Disclaimer – Story spoilers for Assassination Classroom ahead
Lovro knew he was looking at a top tier assassin when he first laid his eyes on Nagisa – and we knew he was right. Throughout the entire series, Nagisa’s incredible bloodlust and natural assassination potential were hinted at, ranging from the very first episode when he forced Koro-Sensei to reveal his molt trick, to his initial duel with Takaoka where he singlehandedly made a military gorilla cry tears of fear. Thus, he knew the time was right, and Lovro passed on his ultimate technique to Nagisa – the Clap stunner combo, also known as the Nekodamashi combo.
After its initial use in the finale of season 1, the Nekodamashi became Nagisa’s trump card. He could simply clap and paralyze an adult. It was an incredible sight to behold – watching this timid, shy, petite student turn into an assassination expert all with the use of this one technique.
But what exactly is the Nekodamashi? How does it work in the universe of Assassination Classroom? And can YOU do the Nekodamashi?
Firstly, a distinction needs to be made. Lovro taught Nagisa his ultimate killing technique, and part of that ultimate killing technique involved the use of the Nekodamashi. In order for us to fully understand the extent of this technique, let’s look at a step by step walkthrough of what happens when Nagisa executes the technique against Takaoka.
- Nagisa lunges at Takaoka with knife in hand
- While he is barely out of striking range, he lets go of the knife. Takaoka’s eyes never leave the knife.
- Nagisa claps loudly, paralyzing Takaoka
- In the few moments of confusion, Nagisa whips out his stun gun and strikes Takaoka, landing him the victory.
Lovro makes very clear to us that the move does not kill instantly. Rather, it sets the up the stage for a swift K.O. So there’s a difference between the Nekodamashi ( the clap) and the overall technique. The technique as a whole is a combo, and the Nekodamashi is the star of the combo.
There are three requirements that must be met for the Nekodamashi killing combo to be executed perfectly. Let’s break down every single requirement and see why each requirement is needed to pull off the killing technique.
- You must have two weapons
This is probably the most obvious out of the three requirements as to why it exists. If you plan on using one of the weapons as a diversion of attention, you’d need the other to finish off your opponent while they are stunned after the clap. If you only have one weapon, it’s still possible (like what Nagisa did in his fight against Karma) since hand to hand combat is technically a weapon – but this only works if you’re in a fight. If you’re aiming to kill, forget it. You need that second weapon to make sure you finish the fight.
- You must be up against an expert
This is less obvious as to why it’s a requirement. An expert and a novice would definitely behave differently when confronted with this technique, but how?
This is just speculation, but the fact that the opponent needs to be an expert might suggest that one of their refined combative strengths could be used as a weakness. In this case – concentration and eye contact.
Experts are more likely to watch the movements of their opponent carefully – especially if they’ve got something like a knife that can end their lives. Novices may not concentrate as much on these details, but experts would constantly have their eyes on their opponent’s killing tool. This is a requirement because the motion between the dropping of the knife and the Nekodamashi combo relies on the fact that the expert opponent constantly has their eyes on the knife.
- Your foe must know the terror of being killed
This is easily the vaguest requirement. Part of me says that it’s linked to the fact that the opponent must be an expert, hence the focus on the first killing tool… right?
An expert who is unafraid of death may not flinch when you lunge at them with a knife. In fact, they may even lunge back and counterattack. As long as they have their eyes on your knife, you can’t really hit them.
However, it’s not the same case with an expert who knows the terror of being killed. If they were to fight with the knowledge that one precise knife swing would end their lives, they would be much more reluctant to make initiative moves. They would wait, watch and have their senses heightened to their maximum capacity – which also happens to be the condition where the Nekodamashi works the best.
So, with the requirements out of the way, let’s look closer at the technique to see if YOU can pull it off.
The first level is the simple level – the first Nekodamashi used by Nagisa against Takaoka.
NekoDamashi Level #1 – Nagisa vs Takaoka
A drop, clap, and paralyze is all it would take?
The theory is incredibly sound (pun intended) and may have some real life implication. Let’s look into it further!
The clap after the knife drop is used to startle the opponent and throw them off balance. This is where the last 2 requirements come in – if your opponent is neither an expert nor afraid of death, these unconventional techniques would never throw them off. They would just plough ahead regardless of any sort of clap or stun.
