「野球の時間」 (Yakyuu no Jikan)
Aside from the tentacle jokes to be made, this week’s episode was fairly straightforward, a bit clumsy, but still fairly solid for establishing the story. Let’s dive right into it!
The first half reaffirmed much about the conclusions we made last episode. Koro-sensei cares much about this specific class and their success employing various methods to achieve that goal. For sensei, actions of his rarely seem wasteful; weird and illogical behaviours end up serving class 3-E’s students in some way…usually. What was a casual baseball game ended up becoming a sign of affirmation for this week’s student focus: Tomohito Sugino (Yamaya Yoshitaka). Whereas last week had a message of looking out for each other, this week focused on a message of using one’s strengths and not being pressured by one’s idols. Both are basic messages, but consequently they give Ansatsu the sort of wide appeal that even those outside the shounen demographic can enjoy. What’s interesting about these messages is the unorthodox practice of said morals via assassination. At surface, it’s a mismatch of ideas, but perhaps for Koro-sensei, this is his way of inspiring this downtrodden class to try their absolute best. By placing himself as a target with a high reward, Koro-sensei inspires the students to creatively and diligently improve their strengths to overcome him. It’s a crafty blend of good teaching combined with the thrill of impending doom.
This style of teaching stands out with the rest of Kunugigaoka Junior High, a big target of a statement concerning education in contemporary Japan. The whip of competition and the fear of falling behind is what spurs the students of the main campus, to avoid shame and feelings of inferiority. There is no joy to their learning, yet that same lack of joy spurs them to apparently become the top that they can be. Humanely speaking, this is not a desirable situation; while being downright depressing, such life skills are not conducive to self-actualization and a positive self-image. As the show will show us in the coming episodes, class 3-E has it great at this point–although they were not born with innate talent or other benefits, it is their assassination mission that will show them that they can exceed what they believe they can do and achieve what they once believed impossible. Rather than encouraging a boring formula, Koro-sensei loves creativity from his students, even if those ideas are flawed or incorrect. By encouraging his students to dare to fail, Koro-sensei is able to help them learn from those mistakes positively and have them aim even higher. Again, not a ground-breaking statement, but in terms of education, it is a relevant topic of interest worth repeating.
The second half was fairly straightforward in showing us more about Koro-sensei’s weaknesses and his human traits, but towards the end, we see the military getting serious, sending a professional assassin/psychopath into the fray as a student undercover. Though it’s highly likely this assassin is going to get owned hard and taught a valuable lesson, the introduction of more interesting challenges should make the assassination attempts more entertaining to watch. As those meticulous notes from Nagisa continue to grow, hopefully so do the elaborate plans of class 3-E.