10 Books/Manga Like The Drifting Classroom
The Drifting Classroom is a psychological horror manga that will make your skin crawl. It’s written and illustrated by Kazuo Umezu and follows the journey of several children who must figure out a way to survive in a world that’s unfamiliar to them. The series was serialized in Weekly Shonen Sunday from 1972 to 1974.
The series is well-acclaimed by critics and fans alike. In 1974, it won a Shogakukan Manga Award and inspired many directors like Shingo Natsume with their work.
If you’re in the mood for more psychological, mystery, and horror books/manga that offers a similar vibe, fear not! We’ve gathered together 10 books/manga to check out when you’ve caught up with Drifting Classroom. Of course, if you feel we’ve missed any of your favorites, do comment below and let us know!
Uzumaki – Junji Ito
Similarities – Bizarre Worlds
Uzumaki is an incredibly short horror manga series. It’s written and illustrated by the prolific Japanese horror author, Junji Ito. It features bone-chilling artistry, memorable characters, and thought-provoking concepts. In the mysterious town of Kurouzu-cho lives a girl named Kirie Goshima who visits her boyfriend, Shuuichi Saito.
Kirie notices Shuuichi’s father’s strange obsession with snail shells and reports it to Shuuichi. Shuuichi reveals his father’s been acting strange lately and tells Kirie he wants to leave this town with her. Afterward, a chain of unexplainable events occurs resulting in many people becoming paranoid and grotesque.
The Drifting Classroom and Uzumaki are weird horror stories filled with absurd and horrific scenarios. The characters in these worlds must endure brutal and sad scenarios if they hope to survive. If you enjoyed The Drifting Classroom’s spooky atmosphere, countless mysteries, and its characters, you’ll love Uzumaki.
Cage of Eden – Yoshinobu Yamada
Similarities – Premise & Themes
Cage of Eden is a quirky but enjoyable manga. It encompasses multiple genres and themes. At times it can feel adventurous and action-centric while in other instances it can feel fantastical and mysterious. Cage of Eden has its share of plotholes that’ll bug readers, but it also contains some likable creative elements that will keep you invested.
While its storytelling can feel hit or miss, Yoshinobu Yamada’s artwork is immaculate. From the way our characters are drawn to how beautiful the manga’s landscapes look on the page, you’ll find yourself taking a second to enjoy the impressive designs spread across each panel. The fan service can be a bit much since you may feel like it’s tearing you away from Cage of Eden’s plot.
Nonetheless, if you enjoy manga with likable characters and gorgeous artwork, Cage of Eden will satisfy you. For those curious, the plot centers around a group of students struggling to survive on an island that wants them to perish. This island is full of lurking predators and strange phenomena, so it’s up to our lead protagonist Akira and his friends to sharpen their wits if they want to live.
Sprite – Yuugo Ishikawa
Similarities – Horror & Mystery
Sprite is an enjoyable supernatural horror series with decent mystery elements. It involves our characters trying to survive in a world that’s damaged from the ground up. Sprite’s characters will have to utilize their human instincts and strengths to persevere through their territory’s boatload of obstacles. These range from hunting for food and avoiding becoming a succulent meal for beasts.
In Sprite, we follow Yoshiko, a hardworking student who spends her time helping out a close friend and her reclusive uncle. One day, she notices a black substance fall from the sky but he friend can’t see it. Suddenly, an earthquake shakes their city, leaving Yoshiko and her companions trapped in a world filled with weird people and bizarre wonders.
Like The Drifting Classroom, Sprite does a fine job of building up its tense moments. You’ll get chills after reading what Yoshiko and her friends have to live through in this corrupted environment. If you’re looking for a decent horror manga to read after The Drifting Classroom, give Sprite a shot.
Drifting Net Cafe – Shuuzou Oshimi
Similarities – Plot, Horror, Suspense
Drifting Net Cafe is an action manga with great mystery, sci-fi, and romance elements. It revolves around a 29-year-old named Kouchi Toki. Kouchi finally finds his first love at a net cafe and couldn’t be happier. As they catch up, the city around the cafe disappears. All that remains is Kouchi, his lover, and an assortment of strange people.
Drifting Net Cafe is identical to The Drifting Classroom by name and plot. Instead of examining children, readers will spend time with characters from multiple backgrounds and age groups. From rugged gangsters to spoiled kids, this manga has a boatload of distinct characters. Unfortunately, many of them don’t stand out as much as our protagonists.
The premise doesn’t offer anything new and can feel a tad cliche. It’s another tale where people with different ideals and personalities must band together to survive. Readers can expect the characters to clash multiple times. However, Shuuzou Oshimi utilizes the manga’s supernatural aspects to make matters feel more exciting and less bland.
Alone in the Planet – Tsubana
Similarities – Plot & Characters
Alone in the Planet is an intriguing supernatural manga series. It has over 4 volumes worth of content, so it shouldn’t take readers a large amount of time to read. It follows Aimi, a being who has the ability to visit different realities filled with monsters. One day, Aimi meets a human girl who asks her for help and we follow their adventure from there.
Alone in the Planet feels as imaginative as works written by H.P. Lovecraft, Junji Ito, and others. This manga contains grotesque body horror and touches upon real-world human issues like sleep, infection, memory loss, and others. The characters have likable personalities and undergo emotional struggles that will hit close to home.
