There’s just something chilling about Yukito Ayatsuji’s original story, brought to life with the art of Hiro Kiyohara. The tale pulls you in with the mention of a curse on a middle school class—specifically, third year class 3—and you’re enveloped by the sheer mystery of it. And when the main character—and, therefore, the reader—Koichi Sakakibara learn the origins and gravity of the curse, we’re taken for a ride on how it can be stopped.
Not since Doubt (and, to an extend, the first two volumes of its sequel, Judge) has a manga held so tightly to my attention that I couldn’t wait to finish it while all the time not wanting it to end.
Yen Press collects four volumes in one single book, leaving the reader no time to recover until the very end. Yukito Ayastsuji’s mastery of storytelling (yeah yeah, I know it’s translated) is incredible. And Hiro Kiyohara’s ability to breathe life into the horror novel is anything but sub-par.
About the book (from Yen Press):
In the spring of 1998, Koichi Sakakibara transfers into Class 3-3 at Yomiyama North Middle School. But little does he know…his new class has a horrible secret. When he takes his seat in class for the first day of school, Koichi is unsettled by his fearful classmates. Despite this atmosphere and warnings from fellow students, Koichi is drawn to the beautiful, distant Mei Misaki, another classmate. But the closer he tries to get to her, the more mysterious she and their class become. And when a fellow student dies a disturbing death—the first of a long chain of deaths—Koichi seeks to learn the truth behind the curse of Class 3-3. But can he get answers before the curse kills him?
original story by Yukito Ayatsuji
art by Hiro Kiyohara
Yen Press (October 2013)
We are a haunted culture. We blog and tweet and status update to unload baggage. The more we broadcast is the less we share. And we carry these ghosts with us wherever we go. They are with us in all we do.
Last month, Nine Inch Nails released their first single since their departure tour a few years ago. “Came Back Haunted,” a seeming theme song for the over-shared and under-spoken generation of narcissists unwilling to touch on what really matters. “Everywhere now reminding me/I am not who I used to be/I’m afraid this has just begun/Consequences for what I’ve done.”
In her graphic novel, Friends with Boys, Faith Erin Hicks embodies the haunted. Maggie McKay is trying to find her place in high school. After years of homeschooling, this proves more difficult than your average teenager. Her father’s the new chief of police. Her older brothers—Daniel and the twins, Lloyd and Zander—have lives of their own, establishing themselves in their own high school cliques. And cracks of her safe world are beginning to show as her mother has left without explanation. Things are changing for Maggie, and it’s obvious to her that she cannot keep up. And most of all, Maggie is haunted. Quite literally, actually. But everyone in Maggie’s life is haunted. Her new friends—brother and sister duo, Alistair and Lucy—are haunted by each other. Daniel is haunted by standing against the social norm. The twins are haunted by their falling out. Hicks’s ability to tell and show the story and the range of emotions helps us learn that no matter how much we want to fix our past and our bad decisions, we can’t always. And that’s okay, even when it isn’t.