Junji Ito is the equivalent to a Japanese graphic novel version of Stephen King, in the sense that they both are masters of horror and each have their own unique way of disturbing their audiences. Stephen relies on the image that he has created for you in your imagination and Ito relies on his grotesque images to perturb readers. While Disappearing Classroom might not be the best tale in his legacy, it certainly has the visceral and monstrous images that is another great addition. Dissolving Classroom is also just title of the first chapter within the entire series revolving dissolving individuals. This includes: Dissolving Classroom, Dissolving Apartment, Worshiping Beauty, Chizumi’s Dissolving Love, The Demon’s Conference, Meet Again, and Children of the Earth. I should note that all of these titles are included in this one book.
Dissolving Classroom revolves around two main characters: Chizumi, a creepy looking girl, and Yuma, her incredibly apologetic older brother. Besides scaring the bejesus out of people, Chizumi has a severe predilection for ooze emitted from dissolved humans. Which appears to happen a lot around her. After scaring someone, Yuma will profusely apologize for her behavior and beg for forgiveness. After a while it becomes clear that by doing so, Yuma is causing people to dissolve. And so, the vicious cycle begins.
If one thing is certain about Junji Ito’s style, he is very talented at his facial expressions. Everyone moment where Chizumi is involved in the story is, if contain in a single word, unnerving.
Each chapter is yet another tale in the sibling’s journey across Japan. As we get further into the story, we begin to get more a grip on what is actually going on. To a certain point, you begin to feel unsure about the main characters. Are they bad or good? Or do we just feel bad for their circumstances? It’s up to the reader’s interpretation. One thing is certain; Dissolving Classroom, with its nausea inducing images, remains grotesque the whole way through the story. The tale is simple and short and easy enough to get through in one go. As an added bonus, there are a few added stories just give the reader a bit more before it comes to a close.
Author: Junji Ito
Publisher: Vertical Comics
Disclaimer: A copy of Dissolving Classroom was provided to BentoByte by the publisher for the purpose of reviewTweet