As an Australian who got his education at an Australian school, taught by Australian teachers, surrounded by Australian friends and Australian environments…it has always been hard relating to the average Anime or Manga student seeing as, well…they’re Japanese, and the two cultures don’t have much crossover. I’ve never had a fellow student take roll call, I’ve never eaten lunch on the school roof, I’ve never had to change into sports gear midway through the day, and I’ve never been introduced to a transfer student. In comparison to the Japanese school lifestyle…my education days were terribly boring.
Volume Three of Yusei Matsui’s Assassination Classroom finishes off the small arc that started midway through Volume Two, which saw Class-E head off on a trip to Kyoto only to promptly run into trouble…typical of students from the Assassination Classroom. Unlike what I experienced in Volumes One and Two, what I was reading in Volume Three simply didn’t hit me in the same way. Especially the first half of the volume. The great jokes that once made me chuckle out loud, in Volume Three, didn’t hit my funny bone in the slightest. In fact, the whole school trip arc didn’t really do anything for me. It simply didn’t have what the previous two volumes had me expecting from the series as a whole.
The final third of the volume actually played host to a nice little introductory arc that had readers meet a brand-new classmate unlike any other we’ve seen before. What’s crazy is that, in a Manga about an alien teacher threatening to destroy the world if his students fail to kill him…this new girl is one of the more outlandish characters we’ve had the pleasure of meeting to date. The great thing about this character is that she actually comes across as such a likeable addition to the main crew, which is hard to believe when I inform you that she’s essentially a giant flat screen television with built-in artificial intelligence and the ability to evolve. Matsui pulls off a quick but ultimately positive piece of character development for this young robot lady that, at first, seems somewhat forced but after careful consideration does indeed come across as natural in a way.
I’ve always thought of Yusei Matsui as a Mangaka that, while good at his craft, has a lot to learn not only in terms of overall technique but in panel placement and engaging imagery. Volume Three, visually, is actually somewhat boring. I found myself staring at some of the panels and thinking that it was surely drawn by one of his less-experienced assistants and not by the man himself. Line work seemed sloppy at times, panels were left mostly blank, and character illustrations had little to no detail. At times, it even looked as though Matsui settled for drawings not even he was confident in. Whether or not that is the case is up for debate but I can assure you that it’s the way it came across. Matsui still knows how to draw insanity though, which mostly comes in the form of Koro-Sensei and his antics.
Having to sit through such dull character illustrations really made getting through this volume tough for me, but it really helped me appreciate just how amazing Matsui is at illustrating backgrounds and environments. What the character drawings lacked, the settings of the story made up for in spades. I was actually surprised to see just how well he can draw a landscape especially after feeling down about the way he draws his human characters. Every background image was beautifully detailed with a traditional shadowing style that really accentuates Matsui’s classic illustration training. It’s unfortunate he didn’t put that effort into the rest of the drawings. Still, he knows what he’s doing when it comes to drawing action scenes, I only wish there were more of them throughout because it’s with them that he shows how good he truly is.
Volume Three of Assassination Classroom only served as a huge let down for me. I hate to say it because I feel as though I’ve become very much attached to the characters and, in fact, the series as a whole but I have to be completely honest; it just wasn’t that interesting of a read. The plot was very thin this time around and only one small arc featured any depth. Luckily that arc was the most predominant of those featured in this volume but that still doesn’t make this volume any more enjoyable for me.
As a whole, it just didn’t feature the same things that made me love volumes one and two. The humour that hooked me into the series seemed to be taking a day off. None of the jokes landed or were to broad to be funny, and in a comedy Manga you simply cannot have it that way. The heart-warming scenes of character depth also took a back seat to the less-than-desired plot lines. It simply wasn’t the best volume of Assassination Classroom BUT because of what it’s delivered in the past I will continue to read on in the hopes that it returns to its former glory. My hope is that this is just a small speed bump in what is a long and beautiful road.
Study up! Buy Assassination Classroom Volume Two at Madman Entertainment’s official site: Click here