Talent Time

Synopsis

After 4 months of training, Karasuma has seen great improvement in everyone’s abilities as assassins. And a new teacher joins them, Akira Takaoka. Who instantly invites everyone for snacks. But after some very quick research, Karasuma realises that Takaoka may be a bit more than he wanted for the kids. The students also realise as he knees a student in the stomach for disobedience.

Karasuma wants to put a stop to this violence and Takaoka puts down a challenge to select the best student and try to kill him with real knives. Takaoka remembers when he beat up new recruits using the same strategy ensuring their obedience and believes that this will also work on the students. Karasuma chooses Nagisa for the task but wonders if Takaoka’s no mercy approach is really unnecessary.

Nagisa can’t forgive Takaoka’s methods and agrees to the task. Irina questions Karasuma’s choice, but Koro tells her to watch.

Takaoka has an image of an easy victory in his mind that Nagisa wouldn’t be able to use the knife to stab a real person and then beat him up enough that will render all the students into fearing and obeying him.

Nagisa employs the tactic he used on Koro, casually walks up to Takaoka and strikes for the throat. At the second of fear from Takaoka, Nagisa moves behind him and instantly has a knife to his throat winning the match.

Takaoka is, unsurprisingly, fuming at this and turns on Nagisa, but Karasuma intercepts and even Gakuho comes by to publicly fire him.

With that, this short turmoil ends happily with Karasuma taking the students out for some snacks for keeping his job.

Thoughts

Another filler ish type of episode, but I think the characters it focused on this episode have been due some attention. Those being Karasuma and his opinions on teaching so far and Nagisa, who’s stayed fairly quiet and uninvolving in terms of contribution to attempts.

As much as I’ve seen Nagisa around, he isn’t that interesting of a character. In fact, I’d say he seems like me, an analyst, someone who likes to be in the background and figure things out so that others can pull off the important things. Because of that though, it in turn makes him a little boring and a little unnoticeable. Of course, with him seemingly one of the main characters, this anime has done well to make him very visible, but not really that exciting, unlike Karma for example. Especially when he’s around all these extremely colourful characters. So I’m quite glad he got some much needed screen time to flesh out more of his ‘talents’ and show what a truly terrifying person he can be.

For a character that seems to be guiding the story along with his thoughts, and not getting overly involved, it’s really refreshing to see that he actually has quite a hidden threat to him. That killer instinct that Nagisa has makes him a much more interesting character and knowing how to use his abilities to his advantage was very clever. He didn’t need for amazingly planned out move to take out Takaoka. Although I would say that it was a little over simplified, but hey, I guess if you’re in the military who aren’t used to civilians, you wouldn’t see it coming. And so, for Nagisa, who was at a disadvantage, it was the perfect plan.

Although, I will say one thing, sure Takaoka’s psychotic, but his educational approach isn’t unfamiliar. It’s a no pain no gain approach. Like in China where you’ll get a literal slap on the wrist if you do something wrong. I did half grow up in that environment so I can’t say it’s completely bad. But I am biased, I still see pain as a good way for some people to learn. Of course, I’m not condoning what he’s doing as it’s quite obvious he’s gone a little over the top.

Though, for an assassination like this one, perhaps this exaggerated no pain no gain approach would be the best? As he said, half will fall and half will turn into proper assassins. Those half will probably turn into emotionless puppets only aiming to kill which in turn, as Koro said, have a rather predictable way of killing. So, maybe this isn’t the right method for a Koro assassination. I think no one can argue that he’s going to be different from a ‘standard’ assassination.

It was also nice to see some thoughts from Karasuma about his teaching position. We don’t usually hear too much about how he’s taking this change of scenery, from the military elite to school teacher. And actually, Karasuma does have reservations about turning an entire class of young children into professional assassins. I’m sure I’ve mentioned something similar before, but if not, I’ll mention it now and it’s that surely your morals will be bothering you when you’re trying to turn children into assassins. They didn’t volunteer for this, it was unfortunate that it was thrust upon them and Karasuma seems to realise this.

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