Class Black (in Japanese: 黒組), also known as Black Class are the main antagonistic/protagonistic faction in the manga Akuma No Riddle (Riddle Story of Devil in English) and its anime adaptation. Although most members (students) introduced in the story are the main characters, the organization as a whole can be considered a major villainous faction in the story.
Myojo Academy's secret Deadly Game disguised as a high school class of thirteen girls. In reality, this is an assassination game where twelve assassins compete to be the first to kill the target within the class. In a twist, one of them decides to protect the target and despite this, the game is on.
The true nature of Class Black is revealed to Tokaku and Haru (who already knows) by the Myojo Academy chairwoman Meichi Yuri. It is a trial to test Haru and her "Queen Bee" ability and see if she can survive from other assassins targeting her. If Haru succeeds, she will be the new "Primer" for her and Meichi's clan.
Rules of the Game
- Each of the 12 assassins are given one warning letter to be sent to Haru before their assassination attempt. An assassin can only send a letter once in the game. The inclusion of the assassin's name within the letter itself is not a requirement.
- An assassin is given 48 hours after Haru receives the letter to assassinate her. Multiple letters can be received at a time, therefore the 48 hours allotted to each assassin may overlap. Failure to succeed within those 48 hours will result in immediate expulsion from the class.
- Outside parties such as other students or teachers cannot be involved in the competition, although assassins within the class may freely involve one another in their assassination attempts. Involving outside parties, whether intentionally or otherwise, will result in immediate expulsion from the class.
- If an assassination attempt is successful, that assassin will be rewarded with any one thing they desire. If the reward requested does not solely benefit the assassin herself, then the reward will still be given regardless of whether the assassin is killed in the process.
- For example, Haruki Sagae requested for her family to be fed for the rest of their lives, therefore even if she were to die, her family would still receive the reward.
Myojo AcademyMyojo Academy is a major academic campus that integrates grades K through college. The Black Class is opened for enrollment at an interval of every couple years to over a dozen years. Deep under the academy, there is a large cemetery to honor all of the people who died for the clan. There are no bodies or bones located in the cemetery, just the names of the dead. The location of Myojo Academy was originally a place for burial; the school was built later to console the souls of the dead with the voices of children living on into the future.
Myojo Academy Board Chairwoman
Meichi Yuri is the true main antagonist in Akuma no Riddle, she is also the true main Big Bad. She is the unknown chairwoman of Myojo Private School and responsible for the creation of Class Black. She monitors both the deadly game and the entire academy. Nio served as her mouthpiece during the assassins' meeting. She is also a former participant of the group. She lasted for six days as another primer candidate.
In Episode 11, Nio introduces Tokaku and Haru to her in the tower building. There, Meichi tells them the real intention of Class Black as a trial for Haru to see if she can be the "Primer" for her and Meichi's clan.
Black Class TeacherAtaru Mizorogi is the current home room teacher of the Black class. Although he is the teacher of the Black Class, he has no idea about the assassination competition that is taking place, or that the students are even assassins in the first place.
Whenever a student is expelled after failing to kill Haru Ichinose, he is told that the student has transferred out due to unknown circumstances.
10th year Black Class (10年黒組 in Japanese)
All students are considered "members" and murderers. All students are teenage girls specialized in killing, some of them are serial killers, bounty hunters, terrorists, murderers and among many other professions that involve murders.
Student No° 1 - Tokaku AzumaThe No. 1 of Class Black, the protagonist of the story. Tokaku Azuma is a distant and cold girl who comes from the infamous Azuma family, a feared family of skilled assassins. Though Tokaku appears strong with her stoicism, she is mentally rather weak, easily influenced by others, and makes little decisions for herself. Tokaku dislikes it when other people try to get close to her, and she especially hates being called by her first name, but Haru compromises and calls her "Tokaku-san". She is skilled with using knives, and has exceptionally quick reflexes. It is soon revealed that Tokaku has never killed anyone before, despite possessing very useful skills as an assassin, due to the influence of her mother and aunt not wanting her to become a murderer like them. During her time in Class Black, Tokaku becomes Haru's protector, for reasons even she does not know.
The reason Tokaku defected to Haru's side was that she was unconsciously influenced by Haru's "queen bee" ability. In the anime she ends up resuming her attempt to assassinate Haru in order to find out for sure if her defection has been an exercise of her own free will all along. She successfully stabs her, only to express in regret her wish to be with Haru. However, Haru ends up surviving the attack, leading to Tokaku's expulsion. After Haru's graduation, Tokaku, now understanding that her attraction to Haru has nothing to do with Haru's manipulative ability, reunites with Haru.
