After School Nightmare

Alt title: Houkago Hokenshitsu

Vol: 10; Ch: 39
2004 - 2008
3.932 out of 5 from 1,103 votes
Rank #5,964
After School Nightmare

Ichijou Mashiro seems to have it all - he's popular, good looking and attends a prestigious prep school. But Mashiro has a secret - he's neither male nor female. So far, Mashiro's been able to live his life as a boy, but all this changes when he's informed of a new class he must take in order to graduate. Mashiro is told to find the Key to graduate, and the only way to do so is to enter a nightmarish world with several other anonymous students in a twisted group therapy session. These terrifying after school classes will challenge Mashiro's notions of friend and foe as his body and soul are put at the mercy of the worst kind of enemies: his classmates!

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I have read this manga the last week, and I must say, I would have never thought it would end like this - nor the story, nor my feelings towards it. First of all, it was labeled gender-bender. I am not a big fan of the genre. Girls who look cute in boys' outfits? Not for me. Then came the biological twist. Mashiro's upper half is male and the lower is female? That was so ridiculous in my eyes. He's just a boyish chich with no boobs. :D The first chapter was very confusing, but at the same time, it captured my interest. I wandered what all the crazy stuff was about. There was one more point that I really disliked - the incest. But I got over it, and I'm glad I did, because without that part, this story truly wouldn't be good. What I really admired in the whole manga was the characterisation. Every last person in this work is like real people - they have good and bad sides and habits. Some have scarier sceletons in their closets than others, but all of them represent real people. And the story is all about overcoming your fears, your insecurities, and realizing that you only have one purpose in life: to never give up and always be true to the person you are. I loved the three main characters. At first, Mashiro annoyed me because he was a girlboy who claimed to be a boy but acted like a total girl. It was so facepalm! But real, too, considering his/her insecurities. Sou was a mystery present, unwrapped slowly as the story progressed, and turning out just as, or even more, human than everybody else. His character captured me in the beginning, in the middle, and in the end. Kureha I also liked from the start - she is cute, beautiful even, but inside, she is more insecure than most girls. However, she tries, she constantly tries to overcome her fears, she stops lying down to her phobias and in the end, she rises as the strongest character of them all. The people were deep, they evolved, and became humans true to themselves. The character development was fascinating. And as a characterization junkie, whenever a story has real characters readers can relate to, I always say: WIN! And this story had good characters, a good plot, and a good general story. The idea was brilliant, and the ending, when we found out about the reason behind the whole school, was so ingenious I almost teared up. I can only recommend it to anyone. Even if you don't like shojo, gender bending, incest or fantasy, you have to read this. However, if you're a fan of cliché plots and characters and like easy romance stories with a strong male and weak female lead, or you hate good fight scenes, this is not for you!


Alright, let me break this down for you <3 Story-Call me stupid, but a lot of the story can be hard to follow and everything seems to be drawn out, it's a very dark manga to say the least I at first thought it might be deep.The author seemed to be all over the place with what they wanted to happen, the ever annoying relationship between Mashiro, Kureha and Sou was something that I both liked and disliked, as there are many moments when they just seem to throw Sou into the mix for drama and the fangirls.Now, when it comes to a lot of twists and characters, nothing is REALLY explained clearly and it is up to just guess work, like many other parts of this story, I thought the ending was original and well thought out, but it was a very long boring trip to get there.Art-I've seen better, Ive seen worse. I found that the art work in this manga was more like a sketch than it was a final product, also lacking in certain details which made it plain. On the other hand there was something serene to it, which gives it an edge. Characters-Where do i begin..Mashiro- Mashiro in my eyes was initially just an average character.  He seemed quiet, with little personality and constantly worried about if he was male or female.As the story progressed I found he was little more than a doll, having many suggestive moments with Sou where he showed little interest and hardly showed any personality. His moments with Kureha almost gave me hope for the character, untill he began to get just as dull as before, becoming a very backround cliche main charcter. Kureha- I took little interest in Kureha, I found her to be another cliche school girl type who is only there to create a love triangle for Sou and Mashiro. The more I read the better of a character she became, over time she started to show signs of being more than just a secondary love interest. Near the end of the manga I felt Kureha had grown as a person due to her anger and need for revenge on Mashiro. Sou- Sou come off to me as the silent brooding type. Throughout the manga his place seemed to be the main love interest, though his relationship with Mashiro was just as cliche as Kurehas' original role. Most of the story he and Mashiro share moments togather, as the two of them (apparently) fall in love; although his place gets more complicted when his sister is revealed.Now, this is where I really lost interest.Sous' relationship with Ai is more confusing and not properly explained. The two seem to have an incestious relationship, which only gets more confusing as it is revealed why she is in the story at all.The other characters have much smaller, secondary roles.Overall-I'm not really sure what draws people to this, I thought it was boring, too long, and not well explained; although I can admit, it's twists are good, if you can understand them. 

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