Zekkyou Gakkyuu (Screaming Lessons) is a Shoujohorror anthology by Emi Ishikawa.The stories are opened by a strange girl (whom we later discover is named Yomi). She also gives the ending narration, usually describing the moral of the story and warning her audience not to fall into the same trap like the protagonist did. Despite being aimed at middle-schoolers, the manga is surprisingly-dark, and makes heavy usage of Cruel Twists...A live-action film adaptation was released June 2013; elements of two of the stories, including the Backstory of the narrator, Yomi, were combined to create an original story.
The manga contains examples of:
Adult Fear: Lots, but especially "The Kind Mama's House", involving Anna, a child who seeks comfort from an anonymous stranger, who takes advantage, stalks her, and eventually kidnaps her. While many of the stories involve some form of supernatural intervention, this one could easily happen in real life.
Adults Are Useless/Not Now, Kiddo: In many stories, authority figures either ignore or don't believe the protagonists when they tell them about the horrifying things that are going on.
Afterlife Express: The bus in "The Bus To the Underworld," (translated as "Bus To Hell" by some groups, though it actually goes to a generic afterlife, rather than Hell). Apparently you can board even if you're not officially dead, as Miku, the protagonist boards it and wakes up in her house after refusing to get off at the stop, with her family revealing she collapsed at the station and was in a coma for three days.
"Best Friend". A loner girl, Miho wishes to have friends and one day she suddenly starts receiving mysterious notes. At first believes that the sender is one of her elementary-school classmates. Time passes and she befriends some classmates by herself. But her happiness doesn't last. The sender of the mysterious messages is a stone statue in the road that feels lonely and one day she appears in front of Miho, smashes her to death and turns her into a statue so they could always be together. Eventually the statue decides it's not enough and starts abducting more antisocial girls and turning her into statues. What makes it horrible is that the poor girls are still conscious.
"An Endless Game of Tag". A Jerk Jock, Chika is the best runner in the game of tag. There is a rumor about a monster that appears in the dreams of other people in order to play tag with them and if it catches them, they will be caught playing forever. Chika suspects the monster might be Hiroko, a bullied girl who during 1st grade was bullied due to being the slowest in the class. In order to improve herself, Hiroko practiced running around the school until she was caught in a car accident and presumably died. Eventually Chika has that dream and is forced to play tag with the monster in the dream. Unfortunately, when she is about to wake up, the monster catches her. The final scene shows that years have passed, Hiroko was in a coma all along and became a monster to take revenge on Chika, now forced to play tag with a monstruous-looking Hiroko forever.
"The Toilet Goddess". Years ago a plain girl wished to be beautiful and got her wish from the Toilet Godess, becoming so beautiful that she was unrecognizable and she looked completely different. The end implies that in fact she had been dragged to the toilet and was replaced by another girl, where she became the new Toilet Goddess. In the end the plain girl gets back to be human again, after dragging the protagonist, Suzu, to replace her. However, donít worry for her, since Suzu is reunited in the toilet with her friend Rena who was also dragged as a consequence of Suzuís wish.
Backstory: The two-parter "The Truth About Yomi" gives our narrator one. It's revealed that Yomi was once a normal girl who was severely bullied by her classmates. She only had one friend, Makoto, whom she encouraged not to defend her because the bullies would turn on her next. One day the bullying became too much for her and, after making sure Makoto was out of immediate danger note In the actual version of events, she simply makes sure Makoto is already on her way home — when the protagonist of the chapter relives this, she's more proactive in trying to defend Yomi, so Yomi pretends to turn on her and throws her out a window so she'll be out of the blast radius without tipping off the bullies about her plans, she deliberately blew up a classroomwith her tormentors inside with her. The explosion blew her body in half, which is why she appears only as a floating torso in the stories that follow.
Broken Aesop: At the end of "The Bonds of a Curse", Yomi provides a tacked-on moral that killing is wrong, even though this story has one of the few genuinely happy endings in the manga. The protagonist and her new friend face no consequences for their curse, the one who died was an Asshole Victim who deserved it, and it ends with them happily moving on with their lives now that the helpless puppy said Asshole Victim tortured — eventually to death — has been avenged. The more obvious, better-supported Aesop is the stock "don't judge a book by its cover," with strong elements of Beauty Does Not Equal Goodness.
It can also be noted that one aesop that comes often is that "people who hurt their friends/others will end up badly" ; yet some stories like "The Girl Under The Bed", where the main protagonist decides to take revenge on her friends who actually didn't like her at all, and were starting to reject her. The story ends up badly for her.
