[Synopsis]: The second season of Ansatsu Kyoushitsu picks up directly after the conclusion of the first season as the student’s summer days draw to an end. With school back in session, Class 3-E continues to hone their skills in order to kill their teacher and prevent the destruction of the world in 5 months time. The competition for the now ¥30 billion bounty on Koro-Sensei’s (Fukuyama Jun) head grows ever fiercer as new and more deadly assassins enter the fray while the class’ rivalry with Class-A and the Kunugigaoka main campus continues to escalate.
Given the numerous problems with the cast that arose within the first season of the show, it was important that this season capitalized on the development and insight that Ansatsu Kyoushitsu previously provided and I would say that for the most part it failed to do so. With 28 students in Class 3-E all receiving various degrees of insight as well as their teachers, rival assassins, and the rest of the Kunugigaoka campus, the show’s cast was still incredibly strained for screen time.
The show spent a good many of its early episodes once again trying to legitimize and bring certain students to light however only the most recognizable characters were the ones to go the extra mile and succeed in their tests or play a more primary role in the assassinations. One second the show would attempt to acknowledge a student by exploring their curricular interests or background right before they once again they became a non-factor, only to be called upon briefly for their singular, contributory trait. With that said, a small handful of characters received some decent characterization this season.
On a developmental level, the class doesn’t exhibit hardly any in-fighting whereas there were notable groups and schisms before which at least shows some progress on the part of the class as a whole. Nagisa’s aptitude for assassination being tied to how he interacts with his mother and her moods was an interesting observation. Koro-sensei’s background which knitted together many of the concepts raised throughout the series was perhaps the show’s strongest narrative points.
To continue the trend of people outside of Class 3-E being characterized as being nearly pure-evil, the board chairman Asano Gakuhou steps up his game this seaoson. Not only does he actively beat students to a bloody mess but he also exhibits the ability to effectively brainwash students into seemingly mindless, teeth-gnashing, zombies which drains the show of any possible validity in the scenes where they are concerned. His backstory does very little to contextually forgive his misdeeds or back his actions with sufficient reasoning. Nagisa’s mother, at least upon introduction, similarly proves that the ‘Us versus Them’ mentality is still going strong in Ansatsu Kyoushitsu which causes the same issues as it did before.
Compared to the first season of the show, Ansatsu Kyoushitsu’s second season is much the same – sporting an aggressively vibrant and colorful palette with effectively no quality drops all throughout. Those familiar with the first installment of the show should be unsurprised by the new season’s maintained aesthetic, art, and animation.
After picking up exactly where the prior season left off, the new season dive right back into the same episodic formula utilized by the first season to validate and spotlight certain characters through certain personality traits or skill sets. The second season as a whole follows a very similar pattern of events as the first, at first launching into the student’s day-to-day lives and the comedy therein – usually focusing upon a single Class 3-E member in doing so. The show then transitions into a school-centric, test-taking period before ultimately arriving at its overarching premise involving Koro-sensei, the end of the world, and the numerous parties involved. Given the content addressed in the first season as well as the necessity to end the story, the second season of Ansatsu Kyoushitsu features a good many more plot developments and more serious subject matter near its conclusion than the previous installment.
The strongest part of the new season was unquestionably Koro-sensei’s backstory which had been hinted at throughout the first season and which was finally revealed around the show’s midsection. The reason it was such an especially effective story was because it was, by means of being addressed through a lengthy flashback, tonally emancipated from the rest of the show. Many of Ansatsu Kyoushitsu’s issues arise from its confused and conflicting tones and subject matter and so many of its action and drama sequences are notably tarnished by their juxtaposition to less serious or weaker scenes. Koro-sensei’s flashback however was given its own space within the show and was allowed to speak for itself and this approach worked quite well. It pulled together different, referenced material from across all of the show in a very comprehensive way, the setting fit the story being told, and it worked fantastically for the show as a short, insightful character vignette.
Though the season shares many of the same narrative problems as the first season – from the binary nature of the antagonistic characters to the often poorly explored parallels between school and assassination, to the show’s inability to properly highlight or explain all of the characters needed to make the cast compelling, the second season of Ansatsu Kyoushitsu did finish out in a relatively strong fashion. The conclusion of the show tied together it’s most pervasive themes, addressed each of the characters as best it could in a comprehensive and fair way, and tied up whatever loose plot ends remained. Insofar as tone and subject matter, a more perfect conclusive 2 episodes could not have been crafted as they accomplish precisely what the show set out to do.
Much like the similarity between the first season’s visuals and the second, the soundtrack remains the same and supports the show in the same way as it did before. There were notably more insert songs near the end of the show used to decent, dramatic effect.
[Final Thoughts and Rating]:
While the second season of Ansatsu Kyoushitsu failed to improve upon a lot of the critical issues exhibited by its predecessor, it was a stronger season than the first given the narrative intrigue and strength of Koro-sensei’s backstory and the shows ultimate conclusion.
Despite the new season’s occasional successes, they weren’t enough to overcome the issues the show cultivated during its first installment. Ansatsu Kyoushitsu’s comedy remained poorly juxtaposed to its attempted drama which heavily compromised its tone and the legitimacy of its darker scenes. The cast still felt underdeveloped and overall uninteresting though a few strides were made in the cases of Nagisa, Koro-sensei, and Kaede. Had the rest of the show measured up to the second season’s conclusion a considerably higher score would have been possible.
I would recommend Ansatsu Kyoushitsu 2nd Season to anyone who enjoyed the first as I think it improves notably in some areas and I think anybody who has found themselves invested in any of the characters will find the show’s later episodes to be very engaging. There are still plenty of comedy and action elements to go around and if their juxtaposition doesn’t rub the viewer the wrong way, I think they will find the show quite enjoyable.