Plot: An anthology horror series also known as ‘Screaming Lessons’, a mysterious girl named Yomi introduces us to many short creepy and frightening horror stories.
Breakdown: I love this manga. I love horror anthologies as a whole, but this one is really great.
It’s difficult to explain this series in a review format since it’s a collection of (usually) separate stories, but most of the stories are incredibly interesting, thought-provoking and scary. That’s not to say that all of them were gems. There were some stories strewn about that were either just plain weird and not particularly scary, cliché or boring, but there was never a shortage of excitement and surprises in nearly every story and volume.
Another great thing about these stories is that not all of them end with the whole ‘everyone dies’ trope. While many people do die in these series, some survive their ordeals and it’s actually interesting to be on the edge of your seat for these stories because Emi Ishikawa, the author and artist of the series, really does a great job of making many of the characters likable and interesting, which just makes the stories all the more frightening because she shows time and again that she’s not afraid to kill off characters that are meant to be likable.
Surprisingly, the series does have a few stories that actually have happy endings. I won’t name which ones, but a particular story involving a couple was one of my personal favorites because it just ended so nicely yet believably.
Yomi is a really cool and creepy girl who is given her own backstory in the series and even shows up a few times in various stories. She does a magnificent job playing our narrator, and she sets the mood perfectly.
Art: The art has a bit of a shoujo slant to it. It’s not cutesy by any means, but it has that sort of style to it. The art as a whole is wonderful. Emi Ishikawa does a great job on everything; the character models, backgrounds, monster visuals and blood and gore.
Bottomline: It’s a great series for fans of short horror stories, and I definitely recommend it for horror and short story fans.
Additional Information and Notes: Zekkyou Gakkyuu was written and illustrated by Emi Ishikawa. It was published by Ribon Magazine.
A sequel series titled Zekkyou Gakkyuu: Tensei was produced almost immediately after the series ended, but it seems to be very rare and discontinued.
Recommended Audience: While not being overly gorey, there are still various instances of blood, gore, murder and death. No sex that I remember, or nudity, swearing’s also not a commonality. I’d say at least 13+, maybe more for the scarier/bloodier chapters.