Although that one's aesop could arguably be about not taking petty revenge, and instead taking the high road. If the girl had simply cut her friends out of her life instead of planning an elaborate ruse to scare them senseless, she would have had a much happier ending.
Cats Are Mean: Saya the black kitten in "Black Cat Saya" shapeshifts into Ayako's mother and terrifies her when they're left alone together. It turns out she's doing this as Revenge for Ayako telling her father to leave her to die when Saya was struck by their car. In the end, she murders the protagonist the same way and shapeshifts into her.
There's a extra sidestory after that set twenty years later that implies that Saya killed the parents sometime later and still using their abandoned house as its hideout. She's now posing as a teacher and seems to have taken up eating humans.
Close-Knit Community: An entire apartment complex provides a creepy example in "The Friendly Apartment Complex." Residents all take care of and know each other, the adults tutor the children, they have a vegetable garden where they get all their food...and no one is allowed to leave the building for anything, contact the outside world, or even speak to people who don't live in the building. "We have everything we need right here."
Creepy Child: Yomi is this herself, but then you have the kids in the stories...
Mary, in "Mary's Dining Table;" she becomes an actual human by consuming food.
The entire doll collection in "A House For Dolls" may qualify...since they're transformed humans and bleed when you prick them.
Emily-chan from "At Emily-chan's House;" she seems pretty awesome at first, as whoever owns and plays with her will have good fortune! But it turns out she's also a Knife NutYandere who not only kills anyone her owner befriends, but she doesn't take too kindly to hearing that her owner is "too old" for dolls...
Special mention to "The Kind Mama's House." A young girl, Anna has been chatting with a blogger named 'Mama,' and soon sees her as more of a mother than her own mom. Mama sends Anna gifts, helps her with her homework, provides a shoulder to lean on...and then Anna discovers that Mama is stalking her and plans to murder her mother so she can be Anna's "real mother." Anna saves her mom and shouts at Mama to go away, and she does...only to show up inside Anna's house days later, deciding to simply kidnap Anna and lock her up, just like she did many other children before her. The last scene shows Mama blogging about how spoiled her new daughter is, but that she still loves her.
The "Black Cat Saya Side Story" turns the original story from a Karmic Twist Ending into this. It's heavily implied that the transformed Saya ate Ayako's parents, and it's left unclear whether her job as a teacher now that she's grown up is just a method for her to catch and eat children.
Deadly Prank: Sorta. In "The Devil's Game," a young girl, Mio encounters a murderer in both the game and real life, and flees. The murderer corners her in the bathroom and she notices her life in the game is nearly gone. In desperation, she decides to erase the save file, hoping it will save her...and her friends come in as the murderer unmasks himself, revealing they were only playing a trick. But it's too late; in erasing the save file, Mio has wiped herself from existence.
Aside from the occasional Murder the Hypotenuse plots, "The Devil's Game" has Mio's friend dressing as a murderer and chasing her into a bathroom, scaring her senseless because she was ignoring them. And "Execution Classroom" pretty much runs on this.
"Guard of the Mountain;" when the elderly couple tell campers to be on their best behavior, they mean it. Set off fireworks? Catch a firefly and not let it go? Litter? Pee in the river? They'll kill you and cook you into a stew.
The Doll Episode: "The House For Dolls," "Mary's Dining Table," "At Emily-Chan's House"
Downer Ending: So many stories end with the protagonist suffering from a horrible demise, that actual happy endings that aren't bittersweet can be counted by hand.
Earn Your Happy Ending: The genuinely happy endings are very rare—and when they do occur, the protagonist usually has to go through a lot of hell to get it.
Education Mama: Some of the protagonists meet their untimely fates because they were pressured by parents who wanted them to be the best.
Fake Defector: In "The Truth About Yomi", the chapter's protagonist — who's reliving Yomi's origin story from the perspective of Yomi's only friend — is more proactive in her efforts to defend Yomi from bullying than the real Makoto was, so Yomi pretends to turn on her to win over the bullies and protect herself, throwing her out a window... so she'll be clear of the blast radius when Yomi then blows up the classroom to kill herself and her tormentors, without tipping off said tormentors that she's planning anything.
Foreshadowing: Before the reveal of the narrator's backstory, a number of omake arts depicted her as having no body below the waist, with her blouse, skirt, or skin trailing off into tatters shortly thereafter, and one story featured her as a ghost.