Alone in the Planet’s plot contains thoughtful mysteries, satisfying strakes, and thrilling fights. The artwork is atmospheric and many people will adore glaring at this manga’s sharp details. If you’re looking for a riveting supernatural manga with alluring secrets, clever writing, and fun characters, check this out.
The Promised Neverland – Kaiu Shirai
Similarities – Psychological Thriller
The Promised Neverland is a popular thought-provoking manga series. It features satisfying mind games, and colorful characters, and draws inspiration from multiple thriller works like it. In it, we follow a group of orphans who reside at the Gracefield House. They spend their lives taking tests, playing games, and eating with their caretaker Isabella.
One day, one of the children gets adopted but leaves her toy behind. Two kids named Emma and Norman decide to take the child’s toy and reach the front gate before she leaves. Upon arriving at the gate they witness something that will shake them to their core. This event kicks start a chain of events involving tactical battles and horrendous imagery.
Both works feature children embarking on spooky endeavors to uncover the secrets of their world. The cast in The Promised Neverland feels more intelligent than the kids you’d find in The Drifting Classroom, though. Nonetheless, if you’re after another terrifying tale that involves children exploring a territory they’re unfamiliar with, check out The Promised Neverland.
Devilman – Go Nagai
Similarities – Violence, Monsters, Atmosphere
Devilman saw a massive resurgence thanks to Netflix’s 2017 reimagining titled Devilman Crybaby. This helped modern anime fans to experience this dark and classic tale with a new coat of paint. However, it retained everything retro fans loved about the original’s plot, characters, and an endless supply of gore. It takes place amidst a party filled with average human partygoers.
Two friends named Ryou and Akira attend the event to scout it out. Disaster strikes when demons start murdering everyone one by one. Akira protects Ryou from a demon but doesn’t die. Instead, he transforms into the infamous demon, Devilman. With his newfound abilities, Akira must defeat every demon that poses a threat to humanity.
Both mangas contain dark atmospheres, intricate narratives that touch upon survival and death, and stellar action scenes. Devilman and The Drifting Classroom have great artwork and character designs. There are specific panels that will make your jaw drop due to how well-detailed they look. If you’re after a manga that involves humans fighting monsters, check out Devilman.
Fourteen – Kazuo Umezu
Similarities – Sci-fi & Horror
Fourteen is another horrific manga written and illustrated by Kazuo Umezu. It’s another work with mind-numbing twists and horrific imagery that’ll leave any manga fan at the edge of their seat. The plot is simple. It takes place in the distant future at a chicken manufacturing company. One of the chickens transforms into a super mutant named Chicken George.
It offers a journey full of surprises and shocking scenery. For folks who adored The Drifting Classroom’s cast, you’ll enjoy following its ensemble cast. They all receive excellent development as Umezu makes sure to put a strong emphasis on their emotional states. Fourteen has readers following our characters in an urban setting filled with multiple monsters and dangerous humans.
Fourteen’s narrative isn’t as linear as The Drifting Classroom. It jumps back and forth through time countlessly, creating a more complex and layered experience for every reader. If you enjoy Umezu’s writing and art style for The Drifting Classroom, Fourteen should provide you with an enjoyable reading experience.
Made In Abyss – Akihito Tsukushi
Similarities – Horror, Child Protagonists, Mystery
Made In Abyss is an incredible fantasy manga that follows Reg and Riko. They come from different walks of life and have different reasons for exploring the infamous abyss. Riko wants to learn what happened to her absentee mother Lyza while Reg wants to uncover the secrets of his past. Together, the two embark on a quest that will instill great fear and beauty into their souls.
Made In Abyss isn’t for the faint of heart. It features immense gore, shocking plot revelations, and an overarching mystery. Akihito Tsukushi’s art style is on par with Umezu’s art style in The Drifting Classroom. However, there are some crude depictions of children that may not fly with most audiences, even those who love horror works.
On the other hand, Made In Abyss offers great world-building. You’ll adore receiving bits of intel about the legendary cave raiders and what they’ve been up to inside the abyss. Riko and Reg will meet many strange creatures in the abyss. Some monsters will be adorable while others look ferocious and nightmarish. If you’re up for work that’ll tug at your heartstrings but give you something to ponder about moving forward, check out Made In Abyss.
Psyren – Toshiaki Iwashiro
Similarities – Plot, Sci-fi, Themes
Psyren is an underrated Shonen Jump manga. It features likable characters, intruiging concepts, and great adventurous aspects. The world feels mysterious and captures the same sci-fi aesthetic as The Drifting Classroom’s universe. While walking home from school one day, our protagonist, Ageha finds a bizarre calling card inside a phone booth.
He takes the card and gets noticed by his classmate Sakurako. She has a similar calling card, but she doesn’t reveal any intel about it. She only tells him to save her, which confused Ageha. Later, Sakurako goes missing and this entices Ageha to call the number provided on the card. Upon calling the number, Ageha gets teleported to a strange world filled with monsters.
He receives psychic abilities and learns that Sakurako’s here too. After learning they’re stuck in a death game, Ageha and Sakurako must work together if they hope to survive in this post-apocalyptic world. With its incredible twists, excellent action scenes, and polished artwork, you’ll get a kick out of Psyren.
So there we have it, our 10 books/manga to read after you’re caught up with Drifting Classroom.
What do you think of our picks? Do you agree? Are there any notable omissions? Let us know in the comments below!