Weekly Shonen Jump’s Series of Manga Shorts About Creators as Rookies Continues with Yusei Matsui and Tadatoshi Fujimaki

This year’s 48th issue of Shueisha’s Weekly Shonen Jump magazine has published a five-page short by Assassination Classroom manga creator Yusei Matsui about his time as a rookie. The manga is part of a series of manga shorts from “legendary manga creators” focusing on the theme of when they were rookies.

The magazine’s 50th issue will feature a short by Kuroko’s Basketball manga creator Tadatoshi Fujimaki.

Source: ANN

Manga Spotlight: Assassination Classroom

Assassination Classroom is a 21 volume manga series written by Yusei Matsui. The series was published in North America by VIZ Media.

Assassination Classroom
Written by: Yusei Matsui
Publisher: Shueisha Inc.
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Dates: December 2, 2014-April 3, 2018

A powerful alien octopus creature destroys 70% of the moon and claims that within a year, he will destroy Earth. However, he offers a chance for mankind to avoid this fate. He declares that he wants to be the teacher for class 3-E at Kunugigaoka Junior High School, and the Japanese government offers the class a 10 billion yen reward to the student who can kill the teacher before the year is up. Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as it sounds, since the alien can move at Mach 20. Also, as part of the agreement, the teacher is unable to harm the students in any way. The students end up giving their new teacher the name of “Koro-sensei.”

Class 3-E is known for containing the students with the lowest grades, and the members of the class are shunned from the rest of the school. As part of being shunned from the rest of the school, their classroom is located in an old rundown building that’s nowhere near the actual school building itself. Among the students, the main focus is placed on Nagisa Shiota. He’s the one who is observing their teacher and taking notes on anything he notices.

But Koro-sensei isn’t the terrifying monster that he appears to be at first. As he works with his students, it becomes clear that he actually cares about trying to help them succeed in the classroom. As the series progresses, the students start developing a relationship with Koro-sensei; however, this development doesn’t stop them from trying to assassinate their teacher.

Two new staff members join the class over the course of the series. First is Karasuma from the Ministry of Defense becoming Class 3-E’s new P.E. teacher. Irina Jelavic is a female assassin sent to try to take down Koro-sensei, and she ultimately becomes the class’ part-time foreign language teacher.

Assassination Classroom also shows how much the students in Class 3-E are snubbed by their higher-ranking peers. But through Koro-sensei’s guidance and encouragement, his students start gaining more confidence and ultimately start taking on Class 3-A for various reasons.

But truths about Koro-sensei are revealed over the course of the series, and these revelations force the students to start rethinking their feelings for their teacher and for their mission to assassinate him. Not only does the story progress, but many of the students also go through some incredible maturation as people as well. By the end, Assassination Classroom becomes a very emotional series. Even though I knew how the story would end since I had already seen the anime, I was still tearing up at certain points in the climax. It shows just how well-written this series is.

Even though I had already seen the anime, I was pleased to discover that the manga included some stories that ended up being skipped over in the anime adaptation. While some of these stories did provide additional character development for some of the characters who weren’t focused on as much in the anime, I understood why these stories had to be cut. When the animation studio only has so many episodes to tell the story of the whole manga, some stories had to be sacrificed in order to tell the entirety of the overarching story. As someone who was familiar with the anime, I found that these manga exclusive stories added a little something and gave me additional bonus stories to get to know some of the characters better.

Assassination Classroom is a fantastic manga series, and I would highly recommend it. My only disappointment is that the final volume of the series had to be padded out with side stories that were published in Weekly Shonen Jump, as well as a one-shot by Yusei Matsui that isn’t related to Assassination Classroom, since there were only two chapters left that hadn’t already been put into a book format. The Assassination Classroom side stories were OK, and the one-shot was just kind of “meh.” But I would definitely recommend the main Assassination Classroom series to manga readers who appreciate stories with humor that evolve into something more serious as the series progresses.

