Assassination Classroom
Episode 14

by Paul Jensen,

Assassination Classroom has left plenty of questions unanswered when it comes to Koro Sensei. His past remains a mystery, but at least this episode finally lets us know what he looks like in an old-fashioned bathing suit. I'm perfectly happy with this, because the visual is every bit as funny as I could have hoped. Oh, and there's also a story about one of the class E kids mixed in there to help fill out the extra airtime.

I'm not sure I ever knew Terasaka's name until this episode; he was just the cranky jerk who was never happy about anything. The delinquent among delinquents finally gets his turn in the spotlight this week, conspiring with Shiro and Itona to kill Koro Sensei once and for all. Of course, the plan doesn't quite work out as advertised. With his classmates in danger, will Terasaka turn out to be a decent guy after all? Of course he will. The real question is whether or not we'll care when he does.

Terasaka stands out within class E as the only student who isn't happy to have Koro Sensei around. He describes himself as the kind of guy who's always looking for an easy way to float through life, and being told to try harder by a big yellow octopus doesn't sit too well with him. Given how comfortable the series has become with painting class E as a united group, it's actually kind of refreshing to see someone who still just sees Koro Sensei as a potential payday. Terasaka's a jerk and a bully, but at least he's honest with himself about it.

The concept behind this episode may be a good one, but the finished product isn't as compelling as it ought to be. The biggest issue is that there's never any real sense of risk during the assassination attempt. By this point in the series, we can safely assume that Koro Sensei will always find a way to keep his students safe when things get serious. By the same token, there's no danger that the show's most iconic character will get himself killed or even seriously injured in a standalone episode. When the dam blows up and the kids get swept downstream, it feels like more like just another plot point than an actual crisis.

Given the difficulty of generating any big thrills, I would've liked to see this episode go for a stronger emotional punch. Terasaka takes some heat for his attitude, especially from Karma, but it's all too straightforward and generic to get the job done. “School bully decides to be a nicer guy” works for Saturday morning cartoons, but it's beneath the standards of Assassination Classroom. It would've been more interesting to forget the action scenes and just focus on Terasaka struggling to make peace with someone he used to push around. Redemption is tougher to find when you can't conveniently play the hero, and it makes for a more powerful conclusion when it's earned the hard way.

Even if the story is weak, this episode does at least bring the show's sense of humor back to the fore. Nobody plays the fool quite like Koro Sensei, and he provides a number of fantastic visuals here. His lifeguard outfit is worth a laugh, and his allergic reactions are funny in a gross sort of way. Having the class E kids call Koro Sensei out for his weirder quirks works as well as it always does, though that's hardly a surprise. This show remains impressively adept at poking fun at itself.

This episode works, but it's not really up to par with the rest of the series. For a show that thrives on being weird and creative, this storyline is simply too generic in its execution. An extra revision or two would've gone a long way here, but at least the humor is good enough to pick up some of the slack.

Rating: B-

Assassination Classroom is currently streaming on Funimation.

Paul Jensen is a freelance writer and editor. You can follow more of his anime-related ramblings on Twitter.

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