Review: Assassination Classroom Vol. 3

This is actually the first time I’ve read Assassination Classroom. I’ve been following the anime series which is currently airing and I figured I knew enough from the show to be able to jump over to the manga. That’s not something I usually do because I had a bad experience with Maken-Ki in which I read the manga and passed the show and then the show went a different route (extremely different in the second season) and I hated it. My rule since has been that I stick with manga if I start with manga and vice versa for anime. So I broke my rule, but I’m kind of glad I did. The only problem is that by the time I read this the next episode of Assassination Classroom released and it covered half of this volume. Pretty much tells me not to get attached to the anime because it’s going to run out of material soon enough or that the manga releases won't be able to keep up with show.

But we’re here to talk about the manga which was charming in its own way. I wasn’t initially sold on this idea, but it’s continued to get better and better and I can see why people like the manga as it has a balance of comedy and heart. The show is a little unbalanced in my opinion, but this third volume of Assassination Classroom is very balanced.

The volume picks up with the class trip and two of the female students being kidnapped. Forgive me if I don’t write everyone’s names, it is a large class of students and they’re all distinctly illustrated for a reason. It’s so you’ll remember them by sight over name. I’m not going to spoil the conclusion to the kidnapping, but let’s just say that Koro Sensei’s gigantic travel guide really does cover everything.

Assassination Classroom Vol. 3The next big chapter of the story introduces a new assassin that works with the students as they find ways to put Koro Sensei in his sights. Why? I don’t know because if you don’t have a bullet that can go mach 21 it seems pointless, but it’s all good and fun. The trip ends in a hotel with the students gossiping and Koro Sensei causing trouble. It’s great because it’s something I’ve seen countless times before as it’s a staple of any teenage focused manga or anime, but the fact that it turns into an assassination event makes it different and amusing.

After the trip a new student is introduced and it’s… well it’s strange like a lot of the series is. I don’t want to spoil it, but it’s different and alludes to where the story is going. Things have been somewhat realistic in the series and I know how that sounds, but it really has. The fact that there's still learning and school says everything, but that could change. It’s clear that it’s about to take a bigger step into the realm of fantasy, but as long as it keeps the heart it should be fine.

That’s the thing that won me over eventually is the heart. The student’s predicament in their school is honestly more interesting than the assassination, but it only exists because of that. They’re very symbiotic because of that. If you remove Koro Sensei it would just be a sad drama and no real story. I’m looking forward to how the principal will play into the story going forward and can’t wait for the conflict that’s pending.

The art is solid. Obviously it’s in all black and white, but it works. The details are never overpowering, but you can see why the animation goes all out to give the art that opportunity it doesn’t have here. In particular I liked the notes on Koro Sensei as they worked better in print. They were actually amusing whereas on the anime they’re random and annoying. Here they act like a part of the story and add to it rather than detract.

Since the fun of this series is speculating how it will end, my guess is that Nagisa will be the one to do in the teacher. The thing is, I think it would destroy him emotionally, but that’s something we’ll just have to wait and see on. I don’t see this series coming to an end any time soon and while I’m not just going to start reading the weekly chapters of the series, I have to imagine that creator Yusei Matsui has a trick up his sleeve to extend it need be.

I wasn’t disappointed by this chapter. In fact it made me like the property all the more. Unless you’re watching the anime I wouldn’t start here, but definitely start somewhere as this series has proved to be one to pay attention to. It’s that perfect balance of action, comedy and heart that when it clicks it really hooks you. You might want to catch up quick as four more volumes are planned for this year alone!

Score: 4/5

Assassination Classroom Vol. 3 Writer/Artist/Creator: Yusei Matsui Publisher: Viz Media Price: $9.99 Release Date: 4/7/15 Format: Trade Paperback; Print