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Assassination Classroom Creator Yusei Matsui Heading to New York Comic Con

ReedPOP has announced that author and artist of Assassination Classroom Yusei Matsui will be appearing at New York Comic Con in October 2016 for events and autograph sessions. Matsui is appearing at NYCC in partnership with VIZ Media and the Japan Society, a nonprofit cross-cultural institution in New York.

One of the most popular and best-selling manga series in the United States, Assassination Classroom is a humorous and action-packed story about a class of misfits who are trying to kill their new teacher – an alien octopus with bizarre powers and super strength. The teacher has just destroyed the moon and is threatening to destroy the earth – unless his students can destroy him first. Making matters even more complicated, he turns out to be the best teacher they have ever had! The series is a consistent New York Times bestseller, with each volume released appearing on the list during the first few weeks of publication. The series has also been adapted as an anime that airs in Japan and North America, as well as well as two live-action films.

“Yusei Matsui is a major influence in the manga industry and his work continues to be a monster success around the world,” said Lance Fensterman, Global Senior Vice President of ReedPOP. “We are thrilled to welcome him to New York Comic Con for what are sure to be amazing experiences for our Fans.”

Yusei Matsui was born in Saitama Prefecture, Japan. He has been drawing manga since he began elementary school and his favorite manga series include Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, and Ultimate Muscle. Matsui learned his trade working as an assistant to manga artist Yoshio Sawai, creator of Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo. In 2005, Matsui debuted his original manga Neuro: Supernatural Detective in Weekly Shonen Jump. In 2007, Neuro was adapted into an anime. In 2012, Assassination Classroom began serialization in Weekly Shonen Jump. Assassination Classroom is published in North America by VIZ Media.

New York Comic Con will take place October 6-9, 2016. To attend NYCC, Fans must complete a Fan Verification profile for the opportunity to purchase Tickets. Fan Verification is open through Monday, June 13, 2016 at NewYorkComicCon.com/FanVerification.

Manga Review: Assassination Classroom Volume Eight

Originally written for WatchPlayRead.com

Assassination Classroom Volume 8 features Koro Sensei, a powerful octopus creature that’s the homeroom teacher for Class 3-E at Kunugigaoka Junior High School. He intends to destroy Earth within a year, unless the students in his class can assassinate him before the deadline. But even with assassination attempts going on, Koro Sensei still teaches his students and helps them to improve as people and as assassins.

Assassination Classroom Volume 8
Written by: Yusei Matsui
Publisher: Shueisha
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: February 2, 2016

Volume 8 continues Class 3-E’s trip to an island resort in Okinawa. Someone has infected some of the students with a virus, and demands two particular students to come to a designated spot and hand over Koro Sensei. Karasuma, Irina, and the healthy students decide to use their skills to infiltrate the meeting spot and obtain the antidote that will save the infected students.

As the group carries out its infiltration mission, the story has a good mix of humor and drama. This includes getting to see some character growth happen for Karma, as well as the confusion over Nagisa’s gender being utilized in a humorous, yet helpful way. Even though Nagisa is part of a gag, his actions in the story are actually rather serious when he inspires a young man to change his ways. I thought the PSA about drugs that appeared on one of the pages in between chapters was a nice touch.

Assassination Classroom Volume 8 reveals the identity of the person who carried out the plan to infect the students and to get Koro Sensei in an attempt to win the reward money for the creature’s assassination. When the perpetrator’s identity is revealed near the end of the volume, it turns out to be someone who makes sense but isn’t necessarily the first person the reader thinks of when they try to guess the mastermind behind this plot. I thought the way that Matsui wrote this particular story arc was brilliant, even though it’s not entirely finished by the end of this volume. Even though the arc isn’t over, Matsui ended Volume 8 with a major cliffhanger, and it definitely makes the reader want to come back and read Volume 9 in order to find out what will happen next.

