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The Melting Classroom

Hello readers. We are riding on one of time's awesome innovations which has yet to have a name (if anybody knows of a wicked one please proceed ahead to slap that label) into the June holidays for the schooling population or just another dreadful month for the rest of us. Fret not though, as our lives continue to tick with anticipation for big sales, the SEA Games, vacations, outings, or sadly none of the above! I'm trying my best to recuperate from the huge loss of my brain juice supply. As usual, I would like to think that ageing has got absolutely nothing to do with that. Never mind the throbbing madness that is constantly manifesting as the gates unlock for the war of the apes (?). A bunch of kids had been screeching non-stop and effectively negating the groove or whatever that was playing through my earpieces from the second I boarded the bus bound for home. Anyway, I would like to extend a very warm welcome to our newly joined writers (yeah finally there's some fresh blood oozing out). Have some make-believe champagne and cheese!

By the time this article gets out, Books Kinokuniya would have ended its four-day 20-percent discount privilege to all members. I didn't realise that there was even an extra ten for me until some odd numbers flashed across the cash register three days ago. Yeah, so I bought yet another book without conscience. What was it? 'The Melting Classroom' by horror mangaka Itou Junji. If anybody hadn't realised already, Itou Junji is now pretty much one of my mangaka crushes. I think that there must had been some divine intervention since until about a week ago I didn't own any of his books. 'The Melting Classroom' is Itou-sensei's latest full-length manga. The tankoubon was released in December last year. The Chinese translation by Taiwanese publisher Tong Li was released almost two weeks ago. I know that it sounds really lame, but no prizes for guessing the version I bought.

So what (else) is 'The Melting Classroom'? Unfortunately, there isn't an alternative cover art for this title, so if anybody is easily prone to nausea from such unsettling images, please go grab a paper bag or something. Nope, I don't think that splattering half-digested goo all over the monitor is a good idea. There are five chapters covering the main arc, but only one chapter has an actual classroom setting. The story begins with a newly transferred bespectacled student Azawa Yuuma who instantaneously becomes the talk of the entire class (and probably the whole school as well) when he proceeds to apologise profusely to everybody following his self-introduction. While Yuuma mostly becomes the target of ridicule and such, he finds an awkward yet intriguing solace in one of his classmates Keiko. Of course, things aren't what they appear to be, and in 'The Melting Classroom' the state of madness hits a blunt ten-fold.

Keiko gets a rude surprise while walking home from school one day, in the form of a creepy girl named Chizumi. Well, that surprise turns near-fatal as Keiko runs off in fear and right into a passing truck. A worried Yuuma visits her in the hospital with some shattering information - Chizumi is in fact Yuuma's little sister! After a scuffle with Keiko's parents, Yuuma simply resumes his routine of apologising. By then, the episode will twist and turn with wicked, disturbing, gory and fun consequences. It's rather challenging to describe the catalysts for all that meltdown without spoiling the rest of the book. But I will say that in order to appreciate 'The Melting Classroom' to its very last drop (pun somewhat intended), the reader has to understand that in the world of Itou-sensei's creations, a lot of phenomena remain vague or unexplained.

Other stories covering the main arc include: The Melting Beauty, The Melting Apartment, Chizumi's Love, and The Devil's Press Conference. While I try not to impose a most favourite, I have to say that The Melting Apartment and The Devil's Press Conference have caught me off-guard the most. I highly recommend this book to anyone who could still stomach a hearty meal after a horror story.

Eccentrically Yours.

Written by J.Fluffysheep ♪

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