeah, J. Michael Tatum…

Episode 5 has a commentary on the sports festival episode featuring Jerry Jewell (Isogai) and Micah Silusod (Asano Jr.) – which has a comical take in how they got into voice acting – it isn’t exactly a true storyline to say the least – and is mostly a chat between two friends and the stuff they’ve been in together.

Disc 2 has 3 clean versions of the opening, the ending, the episode previews (which aren’t in the episodes themselves but as extras strangely) and trailers for the following shows; Dangan Roppa, Unbreakable Machine Doll, Death Parade, Nobunagun, Scrapped Princess and Attack On Titan.

Content:
Assassination Classroom was one of the surprise series for me recently as whilst a popular series, it was fairly low on the radar for me being one of the Shonen Jump style series – yet it really brought it a great grasp of comedy, drama and character development especially with a cast this size. And with the countdown to killing Koro-sensei getting closer, the 2nd season whilst so far isn’t going full drama, there are definitely hints here and there to Koro-sensei’s past and also with other characters you can tell stuff is going down.

Whilst the 2nd season doesn’t seem (initially) to hurry the plot along, it does allow initial comic moments before the drama hits in. We actually continue from where we left off at the end of Season 1 (literally) as they still are on the island…so Koro-sensei tries to play matchmaker in a test of courage which backfires spectacularly…except it does showcase that Irina does seem to like Karasuma which becomes an ongoing thing with Karasuma being quite the stiff, unaware that a mysterious assassin seems to be taking out some of the old pros…

We see a fun story with Kaede making a giant pudding trap, them learning parkour, and the return of Shiro and Itona to try and kill Koro-sensei. Here a big thing happens as Itona is feeling the effects of his tentacle implants, and when he fails to kill Koro-sensei, Shiro deserts him, suggesting he could easily be the big bad of the series. We learn a bit about Itona’s past and with the help of Koro-sensei and Terasaka’s delinquent crew, Itona is now a fully fledged member of the assassination crew, similar to Ritsu in the season before. Itona’s character really develops as he becomes more human and helps his classmates with his own skills, creating a remote tank to aim for Koro-sensei’s heart…though the guys just want to use it to perv on the girls…

With such a big cast, they do try to make sure each student has their moments, whether it is Kimura having a crisis over his first name, Hara inhaling bread in the bread eating race, Hazama with her crisis over having a cute name over her dark brooding persona, a lot of fun moments, but they do remember the issues as along with Koro-sensei, Class E have of course being the laughing stock of the school for a while but now are starting to meet others on equal footing, namely Class A.

This initially starts when Isogai, the nice handsome guy who comes from a poor family (and in an assuming aside, during a festival catches a ton of goldfish, but they are to actually cook!) is caught working which is against the rules which could have him expelled but Asano Jr. makes a bit that if Class E can beat them at the sports festival they will wave it off. This is Asano Jr still trying to one-up his father who he knows is plotting something, and the father/son relationship is perhaps the biggest of the side arcs explored throughout here. Class E do beat Class A and then in just 3 minutes, Asano Sr. manipulates Asano’s 4 other friends to basically focus on nothing but destroy Class E, shattering Asano Jr….

We get an episode where their newfound parkour skills accidentally injure an old man so to speak Koro-sensei a secret (and you see the first time Koro-sensei’s black face – i.e. HE’S PISSED BEYOND BELIEF) they looked after his preschool whilst Nagisa bonds with one of the children Sakura, and the school is turned to a much better environment – but at the cost of their exams. However the interesting thing is Karma is no longer slacking and despite this came in 2nd under Asano Jr which sets up the final exams…

But in between that, we get the mini Reaper arc, when the assassin known as the Grim Reaper makes his claim. This also clashes with Irina’s birthday and she gets upset when Karasama forgets about it and when it appears he remembers it was due to the kids…and as she storms off the Reaper kidnaps her. He seamlessly floats into the class, tells them his demands, but when the kids try to save her, his reputation seems to be fully true and takes out all the kids…with the biggest surprise being Irina turning traitor and showing what she is truly capable of. From this, Koro-sensei and Karasuma being their rescue attempt with them not knowing of Irina’s treachery, which causes Koro-sensei to be caught in a trap, but it does show Karasama’s time to shine as you see what he is truly capable of – and also despite the treachery, the kids still care for Irina so when the Reaper’s sudden but inevitable betrayal of her happens, he does save her and thanks to some knowledge and skill from both Karasama and Koro-sensei they defeat the Reaper (there are hints that he may not be the original Reaper though due to a few flashbacks…), which also gives them an extra defence – as now no other assassins can harm the kids otherwise they will forfeit the bounty…

As you can tell, whilst the whole ‘kill Koro-sensei’ arc seems to slow down, it does delve with a lot of other stories, and they don’t feel like filler. One of the best examples is an episode that focuses on Nagisa and his mother. It was hinted at an episode in Season 1 with his separated dad, that Nagisa and his mom are not on good terms. Here we see why – she is very controlling, as not just she wants him out of Class E but also why he looks so feminine is because she always wanted a girl – and whenever Nagisa disobeys her, she goes into a terrifying rant saying he doesn’t know better and such – it comes to a head when Koro-sensei (disguised as Karasama) meets up with her and he bluntly lets her know that he won’t let him leave despite her rants – so what does she do? She drugs Nagisa and is ready to set fire to Class E…however she nearly gets killed by an assassin which Nagisa saves her from, which finally snaps her out of it and it looks like she has learned her lesson…

