The fourth volume of Assassination Classroom has just arrived; let’s see what new fun we can discover with Koro-Sensei and Class E.
Is it good?
Assassination Classroom Vol. 4 (Viz Media)
Written and Drawn by: Yusei Matsui
Translation by: Tetsuichiro Miyaki
English Adaption by: Bryant Turnage
Irina Jelavich’s mentor has arrived at the school and wants her to quit, since she has no chance of killing Koro-Sensei now that he is onto her. However, Irina wants to stay, leading to a competition that will determine her fate! However, that’s not what is most important in this volume. What’s more important is that a new transfer student is coming and this one is even far more unusual than the living computer weapon the class got earlier. Not only that but this mysterious student may actually shed some light on Koro’s past…
Of all the volumes we had in the series so far, I would say that this volume is the best one we’ve had, which is impressive considering how great this series has been. This volume brought us more development for quite a few characters, expanded a bit more on the school operations and the sports relationship between Class E and the rest of the student body and most importantly — shed more light on Koro-Sensei. We had a lot going on here with less filler-ish chapters, making Assassination Classroom Vol. 4 a much meatier and content filled read.
The first chapters follow up on last volume’s cliffhanger of Irina having to deal with her assassin mentor; they do a good job diving into Irina’s character and showing her flaws, but also exhibit her strengths and how she has been developing since her introduction. We also get some development from Karasuma, the Government Agent who’s been teaching P.E. for the class; in Assassination Classroom Vol. 4 we see him demonstrate why he has been assigned to watch over the class and train them. The last two chapters of the book deal with Class E having to face down the school’s baseball team in an exhibition match, which continues to show how cruel the school can be but also provides some more development to Sugino (the kid who likes baseball from the second chapter). These chapters are rich with character development and give plenty of characters a chance to shine.
Perhaps the biggest deal with Assassination Classroom Vol. 4, however is the storyline that happens in the middle. This is where we are introduced to the new transfer student named Itona Horibe, who claims he is Koro-Sensei’s sibling. Now that would be weird considering how radically different looking the two are, but the revelation that they both have the same tentacle based powers (so they are “siblings” in that regard) is huge. Koro-Sensei’s response coupled with some intriguing flashbacks open up a lot of theories about the truth. And just who is this mysterious woman we keep seeing him flashback to? Are there even more people with these powers? Add all of that in with a pretty exciting action scene and character growth for the entire class, this storyline becomes easily the best arc the entire series has had up until now.
Writing-wise, there were very little complaints to be had. The characterization was very well handled, with a bunch of the characters getting some small focus to major development here. The only real complaint to be had with any of the characterization is that series still doesn’t really have a very strong female supporting cast (Irina got some nice development, but the series still treats her name as a joke). The humor was funny as always and had some great lines and gags (Itona’s introduction, one’s student theory about Koro’s backstory, and even Irina’s mock assassination attempts). Most importantly though, the manga was able to balance its sense of humor with the seriousness of the situations that took place. There wasn’t any point where it felt like you could be taken out of the moment with a radical shift in mood (any changes were more natural and felt appropriate).
Finally, we turn to the artwork, which still looks as good as the previous volumes. While a lot of the students do have similar looking faces and even body types at points, the facial expressions are drawn very well. Koro-Sensei is probably remains the best in the area, even with a very limited face, with how you can really tell how he feels or what’s on his mind at any point. The layouts are simple, but effective and easy to the follow. This action is static looking, but still gives off that intense and brutal feeling like it should given the circumstances of the scene it is happening in. Overall, it’s another fine looking volume of the series with maybe some minor areas that could use improvement.
Is It Good?
Assassination Classroom Vol. 4 is a setup from the last volume of the series, progressing the story in a very interesting way instead of just having a lot of humor-focused chapters, while also dealing out plenty of fine character development. The flaws there are minor at best, easily overlooked by the amount of good there is in the volume. If you have been on the fence about checking this out, now is the perfect time to jump aboard. You won’t regret it.
Assassination Classroom Vol. 4 is available from Viz Media. Volumes one through three are currently available for purchase, with the fourth volume is set for release in August 2015. An anime adaption of the series is currently going on and a live action film will supposedly arrive in the near future. There’s a poster out for it and everything, with Koro-Sensei looking very creepy as a CGI creature.