Student No° 2 - Isuke InukaiNo. 2 of Class Black, a selfish and haughty girl. She is very blunt and quick to express her opinion, and likes to command other people, such as making Haruki call her "Isuke-sama". Isuke's family includes her gay parents, who aren't related to her by blood at all. When she was younger, Isuke was subject to violence from her family, who by the time her adoptive "mother", a professional killer called Eisuke, rescued her from her family have already killed her brother. After rescuing her from her biological parents by killing them, Eisuke adopted and then trained her as a successor (her adoptive father has a legitimate job and is apparently unaware of Eisuke's true occupation and plan with Isuke). She is proficient in knife fighting.
Her goal is to get money from killing Haru so her parents can retire. She teams up with Shinya but later betrays her. Tokaku successfully intervenes but chooses to spare her and instead merely incapacitate her, leaving her bound and gagged by the time Sumireko finds her. She is the 9th student of Class Black to be expelled. She is seen in the finale going on a vacation in a beach resort with her family, with Eisuke consoling her for failing to kill Haru.
Student No° 3 - Kouko KaminagaNo. 3 of Class Black, the class representative; a quiet, bookish, and somewhat distant girl. She is shown to use both improvised and purposed-made explosives as a weapon. Kōko is an orphan raised by a Christian church to be an assassin. But in spite of training, she isn't cut out for the life of an assassin, which she realizes after accidentally blowing up her mentor. Her wish in exchange for killing Haru is to be able to leave the life of being an assassin altogether.
Kōko is the 2nd student of Class Black to be expelled. Following her expulsion, she leaves the church anyway and, now hunted by agents of her former employer, resolves to fight for her freedom to honor her mentor.
In the final chapter Kouko's shown holding a loaded handgun and luring behind a corner, apparently awaiting a target which she can kill thus this panel implies that she's still an assassin after the black class disbanded. In the final episode, she is seen being chased by two nuns and she shoots them both. She is wearing Irina's crucifix necklace. It is hinted that she'll kill all the assassins in the orphanage where she grew up in order to escape from them and gain her freedom.
Student No° 4 - Hitsugi KirigayaNo. 4 of Class Black, a girl who resembles an elementary-school student. She has a bad sense of direction, as demonstrated when she got lost on her way to Myōjō Academy. Although Hitsugi looks like the horribly unreliable type, she is in reality an assassin part of the organization named Angel's Trumpet, a group of assassins who deal in poison, and is personally responsible for the death of Chitaru's mentor's daughter. During her time at Myōjō Academy, Hitsugi comes to fall in love with Chitaru. She shows a possessiveness of Chitaru, getting enraged at and poisoning Shiena for daring to have feelings for her, leading to Shiena's removal from the class.
After learning Chitaru's true purpose behind coming to Myōjō and actually promising to help, she discloses her identity to Chitaru and subsequently allows Chitaru to kill her with a real dagger during a theatrical play of Romeo and Juliet, where they play the leading roles and the titular characters' mutual suicide at the end. It is then revealed through Nio that Hitsugi's wish was to remain together with Chitaru beyond the end of Class Black, although her initial goal, the one prior to meeting Chitaru, is never made clear.
She and Chitaru Namatame are the 5th and 6th students to be removed from Class Black. It is later revealed that she and Chitaru survived, and Hitsugi is seen visiting Chitaru while she is undergoing rehab at the hospital.
Student No° 5 - Shiena KenmochiNo. 5 of Class Black, a cheerful girl and slightly scatterbrained girl. She is better at analysis than she is at assassination, and was able to figure out Chitaru's and Hitsugi's fighting styles just by watching them closely. Shiena is part of an organization named the Collective Dismissal, made up of victims of severe bullying. As a result, Shiena is very unforgiving of those who bully. Shiena was planning to kill Haru on the day of their stage play; however, on the night of her planned declaration, she was caught and then knocked out with poison by Hitsugi, who personally poisoned her for daring to have feelings for Chitaru. She becomes the 4th student of Class Black to be expelled while remaining hospitalized, as she is judged incapable of resuming the hit before her declaration expires.
The ending of the anime reveals her to be a skilled hacker; following her expulsion, she is seen attempting to hack into the academy in order to expose it to the public. No mention is made of her backstory nor her motive for killing Haru.
Student No° 6 - Haruki SagaeNo. 6 of Class Black, a tomboyish yet fashionable girl who is always shown eating pocky. Haruki is rather carefree, calm and relaxed to the point where she even views her own death in a calm fashion but is sensitive about her adoptive family, in which she has many siblings, and wants to keep them protected and safe at all costs. Haruki is shown to go to extremes in order to achieve her goals when she learnt from Nio that her own death would still ensure her wish was granted even if she failed to kill Haru, Haruki set up a trap with the intention of taking her own life. Though she survived, Haruki was only merely disappointed about her failure.
Haruki is the 3rd student of Class Black to be expelled. Following her expulsion, she works as a construction worker and studies to get into college.