The Game Come to Life: In "The Devil's Game," a girl, Mio finds a seemingly-harmless RPG/Dating Sim-like game's outcomes happen in the real world as well. Then she runs into a murderer in the game and discovers in the real world, someone is following her...
Gender Flip: The story "Boys and Girls" is about alternate universes with this; the female Yuuki is a boy in another universe. In the ending narration, we see a Gender Flipped Yomi as well.
Green Aesop: "The Fish Family" has one, warning people to prevent global warming. Apparently, it's because of global warming that the majority of the planet has flooded, and the protagonist, her family, and everyone she knows undergo a mandatory surgery to receive gills.
Grows on Trees: In "The Money-Tree," there's a special bonsai tree that has yen bills growing from it. Considering the genre, this proves to not be a good thing after all...
Horror Doesn't Settle for Simple Tuesday: "The Last Christmas" takes place around the holiday-season, with the climax/ending on Christmas Eve night. "At Emily-chan's House" also takes place on Christmas Eve, though this time the climax is set during Christmas morning.
Bonus points for "Colorful Strawberry." The final page suggests that an actual newborn will be killed, the youngest victim in the entire comic.
Karmic Death: "The Bonds of a Curse" involves a girl, Ai, and Kotaro, the cute puppy she and the rest of her class care for. Even Kurosawa, the creepy loner girl (who is rumored to practice curses) loves the puppy. However, soon Ai notices that the puppy has been sustaining injuries. One day, when Ai shows up at school, she discovers that Kotaro has been brutally killed. It's soon revealed that Sakihara, the boy Ai has a crush on has has been abusing the puppy by tying a rope around its neck, fastening it onto his bike, and riding the bike while the puppy is dragged along. Kotaro dies from its injuries. Furious, Ai asks Kurosawa if she still had a voodoo doll. We then hear that Sakihara had been killed after his clothes were caught on a truck and died from the injuries he sustained by being dragged... just like Kotaro.
"Graduate Number 108:" Rina, a popular elementary-school girl and her friends notice an odd shadow behind her in every photo in their yearbook. Each time they look again, the shadow is closer to her, until finally it drapes its arms around her shoulders. Rina figures it must be the spirit of Reiko, a girl who went missing, because she never liked her and was "weird." Then we discover that in reality, Rina bullies everyone into being her friend, and had killed Reiko when she refused to be bullied, and burned the body in the incinerator. As Rina is ready to throw the yearbook into the incinerator to dispose the evidence, gloating that she'll continue to bully others into middle school and high school, the burnt corpse of Reiko pops out and drags her inside.
"The Sacrifice Club:" A girl, Ayuko learns about a sacrificial ritual that the town used to do during their festival centuries ago, and decides to kill Yuka, the girlfriend of Shunsuke, her crush so she won't have competition. During the festival, she, completely off the deep end now, lures Yuka away from Shunsuke and prepares to sacrifice her... only for her friends to turn against her, declare she's disgusting, and reveal Shunsuke standing nearby, having seen everything. Everyone leaves Ayuko, alone and humiliated, in the forest. And then on her way back home, she runs into the real sacrifice club. And guess who this year's sacrifice will be?
"Miracle Ball" has an example of good karma: Kaori, the captain of the girls' basketball team at school is having trouble with Miri, one particular member of the team—she tries her hardest, but she's just not as athletic as the others. Kaori leaves her in the gym alone to practice at her request...and discovers the next day that she was killed when the backboard fell on her, severing her head from her body. Interesting, after that the team plays better than ever before, even when Miri was on the bench. It turns out that immediately before her death, Miri prayed for a way to help her team...and some supernatural force transfigured her head into a basketball for her team. So whenever the team plays with the ball her head became, Miri's spirit aids her team and makes them stronger. The ending pages take place years in the future, as Kaori has gone pro, and gives an interview as she holds that same ball, declaring she can't imagine playing without it.
Interesting variant in "The Girl Under the Bed." A girl, Yukina is preparing to play a trick on her friends after hearing a horror story of a girl who hides under beds and kills occupants, when she overhears them saying that they really don't like her at all and wish she'd leave them alone. Unable to let go, she decides to try scaring them all by making them think the girl under the bed is real and out to get them, thinking they deserve it for only pretending to be her friend and speaking so cruelly of her. In the end, the girls knew all along Yukina was playing a trick on them, and the girl under the bed comes for her instead of her supposed friends, because she actually tried to terrify them and hurt them worse than they did her. It would have ended better for her if she'd done nothing.
