Finished reading the eBook version today, and man, this manga.
Screaming Lessons is a huge collection of horror short stories centered around school kids. The narrator, Yomi, is a mysterious girl who’s missing the lower half of her body. She’s always there to introduce us to each lesson and conclude them, but what exactly is she?
The thing is, Screaming Lessons is a manga that’s scary to read even as an adult. I read the first half (40+ something chapters) when I was 13 and the second when I was in my late teens (with the last volume when I’m 21). Some of them were easy to guess so they didn’t scare me much, but some of the tales still made me uncomfortable even as an adult. (Some of them scared me shitless when I was 13, but some were just meh)
Those that were scary were scary for a reason. In some of the chapters, the kids hurt someone and caused some kind of curse or ghost to follow them around. However, later in the story, they realized their mistakes and repent, but a lot of them ended up getting consumed by the curse or killed by the evil ghost anyway. (In one of the stories, the main girl left her friend behind in a marathon, and her friend drowned herself because of whatever. Although the main girl apologized, she wasn’t forgiven) It’s scary because there’s no way to avoid it, and shit just happens without an explanation, kind of like ‘fear the unknown’ sort of deal, making it scary. (The best example of this is a story where the main girl morphed into a damn Ito Junji cat just because she badmouthed some strays) Also, when you get older, you realize that you’ve hurt a lot of people in the past because of your own stupidity and whatnot, and that experience is what makes reading Screaming Lessons uncomfortable. Maybe something out there is out to get you. Who knows.
A lot of the stories are really simple. Main girl is ordinary and has a crush or main girl has a best friend. Shit happens. Shit goes down to hell. The end. Although you know shit isn’t going to end well, there’s enough variety in it that kept me reading for so long. My two most memorable short stories were the mirror world (that friggin’ twist ending) and the one with the clock (that actually had a really touching ending). Yomi’s origin story and the last story in the series was also good.
I know I’m no longer the intended demographics for Screaming Lessons, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. These horror ‘lessons’ boil down to some very simple messages: love yourself, be kind to others, and take responsibility for your actions. They are lessons worth remembering even as an adult.
That’s it for Screaming Lessons. See you next class.