As readers may or may not know, when reviewing TV shows it’s my preference to, when reviewing individual episodes, to review them in blocks of “story”. In general I’ve not had to worry about this too much when it comes to Assassination Classroom. In general Assassination Classroom has only tackled shorter stories, with some episodes even having multiple stories per episode, with the exception of the Episode 15/16 two-parter.
Comparatively then Episodes 17-22 are quite a departure from the rest of the series, encompassing 6 episodes. In a sense it could almost be a sub-series on its own, tying together the first series into a second series. But it’s not. For all intents and purposes this is a finale — and it packs quite a punch! While there’s a lot going on in them they all carry the story forward very smoothly, moving from one plot point together, episode to episode.
The story takes place at the Okinawa island resort the class won the right to visit over Summer by beating the Big Five in 15/16. While there Class 3-E organises their best assassination attempt yet, drawing from the individual skills of all of the class members. It’s great to see all the little bits throughout the season come to the head in this final proper assassination attempt for the season. While they don’t succeed, they come the closest yet, forcing Koro-sensei to use his ultimate defence, making himself completely invincible for 24 hours, but stuck inside a crystal ball, unable to move.
It’s here that plot really starts to get going, towards the end of episode 18, Action Time. A large number of the class suddenly fall sick with a mysterious illness. This is revealed to be the work of a mysterious figure, who demands Karasuma and the students bring him Koro-sensei in exchange for an antidote. Naturally they don’t agree, and instead decide to go and steal the antidote, which is being held at a high-security hotel. This is where the finale really kicks into gear, as Karasuma, Irina, and Koro-sensei lead fifteen of the students through the hotel’s security, eventually encountering the antagonist’s private security, three of his hired assassins, and himself.
The antagonist is revealed to be Takaoka in Episode 21. This was a very pleasant surprise to me, as I previously spoke very highly of his last and first appearance in Episode 13 Talent Time. He was a truly despicable character that allowed the show to explore some interesting, if somewhat disturbing, themes. It was really great to see the show revisit this, and to dwell and close on it.
Largely the conceit of this finale is allowing Class 3-E to show off of the skills they’ve acquired over the season without having to fall back on Koro-sensei for anything other than verbal advice. No longer do they have to rely on Koro-sensei to get them out of scrapes, such as in Episode 7 when he must save them on the school trip from bullies and abductors. Even if that were to happen again they wouldn’t need Koro-sensei. They’d have no trouble if they encountered them again. And, while they do have trouble with the antagonist’s hired assassins, they manage to pull through.
The finale might seem a little long at 6 episodes, but enough happens for it to be deserved. It really gives the show some much needed space to breath out and show what it’s capable of, and hammer home the points, themes, and character progression that’s been bubbling away over the entire season. While still very funny in places (the initial assassination attempt on Koro-sensei had me chuckling out loud), Assassination Classroom remains unafraid to tackle some darker themes, right up until the climax.
While the season might have had a bit of shaky start, Assassination Classroom hit its stride quite quickly, and this finale seems like a natural conclusion to it, taking all of the separate elements that have made previous episodes enjoyable and showing how they all work together to create something that each element individually would be unable to do.
I’m very interested in following the story on, hopefully with a second season. This first season has been very good, and its shown that it can do some great things. Let’s hope there’s more to come.
I may write a review of the whole season in the future, but as I enjoyed this finale so much, I think I can recommend it already!