The loud noise is meant to startle, and the small opening that this diversion creates allows for the real attack to sweep in for the kill.
Of course, a clap isn’t the only way to make this diversion. The technique is more effective where the contrast between the first attack and the second is. So you would want to go as loud as possible. Scream in their face if that’s louder than clapping.
We can see a similar phenomenon in real life – the jumpscare.
Imagine if in that split second of us getting a heart attack from the sudden appearance of Freddy Fazbear, we got a knife to our throat? Not even the most prepared assassin can evade in time – especially in the case of the third condition where their focus is all on every minute sound and movement.
To some extent then, yes. A Nekodamashi executed in this manner would be effective. Your first attack as a feint, the clap stunner to startle and the final attack to sweep in for the kill.
However, later in the show, this attack starts to spike to ridiculous heights.
NekoDamashi Level #2 – The Reaper vs Class-E & Nagisa vs Whip Assassin.
Here, the Nekodamashi is escalated to insane levels where, with a single clap, someone can be rendered completely paralyzed for up to a half a minute, or even knocked out entirely.
The first time we see this escalated version of the NekoDamashi is when The Reaper fights the E-Class. Seeing that Nagisa was preparing for his own Nekodamashi, The Reaper swoops in and reminds him that there is a whole level of assassination that Nagisa has yet to even see.
And then, with a single clap, he completely paralyses Nagisa.
Nagisa stands there as The Reaper walks around and knocks out every other member of the E-class. The Reaper even finds the time to come back and explain to Nagisa why his version of the Clap Stunner is child’s play. Nagisa then falls to his knees, powerless. In The Reaper’s own words
“Yours and Lovro’s might just startle a cat. But this skill has yet another level. Human consciousness has a wavelength: the higher the peaks, the more sensitive one is to stimulation. So when your foe’s consciousness is at its most sensitive peak, you strike with your most powerful soundwave. That impact won’t just temporarily spook your opponent. It’ll paralyze their nerves, immobilizing them for a while.”
Needless to say, this Nekodamashi is much, much stronger than the first version. The first version had the prerequisite of diverting the target’s attention before clapping, but The Reaper just walked up to Nagisa and clapped in his face. That was all it took to render him useless.
In fact, it’s even taken to another height later in the show. After the fight with The Reaper, Nagisa finds himself against a Whip Assassin threatening to kill his mom. Easy as pie, he walked up to the assassin, clapped in his face, and knocked him out.
Yes, knocked him out. He fell to the ground unconscious.
Can this work? Evidently, less so than the first version, but before we jump to conclusions, let’s see what science has to say.
Science’s answer to the NekoDamashi
The Nekodamashi hinges on the idea of sound startling the opponent. All of the combos involve a clap to the face, and the opening that that clap provides is the window to the assassination.
Sound loudness is measured in Decibels. The higher the Decibels, the louder the sound is. So let’s start by figuring out how loud the claps had to be in order to have this sort of dramatic influence on their opponents.
Anything above 125 decibels is going to cause pain in the ears and potential hearing loss. The human pain threshold of hearing levels out at 110 decibels, which isn’t anything we have to worry about in daily life since regular conversation volume levels out at around 60 decibels.
Here’s the interesting part – the loudest clap ever recorded by humanity inches barely over the human pain threshold.
Alastair Galpin won the Guinness world record for world’s loudest clap in 2008 when a single one of his claps leveled out at 113 decibels. For the context of how ridiculous that feat is, an iPod at maximum volume is 115 decibels. So if you’ve ever been unlucky enough to accidently slide your volume all the way to max and suddenly play the music at full blast, congrats, the volume of sound you’ve just heard is barely louder than the world’s loudest clap.
Not bad, but a loud sound by itself wouldn’t achieve the same response seen in the show. The important part is the startling contrast. The fear factor.
The ear has a defense mechanism against loud sounds. Complicated ear mechanisms tighten and shifts. Because sound travels as a wave, the shifting of the inner ear mechanisms reduces the force transmitted to the inner ear, protecting it. After all, soundwaves need to travel through a medium in order to be processed, so a thicker medium would result in weaker waves, and therefore, a weaker overall sound. This is why our hearing tends to dull after a concert – the defense mechanism is in place so sounds are seen as quieter after the concert.
