After School Nightmare 10

Setona Mizushiro – Go!Comi – 2009 – 10 volumes

What.

Just… what.

That was not what I expected at all.  I don’t think I liked that very much.

I really, really don’t want to spoil the ending.  This is a wonderful series, and that ending was just… wow.  I didn’t like it, but that doesn’t make it any less mind-blowing.  It was totally out of left field, and I doubt anyone reading it saw that coming.

It leaves some insane unasked questions.  Lots of things aren’t making sense to me right now, and I’m going to have to re-read it to see if these things make sense if I read the story all the way through.  I suspect they don’t.

Just… wow.  Don’t ever let anyone spoil the ending of this series for you.  It’s fine shoujo, and the ending is… yeah.  I imagine having any inkling of that whatsoever would make the series much less fun to read, so don’t spoil youself silly.  I may not like the ending, but the rest of the series is probably among the best shoujo manga available in English.


15 Comments on “After School Nightmare 10”

  1. Suzu says:

    Ah, so you finished it. :D
    Well, the rest of the series doesn’t make sense without the ending. ;) In fact I love the ending becuase it destroys everything we thought about while reading the other volumes. ;)

    SPOILER:
    Ah, and I wanted to ask you something. So, you know who the knight is right? But that person actually had a different appearance in vol five or six. I can’t seem to find it right know. In any cse this person was a mobile phone. That really doesn’t make sense, cause normally characters can’t change appereances, right? Is it a plot hole or did we miss something?

  2. Lissa says:

    Now I really can’t wait to read it. At such point, I’ll hopefully have actual commentary on the matter… Off to place my order for it now!

  3. Connie says:

    Lissa: I’m actually kind of curious to see what everyone says about the ending. I didn’t like it since it was so far out from left field, but it does make you look at everything differently.

  4. Connie says:

    Suzu: I’m… not sure about the knight. The only thing I was really scrutinizing the knight for was what character he was. I’m planning to go back through and re-read the entire series, since the ending offers that… unique perspective. I don’t recall the actual knight character being part of the dreams at all, so could just be forgetting a huge chunk of the plot. I do recall a cellphone in the dream at one point, though.

  5. badzphoto says:

    IIRC, the cellphone was the person had a big crush on Kureha.
    The ending explains lots of things so I like it. I have to reread this to understand more. It’s a great series.

  6. Connie says:

    Hmm… I just can’t remember the cellphone at all. I think I’m going to re-read it the next time I get a couple days off. I still don’t think I liked the ending, but it did explain pretty much everything, and I may just have to re-read it with that new perspective to appreciate it more. It is really, REALLY weird, though.

  7. asnfirstmanga says:

    I do not get why Sou and Kureha had to deal with all there problems if it was all about Ichijo in the end? Sou finally deals with his sister issues and Ichijo opens up to Sou, but then its all over? What the heck? Did Sou and Kureha have to work out their problems like Ichijo before they before they graduated like Ichijo? Did Kureha graduate?

    Maybe I’ve missed alot. Can someone please answer some questions for me?

  8. Connie says:

    Yeah, I think the point of the graduation rite-of-passage was that each character had to work out their issues before they were allowed to graduate. Kureha fixed her problems and was able to graduate, but I think chose not to because she wanted to see Ichijo graduate. And, in theory, neither Sou nor Kureha graduated in the end because they chose to help Ichijo graduate, even though he was pretty much the last of the three to work through his issues. I’m not sure why only one of them could make it in the… er, post-graduation scenario, but I guess that’s just the way things work.

    The teaser with Sou at the end I think was probably just more fanservice than anything else. I would choose to interpret that as another incarnation of Sou, because I’m pretty sure the real Sou… did not make it.

  9. Sara K. says:

    You’re right. The ending did blow my mind.

    But I’m used to this kind of ending, just not in high school manga, which probably helped it come out of left field.

  10. Connie says:

    Haha. It’s true, you don’t often see this type of thing in shoujo manga. It’s rare to see one with an ending in mind, let alone an ending that obscure and weird.

    What type of ending do you associate it with, out of curiousity?

  11. Sara K. says:

    Mostly science fiction. James Tiptree Jr. is the master of this type of ending, but her stories are often weird from the very beginning, so they earn it.

  12. Cyphomandra says:

    I finally read all of these over the weekend (I’d been up to v9 before) and, actually, Ichijo’s dream-within-a dream sequence (where he’s a girl, dating Kurosaki, and people’s names and faces start disappearing) unnerved me more than the final ending, the more so because I can’t quite see how it fits in with the revealed purpose of the dreams.

