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Webcomic / Strange School

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Adapting to a new school can be brutal on a kid.

Ms. Board: Alright kids, settle down! We have a new student today!
Pink Girl: (Why...they all look…oh god)
Ms. Board: I guess I'll address the obvious, she's a bit…. different!
Pink Girl: (Please let go of my arm)
Ms. Board: But we should all love our factory error classmate all the same, right, kids?
Entire Class: WE LOVE YOU, ERROR!
— Pink Girl's first day at her first classroom in The School

"We all belong to our own respective Class 9 autoperceptual omnimaterial repeating concept spirals, like The Hospital, or The School, or The Sewer, or The Hand Factory, or The Frog Hotel."
— Stone Slab from Awful Hospital; the line which inspired the creation of Strange School

A girl awakens with a jolt in a derelict dump of a school infirmary. Somehow, she has wound up in a surreal School that almost seems be its own isolated universe. The Students here are quite literally factory-produced. None of the teachers are human, and several of them are viciously cruel. Nobody has a clue how this human girl wound up in this School but the teachers have no intention of returning her home. And she only has so long to find some way to escape this warped and hostile mockery of a learning institute. Only so long before Graduation.

Strange School: Not So Great is an Interactive Comic, based off Bogleech's Awful Hospital webcomic. Its author is Yamemeda and can be read here, (Since it's tumblr-based, if you wish to see this story straight from its beginning, your best bet would be to click directly here, instead.) Has since received a sequel/reboot, Strange School: Even Stranger.

Strange School provides examples of:

