December 31, 2006
Me and School Zone, we don’t get along. It tries to be my friend by waving random acts of violence and gore in my face, but I know that’s not what it’s about. It tried to hide its confusing plot from me by offering up more explanations for the ghost stories and better personalities for its character. I fell for it, I thought it was rehabilitated and was going to make sense and be a good horror manga. But it’s like it had a relapse here and came to a big, messy, inconclusive finish. Shame on you, School Zone, for not paying off.
Anyway. I was shocked when I found out this was the last volume, and I knew this didn’t bode well since there was NO WAY that everything would be wrapped up in one volume. The dark school was just unleashed, and we were just starting to get straight answers about the ghosts and just what the ghost stories were and how they started, no variations, no modern versions, no melting into each other. No cheating!
So the school just slipped into the dark side as of last volume, and the characters seem to be moving between dark and correct versions of the school. But only the children. Only some of the children. And some teachers. Maybe. Maybe those teachers which need to be killed or are already dead. There doesn’t seem to be any logic to it, and it moves freely between these two universes without letting you know where you are. Maybe you’re supposed to keep track of that yourself, but the way the story jumps all over the place here, I can’t be bothered.
The coolest and most coherent thing that happened here was Kimi’s face-off with Reiko-san. This was actually quite cool, and the ghost story was explained all the way through (the ghosts are all students in Reiko-san’s class). Immediately after this was dealt with, the infirmiry ghost story was explained all the way through. Then I thought it was going to move into the crossing guard ghost and explain that all the way through, except then the volume ended. That’s right, you only get the reality of two ghost stories and a completely unresolved story. The school wasn’t really sealed back up since the mirrors weren’t put back into place, and they only laid to rest two ghosts, so there are still plenty more to be dealt with. The school is still haunted. Hell, the main character is still have monster. That was left too. They also hinted about the possibility that one of the twins didn’t exist. They hinted last volume, and then pretty much led up to some sort of unveiling the entire volume. But right when this should have been explained, when not even the damn leader knew there was a twin sister, they just left it and decided you’d like to see more people pulled back and forth through the parallel dimensions.
I’m almost sure this was cancelled mid-serialization. The ending was way too abrupt to have been planned ahead. There were only 2-3 deaths in this volume, and there wasn’t even any real violence for the horror enthusiast.
Ugh. I’m really disappointed with this. Not worth my time at all.
August 20, 2006
Yeah, this one did pull itself up quite a bit in volume 2. It’s now more clear what the significance of the 13 ghost stories are, how they’re affecting the kids, and what all’s going on in the school. Though there’s still a few unanswered questions and a few things that just don’t make sense, but overall the series is really improving.
It’s actually genuinely scary, too. There are a variety of instances of the ghosts trying to “get” the little kids, and it’s a horrible thing to watch the kids struggling and trying to get away, one scene in particular.
It still suffers from incoherencies, though. The double situation with Youkai isn’t really cleared up here, and in fact gets worse. Action scenes are still confusing, and the series still has lots of problems with time lapse, though here most of the events happen over the course of a day and a half, so there aren’t as many issues. Still, though… a mediocre series, but getting better. I have no idea how many volumes this runs, but my guess would be 3-4, which is a good length.
July 3, 2006
There were I think two volumes that I read recently that were not new stuff or Marmalade Boy, and I think it was this and Video Girl Ai 8. At the moment, I’m just trying to fucking force those Video Girl Ai entries off, as I can’t seem to delete them through normal means. Grr.
This was terrible, just so you know. The pacing was off, and as a result the entire thing was incoherent. There were a lot of characters it flashed between with little explanation, and although I liked the ghost stories that were being told and the fact it was Elementary school students being terrorized, it wasn’t at all coherent, unfortunately. Not coherent at all. The only parts that were clear were the extended action scenes, of which there were two. There wasn’t as much violence as I like, and it wasn’t as over-the-top or comical as the horror series I’ve been getting into lately like Octopus Girl, Reiko the Zombie Shop, or Hino Horror. Perhaps as the ghost stories are explained again and again in action sequences things will become clear. We’ll see. For the moment though, don’t read this. Seriously.