She joined the Black Class because she needed money to support her siblings and her mother, who was hospitalized. The reward she requested for was for her family to be fed for the rest of their lives, even if she had died. At the end of the story, Haruki got a job as a construction worker. In the manga it was also revealed that Haruki and Isuke are dating in the end, while in the anime's ending she was seen with some equivalency exam instructions. Judging by this scene in Episode 12, she may plan to send herself and her siblings to school.
Student No° 7 - Suzu ShyutouNo. 7 of Class Black, a somewhat sly girl who likes being physically active and fit. Her wish was to find a cure to the Highlander Syndrome, which caused her to not be able to age normally. When Class Black was participating in a pool party, Suzu installed a timed bomb in Haru's breather, which can only be opened with a 4-digit password that spells the birth date (15 July) of her past love. Tokaku manages to find the password and deactivates the bomb, whereupon Suzu surrenders.
She is the 7th student of Class Black to be expelled. She is seen in the finale at her past lover's grave, bidding him farewell for the last time and resolving to live her life to the fullest.
As a reward, she wanted to age normally and eventually die because her body is affected by Highlander's syndrome, which prevents a person from physically aging. At the time of the series, there was no known treatment for this disorder, therefore even if she had successfully killed Haru, there was no guarantee that her wish would've been fulfilled. In the final episode, she visits the grave of her dead loved one for the last time, saying she's going to stop looking at the past and accept her form of immortality.
Student No° 8 - Otoya TakechiNo. 8 of Class Black, dubbed the "Jack the Ripper of the 21st Century" and know as the deadliest and most dangerous assassin in the class. She is also know outside of Myōjō Academy for her serial killer antics.
Otoya is a sadistic murder who hides her true nature under the guise of an extremely playful girl. Her main obsession is with scissors, which she carries a whole bag of them around her waist. Her reason for wanting to kill Haru Ichinose is so that she can get serial killer insurance, so she can continue her murder spree without any fear of being captured. Otoya is notably seen to be scared of Nio, showing that she knows of Nio's true nature.
Otoya is the 1st student of Class Black to be expelled. She later breaks out of prison, and attempts to attack Haru again, but is thwarted by Sumireko and captured once again by Nio. She is seen back in jail during the finale, planning her next escape though admitting that it will be years in the making.
Student No° 9 - Chitaru NamatameNo. 9 of Class Black, a girl with a demeanor that is both princely and mature. She was the one who showed Hitsugi the way when the latter got lost on her way to Myōjō Academy, and has since almost never been seen without Hitsugi. Though part of Haru's class, she has no real interest in the objective of the class; her real goal is to avenge her mentor's daughter after learning that Angel's Trumpet, the assassin responsible, will join the class as well. She aims to kill Angel's Trumpet so that her mentor could find closure and be happy again.
After disclosing her true identity as Angel's Trumpet, Hitsugi allows Chitaru to kill her during a theatrical play of Romeo and Juliet using a real dagger, but immediately afterward Chitaru learns Hitsugi's wish was to remain together with her beyond the end of Class Black. Having resolved to grant Hitsugi this wish, Chitaru commits suicide using poison removed from Hitsugi's stash earlier.
She and Hitsugi Kirigaya are the 5th and 6th students to be removed from Class Black. It is later revealed that she and Hitsugi survived, though Chitaru's state was negatively affected by the poison she drank, and that Chitaru is undergoing rehab at the hospital.
Student No° 10 - Nio HashiriNo. 10 of Class Black, Nio is an energetic and upbeat girl with a knack for peeping into other people's businesses, though she occasionally shows a more dangerous side. Despite being part of Class Black, she is also affiliated with the academy in some way, working for the chairwoman Meichi Yuri. Nio is always seen wearing full body outfits in order to conceal the large, bird-like tattoos she bears. It is revealed that Nio comes from the infamous Kuzunoha family, a feared family of skilled assassins that use illusions, and has no relatives. Upon meeting Meichi, Nio fell in adoration with her and vowed to give up her whole life to serve her. Meichi took her in, with Nio changing her last name from "Kuzunoha" to "Hashiri".
Her real name is Nio Kuzunoha but is most commonly known by her alias Nio Hashiri throughout the series is the secondary antagonist and was a former student of Myōjō Academy's 10th year's Black Class who was in participating with the other students of that class who were trying to kill Haru Ichinose where the reward is anything what that assassin may want. Later, Nio attempts to assassinate Haru, while disguised as Tokaku, but ends up stabbed in the chest by the real Tokaku. Nio survives from being stabbed, despite no explanation being given on how it comes to pass, and in monologue congratulates everyone for graduating from Class Black.