The final arc of this release and the big on is Class E vs. Class A – we get a school festival episode where Asano Jr. uses his influence to bring in some big acts to defeat Class E – who in return being in the mountains has a huge disadvantage use the skills of many of the student to create a restaurant using the resources on their mountain – a lot of old faces show off, including the pinks who kidnapped a few of the girls (and are quickly converted thanks to good food and Irina’s…erm…charms), Sakura and the school, but the big one is Yuji, the guy who had a crush on Nagisa thinking he was a girl. It leads to a surprising moment when Yuji realises Nagisa is lying about some of the weird things around them (like old assassin buddies turning up) and he admits he is a guy which seems to depress him, but in reality, he gets impressed by his honesty which changes him, and it turns out he is a famous food blogger, and his review of the restaurant brings in TV crews and a ton of customers the next day, allowing them to nearly catch up with Class A before Koro-sensei asks them to lose early so they don’t disrupt the mountains’ eco-system. With E class not winning but still impressing everyone, Class A is taken over by Asano Sr to brainwash the kids into focusing on destroying Class E, whilst Koro-sensei returns to his class wanting to make the top 50…and are surprised when even Asano Jr. wants them to stop his father’s methods by beating them.

It leads to a climax between Karma and Asano Jr which Karma wins and becomes number 1 and indeed, all the class get into the top 50 which then finally shows Asano Sr. true face when the class asks them to go into Class E, and he slaps Asano Jr on reaction as his façade melts. Infuriated, he goes to destroy Class E’s school, but stops as he instead tries to kill Koro-sensei with a trap of 4 test books with anti-sensei bombs, and 1 with a live grenade. He expects Koro-sensei to die before it reaches the last one, but surprisingly despite a setback, Koro-sensei has memorized all text books on his quest to be a teacher, so Asano Sr. has to answer the last one where he’ll surely die…

Here, we get a flashback to Asano Sr. and see what he was as a teacher beforehand – he was actually kind and was good, with a soft spot for his first school of elementary students. However, a few years later, he learned one of his favourite students, Ikeda, had committed suicide because of bullying. Thinking that no matter how good you are, bad will always win, he changes his mentality to becoming more cruel and ruthless. However, Koro-sensei protects him from the grenade, and reveals he used Asano Sr. original stance as the basis of his teaching methods. This seems to change him and a fun moment suggests he and Asano Jr. have also bonded a little better as we end the release here.

You can probably tell both the good and bad that are in this arc just from everything that happens. The main problem is that the ongoing plot of Koro-sensei destroying the Earth seems to have taken a backburner – there are definitely some hints to Koro-sensei’s past in minor flashbacks in a few episodes which will almost certainly lead to the bigger picture, but it mostly isn’t a focus – sure, there are episodes where he tries to get killed by Kayano and of course the Reaper, but you don’t take them seriously because of what else is going on – even the Reaper arc which made him look like a total monster, he actually had quite a few weaknesses which suggests there is another Reaper out there or was out there…

The Itona arc was well done as we learn about him and how he became what he is, and reaffirms my belief that Shiro is the true villain of the show whilst Itona now becomes a more physical member of the group compared to Ritsu, also giving some development to Terasaka and his crew. I also like despite the huge cast, they do give enough moments to almost everyone to give their own personality – the last series I remember doing this was Negima, but that 30+ manga and several variations/OVAs so in sense Assassination Classroom does it a bit better though obviously certain characters get more focus like Nagisa and Karma.

The Asano arc is the strongest as we see both Jr. and Sr.’s pasts and their thoughts and changes. Asano Sr. in particular is very manipulative and conniving, even able to make a mockery of the Ministry of Defence – but as we discover, that mask is slipping and he feels like if he doesn’t win, he’ll just destroy. So when he discovers something he can’t win, he feels he has lost forever. Koro-sensei teaches him ironically that isn’t the case, which should set up for plenty of stuff later on.

There are weak points of course – aside from the fact Koro-sensei isn’t really a focus in terms of the major plot, I didn’t like the Irina betrayal during the Reaper arc. Not because it wasn’t in character as it did show that yes, she is a true threat, but the fact it quickly changes from good to bad to good in the space of one episode, and felt that more could have been made out of it. The one good thing is that it does further the Karasama/Irina romance which has been a slow build throughout and might actually hold water now.

That said, the fun of the series continues with the show knowing when to become serious as well – making it a great mix of everything. I just hope with just one more release to come that it will finally bring Koro-sensei full circle, as his past is the biggest mystery and despite some allusions to it, we still don’t know much – plus with the kids still very attached to him despite knowing they have to kill him, you do wonder if it will come to a head…

In Summary:
Assassination Classroom continues its way to watch makes it stand out – a cast of interesting characters, some great action and some fun moments, but also some stand out arcs furthering character development (the Asano’s being the big one here) – however a few weaker arcs combined with a lack of development in the actual killing Koro-sensei arc means this is probably the weakest of the three sets so far. That said, it is still very good and it means the set up for the final set means you can feel the anticipation…

Features:
Dub commentaries, 3 Clean Openings, Clean Ending, Episode Previews, Trailers

Content Grade: B+
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: B
Packaging Grade: N/A
Menu Grade: B+
Extras Grade: B

Released By: Funimation via Anime Limited
Release Date: June 19th, 2017
MSRP: £44.99
Running Time: 325 minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen

Review Equipment:
Playstation 4, Sony Bravia 32 Inc EX4 Television, Aiwa 2 Way Twin Duct Bass Reflex Speaker System.

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