It’s been a while since we’ve discussed Assassination Classroom. Let’s take a look at the fifth, sixth, and seventh volumes of the series.
Assassination Classroom Vol. 5-7 (Viz Media)
Written and drawn by: Yusei Matsui
Translated by: Tetsuichiro Miyaki
English adaptation by: Bryant Turnage
Lots of exciting and potentially dangerous things are happening for Class-E. They are becoming better assassins each day, they may be getting a new gym teacher, the summer is approaching and Koro-Sensei is building them a special pool to relax, an old foe appears, midterms are on the horizon, and a special reward is in the class’s sights. So much chaos and excitement is happening, but what do you expect from the Assassination Classroom?
The longer the series goes on, the more the manga’s storytelling changes. Over the course of these three volumes, it lessened how many one to two chapter stories there are. For the most part, with some exceptions, the series is starting to have longer running story arcs. The situation with the new gym teacher, the midterms, a villain reappearing, and others are starting to appear more often and that is great. While the small one-shots and two chapter stories were fine and helped develop individual members of the class, the longer story arcs allow for characters to get more focus on their own characterization. Not only that, we also get more story developments and progression with how far the class is coming along.
As such, these three volumes feel like a turning point for the series. All of them get to show the development in various members of the class and the class itself as they encounter different obstacles and foes new and old alike that stand in their way. This is especially prevalent in the seventh volume, where the classroom finally puts their ultimate plan to take down Koro-Sensei for good into action. It’s exciting to watch as all the pieces move into pplce as we see what steps and tactics they use to pull everything off. It makes for a really thrilling experience and even though the plan doesn’t work (it would be surprising if it did considering how close the series is to twenty volumes over in Japan), you can still see a massive change and growth with everyone. These are not the same characters we started off with.
The writing remains top-notch. Matsui still has a way with writing his characters and making them all their own individuals with their own stories. It’s impressive considering there has to be over thirty characters, but not one of them feels similar to another. All the volumes are also pretty funny like usual, helped by either solid timing or amusing visuals. The dialogue, while maybe a bit heavy on the exposition in a few spots, is engaging to read and the translator did a solid job overall. Despite being funny a lot of the time, it’s still able to balance the light-heartedness with a more serious tone rather well. All in all, it’s a great collection of books here.
Matsui’s artwork is no slouch here either. While it continues to have that minor issue with similar looking character faces, the entire cast is pretty distinguishable and easy to identify once you know who is who. The action is static, but still interesting to look at in how it is presented, the angles that are used, and the detail put into it. The layouts are just as good and the artwork remains very capable at depicting humor. Volume seven in particular is probably where the artwork is at its best due to its creativity and imagination. In its very first chapter, the students are taking their midterms and just writing down their answers. That may seem boring, but Matsui depicts the entire midterm as if it was this huge gladiator area where the students are fighting monsters and golems that represent their tests and the attacks they use are their answers. It feels so inventive or something you just don’t see often, making this so much fun and a joy to read.
Unfortunately, Assassination Classroom‘s depiction of its female characters ultimately remains its biggest weakness. While most of the female students in Class E have their own character and personality to them, none of them really stand out that much besides Ritsu (just for being a computer program) and one of their instructors, Ms. Irina Jelavich. Irina is still treated as a joke and an idiot (though, there is a moment that may indicate this is a front she is putting on), seeming like she is there only for fanservice and as a means to dig at her. Heck, the translation regarding her seems to be getting meaner as well, changing her original translated joke name of Ms. Vitch to being flat out Ms. Bitch in volume seven (which is bad for continuity from volume to volume and the “joke” just falls flatter after losing the sound pun it was going for originally).
Is It Good?
Assassination Classroom Vol. 5-7 are three great books and a great continuation of the series, pushing into new directions with longer arcs and higher stakes. The writing and characters keep getting better, while the artwork remains stellar. In terms of English releases, this has been a series that’s continued to be highly enjoyable and just tons of fun with very few low points. In the coming year, let’s hope it continues to keep it up.