Manga Review:After School Nightmare

15 01 2009

First review! I feel proud of myself ^_^

Title: After School Nightmare/Houkago Hokenshitsu
Mangaka: Mizushiro Setona
Synopsis: Like most teenagers, Ichijou Mashiro has a secret. But Mashiro’s secret is that he’s neither fully male nor female! So far, Mashiro’s been able to live his life as a boy, but all this changes when he’s informed of a new class he must take in order to graduate from his elite prep school. To pass, he must find the “Key”…and the only way to find it is to enter into a nightmare world where his body and soul are put at the mercy of the worst kind of enemies: his classmates! -From Go! Comi

At first I thought I wouldn’t like this particular manga since it feels like a pseudo shounen-ai/shoujo-ai conflict and I want it either one or the another. The summary also felt like it would belong to the smut genre. However, the premise was too interesting to pass up and the mangaka left me with a good impression with Diamond Head so I began reading it. After spending the remainder of the night finishing what was available in english and then moving on to the raws, I have to say, it did not disappoint. In fact, as the story progressed, I completely forgot I had an 8am class in a few hours and just kept reading. Character developments, plot twists, and more make this a truly great manga and will sometimes cause the deeper readers to question some of the mangaka’s takes on the meaning of life.

For those who like elements of horror but not enough to actively scare them, this is it. For those who like drama or psychological genres I recommend this too! Now onto the manga itself.

As the summary states, the main character is a student named Ichijou Mashiro who has the upper half of a male and the lower half of a female. He begins to notice that students are disappearing and the number has increased although he does not know why nor does he remember the students. The class he must past is supervised by a nurse he has never met before and the class itself  takes place in a dreamworld where students of that class compete against each other for the “key”. This key will open a door in that dream world that will allow them to graduate. Another interesting part of the dream world is that the students he meets do not look like themselves as the dream world exposes their innerselves. He meets and befriends Kureha who suffers from arrhenphobia due to a childhood trauma. He also catches the interest of a student named Mizuhashi Sou who confesses to be in love with him. It is in this dream world that Mashiro must resolve his conflicting selves as male and female while dealing with hidden agendas his classmates may have and fighting off the advances Sou makes towards him as he tries to confirm his identity as a male by dating Kureha. Meanwhile, a black moon appears to be visible only to a few students, strangely enough, it appears to students who will soon graduate.

For those who have read this story, I won’t be posting a spoiler since the translated chapters should go up soon from different groups and I don’t know how to make a cut to a separate page.

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