Doesn’t sound too bad, right? Now, let’s put this in a combat perspective and It’s clear why this technique is so effective in the show.
In a one on one fight where lives are at stake, like Takaoka vs Nagisa, every single detail must be picked up. Especially with an expert fighter who fears death like Takaoka, even the most minute movement can cost him his life. Thus, he enters an extra sensitive state of mind where he picks up every single sound and movement. His auditory defense mechanism is at its weakest and his eardrum systems are at their thinnest to pick up every single sound possible.
Thus, when Nagisa suddenly claps at that level of sound so suddenly, Takaoka is caught off guard – not only is he startled, but his ear defense mechanism is at its weakest. It was already turned down to minimum to allow Takaoka to pick up the smallest sounds, and it takes a long time for the full effect of the defense mechanism to kick in.
For the latter Nekodamashi though, there have been no instances where a sudden sound alone can paralyze somebody. However, what’s important to note is that it’s not the act of clapping that is dangerous. The real danger comes from the fact that Nagisa and The Reaper can go from docile to murderous in a split second – and that contrast gives people the spooks.
To be honest though, there are no instances of people paralyzing or passing out because of jumpscares. There have also been no instances of these sorts of instant stun techniques being created naturally – so for now, doing a Nekodamashi at the scale of Nagisa or The Reaper seems…unlikely.
So yeah, a loud clap would certainly be useful in a means of combat – but don’t expect instant paralysis or collapse of consciousness. But now, let’s look at real life parallels and see if it’ll be of any use to you and me in this world.
The Nekodamashi isn’t a made up name. It is also the name of a real-life technique that is used by Sumo wrestlers. The technique is incredibly unconventional and therefore barely ever sees any play in competitive matches of sumo. But why? According to the science earlier, shouldn’t a Nekodamashi be incredibly effective?
The goal of a Nekodamashi is to force the opponent to close their eyes, and during that time, the user will rush forth and take the advantage. Sounds good in theory – but the risks are incredibly high.
Sumo wrestlers are always extremely conscious of their balance. The entire sport of sumo wrestling hinges on their ability to maintain their balance against a tremendous force. So the chances of them losing that balance to a clap probably means that they weren’t too cut out to be sumo wrestlers in the first place. Most sumo wrestlers have much more traditional (and effective) ways of winning, and therefore they spend much more of their time trying to use brute force to tip the opponent’s balance over.
Also, the risks of doing such a trick in sumo wrestling are stupidly high. If you spend even one second clapping, and it fails, your opponent just gained a free second to charge at you. An unsuccessful Nekodamashi usually results in an instant loss.
Of course, being a sumo and being an assassin are totally different things, so what about assassins? There’s no research necessary for this – common sense gives us the answer.
Assassins are meant to be sneaky, jumping from shadow to shadow to knock out an opponent. An expert killer wouldn’t even need more than one hit to take out an opponent. They would be dead before they even realize it.
Even in the worst case scenario where an assassin finds themselves in a one versus one situation, the Nekodamashi is still a terrible technique to use. Why? Because it’s so god damn loud.
The last thing an assassin wants is to draw attention to themselves. A sound louder than a chainsaw’s would be an AWFUL way to finish an opponent off because even though they may have gotten the kill, everybody now knows where they are. I don’t see this technique being favored among assassins anytime soon.
Am I a bit of an idiot for looking so deeply into a fictional attack? Maybe – that’s in my title. It’s still interesting to consider the implications of such a technique. I was already curious when Nagisa first used it against Takaoka, but after seeing it being used to such ridiculous extents, I’m not sure if I could just let it slide.
The Nekodamashi isn’t something that assassins would use. It’s got an incredible cool factor in the show – but if it didn’t, it would make for a very lame series. Fiction is quite infamous for exaggerating real life techniques to ridiculous heights, so let’s not all take this too seriously.
Please don’t go clapping in people’s faces expecting them to pass out.
This has been An Idiot’s Guide to the Nekodamashi – but hey, don’t take my word for it. I’m just an idiot.