Wed, 21 November 2007
Volume 7 by Kazuo Umezu. Translated by Yuji Oniki. Originally published in Japan by Shogakukan in 1974. Published by Viz under their Signature line for $9.99. Rated Mature.
The kids of the school prayed for rain and they have technically gotten what they wished for. But instead of a gentle rainfall to soothe their parched throats, the water is sent in the form of a Biblical wave of water moving rapidly across the desert right towards the school. Some of Sho's party out in the wasteland get killed as the water turns parts of the desert into quicksand. Sakiko and some of the other students try to form a human wall against the tsunami like wave to protect their newly planted vegetable garden. Even if they stop the water somehow, the kids will have to contend with the warping nature of the world that is mutating and disfiguring the plantlife into weird-looking mushrooms which only the craziest or most desperate of the kids are willing to eat. And the power dynamics of the school soon shift dramatically when Sekiya, the only adult left on campus, and a psycho to boot, regains his faculties. Previously, he had been reduced to the mental capacity of an infant after suffering the shock of dealing with a huge scorpion-like monster. Now that he's got his memories back, he's ready to seize power.
Ok, here we are on Volume 7 of this series, and there's hardly been any explanation as to what happened to this school and why they are being tortured so. I accept that they are in the future sometime, where at least the surrounding vicinity has been reduced to a desolate wasteland. I also understand that somehow in this world, the student's fears and wants are materialized in sometimes monstrous forms, but the question is WHY and HOW? While the series is creepy and scary, I'm beginning to tire of the endless obstacle course Sho and the others are being put through. Does it have any meaning or end? While Battle Royale was a sadistic exercise in cruelty, there was at least a goal in its plot, a reason to excuse all the blood, gore, and exploitation. We don't have any of that for Drifting Classroom. We just have very bad things happening to normal everyday children for no definable reason like Umezu would just sit at his drawing board and think "What can I do to them THIS week?" Still interesting but is beginning to drag
My Grade: B