The creator of the acclaimed and highly influential The Drifting Classroom is coming out of retirement to create his first new manga title in over two decades.
The 84-year old Kazuo Umezu announced his new work on his website. "This is my first new release in 26 years!!! It took four years to produce... Today is the first time I have made a public announcement because I drew it silently," Umezu said in a translated announcement. In the thirty years before his retirement in 1995, Umezu penned a number of successful manga series in Japan, including Orochi: Blood, Cat Eyed Boy and the manga adaptation of the original Ultraman series, but the author and artist is best known for The Drifting Classroom, an award winning and highly influential horror manga that was first published in 1972. Umezu's website states that his new work will be released in January, 2022.
The Drifting Classroom tells the story of an elementary school that is suddenly transported into a hellish, post-apocalyptic future without warning. After the teachers are all either killed or driven mad by their new surroundings, the children are forced to band together and figure out how to survive in a world that is filled with dangerous mutants, disease, and their own growing mistrust of each other.
Umezu's manga is widely cited as one of the most influential horror manga to ever be published. Junji Ito, the author of similarly acclaimed horror manga such as Uzumaki and Tomie, has cited Umezu as a major influence on his works, and many critics have noted the many similarities between Umezu's work and Shingo Natsume's Sonny Boy, a 2021 anime series that is also about a school that suddenly transported into a bizarre alternate world.
VIZ Media released a special hardcover edition of The Drifting Classroom in 2019.