Drifting Classroom 2Posted: April 9, 2008
In the unlikely event that someone wondered why I wasn’t reading this series, I was waiting for the last volume to come out. I hadn’t read volume 2 when 3 came in the mail, and I decided to abstain and marathon Drifting Classroom when my roommate started throwing random story tidbits at me that just… couldn’t possibly make sense in any context whatsoever. I needed the whole story all at once.
I’m not sure if I will ever get over the shock of the violence towards children. It’s hard to take when an adult goes from room to room beating the shit out of little kids for their candy. On the other hand, the fact that this is even happening is ludicrous enough for me to divorce this from real life in every way, so it’s not like I’m offended. Part of me does wince whenever a little kid is run over by a car or something, though.
Those two violent items mentioned above weren’t even major points in the story. They were just passing events. That’s right: there are much better things to focus on in Drifting Classroom.
The most amazing pages of sequential art and story I’ve ever seen occur in the middle of this volume. There’s a long scene where Sho figures out that his house is gone. There is a page of Sho screaming for his parents. On the next page, the scene abruptly cuts back to the school, and we can see there is some sort of lunar eclipse, and in the confusion, a bunch of kids fall down the stairs. On the next page, the scene cuts to a teacher who is laughing and can’t stop. There are five panels of this man laughing. On the next page, in the aftermath of the laugh, one teacher decides he can’t take it anymore, pulls a straight razor out of his pocket, and slits his own throat. On the next page, there is a reaction, and then one of the teachers begs someone to tie him up. Yes, that was only five pages. There are nine volumes of this to go.
I mean, I’m not sure if it’s supposed to be funny or not. If it’s not funny, it is at least one of the most insane things I have ever seen. Surely I can appreciate it for that.
When I hear people going over the plot of the volumes of Drifting Classroom, it seems like things don’t fit together. I thought I would try to adequately explain the plot as it unfolds, but it’s just not possible. The general thrust is… the lunchroom delivery guy rebels and is subdued. There is a gun involved. It randomly appears (I’m fucking serious about this, A GUN APPEARS OUT OF NOWHERE), a joyful little kid fires it off, and the same little kid is killed when the lunchman gains possession of the gun. Later, the students figure out that they have landed in the future when they uncover a memorial stone with all their names on it from when the school disappeared and they died in the past. After some more deaths and memorials, Sho and a few other people, including a homicidal teacher, are sent out past the school grounds to find water. Being sent anywhere with a homicidal teacher never did anyone any good. Oh, also? You remember how that kid dropped dead when he left the school grounds last volume? Turns out he was sick and died of illness, not of some force outside the gate. You can roam around out there all you want.
But… the verdict? Awesome, definitely awesome. I like it much better already than anything else I’ve read by Kazuo Umezu.