A School Frozen in Time is a mystery/psychological thriller manga with a bit of a supernatural twist. Written by Mizuki Tsukimura and with art by Naoshi Arakawa, of Your Lie in April and Sayonara, Football fame, this is a suspenseful tale of a group of trapped teens, who must discover why they’ve been transported into a strange dimension, before it’s too late.
Eight high school students arrive at their school one snowy day and find it completely empty, save for themselves. The kids originally just assume that classes were canceled for the day, but when they try to leave, they discover that they aren’t able to open any of the doors or windows. Things just get stranger from there and the teens begin to suspect that whatever is happening at the school has something to do with a classmate who committed suicide months earlier. The thing is, none of them can seem to remember who it was that killed themselves. As their circumstances become more and more surreal and dangerous, the kids begin to wonder – could the ghost of their dead classmate be one of them?
I haven’t read Your Lie in April, which is the series that I feel Naoshi Arakawa is most well known for, but I have read Sayonara, Football, and it was clear to me as I was reading this that A School Frozen in Time is an example of an early work by the artist. The art is noticeably less polished then Arakawa’s more recent manga series and there were places where the character’s faces looked too stiff or just off.
Other then that one quirk with the art looking a bit rough in places, I loved this manga.
The creepy vibe of being trapped in a school by an unseen force, and the mystery of who amongst the students could be the the one responsible for everything that’s happening, is riveting, and I loved all of the ambiguity and the increasing tensions amongst the kids.
We’re slowly starting to learn more about the grous and their interpersonal drama’s, but so far there are no obvious hints as to why they have been chosen to be trapped in this alternate reality/spirit realm. Interestingly, one of the kids – Takano, our main character – is starting to question if he might be the one who committed suicide!
The idea that the ghost might also have had their memory altered and might not be aware that they’ve pulled their classmates into this scenario, is intriguing and it really opens up the possibilities of who could be the ghost. Neither Takano, nor the other kids, seem to have any obvious motives for suicide, and the only drama they’ve brought up is some pretty standard unrequited teen love issues, but it’s hard to tell how compromised their memories might be. It’s exciting to think that anyone, even the point of view character, could be responsible party.
I found this story to be engrossing and I’m really looking forward finding out more about these characters and seeing if I can work out who the ghost is, assuming any of them is the ghost, of course. I’d recommend A School Frozen in Time to mystery fans and anyone look for a suspenseful read.
Content Warning: Contains images of blood and depictions of suicide.
Final Score: 8.5 out of 10
What did you think of this of this manga? Any theories on who might be responsible for trapping the kids in the school dimension? I’m suspicious of the teacher the kids keep mentioning, personally.
For more information on this series, visit Kodansha USA’s website.
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