Saturday, August 6, 2016

Ansatsu Kyoshitsu, vol. 6 comments

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Ansatsu Kyoshitsu vol. 6, by Yusei Matsui, Grade B+

The pool story continues, with the students developing a plot to assassinate Koro in the water, assuming that he is vulnerable to that. Meg Kataoka, the swimmer/class rep, has made a hair clip knife for just such a situation. Meg, however, has her own problems. She's attractive on the masculine side, and gets lots of love letters from both boys and girls in the school, and her nickname is Ikemeg (a play on "ikemen", which translates to "girly-boy"). She's become the puppet of one girl named Kokona. Kokona had asked Meg to teach her to swim to impress her classmates during a trip to the ocean. She was overcome by the waves and has since been taking advantage of Meg to get free tutoring in other school subjects. Koro learns of this situation and warns Meg that this relationship is unhealthy and she needs to end it fast. The solution is to move Kokona's bed to the 3-E pool, and have Nagisa, Meg, Kayano and Koro dress up as mer-people to teach Kokona how to swim in a supposed dream sequence. Koro enters the water, but either uses a fish suit, or a pail to keep the water from touching him. The whirlpool Koro's bailing creates is so strong that Kokono improves just as a survival tactic. Later, she wins a swimming competition, which Meg uses as an excuse to say "now we're even"." Kokona curses having lost her hold over Ikemeg.

(The Dream of the Mer-People, with Kokona in the lower right panel.)

In the end, Koro confirms that water drains his strength, saying that the class' plan to use his weakness against him is a good one. However, the next day, the pool equipment is destroyed. Turns out that Ryouma Terasaka (the one that had tried to sacrifice Nagisa with a pellet grenade in volume 1) is upset, and he has his gang sabotage the pool and the classroom because of it. Eventually, we learn the reason is that before coming to Kunugigaoka Jr. High, Ryouma had been a really good student that loved to become pals with his weaker classmates. Once at Kunugigaoka, he tried making friends with one of the 3-A class members, and had been thoroughly intimidated by their insistence on studying hard only to become middle managers in a faceless company somewhere. Ryouma willingly allowed himself to drop down to 3-E, where everyone was more relaxed and had no goals. No goals, that is, until Koro showed up. Ryouma partners with Shiro and Itona to get rid of Koro. Shiro supplies a chemical that Koro is allergic to, and a pistol, plus a lot of cash. Pretty quickly, though, Ryouma's gang switches sides because Koro is helping them with their homework. In disgust, Ryouma uses the chemical in the classroom, and the next day, attempts to shoot Koro with the gun. The problem is that Shiro has his own plans. The gun sends a signal to a bomb at the drain gate of the pool, and when the gate blows open, all the students in the pool are swept downstream to a waterfall some 20-30 meters away. Koro rescues many of the kids, but the contact with the water takes its toll, and he's weakened by the time Itona starts attacking him (Itona's hair has been shortened to make the tentacle strikes stronger, and his eyes modified for faster reflexes). Ryouma is in shock and denial, saying that he never intended to put his classmates in danger (Shiro is hoping for at least 3-5 deaths, to throw Koro into greater despair). Karuma finds Ryouma and smashes him in the face, telling him to fix his own messes, then notices that the bully hasn't changed clothes yet. Ryouma flips sides and trash talks Itona into attacking him. The allergy powder coating  Ryouma's shirt also affects Itona, and as the boy is sneezing, Koro rescues the last of the trapped students, and Ryouma gets the rest of the class to do cannonballs into the river, making Itona's tentacles useless. Shiro admits defeat again, and Itona refuses to back down again. Koro asks the boy to join the fun in the class, and Itona runs away. Ryouma finally admits that he likes having Koro as a teacher after all.

(Koro versus Itona, round 2. Note how the water makes Koro's tentacles swell up in the panel to the left.)

The mid-term tests are coming up, and Koro tells the class that his previous goal of having everyone in the school top 50 was too ambitious. This time, he'll let the students shoot off one tentacle for every one that takes top standing in one specific subject. The subjects are math, Japanese, English, etc., for a total of six. Losing one tentacle causes him to lose power and speed, and sacrificing 6 of the 7 tentacles will make him extremely vulnerable to attacks. With this new goal, the students knuckle down and study. Unfortunately, the chairman of the school, Gakuhou, really wants 3-E to fail to maintain the status quo. He has two tactics to play. First is to have the test developers create, not "mondai" (problems) but "mon-sters" (i.e. - tough test problems). The second is to egg on class 3-A's top student, his son, Asano. Asano hates his father, but a stupid bet by one of the other 3-A students would allow him to find out Koro-sensei's secret (even Asano doesn't know what Koro is, or what the 3-E students are learning). (The bet is that the winners can make the losers do their bidding, and Asano wants to use this to get one of the students to spill the beans on Koro.) Kazutaka Shindo, the 3-A baseball ace, calls Sugino to warn him about 3-A's top 5 students - Asano (most subjects), Teppei Araki (media), Ren Sakakibara (arts), Natsuhiko Koyama (memorization) and Tomoya Seo (languages).

(One of the Mon-sters/Mon-stars, in the top right panel. Asano in the lower left.)

The remainder of the chapter has 3-E studying. A new student shows up in class, an ugly girl that is the physical stand-in for Ritsu, the super computer. Then it's time for gladiatorial test combat (again).

Summary: Fun, fun, fun. I'm loving Koro, Nagisa, and friends. Recommended. The only reason I don't give the manga an "A" grade is that the character artwork is a bit crude and inconsistent from panel to panel.

Inside cover quote:
"A purple "x" face means the impossible or not permitted.
No! Absolutely not!"

Back inside cover quote:
"While handwriting with tentacles, the tentacles get snarled in a tangle...////
- Class 3-E, Koro-sensei"

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