Volume 8 introduces several new characters, and each one has an unusual quirk about them. Matsui gave these particular characters more unusual character designs, which help to accentuate their quirks. I also thought Matsui did a good job of using shadows to try to hide the identity of the perpetrator until Karasuma and the others encounter this person face-to-face.

Assassination Classroom Volume 8 takes the storytelling of the series to a new level. While there’s still plenty of the humor readers expect from the series, the imminent danger to the characters makes this particular arc stand out from the previous stories presented in this series. This volume will have readers on their edge of their seat as they see how the storyline progresses, and fans of Assassination Classroom won’t want to put Volume 8 down after they start reading it.

The reviewer was provided a review copy by VIZ Media

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Manga Review: Assassination Classroom Volume Seven

Originally written for WatchPlayRead.com

Assassination Classroom Volume 7 focuses on Koro Sensei, a powerful octopus creature that’s serving as the homeroom teacher for Class 3-E at Kunugigaoka Junior High School. But he’s a creature who intends to destroy Earth within a year, unless the students in his classroom can assassinate him before the deadline. Even though there’s craziness surrounding the assassination attempts, Koro Sensei is still able to teach his students and help them improve.

Assassination Classroom Volume 7
Written by: Yusei Matsui
Publisher: Shueisha
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: December 1, 2015

At the beginning of Volume 7, we see both Class 3-E and Class 3-A taking their final exam for their first semester. I really liked seeing how Matsui illustrated the students tackling the questions on their exams, because I thought that depicting the test questions as monsters in an arena was very creative. This personification was made even better whenever the reader saw someone from Class 3-E besting someone from Class 3-A.

Between Class 3-A’s bet and Koro Sensei’s motivator before the exams, the members of Class 3-E had a lot of reason to try to do their best on the exams. Obviously, their class didn’t get the top rank for every subject, but they scored just enough top rankings to win their bet with Class 3-A. Their demand is to be allowed to go on the three-day, two-night trip to an island resort in Okinawa that’s usually only taken by the top students at the school.

But it turns out it’s not all fun, games, and relaxation for the members of Class 3-A during their trip. Once they reach the island, most of the rest of the volume focuses on the students setting up and executing their assassination attempt on Koro Sensei that he offered as an incentive for them to do well on their exams. It was actually a rather well-thought out plan, but of course, the reader knows that it likely won’t succeed for some reason. Even with that thought in the back of my head, it was still fun to see the assassination attempt unfold. But after the attempt, something very surprising happens to the students right at the end of the volume, and it causes quite a cliffhanger.

When it comes to the art, the opening section with the test questions being personified as monsters really stood out to me. Matsui came up with some really good designs for the monsters, and it’s obvious that effort was taken to include a lot of detail for them. And some of the art during the major assassination attempt on the island also stands out.

Assassination Classroom Volume 7 continues with the storytelling that readers have come to expect from the previous six volumes. However, Matsui suddenly kicks things up a notch right near the end of the volume, and it also causes the story to suddenly shift into more of a serious tone. Since the storyline doesn’t end in this volume, this more serious tone will be continuing in Volume 8. While it’s a bit of a sudden shift, I think the series reached a point where Matsui had to show it could have a little more of a serious side. While the humor in Assassination Classroom is really good, I think it’s also a good idea to shake things up a little at this point. But I have a suspicion that once this particular storyline is over, the series will likely return to the humor that it’s usually known for. Even with this sudden tonal shift, I think that fans of the series will still enjoy reading Assassination Classroom Volume 7.

The reviewer was provided a review copy by VIZ Media

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Manga Review: Assassination Classroom Volume Six

Originally written for WatchPlayRead.com

Assassination Classroom Volume 6 sees a powerful octopus creature named Koro Sensei serving as the homeroom teacher for Class 3-E at Kunugigaoka Junior High School after he declares his intention to destroy the Earth within a year. As part of a deal made with the Japanese government, Koro Sensei allows his students to try to assassinate him, with a 10 billion yen reward offered to the student who can kill him before the year is up. But in the midst of the craziness of assassination attempts, Koro Sensei is still able to teach his students.