Student No° 11 - Sumireko HanabusaShe is the daughter of a company CEO who runs the Hanabusa Financial Clique. The company has no direct blood relation to Haru's family. Due to the company's rapid growth after the Meiji Restoration, it gained many rivals. Because of that, ever since she was a child, her life has been targeted by many who have all tried to kill her, a story and situation that is quite similar to Haru Ichinose's past. However, despite that, she survived all the time but her body didn't come out unharmed because during an attack, she lost her all her limbs and she had no choice but undergo surgery by installing robotic parts in her body in order to survive. It took a little time to get used to but she gradually overcame it.
She's considerably warmer to people than Tokaku is, but she's hinted to be one of the more dangerous members of the Black Class which was proven true later on in the series, when she revealed her true nature around Haru and Tokaku. She is the 10th student to be removed from Class Black. Following her expulsion, she decides to pursue a career in cooking rather than succeeding her father as the company CEO. The creator has stated that Sumireko has a crush on her roommate, Banba.
Student No° 12 - Mahiru/Shinya BanbaNo. 12 of Class Black, Mahiru is a shy and timid girl who often has troubles speaking for herself. She is easily subject to bullying, and is often defenseless. However, when the sun sets, Mahiru's split personality, Shinya, takes over. Shinya is the complete opposite of Mahiru, referring to herself as "ore" (a haughty Japanese way of referring to oneself, commonly associated with males) and having an aggressive, hostile, and almost unstable personality.
Mahiru's split personality was created as protection due to abuse as a child, implied to be sexual in nature, which involved camera flashes that left her afraid of bright light; this is why Shinya only comes out at night and is sensitive to light. She obtained the scar on the right side of her face from when snapped and she killed her abuser. Shinya has a form of super strength that allows her to use heavy weapons such as sledgehammers, but she cannot sustain this ability over too long a period of time, and must rest every now and then.
It turns out that although Shinya seems hostile and unstable, she is only acting on Mahiru's orders and wishes, hinting that Mahiru is in fact the more unstable of the two. Since Mahiru is too timid to carry out crimes and murders, Shinya does it for her. Even so, Shinya cares deeply for Mahiru and seeks to bring her protection and happiness, and neither personalities have a wish to fulfill by killing Haru, as it was already granted when Haru shared a handmade charm with Mahiru, since Mahiru is in fact a collector of relics from people she kills or expects to kill someday. Shinya teams up with and is betrayed by Isuke, being knocked unconscious by her, thus becoming the 8th student of Class Black to be expelled. Following her expulsion, Mahiru loses her split personality, but she comes to terms with it and is not scared of the light anymore.
Student No° 13 - Haru IchinoseNo. 13 of Class Black, the second main character in the series. Haru is a bright and cheerful girl, who aims to become friends with everyone, however, unlike other students of the class, she is not a assassin. She is kind and naive to everyone without fail until they become hostile with her. Haru is the target that everyone in the class is after. She has strange scars on her thighs, which were discovered by Tokaku by flipping up her skirt. She is later shown to not only have scars on her thighs, but all over her body as well. She is uncomfortable with people looking at them.
Haru possesses an ability, exclusive to her clan, known as the "queen bee" ability, that attracts, controls and manipulates people, like how a queen bee controls her worker bees. This ability of Haru's is why Class Black was created, as a rite of passage to see if she was able to become the clan's newest primer. Tokaku became her protector due to being unconsciously influenced by this ability. Upon discovery of Haru's queen bee ability, however, Tokaku resumes attempting on her life. Haru, resolving to graduate the Class Black alive, tries unsuccessfully to fight back. Despite being stabbed in her heart by Tokaku, however, Haru is saved by the knife deflecting off her ribs, which had been replaced with titanium ones, and therefore becomes the sole participant in the graduation ceremony of the Class Black.
As per her wish, she is allowed to leave her clan and live a normal life. With diplomas of her other classmates in possession, she is joined by Tokaku and embarks on a trip to personally deliver those diplomas.
Class Black's 2nd GenerationYears after the end of the Class Black's experiment to test Haru's Queen Bee powers, Meichi Yuri continued the project with new guinea pigs, turning another girl in a Queen Bee and calling other female assassins to the Black Class to start a new generation of assassins.
At the end of the series, Nio is seen in front of the new female assassins before showing that Haru and Tokaku are married and are adults now.
All Assassins' Endings (per order)
- All of the assassins are teenage girls.
- They are all rather morally ambiguous and the best of them can still be considered anti-heroic.
- All of the girls are lesbians with possible exception to Suzu, who is more "Bi". In the anime, none of the pairings go beyond subtext, and some are even left out; the manga, however, is more forward and includes more pairings between the girls.
- Though all of them had "death", all students lived in the end.
- Class Black is a competition and nearly everyone participating is an experienced killer, but this doesn't stop them from chatting about mundane topics like food and even taking baths together.
- Some of them are born into the job to kill, while others do it for the money, whether they want to or not. Otoya is the "only" one explicitly that does not have that typical desire.
- Most of them have long hair.
- Most of the students had tragic events in their past, with the exception of Otoya.