(Grade 7 and up). Yuki Tachibana’s classmates see him as a freak. But Yuki isn’t just being weird for the sake of attention: he can really see things that others can’t. Yuki calls them the others, and they’ve invaded the unused fourth floor of his elementary school. Another mysterious force, which Yuki calls Super Star, usually keeps the others in check, but as the year goes on, Yuki can feel Super Star growing more and more distant. The problem, as far as Yuki sees it, is that he’s getting older: he tells his new friend Makoto, and Ganz, the school’s groundskeeper, that as people age, their ability to see the other world that exists alongside our reality begins to fade. Yuki fears that’s happening to him, and he says that he can “feel his soul rotting,” but IQ, a genius who refuses to go anywhere without wearing a cardboard box with a single eyehole over his head, insists that Yuki is just imagining the strange things he sees. Is Yuki hallucinating? Or is his school really infested by malevolent forces that seek to steal Yuki from his own world and trap him in their own?
Taiyo Matsumoto’s art and storytelling are surreal and beautiful. As seasons pass (the book is divided into five sections: spring, summer, fall, winter, and spring again), it becomes harder and harder for Yuki (and readers) to tell the difference between Yuki’s world and the world of the others, which Yuki keeps slipping into. And though the others seem invisible to Yuki’s classmates, teachers’ reports of discipline problems and a near-drowning in the school pool suggest that the others do have an influence on what we think of as reality, which subverts IQ’s reasonable explanations of hallucinations and doppelgangers. The uncertainty of all this combined with Matsumoto’s illustrations makes for an entertaining if slightly disturbing reading experience. By the end of the novel, Yuki’s own story has been resolved fairly happily, as has IQ’s, but the introduction of a new student who can see the others leaves you wondering how these strange spirits might make mischief in the future…(4 out of 5 stars).
- Hardcover: 464 pages
- Publisher: VIZ Media LLC; Original edition (December 8, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1421532093
- ISBN-13: 978-1421532097 (Source of Publication Data: Amazon.com)
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