It’s time for the end of the Classroom saga with season 2. We get more action in this one as there are more super powered beings now but the series still blends together the more slice of life adventures with those too. I’ve never been a fan of the way the series ends and so the anime doesn’t really change that but you should have a good enough time here. The animation is still sharp and you will be invested in finding out what happens in the end. Can the characters surpass their limits and stop Koro-sensei from blowing up the planet?
We start things off with some slice of life adventures and a quick fight with Itona as the season kicks off. Itona had been a bit of a recurring villain so he was finally brought into the fold as one of the main characters but of course this also means that he lost his powers in the process so he becomes fully human. It would have been nice if he could have kept his powers even if it would have made Koro’s job of staying alive a lot harder. Now he would really have to be watching his back a lot because all that Itona would need is a single strike to claim victory. Still you get to have fun with the cast before things get real with the Reaper.
The Reaper mini arc is one of the top highlights in the whole series. The reason for this is because he does embody the perfect assassin without super powers. Yes his abilities are so good that they may as well be super abilities but technically he doesn’t have any biological enhancements of alien parts. He’s just using true skill here and he manages to absolutely hold his own against the main characters. That’s really nothing to sneeze at and his fight with Karasuma was great. The arc really gave a glimpse of how the whole show could have been with the cast trying to stop the more powerful assassins.
That said, it also underscores once again how the kids aren’t really ready for the big time. Without Karasuma they would have had absolutely no chance here. He’s just in a completely different league Karma and Nagisa get their moments of taking down stronger opponents but this was something the series could never get past. At the end of the day the kids needed some kind of time skip so that they could have really helped contribute more. More often than not the teachers had to do the heavy lifting here.
We also get more fights with the top scoring rivals from the school led by Gakushu. The rest of his group was never as memorable but he made for a great rival to Karma. The two of them would duke it out a whole lot throughout the series and it was a fun rivalry. The school competitions were always fun and another side to the whole assassin life as they would use their skills academically. Those battles were always fun also because that meant there was less time for Koro-Sensei to appear and mess things up.
This also closed out the plot with the principal Gakuho once and for all. He was definitely a really fun antagonist in the series and will be missed. The fact that he could hold his own against everyone without any powers was crazy. His origin story was definitely a sad one and the guy was absolutely dedicated to making sure that nothing like that would happen again. He pushed himself to the physical and mental limit of what a human could be and it paid dividends. He could pretty much mind control anyone and had a whole lot of influence. That’s not something that you can see just anyone doing and his confidence never wavered. The guy would take any risk if it meant he would win. Still one of the best characters around.
There’s also the subplot with Nagisa’s mom that finally concludes here. She definitely went rather crazy throughout the series so it was nice that she could finally see a bit of reason. I mean it did take a crazy assassin and a burning school to get the message across but hey at least she did change after that and Nagisa could finally have a break. He would need it since we’re approaching the end of the series now and there wouldn’t be many breaks left.
This led into Koro-Sensei’s origin story which is really solid. Basically he wasn’t always a terrible character. Back in the day he was a top assassin who got results and was basically the best in the world. He even trained the Reaper and in a fair fight nobody could beat him. Ultimately he would have continued to be the strongest but he ended up getting attached to one of the researchers, Aguri which gave the villains some leverage and ultimately had him change his ways. He was no longer a ruthless monster who wanted to destroy everybody. Instead he would now be a caring teacher.
The backstory does a good job of establishing why he wanted to be a teacher in the first place and also tying everything together for the climax. It also gives us a massive twist to one of the characters in the series that was always pretty shocking when it happened. Best twist in the series easily and I gained a lot of respect for the character with what she had to put up with the whole time. Just enduring the pain alone without ever letting it show was already a lot to deal with and that’s not even counting the emotional pain. The only thing it doesn’t really do is explain what happened to Koro-Sensei’s personality to the extreme degree that it is in the present.
Did repressing his emotions for so many years cause him to want to just be as extreme as possible to make up for lost time? I don’t believe that it was all an act because there would be no reason for that and it would just feel like a cop out. Regardless while I consider him to be one of the weakest characters in the series in the present, I did like him a lot in the flashback. Sometimes a characters just really falls down I suppose.
