Saturday, July 30, 2016

Ansatsu Kyoshitsu, vol. 4 comments

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Ansatsu Kyoshitsu vol. 4, by Yusei Matsui, Grade B+

Koro-sensei intervenes in Lovro's attempts to pull Irina from the school and sets up a test - whoever "assassinates" Karasuma first gets to choose what happens to Irina. Karasuma wants to know why he has to be the target, but he agrees, and fairly easily damages Lovro's arm so badly that Lovro drops out. Irina shows that she's been studying mantraps as part of her attempts to kill Koro, and she uses a cable trap to get close to Karasuma. He gets bored with this entire escapade and allows Irina to "stab" him with a rubber knife. Lovro accepts this outcome, and he leaves. Meanwhile, Koro is happy at his close shave - he'd agreed to stand still for one second and not evade or retaliate, if Karasuma won the game, and his odds of surviving Karasuma's attacks for that long had terrified him.

(Lovro attempts to take Karasuma out using the direct approach.)

This is followed by Koro taking Karuma and Nagisa to Hawai'i at Mach 20 to watch a rubber suit monster movie. When it's over, Koro is crying unstoppably at the sad ending, then he races to another student's house to help with their homework, as promised. He zips past a white-robed figure and a blank-eyed long-haired boy that thinks Koro is his older brother. The next day, the class is told to welcome another transfer student. Ritsu tells them that this "monster" was scheduled to show up when she did, but he was delayed because his destruction was so uncontrolled. When the long-haired boy walks through the wall to take a seat at the back of the class, the students are already spooked. The robed guy introduces himself as "Shiro" (white), and the boy as Itona Horibe. Itona only has one goal - to be the strongest person in the room. He ignores the other students, and his studies, to attack Koro.

("She's got a ticket to ride, and she don't care.")

There is one material that is guaranteed to cut or melt Koro's body, and this is generally used on the airsoft pellets and rubber knives the students attack him with. Someone manufactured Itona to have tentacle hair that is coated with the same material. Shiro gets Koro to accept a closed-ring dual, with the first person stepping out of the ring losing. When Itona cuts Koro with his tentacle hair, Koro goes insane, demanding to know who the scientist was behind the boy's creation. Shiro refuses to answer, and as the fight proceeds, Koro takes more and more damage. Nagisa starts feeling outraged that an outsider could just waltz in like this and simply take over their assassinations. He takes out his knife and approaches the ring. The next thing anyone knows, Itona attacks with his hair, smashes a huge hole in the floor, and his hair is now melting off. (Koro had grabbed Nagisa's knife without anyone noticing, and put it on the floor, where the anti-Koro coating would have a similar effect on the boy's tentacles.) Koro throws Itona out of the building, winning the match. Unfortunately, Itona goes berserk at being told he's weak, and has to be subdued by one of Shiro's tranq darts. Shiro takes the boy and leaves, refusing to answer Koro's questions, but promising to come back again later. The students demand to know what Koro is, and he replies that he will only tell them if they succeed in killing him.

(Itona, the tentacled little brother.)

The kids now have a reason to improve their skills, and they ask Karasuma to train them harder, which he is more than willing to do. The last chapter has some of the boys in the class entering the school's sports tourney to try to defeat the top-ranked 3-A class team. Koro overtrains his students by throwing 300-kpm balls at them, so they do well in the first 3 at-bats. But, chairman Gakuhou Asano paralyzes the 3-A coach to justify stepping in and taking over the 3-A team. (Note that no one outside of 3-E and the various assassins sent after him are supposed to know of Koro's existence. When he goes outside, he has to be disguised somehow. For the baseball game, he's disguised as one of the balls lying on the ground, and he gives signals by changing face colors.)

(Koro - "Where did you get that technique?" Shiro - "You'll be dead soon, so there's no reason to tell you.")

Summary: The story is getting a little more serious with the introduction of Itona, and Asano has firmly established himself as a bad guy by his continued mistreatment of the 3-E students as incentive for the other classes to keep their grades up. It's pretty easy to root for Nagisa and the other "losers." But, there's still a lot of light-hearted humor, as we explore better living through assassination. Recommended.

Inside cover quote:
"He shows a scarlet circle when you give the right answer.
If you sadly say "You don't have a girlfriend, do you", he shows this expression."

Back inside cover quote:
"Hey, tentacles, that's a Parisian tentacle!!
- Koro-sensei"

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