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 things aren’t all that they seem and this new semester is proving to hold more secrets than answers. And the biggest question they have to face: do they save the world or save the world’s greatest teacher?
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 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 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 has different artwork than the case artwork. The front cover goes with the large face of Kuro in deep coral of some sort while the case uses the blue checkered 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.
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. This one also comes with a Top Ten minutes promo that was released online previously which is a fun little recap of things.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Assassination Classroom comes to a close with this volume (though there is another project out there) in a way that has some really strong finality to it. While there have been some lulls along the way in the series for me it’s one that in working off of the manga makes it clear that the original creator had a set plan in mind, and ended it without a lot of extra padding in the mix. That’s still rare these days and it’s welcome that the anime adaptation didn’t try to pad things out either, giving us a solid conclusion to things. With so many shows either just adapting an opening arc or going on so long that you lose interest in it, Assassination Classroom is a far tighter work overall and tells a pretty strong complete story – one that will work very well as a full on marathon session.
With this being the back half to the second season it spends its time pretty wisely for the most part. We get a little recap of sorts to get things underway but it takes a pretty good twist at this mark as it focuses on Kaeda looking to take down Koro-sensei because of her beliefs about him being responsible for her sister’s death. From her perspective this is certainly true, and true in its own way as the flashback reveal unfolds, but it’s far more than that. In a way, flashback origin stories are difficult to pull off because they take you out of the existing arc and part of me really wishes that we had this from the start in full as it would color the series in a very different way for viewers, especially with the students not knowing it and you would, I think, feel very differently about both sides of it as it unfolds.
Going back to the research time that happened with the real person that is Koro and how he was experimented upon by Yanigasawa for a year before finally making his escape. We get to see how Kaede’s sister was a mixture of comfort and frustration on his part in waiting for the right time to make his move and escape as the first Reaper, and how that lead to a lot of death and the destruction of so much of the moon. There’s a deeper story here in how these characters interacted at the time as it paints both of them in a very sympathetic way, especially with Koro taking on the role of teacher upon coming to Earth and looking to do right by Aguri. Seeing Koro in his human form and understanding the reality of his situation with the yearlong plan he put into motion as it relates to his own death, and his desire to be taken down by his students after giving them the gifts he has, is very engaging material. Again, I think the payoff would have been there more knowing all of this from the start rather than as a twist of sorts. But that’s just me.
This knowledge changes the classes’ approach to things while also wanting to honor what it is that he’s done all of this for, in making them better people as well. It’s been clear that the path that they’ve been on has taught them a lot and it works well here in seeing the way the kids grapple with it and how Koro wants to bring this final period to a close in a way that means a lot to him because he’s grown so close to them. It’s not exactly somber but it has some wistful elements, especially in that one brief moment of him putting together that big pile of pictures. Of course, that comes at the same time that the various world governments has figured out how to cage him after throwing one powerful but not full blast attack on him from orbit that nearly did him in. The show goes big in some great ways at the end here and the expanded sympathy toward Koro because of what we know now definitely helps to make it a lot more compelling. Koro was never a favorite character of mine but I’m also hard pressed to say I really liked any character or felt connected to any of them. There was never much to truly humanize them, even as middle school students, but the emotion at the end here as the stories wrap up in relation to Koro are strong, especially with the expected way the class rallies around him.
What I do like that we get here, which is going to tie into the feature film project, is that we get a solid epilogue that explores what happens afterward. Shifting forward several years and getting some nods as to what some of the class has been up to as they finished out their school careers is definitely a plus. Seeing the way that they’ve applied their lessons to the real world makes clear that they definitely learned a lot and gained an appreciation on adaptability and survival in real world form. While we get a few lines spoken about some and a visual or two with others, the main focus is on Nagisa and that definitely hit a sweet spot in seeing the path his life took and how he’s used what he’s learned, and from whom, to make a difference elsewhere that might not have been made otherwise.
As a whole, Assassination Classroom is a strong project. It took a while to take it all in through the space between seasons and between home video releases which can color things a bit. But the series has a lot going for it just in the fact that it tells a complete and whole story and adapts the manga in a really good way. With solid animation, some fun creativity throughout with the training and attempts (and deflections) on Koro-sensei’s life, the series worked a great concept and did some neat things. The final run gives us more of the truth of what set all of this in motion and the end result of all the training and effort on the part of the kids. It’s definitely a fun show and the releases will please most of the fans I suspect. Hopefully, Funimation will be able to do some all-series big collector’s edition at some point just to entice more into trying it and seeing what a fun project it is.
Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0 Language, English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Language, English Subtitles, Top Ten Moments: Assassination Classroom Season 2, Episode 15 and 23 Commentary, Textless Opening and Closing Songs, Previews, and Trailers.
Content Grade: B+
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: A-
Packaging Grade: B+
Menu Grade: B+
Extras Grade: B+
Released By: Funimation
Release Date: June 27th, 2017
Running Time: 300 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.