Assassination Classroom Volume 6
Written by: Yusei Matsui
Publisher: Shueisha
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: October 6, 2015

The first couple of stories in this volume focus on the swimming pool that Koro Sensei created for his students right at the end Volume 5. The first story focuses on Meg Kataoka, a girl who seems to be one of the least likely people to end up in Class 3-E. Through this story, we learn how she ended up there, and how it ties in with swimming. This is one of those stories where Koro Sensei shows just how much he cares for his students, and how he comes up with ways to help a student overcome obstacles or personality traits that cause them trouble. In this case, Koro Sensei works with Meg on overcoming being so giving that she gets used by people. I thought he came up with a great plan to make sure that the girl who was bullying Meg and giving her a hard time can never bother her again.

The bulk of Volume 6 focuses on Terasaka and how frustrated he’s become at how much the students seem to like Koro Sensei now. Terasaka is also upset because he came to the E Class to have an easy time, and Koro Sensei is encouraging his students to work hard and strive to succeed. Terasaka acts up in class and does things that appear are done just to cause mischief, but it’s revealed that his actions are actually part of a plan cooked up by Shiro, the guardian of Koro Sensei’s “brother,” Itona. But what Terasaka didn’t realize was that he was simply being used by Shiro, and unknowingly puts his own classmates in danger. But this ends up being a very important story for Terasaka’s character development. He feels remorse for what he’s done, and comes to realize that being the bully that he’s been up to this point isn’t the best thing to be doing. It’s not easy, but it appears that Terasaka may be starting to figure out teamwork and getting along with his peers.

The final story in the volume sees the students at Kunugigaoka Junior High School getting ready to take their final exams. We are introduced to the A Class, with a lot of emphasis being placed on Gakushu Asano, the son of the school’s principal. We learn that the son is very much like his father, but that Gakushu has the goal of surpassing his father. This is definitely not the most healthy of father-son relationships. Gakushu has figured out his father is hiding something from him concerning the E Class, and is determined to figure out what it is. When Gakushu’s classmates set up a challenge to the E Class regarding the final exam, Gakushu decides to exploit this challenge in the hopes of learning what their secret is.

Assassination Classroom Volume 6 was a great read, and it kept my interest from its first page to its last. I enjoyed seeing the character progression that Terasaka went through, as well as the A Class that’s been hinted at but has never really been shown until now. Having their ringleader be the principal’s son is a nice touch, and that he’s just as driven as his father is an added bonus. I feel that there will be a lot of story potential for Gakushu as the series progresses, and that he’ll be a strong antagonist for the E Class. The volume has its serious and dramatic moments, but it also has the light hearted humor that readers of the series have come to expect. Fans of Assassination Classroom should enjoy Volume 6 as much as the previous volumes in the series.

The reviewer was provided a review copy by VIZ Media

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Manga Review: Assassination Classroom Volume Five

Originally written for WatchPlayRead.com

Assassination Classroom Volume 5 focuses on Koro Sensei, a powerful octopus creature who intends to destroy Earth within a year. He offers mankind a chance to avoid this fate by letting him serve as the homeroom teacher for Class 3-E at Kunugigaoka Junior High School. The Japanese government offers the class a 10 billion yen reward to the student who can kill Koro Sensei before the year is up.

Assassination Classroom Volume 5
Written by: Yusei Matsui
Publisher: Shueisha
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: August 4, 2015

Volume 5 opens with a baseball game taking place between the boys in Class 3-E and the school’s baseball club. This storyline focuses on the prejudice that Class 3-E receives and how Principal Asano is determined to try to hold Class 3-E down in order to maintain the system he has established at the school. But I truly enjoyed how Karma was able twist situations into Class 3-E’s favor thanks to decisions that were made to help the baseball club earlier in the game.  I also liked how Koro Sensei was able to disguise himself in order to be on the field and to offer his students advice during the game. But one of the most important aspects of this storyline is how it provided character moments for Sugino.

