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The Drifting Classroom, Vol. 1 Paperback – August 8, 2006
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The Drifting Classroom doesn't start out with horror. It lets the horror tale descend, slowly, gradually. There's no boom where the reader goes, "Oh, that's scary," but instead the creepiness builds up--along with the anticipation.
The main character, Sho, is a sixth grader, but that doesn't mean this series is intended for children. On the contrary, it's aimed at adults. Sho and his mother exchange nasty words when he doesn't get his way, and he runs off to school, threatening never to return.
He doesn't realize he may get his wish.
There's a terrible earthquake of some sort. When it's over, parents and locals rush to the elementary school only to find it is missing.
Meanwhile, the teachers and elementary school students peer out and discover that their school is in the middle of a wasteland. Venturing out, they discover a plaque dedicated to them in honor of their deaths at the school.
But they're not ghosts. A teacher commits suicide, proving they can still die. Another teacher seems to snap, killing other authority figures at the school and going after the children. A deranged deliveryman, desperate to have the food for himself, wields a knife against anyone who challenges him.
Sho is the one who figures out what has happened (or what seems to be the case so far, anyway). Somehow the school has been transported into the future, so far into the future that when they do find plants and animals, these things are unrecognizable to them.Read more ›
The first portion of this series is very strong, very creepy, and has excellent horror elements. This volume, for example, is wonderful: excellent buildup for a good "Battle Royale" or "Hunger Games" style situation with children put into horrific situations, which I find is a very successful horror tactic. This volume and the next few are all very good, atmospheric, and entertaining horror reads, and I'm gonna be honest, they hit a lot of my horror buttons very well.
However, the series does go a bit odd. Part way through, I feel like the plot started to become more humorous than frightening, almost a series of sudden, disconnected events. Suddenly the plague! And then aliens! And then psychics! Suddenly environmental messages! Incredibly improbable deaths! And impromptu surgery by children! It became such a hectic attack of odd events that I found it very... distracting? Not unlike Lost, in some ways: a promising start, but quickly becoming so complicated and having such a peculiar ending that it was very jarring. Do I regret reading it? No. Would I suggest spending money on it? Probably not. If you have a library that has one, by all means, pick it up, but maybe give it a thought before dropping money for the whole series.
This is a simple story (so far) that is driven through a tense psychology and plenty of violence (which grows to more, or so I hear). If you're reading this, you're probably already interested and know the story, so I'll skip that. I would like to say that this manga, overall, is a great start, albeit with a few flaws, some of which are hard to overlook.
VIZ publishes well, no doubt. A right-to-left format, as the Japanese are accustomed to, and no noticible censoring (as we're told with the "warning" sticker telling us tha this is intended for mature readers (and it is!)). However, there are a few drawbacks, the most notable being the decision to translate the original sound effects (which are always in katakana) into english (such as ぎゃあ！ becoming GYAAA!). Personally, I find it distracting and unauthentic. With most manga these days being presented in the most "Japanese" way possible, its a bit odd to see why VIZ choose to do this, yet try to keep things authentic with the right-to-left format.
Another small complaint is the shading. This publication is over thirty years old, and it shows. VIZ has done a pretty good job of restoring what they can, but the smaller panels here look very, very grainy, which mildly upsets me, because Kazz is a wonderful artist!Read more ›
I am actually surprised by the less then stellar reviews for this manga. I was hooked on this from the get-go, and I suppose this is because unlike many authors who write horror themed manga (especially in pulp horror) there is little to no character development. I am not talking about mangas where there is just a little horror, but ones where the horror is the integral to the storyline. I am guessing part of the lukewarm reception is due to its age, most of the people who seem to read manga have read primarily stuff from the late 80's and up, with the exception of those series which have maintained extreme popularity, such as "Astro Boy".
With that said, I would like to say that I was impressed with the first volume of "The Drifting Classroom", there is a pretty good amount of suspense and mystery surround where and how they are where they are. In the first volume, we do not really see the outside world, except for in the first chapter, so a lot of what has happened and people's reactions are kept hidden, which heightens the tension and suspense.
In a way, this is a lot like an extended episode of Twilight Zone with a good deal of graphic violence.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Very interesting and intriguing read! The art design shows it's age, yet the story that unfolds is as fresh as ever.Published 6 months ago by D. Hoehne
Super fun read ! Bought all volumes . Not for little kids 12 and up will be okay . Lots of graphic violence . Read morePublished 22 months ago by motahead
Kazuo Umezu, The Drifting Classroom, vol. 1 (ViZ, 1974)
Pretty much exactly as described-- a school building suddenly breaks free of reality and finds itself teleported... Read more
this book is about a school that somehow gets sent into the future. and boy is it a bleak future. the kids have to learn to survive on thier own in this alternate universe. Read morePublished on August 13, 2007 by idurner