Kill It with Fire: While it's unknown if hitting her head on a rock or being thrown in the incinerator is what killed Reiko in Graduate 108, there's no doubt about it that Rina, the protagonist met this fate.
Lack of Empathy: Most of the monsters. Justified in the case of those who are looking for revenge for those who wronged them, like Akimiya from Slit-Mouthed Woman or Reiko from Graduate 108 (killing those who disfugured and killed them respectively). Also, some of the monsters don't have any human morals and are plain selfish or don't understand they are doing wrong, like the statue from Best Friend ( abducting loner girls and fusing them into itself just because the statue was feeling lonely).
Murder the Hypotenuse: "The Sacrifice Club"'s protagonist wishes to do this to her crush's girlfriend. The extra pages for "Bloody Valentine" reveal that the protagonist succeeded in Institutionalizing The Hypotenuse.
Nightmare Face: Despite being a shoujo, this anthology has plenty of these to spare.
Nightmare Fetishist: Yomi delights in the creepy stories she tells and the reactions they get, but isn't actually a bad person, and every story in which she's directly involved in events ends up coming to a happy ending as a direct result of her involvement.
Nothing Exciting Ever Happens Here: Possibly. Considering that Yomi provides opening and closing narration to each story, and when you realize that she herself is the ghost of a student who died in an explosion at a junior high school, it's not too far a stretch to believe that all the stories are happening in the same area.
Sealed Inside a Person-Shaped Can: When Yumi was just a regular spirit haunting her school, she became friendly with a boy named Yuu who had a best friend who was being bullied. When Yuu became violent toward the bullies, a frightening god from a vandalized shrine attempts to consume him and his classmates. To protect them, Yumi quickly retaliates by sealing this god within her. At first the god threatens that it'll get out of her body one day. But instead it settles with staying with Yumi and exposing her to the ugliness of humanity. And thus, the narrator, Yomi, was born.
Self Fulfilling Prophecy: "Slit-Mouthed Woman". Because a girl, Miya provokes her classmates with the story that Akimiya, the new teacher is the titular monster, her classmates attack the teacher until her face is disfigured. Akimiya then goes insane from the disfigurement and now wandering around the neighborhood as the monster, complete with the modus operandi.
Set Right What Once Went Wrong: Zig Zagged in "The Day I Became a Demon," the protagonist wishes for her ex-best friend to "disappear from this world" after being bullied by her. She finds herself sent back in time to shortly before her friend turned on her, and decides that this means she must be the bully now, and bully her friend so much she'll want to die. But it turns out that her best friend had made a wish first, and her wish was to Set Right What Once Went Wrong in bullying her friend—this time she would decide not to, and stick by her. Once the protagonist realizes her mistake, she manages to save her friend and the two repair their friendship in a rare happy ending.
Together in Death: Heavily-suggested to be the case in the end of "The Toilet Goddess." A girl, Suzu hears rumors of a goddess who lives in an abandoned toilet in school who'll grant a wish to whoever cleans the toilet every day. After an argument with a former friend, Rena, Suzu shoves her in the bathroom while shouting at her to "disappear." She does, presumably having been dragged into the toilets. After Suzu realizes her mistake, she begs for the goddess to reunite her with Rena...and is dragged in herself. Yomi's ending narration says that she's sure the two friends are "happy and together again."
In "Bloody Valentine," the protagonist Misaki is planning a romantic date with her boyfriend for Valentine's Day. But then she starts to get threatening letters, becomes the victim of cruel jokes, and gets a stalker. Her classmates warn her that her boyfriend's ex is jealous, and may be behind the stalking and letters... Well, they're half-right. But the girl isn't his ex—she's still his girlfriend, and Misaki is a delusional yandere who threatened her crush's girlfriend so much he had to pretend to break up with her.
"Graduate Number 108:" On the day of her graduation from elementary-school, a young girl, Rina looks through the class album and discovers a weird shadow lurking behind her. She and her classmates believe that she's been cursed, and it seems that Reiko, one of her classmates, who disappeared some time ago, is behind it because she never liked Rina and rejected her friendship. Again, half-right. The missing girl is behind it...but only because Rina bullies everyone into being her friend, and when Reiko spelled it out for her and refused to be cowed, she murdered her. Her spirit is coming to get revenge.
In "The Family of Five", the youngest daughter has her entire family; father, mother, sister, and brother, following her everywhere, including her class, and always sitting beside her. Because she can never shrug them off when she wants to confess her love to her crush, she says to her family that she wants to run away from them. Her family then chases her with knife in their hands. Cut to the home ec class, a student accidentally severs her own little finger. As it pans to the floor, the youngest sister bleeds to death in the same position as the finger. She was a finger all along.
