The Drifting Classroom, Vol. 4-6
written by Kazuo Umezu
Sho’s elementary school — and the students inside it — have been mysteriously transported into a wasteland that seems to be Japan after a few million years have passed. The children try to make their own government with a prime minister, but the truth is they don’t know what they’re doing. They’re going to run out of food before long and the only water they have comes from their swimming pool.
To make matters worse, a giant insectlike creature continues to show up and kill some of the children. In a frightening and clever moment in the story, it turns out one of the boys drew this monster several years ago. How could he have known about it? One student comes up with the theory that the monster exists because the boy somehow is making it exist. Other students run with that idea and want to kill the boy. Sho stops them, but when the boy is attacked, it does halt the monster, giving credence to the theory.
Besides the monster, there are other pressing issues. An outbreak of the plague strikes the children, spreading rapidly. They need medicine. Somehow Sho is able to vocally communicate to his mother in the past, and begs her to get them medicine. This interaction between Sho and his mother was more prominent before, and after disappearing for a while in these volumes, it comes back again. Sho’s mother gets the medicine and tries to find a way to leave it where the kids will locate it in a few million years. Everyone else thinks she’s crazy, yet she won’t let this stop her.
Things continue to go wrong, as the children run out of water and pray for rain. They get rain all right…a flood of it that might sweep them away.
The Drifting Classroom has elements familiar with Lord of the Flies, but this graphic novel series really goes for the gruesome and creepy. Indeed, “gruesome” and “creepy” are better words to describe this series than “scary” or “frightening.” The books create a world that seeps uncomfortably into the reader, just as it’s intended to do. It doesn’t try to jump out and scare anyone. Kazuo Umezu is considered by many to be the master of horror manga, and he shows his skill in the macabre and ominous throughout this series. The mystery of how the school was transported remains strong, and there’s no clear solution in sight.