After this, there is a one chapter story where Sugaya reveals his body art made with Indian henna to Koro Sensei and his classmates. To be honest, this was my least favorite chapter in Assassination Classroom Volume 5, because it didn’t seem to truly add much of anything to the overarching story. It also didn’t provide any real character moments like the baseball game story did for Sugino.

The majority of Volume 5 focuses on Karasuma’s doubts about being an effective teacher and the introduction of Akira Takaoka, who is brought in to take over the students’ assassination training so Karasuma can concentrate on finding other assassins to help take down Koro Sensei. Takaoka presents a friendly and fatherly personality when he arrives, but it turns out he isn’t what he seems. But this storyline also shows that one of the students that the reader has gotten to know well over these five volumes of the series also has an appearance that belies their true talents. I was just as taken aback at Karasuma and the other students when I saw what this particular student was capable of. I never would have guessed that this character had this particular trait.

In this story, Takaoka quickly becomes a character that the reader dislikes once his true colors are revealed. And by the end of this storyline, I thought that Takaoka got what he deserved after all of the things he did when he revealed his true nature. This storyline also provided some much needed character development for Karasuma, and I found that I started to like him more. Prior to Volume 5, he came across as being on the aloof side and focusing primarily on his mission to train the students than on truly trying to get to know them.

The final chapter of Assassination Classroom Volume 5 sees Koro Sensei gaining his students’ approval when he creates a special swimming area nearby their classroom so they can avoid the humiliation of having to walk a long way to the main campus in order to use the school pool. But Koro Sensei becomes overly protective of his students and they start to grumble. And right near the end of the volume, a student discovers a new weakness for Koro Sensei. It’s hinted on the last page that one of the students may have come up with an idea to exploit this weakness in order to launch an assassination attempt on their teacher.

Assassination Classroom Volume 5 is an enjoyable read, and shows that at this point, the series is still as strong as it was when it started back in Volume 1. This volume not only helps to progress the overall story forward, there are also several instances of character development included. And even though the storyline with Takaoka was more on the dramatic and serious side, there was still enough humor included in the volume’s other stories to balance out the drama and comedy.

The reviewer was provided a review copy by VIZ Media

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Manga Review: Assassination Classroom Volume Four

Assassination Classroom Volume 4 focuses on Koro Sensei, a powerful octopus creature that destroyed 70% of the moon. He plans to destroy the Earth within a year, but offers mankind a chance to avoid this. Koro Sensei becomes the instructor for Class 3-E at Kunugigaoka Junior High School, and the Japanese government offers a 10 billion yen reward to the student who can kill him before the year is up. But Koro Sensei can move at Mach 20, so trying to assassinate him is anything but simple.

Assassination Classroom Volume 4
Written by: Yusei Matsui
Publisher: Shueisha
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: June 2, 2015

Volume 4 concludes the storyline with Irina needing to prove to her mentor that she is the right assassin for the job of taking down Koro Sensei. This storyline is handled with the same humor and tone that the other stories in the series are known for, and Irina manages to have several comedic moments. But even with the humor, Irina is still able to grow as a character and ultimately prove herself.

The next chapter sees Koro Sensei taking Nagisa, Karma, and Ritsu to a movie in Hawaii. While this chapter may not have done much to advance the overarching story, it allowed these students and the reader to get a little better understanding of Koro Sensei’s ability to move at Mach 20. It was also really amusing to see Koro Sensei conducting science lessons for his students while they’re zooming along in the sky. The most important part of this chapter is at the end, when Nagisa comments that they got to see the world from Koro Sensei’s point of view, and how it’s starting to become a little harder to kill him. I have a strong feeling that this sentiment will be playing a bigger role later on in the series and could have a dramatic impact on how the series ultimately ends.

