Tonawanda News

Features

August 5, 2013

BOOK NOOK: "Drifting Classroom" masterpiece deserves its many awards

Fans of horror, suspense, and obscure fantasy, take note — you may have overlooked “The Drifting Classroom,” and if so, you have made a big mistake.

Published as a serial from 1972 through 1974, “The Drifting Classroom” has gone more or less unknown in the United States despite it’s numerous awards, for two reasons: It was published in Japan, and it is a manga.

For those unsure, manga is a japanese storytelling medium not unlike our comic books or graphic novels. Because of this, and perhaps sometimes rightly so, manga is often disregarded and criticized for its lack of literary and artistic merit, not unlike the plight well written graphic novels see stateside. Somewhat like video games, mass audiences are still trying to come to terms with the artistic merit manga can, and has, offered.

While “The Drifting Classroom” may only carry a cult following in the United States, in Japan, Author and artist Kazuo Umezu is a superstar of horror, often compared to the likes of Stephen King and George Romero. “The Drifting Classroom,” which runs over a series of 11 books, has won a number of prestigious awards in the country, such as the Shogakukan Manga Award, which is one of the biggest honors in manga publishing, having been awarded annually since 1955.

The story revolves around a japanese school, which has mysteriously and suddenly vanished after a large explosion is heard town-wide. While the townspeople assume the school has been destroyed in some sort of bombing attack, the assumption is far from the truth.

Instead, Sho Takamatsu, a sixth grader, and the rest of his school, have been transported to someplace alien. Whether they were warped to a distant planet, hurdled into the future, or something else entirely, Sho and his classmates have no clue. All they know is the school has been transplanted into the middle of a barren desert, there are limited food supplies, and hundreds and hundreds of children are so scared, they’re on the brink of a mental breakdown.

Text Only
Features
  • SUN LIFE Volunteers honored 1 040614.jpg Women Who Move the City (and beyond)

    April 7, 2014 2 Photos

  • SUN LIFE POUND 1040614j jpg.jpg Rock n' roll fitness

    April 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • sig - crib notes RGB Enough of this winter -- it's time for spring

    Midway through separating the bits of dog food from the shredded paper towel pieces on the saturated bed sheet that had been strewn across the dining-room table, I finally realized I’d had enough.

    April 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • sig - critter companions RGB Dear readers, it's me, Kenny

    I have bad knees. I have been told to blame my grandmother. I have also been told to blame her for my love of animals. Today, we celebrate the 100th Critter Companions column.

    April 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • SUN LIFE mummies 1 033014.jpg 'Mummies of the World' exhibit arrives in Buffalo

    As visitors arrived for the recent NCAA basketball tournament games in Buffalo, a much older group of visitors arrived via motorcade at the Buffalo Museum of Science — but these newcomers to the Queen City wouldn’t be seeking out a place to have a beer between games or where to find the region’s best chicken wings.

    March 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • sig - double trouble RGB Years later, still spending sunny days on Sesame Street

    I always knew we’d hit “the Elmo years.”

    Going into parenthood, it seemed like a given. Both my husband and I  were “Sesame Street” fans from childhood ourselves, and we were happy enough to pass it on to a new generation. And we knew, having friends with children of the applicable age, that in this day and age “Sesame Street” equalled Elmo, the squeaky-voiced “furry red menace” (thus dubbed by Oscar the Grouch) of parents everywhere.

    March 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • SUN LIFE Local Restaurant Week 2 033014.jpg Back for another bite

    As spring finally starts to unfold in Western New York, residents are likely eager to get out of their houses — and organizers of Local Restaurant Week hope they’ll consider eating out as they do that.

    March 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Wineries invite visitors to take a Taste of the Trail

    If one weekend of food and wine pairings is a good thing, two weekends of food and wine pairings must be even better.

    For the first time, the Taste of the Trail event, which takes place Friday through April 6 and April 11 to 13 on the Niagara Wine Trail, will be split into two weekends, with half the trail’s wineries taking part the first weekend and half the second, said Elizabeth Maute, wine trail coordinator.

    March 31, 2014

  • sig - critter companions RGB CRITTER COMPANIONS: Rewards for playing nice

    March 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • SUN LIFE signs of spring 1 032314.jpg Region's favorite signs of spring gear up for season

    Ah, the signs of spring: The birdsong, the flowers, the green grass, the flowing waters of the Erie Canal or Niagara River ... and the words “Opening soon” on the marquee of your favorite seasonal business.

    March 24, 2014 1 Photo