After that emotional arc and we wrap up the fights in the present, we approach the end with the big Civil War. The kids have to decide on whether or not they should murder Koro-Sensei. Of course you know that I’m going to be on the side saying not to murder him. Cmon now, that’s just the worst decision you can make. If it comes down to sacrificing one person to save the world then in almost all cases I’m going to just say that it’s time to let the world be destroyed. You don’t trade lives as they say. Additionally there was still a chance that he wouldn’t blow up so you have to take that into consideration as well. I was rooting hard for the no kill team to win this one because of that. It’s just the only way to have a satisfying ending.
I won’t say which team wins but ultimately I wasn’t thrilled with the ending so you can expect that not everything went the way I wanted it too. I feel like it can be hard to ultimately deliver on an ending because after any big adventure there are so many ways a story can conclude. Although while many Jump final arcs tend to get some heat I usually disagree since ending with a big war arc is always the way to go. The war arc here isn’t literally the ending but it’s close enough where it may as well be and that worked out well. In this case it’s just the actual ending that’s the big problem and so for the last episode you’re not quite as invested. You know this could have easily been saved with just a small stinger at the end showing a certain cliffhanger moment. That’s absolutely all I would have needed and I would have been good. A shame that didn’t happen.
As you’d expect the animation is still really sharp here. I’d say one thing that the series does exceptionally well are the really sharp colors for the character designs and action moments. They really do a good job of depicting the pure intensity of the villains and heroes when they are using their assassin techniques. The ost is also good. It has a good amount of variety and I liked several themes there. It may not be the biggest soundtrack out there but it definitely gets the job done.
In general the character cast is good too. Nagisa and Karma are a solid duo as the leads with their banter and rivalry going on. They really help each other to succeed which is important and of course Karma has that classic rival energy of always being ready to pick a fight. Part of what makes this work so well in the school setting is also how he just won’t tolerate bullies…at all. The other characters may play nice but he just jumps in there and gets the job done which I can always appreciate.
The rest of the kids are solid as well. Itona was more interesting as a villain but he’s still reasonably good. Kaede went way up in this season as she got a much bigger role and the rest of the kids are all around to help out as needed. Irina still tends to not do great when it counts but Karasuma always steps up against the big villains. He also helped the kids out even though it would put his job in jeopardy near the end.
Then for the villains we had quite a few really solid ones like the Reaper. That guy’s techniques were crazy good and it makes sense that almost nobody could touch him. He’s really perfected his craft. Shiro wasn’t nearly as solid as a villain even if you do have to give him some props for his dedication. The guy never gave up that’s for sure. He just kept on trying to go after Koro for ages at this point and considering the power difference there, it wasn’t a small feat. I already talked about how great Gakuho was of course.
The series is at its best during the action moments. We get a lot of quality battles and quick choreography. The show tends to be at its weakest during the comedy episodes as the cast just isn’t generally solid enough to hold these up for long. That’s why the show tends to quickly devolve into fanservice and shenanigans like that to pass the time while the serious episodes avoid that. The fanservice isn’t crazy but still fairly frequent at times and it doesn’t help that Koro’s one of the main characters and he usually encourages this quite a bit. Ironically if you cut him out of the whole series then the show instantly is elevated but the whole series revolves around him so at that point you’re really talking about a completely different series.
At the end of the day I stand by my reasoning that the show would have been more solid if the main characters were more grown up rather than being kids the whole time. It just stacked the deck too far against them, particularly with how fast Koro-Sensei was. If anything even most of the villains should have gotten neg diff’d the whole time. Sure Shiro’s cloak had that special substance on it but there are still loads of ways for Koro to have beaten him. The power levels were just set too far apart which meant that things wouldn’t always end in a very satisfying way although I’ll give the show props for mainly not having Koro ever lose in a crazy way that would make no sense with his speed. I do think that they did put a lot of thought into each of his moves.
Overall, Assassination Classroom season 2 mainly picks up right where season 1 left off. If you enjoyed the first season then you will enjoy this one and vice versa. I would still give it the advantage over the first season as we get a lot of the biggest moments here like with the Reaper and the origin story though. It suffers from the same issues as the first but focuses more on the strengths which is good. I don’t think this will ever be remembered as one of the top Shonen Jump titles but it was pretty big while it was going and it is still memorable enough to be remembered even as the years go by. If you haven’t checked it out yet and are looking for a fairly low key slice of life with some action arcs then this should be right up your alley.