    I did think the ending worked, in that it explained the main arc at least, but I agree that in addition to the extra dream sequence it made me wonder about what happened to Kureha and Sou, and other people who’ve graduated without necessarily working through things – the mermaid girl, for example. I would have liked more of a sense of an ongoing world rather than feeling it ending with Ichijo – maybe seeing the nurse again? Hmm.

    I have really enjoyed the series, tho’ – lots of quietly disturbing moments, and I liked the characters (especially Kureha, who I initially thought was going to drive me insane). Do you know if any of her other titles are planned as a follow-up? I’ve read X-Day, which I liked, and I’ve encountered scans of a couple of her BL titles but not been all that excited by them.

  13. Connie says:

    You know, I am completely mystified as to why nobody has announced the license for her newest series, which I think is called Black Rose Alice. If I recall, she sort of advertised it in the last couple volumes of After School Nightmare as the play the characters were putting on, but I think it involves vampires and gothic-y stuff and a historical setting… all the things that seem to be popular at the moment. I’m not all that fired up about it, but I would read it in a second and hope there’s a little more to it. But as far as I know, nothing else has come out in English. Admittedly, most of the yaoi books by her didn’t sound all that interesting to me either, but there is a multi-volume series that revolves around a badminton team that sounded okay (called “S”, maybe?) and a two-volume yaoi series that just came out that sounded good. I remember one of the volumes was called something like “Sleeping Mice Dream of Cheese,” but I don’t recall the title of the other volume. Wow… I hadn’t thought to check the usual places to see if her stuff was available, there’s a lot more than I would have guessed.

    Thinking back on After School Nightmare, I didn’t really like that last page where Sou shows up. It raises a lot of questions, especially given the very concrete nature of what happened to everyone that didn’t graduate. Does that imply their souls moved on elsewhere? Did they actually survive and just “graduated” later, perhaps in another room? I think his appearance made me think the world lived on somewhere, but it made me wonder even more at the bizarre mechanics, which I probably shouldn’t think too hard about.

    I think I had originally interpreted those dreams where the names disappeared as a look into the future personality since Ichijo was so close to graduating, but you’re kind of right. The reality does start falling apart a little there, and those dreams didn’t really seem to bear much of a resemblance to the actual future. Thinking back, I’m a little disturbed that Ichijo’s different genders were warring at all, because it implied that one would inevitably die away when, without the accident, both could have been… dominant, so to speak. It seems strange that there was a conflict at all given the real reason for it, and without that conflict, he would have graduated with no problems.

    I still have to re-read the series, which I intend to do sometime soon.

  14. Cyphomandra says:

    Yes – the more I think about the ending, the more it bothers me. I was pleased that it solved something that had been bugging me the whole series, namely that I don’t think there’s anyway you can look at a baby who’s “male from the waist up” and know that this is the case (I don’t know if you’re familiar with Blackadder, but I kept getting relevant chunks of dialogue from it stuck in my head!), but I’m less pleased when I think about what it actually implies.

    If Ichijo’s the surviving one of twins, and the whole story has been about him letting go of his (false) male identity and accepting his female identity, then I like the conflict much less, particularly as it all gets resolved by Ichijo begging Sou to make him a girl by having sex with him. Also, as you say, why is there a conflict at all? Maybe it’s supposed to be about Ichijo getting the others to support him? Hmm. Possibly I should read it again at some stage.

    I am pretty much burnt out on vampires, but would at least look at anything by her. Badminton, on the other hand, sounds fascinating :) I did look at the first chapter or so of the Cornered Mouse, but had problems with the blackmailing someone into a relationship aspects – may give it another go.

  15. Connie says:

    I haven’t tried either of the two Mouse volumes (though I’m kind of thrilled I can), I think they just caught my eye because they came up as new releases on the Shogakukan website and the characters sounded vaguely more interesting than the older stuff. A shame it’s got the forced relationship.

    Yeah, when you put it like that, it is kind of bogus that all the problems are solved with acceptance by Sou in the end, after everything is said and done. I can’t think of why support would be an issue that would prevent one from graduating, and in a lot of ways, Ichigo’s White Knight complex seems a lot healthier than the conflicts in many of the other students. And again, I’m not sure what the problems with gender are if there are two children. But maybe the series takes place in the few seconds between when the fire starts and the ward is evacuated. That’s kind of an amusing thought, if a little unlikely.


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