I found the start of the current arc in the previous volume to be pretty underwhelming and it gets even worse here! It’s awful! Horrible! I’ve now lost all faith in this series and the world is now a dark and empty place because… I’m just kidding about all that, really. The conclusion to the “Grim Reaper” arc won’t win any points for originality, but it does a satisfying resolution here. That’s mainly because we get to see Mr. Karasuma in full-on badass mode as he goes toe-to-toe with the Grim Reaper and comes out on top… with some inventive and elaborate help from Koro-sensei and the kids of Class E. He also dishes out something that is as elusive as it is satisfying to witness: a well-executed nutshot. As for Ms. Vitch, her sudden-but-inevitable betrayal is followed up with an equally sudden-but-inevitable redemption as she switches sides just in time to turn the tide and is subsequently welcomed back by the kids and Mr. Karasuma. On the bright side, subsequent chapters show that she’s no longer dressing with the sole intent of providing fanservice for the reader, so that’s a plus.
The second half of this volume is much more interesting as Koro-sensei engages in some career counseling with his students. While this allows for some amusing vignettes that help to flesh out some of the lesser-developed characters in the series so far, Nagisa winds up being the focus of this arc. Not only is the issue of his potential as an assassin addressed head-on here, but we also see how he developed those kinds of skills in the first place. They were necessary for dealing with his mom who is DETERMINED that her son get out of Class E so he can get into a good college (the one she didn’t get into) and get a job a a prestigious trading company (the one that didn’t hire her). Nagisa’s mom is a frightening character because her borderline-psychotic mood swings are grounded in all-too-familiar fears and insecurities. While she’s the perfect kind of antagonist for this series, mangaka Yusei Matsui pushes the visual representation of her mood swings a bit too far as they don’t suggest an individual who would be placated by the resolution presented here. Still, the arc is worthwhile for the additional insight it provides into Nagisa’s character and the next one looks quite promising as Class E faces off again against Class A to have the most profitable booth at the upcoming school festival.