The school restaurant fair showdown between Classes E & A turns out not to be the main story for this volume. It’s dealt with pretty early on as the resourcefulness of Class E shows that they can at least go the distance against Class A even when the odds are so thoroughly stacked against them. We also get some follow-up to a couple previous plot threads as Nagisa has a second encounter with the rich boy from the tropical island who thought the student was a girl, and mangaka Yusei Matsui makes another effort to have Nagisa’s mom come off as an actual person instead of a manic collection of impulses. However, this conflict does segue seamlessly into the next arc as final exams begin. While we’ve been down this test road before, the catch here is that Principal Asano is going to handle the test prep for Class A. So the battle this time is going to be a real clash of ideologies between the principal and Koro-sensei.
Asano gets a lot of the focus for the latter half of this volume, and that turns out to be a very good thing. He’s been used quite well as the Lex Luthor to Koro-sensei’s Superman in this series, as a villain who is to all outward appearances a well-functioning and successful member of society to the point that he can’t be dealt with by being punched into submission for his villainy. So it comes down to seeing whether or not Asano’s teaching skills and his ability to fan the flames of hate in his charges will triumph over Koro-sensei’s more compassionate methods.
That I probably don’t have to tell you how that turns out is certainly a flaw, but Matsui at least provides a good explanation for why it happens in this situation, and it’s always a joy to see his action-filled gonzo interpretations of how the students conquer their tests. This sets us up for a final showdown between Asano and Koro-sensei which also looks to reveal the principal’s history and show us how he developed his ruthless methods. I have a feeling that his status as the “Luthor” of this series won’t be applicable after we’re done here, yet I’m fine with that. As long as their development is handled well there’s no reason that characters in mega-popular series should be able to change as the story goes on. Well, except for Luthor himself, you know.