Sidenote: I just want to say I’m sorry in advance for not adding pictures (maybe I’ll come back and add some later) This had been sitting in my drafts for a while, so I just decided that I was going to post it. I don’t remember what I typed so if you see spellings errors, thats my bad but also remember that grammar is a social construct.
I was looking at some stuff by Ito, when I ran across Kazuo Umezz’s The Drifting Classroom. I really enjoy Isekai stories, so upon reading the synopsis, I decided to purchase all three volumes. What I was not prepared for was how THICK each book would be. Suddenly, I was happy that manga is 95 percent pictures, and the rest is words because….wow. It didn’t take me fairly long to finish the manga, despite the thickness. I probably could have actually finished it all in one night. But I wanted to not speed read through it and actually enjoy the story.
I don’t know why, but I have a habit of speed reading no matter if its manga or a regular paperback novel. So, I decided to take my time with this story. It was not a boring story at all. And not one where I had to keep putting it down, and picking it back up. It did take me a while to finish the first volume, due to work. Or me just being too tired to pick the book up and read. Nonetheless, I got through it, and was intrigued to start the second volume. I got through that one in maybe an hour or so? It’s about 600 plus pages per volume. I knew, even with my reading capabilities it would still take some time to read.
The Story of the Drifting Classroom
Sho Takamatsu is a middle schooler, who is transported to another world along with his entire school, after an earthquake occurs. The world is quite barren, with sand stretching for miles and no sign of habitation. The only thing that seems to be remotely intact, is the actual school grounds. When the school and faculty arrive in the world, everyone is quite distressed. No one knows what’s going on.
They do seem to know an earthquake occurred, and that the entire school was displaced. Eventually, the adults do their best to step in, and try and get the students under control. Unfortunately, t2he adults can’t handle the reality of their new situations, and each of them somehow die off. It is now up to Sho and his classmates, to figure out a way to survive their situation while also trying to figure out where they are, how they got there, and how to leave. The volumes were pretty long so I’ll try and recap the most important parts that occurred in each one. Also I did a google search and apparently there are like 11 volumes. I however must have bought different versions, in which the story managed to be squeezed into 3 big volumes.
Vol 1. Recap
The first volume is basically the students learning they are in a new world. The adults have gone crazy, and have all died with the exception of one. The kids figure out that they are in the future, and that it could also be some sort of parallel world to the one they previously knew. Sho is appointed the prime minister, as he is the one who has basically been leading everyone since the adults went crazy. The kids run into hiccups with food shortages, as well as bug monsters and a deranged cafeteria worker. Sho and the others work through various difficulties in order to survive being in this unknown world.
Vol. 2 Recap
The second volume picks up with the kids trying to fight this bug monster. They soon learn that the bug monster was manifested from a student’s worse fear. Sho manages to shock the student into making the bug monster disappear from his mind, and that situation is resolved. Next comes the bubonic plague that the children end up getting. Sho decides to quaratine himself and a few others while they try and keep the plague from spreading only for things to go very badly. Students start to turn on each other and they begin almost killing each other in hopes of getting rid of the plague. Sho is exposed to the plague and on his dying breath calls out to his mom to find him medicine. He is saved somehow and manages to cure the others.
The next issue the students face is a cult that has somehow arisen among a certain group of students. Sho and his friends work to disassemble it quickly. Sometime after that Sho and the others are trapped in a huge hole by the deranged adult (that they should have honestly killed in the first volume). Sho and his group decide to dig their way out, and eventually run into some stairs that lead to an old subway station.
Vol. 3 Recap
The kids delve further into the subway stations, only to run into a bunch of monsters, who seemed to have evolved from the human race. They escape the monsters and also discover a volcano underneath the substation. The volcano becomes active and sho and his gang make their way back to the school to let the other kids know whats going on. The monsters end up invading the school, and Sho passes out from having appendicitis. He undergoes a really dangerous surgery that another student performs on him and he ends up living.
During this time, Sho has been in a war with former class-rep and the school is divided. The kids fight each other for a while, when one day they notice a black smoke coming towards the school. They decide to find a place called “paradise” for safety. When they reach “paradise” they realize its some sort of museum that takes them through the different era’s of time. The reach modern time, thinking they’re back in the future, until Sho reminds them that its literally all fake
The kids fight again, most turning to cannabalism, and eventually the kids figure out that the only way to get back to their time is to create some sort of massive energy…like a large boom. Sho lies to the kids and tells him he was the one that caused them to get there. Hoping that they will follow him to exact death, Sho leads the students back to the school again.
