The girl Yomi—a creature without legs—leads through a world of horror, which slumbers in the midst of everyday life and only lies in wait to pounce on the unsuspecting. Anyone who is foolish enough to engage in it terrible things will happening!
I decided to pick up Zekkyou Gakkyuu because I wanted a horror manga in a cutesy style. I was not disappointed by Emi Ishikawa as I really enjoyed the series and it is still a series I would go back to anytime. The art work is great, the stories are amusing and the overall series caught my interest enough to have me read all of it through and still hope for more.
But enough with the sweet talk and compliments, it's time to give my critique. While the series started out with straightforward horror stories where it was a routine with the main girl to die
by the end of each lesson, it seems that at some points the creator has lost her inspiration for horror as those chapters lean to a different genre more then horror.
None the less though, every chapter gave me the chills, either with the main 'monster antagonist' of the chapter, the crazy deeds of the characters or the plot-twists.
Overall, despite some quirks, the series was enjoyable for me.
Zenkkyou Gakkyuu (or Scary Lessons) is a manga about Yomi, a girl without legs, who tells you storys about little girls - more often than not they're going to middle school - who do something stupid and then be punished for it by some supernatural powers.
So actually there are many short stories which always have a moral, just like in 'Struwwelpeter', but Scary Lessons is much more creepy. The stories usually follow the same pattern:
A girl is almost satisfied with her life but has something she doesn't want and wishes to go away / wants to change. Therefor, she tries something which causes some
ghosts or stuff to help her, but in the end she is punished by the ghost / killers herself.
Yomi then tells the reader not to do the same thing the girl did, for example if she was jealous of her best friend and wanted to be better but died in the end, Yomi says that you have to love your best friend, no matter if he / she is better than you or not.
Though there is a pattern, the stories are all different, you won't read the same stuff over an dover again. it's pretty scary, also because of...
If you skim through the manga, there is one thing you're deffinetely going to notice: The art style changes during the storys.
At first it's always pretty cute and happy, it looks like a shoujo manga. The further you scroll, the more disturbing will the art look. Emi Ishikawa is good in drawing cute things, but she's even better when it comes to insanity, ugliness, gore and dolls / blank stares.
I almost shit myself when I was reading it before going to bed and suddenly looked into a mad women's eyes.
You can't really say anything about the characters because the only character who is there in every volume is Yomi, and she doesn't do anything but to tell you the stories. But the girls in the story are often very dumb and selfish, and that's why I just gave it 6/10.
I really like these little short-storys. They all start with a situation everyone has been in before and never have a happy end (I hate happy ends :|) It is also one of the few mangas that are really creepy. If you enjoy the horror genre, you'll enjoy this manga.
To me, it's one of the best mangas ever. But it's just a collection of many short stories, so it can't be too epic. Still, the art style is awesome, it's cute, it's creepy and it makes you think. 'This situation seems very similar. Maybe I should think about it before I wonder how I could be better than my friend...'
Please excuse my grammar mistakes, I'm German. It is also my first review.
Well...where to begin? I actually never write a review...
I first saw Zekkyou Gakkyuu in a recommendation. I was interested and begun to read it.
I actually don't like shoujo's. But this was a good one! The story's are not hard to follow. Somehow, it reminds me of Hell Girl.
The art is ok, it looks like normal art for manga's.
The main character is Yomi, but you don't only follow Yomi as main character. Each chapter has one main character; an average schoolgirl, wich goes later in the story insane.
However, every story is interesting and it isn't hard to follow because you just follow one story in
The characters are sometimes a little ''bratty'' or ''jealous''.
Well, the overal is an 8. I really like the story and i was never interested in a manga as this one!
Emi Ishikawa's Zekkyou Gakkyuu (Screaming Lessons) is a shoujo horror anthology wherein most of the stories revolve around a young girl who comes across some kind of cursed item or creepy happening that ends up killing her at best or giving her an even worse fate than that. The happy endings in these one-shots are few and far between, and the protagonist usually has to go through hell to get it.
The only consistent character between chapters is Yomi, a ghost girl and the teacher of the titular 'screaming lessons'. She narrates the opening and ending of each story and usually provides a moral to the
reader relating to each story. Many of these lessons seem to be metaphors, albeit rather strange and twisted ones, for things that may affect the young girls these stories are aimed at, such as struggling with school (Supplements for the Brain), cyberbullying (Black Forum) or eating disorders/weight loss (The Requirements of a Belle). Some of the morals are tacked on and directly contradict the ending of the story it is attached to (The Bonds of a Curse) and many of them are extremely pessimistic and questionable life advice to give to an adolescent girl (The Do-Gooder Club). Despite this, Yomi's narration does an excellent job of establishing the theme of each piece and giving the reader something to think about before reading the next chapter.
The girls who appear in these stories exist mainly to suffer -Madoka Magica has nothing on some of the misery these characters go through. Most of the heroines are more or less the same -a grade or middle school girl (though some protagonists are older) who has some kind of flaw or insecurity that is exploited so she can have her life ruined by supernatural curses, serial killers, or something else similarly horrible. A few chapters have a twist in which it is revealed that the protagonist is really the villian, hiding their insanity or their true cruel personality behind a facade of niceness, which is fun to shake things up a bit. For the most part though, the leads are generic nice-girls who really don't deserve the awful fates they meet.
Yomi stays calm and collected yet still creepy throughout the manga. The two-part story 'The Truth About Yomi' that explains her backstory gives her some more characterisation beyond her role of the story's narrator, and is definitely a high point of the series.
The artwork of Zekkyou Gakkyuu is rather typical for shoujo manga, with the standard cute art style. Yomi's uniquely cat eyed appearance is rather appealing, and definitely helps establish her creepiness while also being appealing. The rest of the character designs are quite generic, with giant eyes and soft lines, but don't let this fool you -this is a horror manga, after all. Scenes of gore, horrifying monsters and deranged, twisted facial expressions will stare at you from the page out of nowhere, and the artist spared no effort in making these scenes as unsettling as they could get away with in a children's manga. The contrast between cute and scary works brilliantly.
My personal favourite stories from the series are 'The Bus to the Underworld', 'The Ocean is Calling', and 'The Day I Became a Demon'. All of these stories are similar thematically, and also in that they are supposed to be sad rather than scary. These occasional doses or heartfelt sweetness are very much welcome in a series that absolutely destroys its heroines in the way Zekkyou Gakkyuu does, and to me are the strongest chapters in the series.
In all, Zekkyou Gakkyuu is a treat for younger horror fans, though I imagine that older readers would find it immature and silly. The closest thing that I know of to compare it to is the 'Tales from the Crypt' series of comics. If you enjoy shoujo but are tired of cutesy romance you are likely to enjoy this manga.