The next four chapters introduce a new transfer student named Itona and his handler, Shiro. It turns out Itona is no ordinary student and that he has a connection with Koro Sensei. Itona’s arrival also reveals that Koro Sensei actually isn’t an alien and that he’s something else. These chapters are very action oriented, especially after Itona challenges Koro Sensei to a fight. It was fascinating to see Koro Sensei going up against someone who has very similar abilities to him. Unfortunately for Itona, though, his intelligence just doesn’t quite measure up to Koro Sensei, which allows the teacher to prevail in the end.

The final two chapters of Assassination Classroom Volume 4 begin a storyline where the boys of Class 3-E have to go up against the school’s baseball team in an exhibition game during the school’s annual intramural tournament. The idea, of course, is to humiliate Class 3-E in a swift defeat. But Sugino, who used to be a member of the baseball team before being sent to Class 3-E, wants to win. Koro Sensei is so impressed by Sugino’s determination that he volunteers to coach them. We see the results of Koro Sensei’s training early on in the game, and Class 3-E is actually scoring points. But something happens right at the end of the volume that has the potential to change the course of the game.

I continue to appreciate the art style that Matsui uses for the Assassination Classroom series. It has a distinct feel, and I can’t look at it and think that it reminds me of art from another manga. Matsui has also been deliberate in making sure that each character has a unique look, which helps the reader to tell them apart. In Volume 4, I was especially impressed with some of the art in the battle between Koro Sensei and Itona.

I think readers who have been following the series will enjoy Assassination Classroom Volume 4 because it includes the humor and character interactions that readers have come to expect from the series, as well as action and a new revelation about Koro Sensei. Personally, I’m still really enjoying Assassination Classroom, and I didn’t want to put Volume 4 down at all after I started reading it.

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Manga Review: Assassination Classroom Volume Three

Originally written for WatchPlayRead.com

Assassination Classroom Volume 3 focuses on Koro Sensei, a powerful alien octopus creature that destroyed 70% of the moon. He claims that within a year he will destroy Earth, but he offers a chance for mankind to avoid this fate. He declares that he wants to be the teacher for Class 3-E at Kunugigaoka Junior High School, and the Japanese government offers the class a 10 billion yen reward to the student who can kill the Koro Sensei before the year is up. Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as it sounds, since the alien can move at Mach 20. Also, as part of the agreement, Koro Sensei is unable to harm the students in any way.

Assassination Classroom Volume 3
Written by: Yusei Matsui
Publisher: Shueisha
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: April 7, 2015

Volume 3 continues the storyline of the school trip, right after Kayano and Kanzaki are kidnapped by a group of high school delinquents that is also on a school trip. We get a little bit of character development for Kanzaki, which helps her to stand out a little more from the many of the other students in the classroom who still have yet to be named.

In the previous volume, Koro Sensei had given the class an extremely large handbook on surviving the school trip. At the time it was introduced, the guide just seemed to be there as a gag. But in Volume 3, the reader sees that it actually has a purpose. It’s convenient, yet also comical, that this large guide would provide directions on how to rescue classmates who are kidnapped on the school trip. It’s amusing enough when Nagisa and the others in the group use the handbook to track down and surprise the abductors, bur the humor is kicked up a notch when Koro Sensei suddenly appears on the scene and is easily able to take down the delinquents with his tentacles. This is one of those times in Assassination Classroom where Koro Sensei is shown caring about his students, which almost makes the reader forget that he’s threatened to destroy the Earth.

Two more chapters are devoted to the school trip. The first one focuses on a professional assassin who goes by “Red Eye.” He’s hired by Mr. Karasuma, a government official who is also serving as the gym teacher for Class 3-E. The students have researched potential assassination locations, and they try to create situations for “Red Eye” to be able to get Koro Sensei. Unfortunately, Koro Sensei has figured out that “Red Eye” is around, and uses his abilities, such as moving at Mach 20, to avoid being hit by a bullet. But near the end of the chapter, there’s a great scene where Koro Sensei approaches “Red Eye,” gives him a gift, and treats him to a meal. They have an eye-opening conversation, with Koro Sensei being grateful to “Red Eye” for making the trip more enjoyable and for how much more his students learned about the locations in order to help “Red Eye” stage the assassination attempts. This is another one of those cases where Koro Sensei shows that he’s willing to help out more people than just his students. In the end, “Red Eye” reconsiders his line of work due to the conversation he had with Koro Sensei.