Yandere: Ayuko in "The Sacrifice Club," as well as Misaki in "Bloody Valentine." The stone-statue in "Best Friend" is this as well, of the "kill you so you'll never leave me" variety, and even Mii, a three-year-old girl is this in "Make-Believe Sisters." Mika from the bonus-story "Colorful Strawberry" also qualifies.
Yank the Dog's Chain: Quite constant in a lot of stories. Sometime the protagonist realizes they're wrong and seeks to try and make amends...but the monster of the story doesn't work on morals sadly.
Twice over for "A House for Dolls," as it not only shows the villain survived at the end, but has an Extra Story confirming that she made the Final Girl and her mother and daughter into dolls.
"Black Cat Saya" does this to the audience when Ayako, the girl protagonist is run over but seems to have been saved, taken to a hospital and treated where her parents are standing over her. Looks like she learned her lesson and even made Saya a grave...then we find out that the girl IS Saya and the one in the grave is said girl whose place she's now taken. Oh, and just in case you're comforted by the fact that there's some justice in this, no matter how brutal, an extra story reveals that Saya grows into a monster worse than Ayako.
"Guard of the Mountain" ends with the Final Girl fleeing in terror for a town, then falling and passing out on the road. She's picked up by a kind woman who tells her that she's safe now... and then reveals that she and her husband are a bit lost and about to ask for directions. They end up asking the elderly cannibals that the girl had been fleeing from...the cannibals who ask everyone lost to stay for a night or two.
"My Older Brother and I" ends with Mana, the protagonist deciding she doesn't want the "perfect" brother she wished for, but her real brother and her real parents. To make her happy, the fake brother she wished for gives her family back and disappears forever, and Mana begins to repair her relationship with her brother. Then she overhears him telling a friend he wished for a "better" sister, and the final pages show the newly-made, fake sister send the protagonist to the sand to be trapped. And the extra story reveals that said brother is more than happy with his new sister...unlike her, who is having plans to replace him.
"Bloody Valentine" ended with Misaki, the Yandere protagonist getting a Karma Houdini after attacking the man of her affections and his girlfriend. It would have been a typical Downer Ending, if not for the bonus pages released later. The boy is in the hospital, but his condition is stable and he's ready to return to school, and then someone tells him that the girl who attacked him is institutionalized, and his girlfriend is coming to visit. But they say the wrong name, and it's Misaki's silhouette in the door...she somehow framed her attacking him on his actual girlfriend, getting her put away, and she still gets off scott-free. The look of horror on the boy's face says it all.
"Soprano of Miracles" involves a young girl, Uta, being chosen to sing the solo for an upcoming concert. Normally being bad at singing, she lets out a beautiful voice during rehearsals...and discovers a lump with a face in her throat. It turns out that this is what caused her to sing so well, and the voice is that of a soloist who died in an accident, so Uta believes the girl's spirit is helping her. On the day of the concert, the lump goes away, and Uta still sings beautifully... but the rest of the class is staring in horror at the back of Uta's head, where the lump has reappeared and grown to cover the entire back of her head. Yomi closes by saying that eventually, that mass will completely take over Uta's body.
"Boys and Girls" features a girl, Yuuki, who wishes she were a boy because she feels they live much less-complicated lives, with no gossiping or pecking order. As it happens, there's a parallel universe where Yuuki is a boy, and this Yuuki wishes to be a girl at the same time she makes her wish, thus causing them to switch places. Yuuki is at first thrilled to be a boy and live a simpler life...until she discovers that not only do boys bully people just like girls do, but she finds herself falling in love with one of her male classmates. After she lets this slip, two classmates write about it on the blackboard, and a huge group of boys approach Yuuki and start to bully her, finally threatening to yank "his" pants down to "prove Yuuki's a boy." Yuuki blacks out for a moment, and when she comes to, discovers a bloody chair in her hands, and all the male students lying dead. During the blackout, she bludgeoned the boys to death. Yuuki panics, runs out of the classroom and starts begging to be back in her own universe again. She trips and falls and...wakes up in her own universe again. Hooray, crisis averted! Until some of the boys see her and start yelling for someone to get a teacher because they found her...and Yuuki finally notices a pair of bloody scissors in her hand. It turns out the male Yuuki went through the same thing as she did, except here, the girls have all been stabbed and slashed to death.