Sun, 9 December 2007
Manga Review of The Drifting Classroom Volume 8 by Kazuo Umezu. Translated by Yuji Oniki. Originally published by Shogakukan in 1975. Published in US by Viz under their Signature imprint, $9.99, Rated M for Mature.
Well, finally we have an adult in charge to keep a sense of order about the school in the form of Sekiya, who has come to his senses after being shocked into the mental capacity of an infant. Now he's back to normal, but unfortunately, that means his usual psychotic, murdering self! Most of the kids are so in need of a father figure they're willing to practically become his slaves. And he also begins to fan the flames that maybe Sho is responsible for the explosion that cast them into this wasteland Hell. Sekiya lowers Sho and his buddies into a dry well and tells them they're not coming back up until they strike water. As they begin to dig, they don't find water, but they do find the entrance to a subway tunnel, and eerily, there is still a train running on it. A train that will lead them not only to some monstrous lifeforms, but will also reveal what has happened to their world.
If you've been reading my blog you've probably aware of my growing frustration with this series. Kazuo Umezu seems to be taking a bit too much glee in torturing these poor kids. We finally get some explanations about what happened to the world so you think maybe the manga is reaching a turning point. But, think again. Just as soon as the kids find a rich water supply, a pipe breaks off from the ceiling, falls in the pool of water and sets off a volcano! I mean, come on, give me a break! Imagine you're watching a movie where a character is wandering through a desert, dehydrated and dying. He finds an oasis with a glistening pond at its center. As soon as he kneels down and puts his lips to the water, he activates a volcano and it starts spewing liquid magma. This is just about as much sense as The Drifting Classroom makes. Sometimes I get the feeling that Sho is just going to click his heels together and say "There's no place like home" and he'll wake up in bed with all the main characters from the manga around him saying he's been asleep with fever and it was all a dream. The whole Sho talking to his mother telepathically thing is becoming equally stupid, as his mom leaves things for Sho in areas that would no longer exist or be able to withstand such extreme aging conditions. Like she left him some glass vials of antibiotics that survived over what might be centuries without breaking or losing their potency. There are just too many ridiculous events to keep me reading in good faith. I want to find out how it ends, but if the next volume is only as good as Volume 8, I will probably stop reading The Drifting Classroom.
My Grade: C-
Category:Manga Reviews -- posted at: 8:40pm CDT