The final chapter about the school trip is much more light-hearted in nature for the most part and has more of an emphasis on gags. But the most interesting part of this chapter comes right near the end, when Karasuma makes a comment to Koro Sensei that almost makes it sounds like Koro Sensei hasn’t always been an alien. Hopefully this hint will be followed up on later in the series.

When the students return to school, Class 3-E discovers they have a new transfer student: a computer known as “Autonomous Intelligence Fixed Artillery” designed to assassinate Koro Sensei. Since the computer is designated as a student, Koro Sensei is unable to harm her. Unfortunately, the computer’s attempts are so disruptive that the other students tape down her guns and treat her coldly. The computer gets some unexpected help from Koro Sensei, who makes upgrades to her hardware and software. As he makes the upgrades, he gives her advice on how she can get along better with her classmates. It’s pretty impressive to see Koro Sensei treating the computer just like he would one of his human students. The other students warm up to the computer and give her the name of Ritsu. Her creators don’t like Koro Sensei’s changes and they think they’ve set her back to her default settings. But it seems Ritsu has hit a rebellious teenage stage, because she hides some of what she learned away deep into her memory.

Two chapters are devoted to Maehara, and how he’s treated by a girl from another class that he seems to be interested in. She gangs up on Maehara along with a popular boy, and they make fun of him for being in the “end class” for losers. Koro Sensei and the kids in Class 3-E work together to help Maehara get revenge. For the most part, these chapters didn’t seem to add all that much to the overarching story. The reader is already aware from the previous two volumes how the school is structured to encourage the student body to ridicule and belittle the students in the E class, so this felt a little extraneous.

The final chapter provides some background on Irina, the professional assassin who is also the English teacher for Class 3-E. The reader is introduced to her mentor, Lovro, who tells Irina that she’s not fit for assassinating Koro Sensei. Right at the end of the chapter, Koro Sensei gives Irina and Lovro a challenge to see which one is the better assassin. There’s not much to say about this story, since it’s just getting started as the volume ends.

When it comes to the art in Assassination Classroom, Koro Sensei has a very distinct look that makes him stand out in comparison to the human characters that he interacts with. There are also very unique designs for all of the students in Class 3-E, which makes it easier to identify the students as their names and personalities are revealed to the reader.

The premise for Assassination Classroom sounds strange at first, but it’s actually a very humorous and enjoyable series. Koro Sensei is a fascinating character, and some of the students in the classroom have become interesting characters in their own right. Assassination Classroom should appeal to manga readers who enjoy light-hearted stories set to a backdrop of an assassination plot. And for readers who have already read the first two volumes of the series, Volume 3 includes much of the comedy and character development that made the first two volumes such fun and compelling reads.

The reviewer was provided a review copy by VIZ Media

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Manga Review: Assassination Classroom Volume Two

The main character of Assassination Classroom is Koro Sensei, a powerful alien octopus creature who destroyed 70% of the moon. He claims that within a year, he will destroy Earth, but he offers a chance for mankind to avoid this fate. He declares that he wants to be the teacher for class 3-E at Kunugigaoka Junior High School, and the Japanese government offers the class a 10 billion yen reward to the student who can kill the Koro Sensei before the year is up. Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as it sounds, since the alien can move at Mach 20. Also, as part of the agreement, Koro Sensei is unable to harm the students in any way. A government official named Tadaomi Karasuma becomes important to the story when he becomes class 3-E’s P.E. instructor.