When they get there he tells them that the he lied about the causing the earthquake. Otomo, the class rep says it was him who really caused the boom that sent them there. They decide to use a stick of dynamite to cause a new explosion that might send them back. This does not work, although they see that something has been sent back to the future. The kids accept their fate, and decide they will live in their new world and revive it. They do manage to send one kid back. A small child named Yu, who was near the school when the earthquake happened. Sho sends Yu back with a notebook full of letters to his mom
Yu makes it back to the present world, and manages to give the notebook to Emiko, Sho’s mother. She cries hoping that one day, Sho and the others will come back and the story ends.
So Many Thoughts
Yes…..I cried. There’s much that I didnt mention, but gosh this was such a wild ride. Do you know how pissed I would be if I literally went to school and ended up in a barren land? Never mind its the future. They literally only had this cloudy sky and sand for miles. No vegetation, no other sign of life. I would be pressedddt. Like a panini. If imma get sent to another world, send me to a place where theres other people, not the ones I came with!
I’m so sad they literally never got home? But also I just feel like maybe critical thinking skills were just not in play with these kids. They managed to get a tricycle, and one person back to the present . Why didnt you all just stand in the middle, or like put a few more people in there? They formed a circle and then put Yu in it…..and like accepted their fate. But I guess to be fair, in the story it was mentioned the world they were in, was what earth was going to become after the present humans basically destroyed it. It would be barren, and then it would revive and start regenerating. Which the kids do mention that trees and plants are starting to grow so the process has started.
Personally, I cant say if I would be willing to accept my fate so easily. Nor do I think I could survive. These kids literally experienced a whole ass plague, survived weird monsters, cannabalism, crazy teachers. They turned on each other multiple times. Dire situations apparently can bring out the worst in anyone, even some 11 year olds.
And I really feel for Sho’s mother, she saved him countless times in the story. They had some sort of psychic connection through Nishi, Sho’s friend. I think I would be sick if I had a child who just went missing with no explanation, but I could still hear him. Emiko was doing some wild shit, but I think that just shows the lengths to which parents will go for their children.
One thing that bothered me
In the first volume, the kids deduce that if they are ‘unconscious’, they will not get attacked by the monster bug. When they run out of chloroform, Takamatsu tells the remaining kids to simply think of being an inanimate object. Basically to clear their minds, so that the bug will not attack them. This works, but I feel like because they are kids they seem to think that thinking of themselves as objects is what saved them. My adult explanation for this is that the bug doesn’t attack things that it does not consider a target. And you cant be considered a target if you simply aren’t…..moving!
So because the kids weren’t moving, the bug monster didn’t perceive them as prey. Sorta reminds me of the Predator franchise. I’m not sure if a lot of people know this, but the predator doesn’t actually kill people, unless he’s attacked first. There are many instances throughout the movie franchise where a predator didn’t kill a human, simply because the human did not attack it. So, I think thats the same case with the kids dealing with the bug monster. Except in this particular case, the bug is more so drawn to movement. I think the kids wanted to simply rationalize it by saying that you had to be unconscious. And almost everyone survived the encounter when the bug got in the school except one kid and why? Because he literally started moving which drew the attention of the bug and caused it to come after him. Had anyone else moved, they might have all been slaughtered. The theory could also be combated, since there is still one adult alive who also survived be monster bug but they said his brain went to mush and that’s why he was able to survive as well. I’m still going to stick with the theory of them being able to survive due to simply not moving thus, drawing the attention of the monster bug.
The ending threw me for a loop
I wonder why Umezz ended the story the way he did. By the time I got to the the third volume, I was sure they were all going home. Kinda felt like I got false hope with Yu’s tricycle making it back. I wish they all would have gotten to go home. Never mind the earth in present day was dying, like okay? The earth we’re on right NOW is also dying. I wanna be where my friends and family are! It would be cool if he wrote some sort of sequal to the story, like maybe where we see the kids all grown up. Earth started regenerating towards the ends of the story, what was their life like after that?
I feel like he kinda left it like that on purpose, to let the readers mind wonder. Did they start a new civilization? Did they turn on each other again? I realize that maybe because they were lacking in resources like food and water, it caused them to act very irrationally. But now, they at least have those things. So where do they go from there, besides living life without their loved ones? Who will eventually die, while they get older?
Overall it was a good story and I understood the main plot of the story. All the side things that happened added to the overall storyline. Definitely planning to read more by Umezz.