Monday, January 22, 2007


Disclaimer: i don't own this manga not even this review so don't sue me for that. Courtesy of Gina posted on August 2004.

Since the Columbine high school shootings of August 29th, 1999, the increase of high school violence has been brought into the view of the public eye. Documentaries, books, and articles have all been written about these sorts of incidents, and now Setona Mizushiro tackles the sensitive issue in her short manga series, X-Day.

Rika Saginuma is fed up with life. Once a former track star, an injury has forced her off the team. She has been overwhelmed with homework, papers, and exams, plus her boyfriend recently dumped her. One day, she finds a school chat room while on the web and decides to check it out. Inside are people complaining about the many stresses of school, so Rika fits right in. Things begin to heat up, as three other individuals, along with Rika, begin to devise a plan. Rika had mentioned that she just wanted the school to disappear, so their goal becomes simple: blow up the school. The day they plan to blow it up becomes known as X-Day, and the countdown begins.

On the surface, X-Day seems like another typical story about high school drama, since it talks about relationship problems and social pressures. Sure it contains some of the stereotypical elements needed in a story about high school drama, but X-Day is far from typical. This dialogue driven story focuses on the relationship between four very different people, and how they save each other from themselves. What separates X-Day from other manga is its characters. They are four individuals, not all naïve teenage girls that are constantly in the middle of relationship trouble. Perhaps the most unique character of the foursome, is the biology teacher named Jangalian. Mizushiro portrays both sides of the story, and shows us that teachers can be cracking under the same pressures as their students.

A common theme found in X-Day is that things are not always what they seem. One way Mizushiro does this is by offering readers a different view into the lives of others; showing how even the most "popular people" can feel lonely, and that teenage girls are not the only people who suffer from the pressures of high school life. It shows a rare side of people, exposing the humanity of each character, and tries to construct a reason behind many of the things that many people originally overlook. The X-Day manga is written in the authentic manga style, reading right-to-left. The panels are clear to make out, and not cluttered by extraneous images. As long as you’re accustomed with reading right-to-left, then you shouldn’t encounter any confusion or problems while flipping through this manga. The sound effects remain in their original Japanese characters, but that doesn’t take anything away from the reading experience. The backgrounds are lacking detail, but this is to place more emphasis on the characters and their feelings, since that is what is making the story progress.X-Day is a critical series that deserves to be looked into.


For a short series of only two volumes in length, X-Day certainly packs a punch, and will definitely prove to be worth the money. To get even more bang for your buck, at the end of the second volume, there is a short fable entitled “The Last Supper”, which is a heart-wrenching tale of loyalty and friendship. X-Day turns out to be a satisfying manga that touches upon an issue that many authors tend to shy away from, and a story that any person, not only students, but adults or teachers as well, can relate to.

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