Author: Ayatsuji Yukito
Artist: Kiyohara Hiro
Genre/s: Supernatural, Horror, Mystery
Serialized in: Young Ace
There is a story that most people, especially students from class 3-3, have been trying to avoid. 26 years ago, there is a student named Misaki. She is good in both academics and sports. With this, everyone is admiring her. Due to an incident, she died. However, her teachers and classmates continue their lives as if she didn’t really die. On their graduation photo, someone who shouldn’t be in the photo is there.
While I am not much of a fan when it comes to genre like this, my curiosity have gotten the best of me after a friend told me how interesting the story is. Another is actually a manga adaptation of a novel written by Ayatsuji Yukito. It is also turned into a 12-episode anime which aired last Winter.
A boy from Tokyo named Sakakibara Kouichi transfers to class 3-3 and immediately senses the uneasiness of his classmates. They are particularly uneasy when the topic is about the incident that happened 26 years ago. Other than the story about the incident, the class itself has a lot of other suspicious things going around. As the reader, you couldn’t help but wonder what might those be and why are the people from Kouichi’s class are not telling him anything. It is obvious that they are keeping something from him. His classmates give him a warm welcome when he transferred but you could feel that they are faking it. That they are trying to give off positive vibes for Kouichi but their darkened and restrained expressions are giving it away. His class have a lot of explaining to do but alas, our hero is more concerned to one of his female classmates than confronting anyone about the matter.
That female classmate is a mysterious girl named Misaki Mei. The two of them first meet in the hospital while Kouichi is admitted. He thinks that Misaki is injured because of the eyepatch on her left eye. What baffles him more is that she goes to the basement of the hospital where the morgue is found. On his first day at school, Kouichi is surprised to see her in their class. Despite that, nobody seems to notice her. When he asks his new found friends about Misaki, they are surprised but on a different reason. They claim that they don’t know her and haven’t seen anyone like her, much to Kouichi’s bewilderment.
Since everyone claims that they don’t see her, Misaki is always alone. Even though no one else can see her, Kouichi always runs into her anytime, anywhere. Misaki tries to warn him for going after her all the time. Instead, he asks her things that might result to some unwanted things. On the other hand, Kouichi cannot fight his urge to know the meaning behind her words so he starts asking around. When he do, his classmates become real suspicious this time that I couldn’t understand anymore why are they doing that (my face: (°ロ°) –> (`･ω･´) –>( ・_・)) .
The mysterious aura that this manga portrays is superb. It really got me going until the end of volume 1. The perplexing ideas presented as story goes by keeps me at the edge of my seat. The more questions raised, the more eager I become to know what will happen next. But then after I finished it, I am more than confused as to what is happening already. I feel like I have grasped the story but somehow I don’t. Just what are they are trying to achieve with the plot is more of a mystery to me than anything else. Is it trying to establish the existence of Misaki? Does Misaki have a connection to what happened 26 years ago? Does the class 3-3 even have a curse that I forgot if it is mentioned? Beats me.
The story is rather heavy and dark so it is nice to have some humor thrown every now and then. It breaks the tension temporarily. However, some are poorly executed. Like, you know very well that it is a joke but you are not even breaking into a grin because you are still busy processing the hints in the previous lines of the conversations. In the end, it only adds to my confusion.
As for the characters, no one seems to stand out among the bunch. Well, other than Misaki that is. But then again, Misaki is your average aloof female lead that seems to be holding the key of all the mysteries happening in the story. Kouichi has nothing notable characteristics too. He doesn’t have anything new to offer that we haven’t seen in other series from different genre. But hey, it’s still volume 1 so let us see if they’ll grow or be stuck-up characters.
The thing that really catches my attention is how lovely the art is. It is simple and neat, thank goodness. I wouldn’t want another thing that will make me @_@. The artist used dark shadings to give emphasis on certain scenes. It adds to the puzzling feel of the entire volume. Moreover, the heavy lining makes every features of the character be more human-like.
As I’ve said above, it’s just volume 1. We still have to see how will the story answer all the questions thrown in this volume. I hope the confusions will be cleared in the future chapters. I’d love to see a much better character development. Keep up the pretty art as well. I liked the overall presentation of the story so I’m hoping the other volumes won’t be a letdown.
This review is written for Flipgeeks.