After School Nightmare – Manga Review

Japanese Title: Houkago Hokenshitsu

 

Genre: High School Supernatural Mystery Drama Romance Horror

Length: 10 volumes

 

Positives:

  • Some horror elements.
  • The concept.

Negatives:

  • The execution.
  • Uninteresting characters, despite their flaws and tragedy.
  • Drama undermines the supernatural conflict.

Who would have thought that After School Nightmare could make a love triangle involving someone with a male top half and female lower half so dull.

Students cannot graduate from this school until they find a key, competing against classmates in a nightmare realm for the mysterious object. Sounds interesting, right? Just like the love triangle, the writer couldn’t have made this more boring. In the nightmare, classmates have to “fight” (read: look menacing), which is undermined by having no impact in the real world, where everyone is chummy despite trying to kill each other yesterday.

As for characters, the melodrama is whiny rubbish. The protagonist likes a girl who likes him as a guy, but another guy likes him as a girl. The conflict goes as such: “I’m not a girl! I’m a boy! Waaaaah.” Three volumes in and it has gone nowhere. The first volume had as much happen as a single chapter of a better manga.

These characters are so shallow that I can’t even remember their individual motivations. People seem to think giving characters a trauma or a flaw makes them deep. In great writing, the use and execution of these flaws create a character’s depth, not the mechanics of the flaw. Take Mr Darcy in Pride & Prejudice. His flaw, pride, doesn’t sound great – it isn’t tragic, he didn’t suffer some great loss, he isn’t a war victim, or anything of the sort. However, the use, the impact of his pride gives him that complexity I find lacking in After School Nightmare’s characters.

I could not wait for this manga to end.

Art – Medium

The art often looks weak. Lopsided, inconsistent faces. The horror elements do look cool, however.

Story – Low

Students must enter nightmares to fight each other if they want to graduate. A unique concept sunk by weak conflict, uninteresting characters, and cheesy drama.

Recommendation: Skip it. There must be a better love triangle of confused sexuality in manga than After School Nightmare.

(Find out more about the manga recommendation system here.)

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