Sat, 29 September 2007
Review for St. Lunatic High School Volume 1 by Majiko! Translated by Alethea and Athena Nibley for Tokyopop, $9.99. Originally published in Japan by Kadokawa Shoten in 2004. For ages 13+.
Niko Kanzaki and her brother Atchan have fallen on hard times. They live alone and are behind on their rent and sometimes there are barely able to keep from starving. But Fate seems to cast a favorable eye on them when Atchan gets a job as a nightschool teacher at the prestigious and elite St. Lunatic High School. The ad that he responded to said the position came along with free housing including a private bath, toilet, and garden. When they arrive on the school grounds they are shocked to discover that they will be living in a hellhole shack even worse than the ratty apartment they were in! The bath and toilet they were promised turns out to be the school restroom facilities that all the students use. The garden just turns out to be the school's landscaped grounds. As an added bonus, Niko is allowed to attend night classes with her brother as homeroom teacher. The aspect of this manga that pushes it from normal school life to the realm of the bizarre and strange is that the students that attend St. Lunatic at night are all DEMONS! And most of them are pretty funky looking. You have skeletons, human sized frogs, pumpkinheads, a walking Easter Island statue, and a penguin that looks like it fell out of Disgaea. There is one fellow student that looks human, a handsome boy named Ren-kun, but even he is a demon who can fly with the use of bone-like wings. Being the only human in the class, Niko faces a lot of discrimination from the demon children but she's trying her best to get along with them and learn at the same time.
St. Lunatic High School was a manga that Tokyopop originally offered for sale only on their website, a fate that some titles were subjugated to because of low sales expectations. It turns out that the lack of belief in this title was justified. Relative to the writing and concept, the art was the standout of this first volume. Majiko's style and character designs reminded me a bit of Takeshi Obata's work on Hikaru No Go but with less attention to detail and backgrounds. The writing is where this book suffers the most. First of all, the concept of a demon night school, while not the most original in the world, could've worked if the characters had been anything more than voided lumps of flesh with no personality. The comedy aspects of the book were also flat and humorless. There just wasn't anything interesting going on in this manga and it became rather boring. If you read this book on a Monday, by Friday you won't remember much about it.
My Rating: D