Assassination Classroom Volume 2
Written by: Yusei Matsui
Publisher: Shueisha
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: February 3, 2015

Volume Two introduces a new character named Irina Jelavich, an assassin posing as a foreign language teacher for Class 3-E. She’s a voluptuous woman who discovers that Koro Sensei has a weakness for breasts, which she tries to use to her advantage. She also kisses Nagisa and pushes his face into her breasts in order to get her hands on the notes that he’s been taking on Koro Sensei since Volume One. Irina sets up what she thinks is the perfect assassination attempt, but it fails because she didn’t believe that regular bullets wouldn’t harm Koro Sensei.

At this point, between what I described above and what I saw of Irina later in the volume, I have to say that I don’t really like her much right now. She comes across as rather arrogant and seems to believe that she’s above everyone else. Honestly, she feels like she’s here, in part, to be a female that can have her body be used to titillate males that are reading the series; since I’m not in the particular demographic, that doesn’t really do anything for me. I really hope that as the series progresses, Irina will find a way to redeem herself and become a more likable character.

We then see chapters devoted to how the others students and the administrators at Kunugigaoka Junior High School treat the members of class 3-E. The administrators and students keep trying to humiliate them, including a prank of not getting handouts for the student council events; however, Koro Sensei manages to rectify this situation and save his students from embarrassment.

Afterward, the reader is introduced to Gakuho Asano, the principal of Kunugigaoka Private Academy. He quickly reveals himself to be a despicable person since he’s the one who came up with the system that allows the other students to bully class 3-E and look down on them as what they don’t want to become. Gakuho also makes it clear to Koro Sensei that he can’t be raising these kids’ self-esteem because it would ruin the system that he has so carefully developed. As we see later in the volume, he and other administrators conspire to make sure that the members of class 3-E cannot pass their midterms and return to regular classrooms. If there’s a character I can’t stand in the series more than Irina, it would have to be Gakuho due to his being such an asshole.

But before the midterms, Koro Sensei is determined to work with his students so they can all make it into the top 50 for the midterms, especially after he sees their attitude of not needing to do well because grades won’t matter after they assassinate him and get the money. There’s an amusing scene in here where Koro Sensei has divided into several clones of himself, each wearing a headband with a particular subject and working one-on-one with each student on the subjects they need help with. But one of the clones has a Leaf Village headband on instead and is assigned to one of the students. When I saw this gag in the volume, I couldn’t help but chuckle a little.

At the end of Volume Two, we see the school heading out on a school trip to Kyoto. Tadaomi makes it clear that while they’re on the trip, they still need to find a way to assassinate Koro Sensei. While the group is on the train, one of the girls loses her notebook with the school trip schedule and it ends up in the hands of a group of high school boys. The volume ends with two of the students of class 3-E being kidnapped by these high schoolers.

I have to admit that I’ve been enjoying Assassination Classroom a lot more than I had originally anticipated, even with the two characters who were introduced in this volume that annoy me. While watching the anime recently, I’d wondered if maybe Koro Sensei’s concern for his students might be an act in order to get them to like him so much that they won’t try to kill him; however, after reading Volume Two of the manga, I’m becoming more convinced that his concern for this students is legitimate, especially after Koro Sensei is ordered by Gakuho to remind his students of their station at the school. I appreciated Koro Sensei’s attempts at trying to help his students be able to get better grades on the midterms, and it was frustrating to see the school’s administration manipulate the test in order to make sure that class 3-E remains “at their station.”

I thought Volume Two had a good cliffhanger ending, because I really want to know what’s going to happen to the girls who were kidnapped and how they’ll end up being saved. I have a sneaking suspicion that Koro Sensei will be the one to rescue him, but I don’t know how exactly he would accomplish that at this point

Now that I’ve read Volume Two of Assassination Classroom, I have to say that I’m enjoying the series even more than I did after reading the first volume. I’m actually looking forward to reading Volume Three in order to find out what happens.

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