  • Alien Invasion: Around the latter half of the second-to-last class cycle, monstrosities from The Abyss swarm into The School, slaughtering and devouring Students.
  • Amazing Technicolor Population: Strange School's hero would seem to hail from such a society, being a girl with an all-pink body, (Probably as a nod to Miss Green.) That said, the Pink Girl seems to be the only person like that at first. But as the story develops, we learn this is not the case…
  • Arc Number: Among all of Error's female classmates, four features with foreboding frequency. There's #24, #42, #54, and #104. Although none of these ladies have fallen prey to the Four Is Death trope. note 
  • Assimilation Academy: The School really puts the 'identical' in identical clones, discouraging any display of individualism to an extreme degree.
  • Author Appeal: Undertale. Yamemeda really digs Undertale.
  • Bandage Mummy: Brandi Aid. She's perfectly fine, though.
  • The Big Damn Kiss: It's the only panel of its update. And the "Kiss" has a Heart Symbol for the dot of the "i". Cardiovascular Love implications.
  • Bizarre Alien Reproduction: The Baby Hole. Which isn't a body part; it is a geographical place.
  • Blob Monster: Two kinds:
    • A race of sapient tar-black slime exists in this School; Merchant, Meatlet Jr and The Janitor are all members of this race.
    • Ghoulash the cafeteria cook, which seems to be made of meat.
  • Boarding School of Horrors: Except that the 'boarding' part isn't QUITE the correct term.
  • Bystander Syndrome: Sometimes, members of The School's fiendish faculty will just start fights with Error and her friends, right in front of all the rest of their pupils. Rather than fetch another teacher or run or help their imperiled classmates, other Students tend to form crowds and watch the fight play out.
  • Cardiovascular Love: Multiple:
  • Conveniently Interrupted Document: The map Brandi gives Error has an entire section that's been blackened out.
  • Crapsack World: Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry this place is not.
  • Crash-Into Hello: Error crashes into Miss Board twice without meaning too. Both times, Error describes Board's body as feeling like solid wood.
  • City in a Bottle: For a learning institution, especially, it is utterly incredible just how insulated and ignorant both students and staff of this School are of everything that exists outside their campus.
  • Corpse Land: The location designated as 'Detention.'
  • Creepy Changing Painting: There's something very fishy about those "LURN" posters...
  • Crowd Chant: When Students are watching the Ghoulash fight:
    A group of students has gathered around….
    You hear soft chants of "FIGHT! FIGHT!" getting louder.
  • Dark World: When we get beyond the Surface Layer of things... As though the "surface layer" of The School wasn't surreal and nightmarish enough...
  • Dark Reprise: "You've awoken with a jolt. Something is wrong. It hasn't taken you long to realize why you felt that way."
  • Deadly Graduation: There are many graduations at this school, yet zero alumni.
  • Description Cut: From when the main POV is Merchant, 42, and 54, and 42 talks about Error:
    42: I bet whatever she's doing right now is invaluable to the greater mission!
    [Small fight between Error's group and a small teeth.]
  • Dystopian Edict: Reprimand points, which teachers give Students who perform an action they disapprove of. Three reprimand points gets that Student dropped down the detention chute.
    • It's worse than it seems! One single reprimand point is sufficient to guarantee your death at Graduation. Only model Students with spotless records are spared... to live through another School semester.
  • Escape from the Crazy Place: Error and #54's ultimate goal is to find their way to Earth. Error's returning, and taking #54 with her.
  • Expendable Clone: How Teachers treat the Students.
    54: We have 150 students.note  We had 300 at the beginning of the semester, but some got suspended or detention.
  • Eye Motifs: The Principal, to a far greater extent that Ida Carter Yuu.
  • Eye Scream: In the battle against Feartre, Merchant hits Feartre's eye:
    Merchant summons a tendril, and aims for the strange eye within Feartre's mouth…
    And hits for 27 damage!
  • Fourth-Wall Mail Slot: All known characters answer questions from the commentators.
  • Gaiden Game: Of Awful Hospital.
  • His Name Really Is "Barkeep": Merchant, who is a merchant.
  • Hearing Voices: The Pink Girl follows the voices of commentators.
  • Holding the Floor: Distracting foes with questions is a legitimate battle technique the protagonists can employ during combat.
  • Human Aliens: The Students don't seem to self-identify as human.
  • Identity Amnesia: As of the second post, the protagonist has forgotten her name.
  • Interactive Narrator: Occasionally.
    [54 has broken the rules once again and the turn ends early.]
    54: OH COME ON!
    [Try stepping to me again, try it.]
  • Killed Offscreen: Between the story's beginning and sixth period of the penultimate class cycle, 39 Studentsnote  were not shown either being sent to detention or murdered outright.
  • Machine Blood: The robotic Students 'bleed' black machine oil when injured.
  • Mind Wipe: Kidnapped kids from Earth have their identities and personal memories erased when they're brought to the factory to be converted into Students. Any memories of the factory, itself, are also purged.
    54: I did not exist before I came to School.
    • Amnesia Missed a Spot: There are a small handful of kids whose memory wipes either failed or were incomplete: Error, #42, and the Hall Monitor.
  • Mythology Gag: Of the Awful Hospital mythos:
    Gretadan: Whaddaya think you're doing? It's the middle of class, yer interrupting!
    Lesdan: Were ya raised in The Barn?
  • Nobody Poops: Well... more like "the greater majority" doesn't poop. Because so many of the Students' cyborg bodies are designed so as not to need toilets. Despite eating and drinking regularly from the cafeteria. From after the Enraged Meatlet Jr. fight:
    54: I, uh, have go to the restroom…
    You: …Alright, fiiine.
    73: (Never understood why she does that… The rest of us don't…)
  • No One Sees the Boss: The Principal never exits his office. Anyone who enters his office never exits either.
  • Not So Stoic: The first clear evidence that this is the case with the Students is the raw, loud shock #24 expresses that Mx. Lator would pass on killing a latecomer.
  • Off-Model: The majority of Intermission 2 is rendered as zero-effort sketches, mostly for the sake of comedy.
  • Oh, Crap!/O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Midway through what should've been the 8th-class-cycle-before-graduation, The Principal decides that Graduation's going to take place much earlier this semester, and it becomes the 2nd-class-cycle-before-graduation. This is so unprecedented, that the School Staff immediately starts fearing for their lives right alongside the Students.
    Brandi: Something really bad's happened… There's no other reason I could think of!
    Ms. Board: Brandi-
    Brandi: Is he.. Is he finally going to crush us-
  • Poor Communication Kills: Poor Communication Is A Lifesaver: So Ms. Board decided Error was too problematic, and took it upon herself to kill her and have the body be thrown into detention. Thing is… all her fellow Teachers seem completely uninformed about this development. They admit Error into their classrooms without attacking her or sounding the alarms, or even asking 'weren't you put into detention?' This has been a godsend for Error.
  • Psycho Lesbian: Well, two of them: Whitney Board and Brandi Aid are each others' girlfriends. And they're perfectly okay with Students being murdered. The latter cheers the former on, as she kills a Student in her own infirmary.
  • Punny Name: Lots of characters. Such as:
    • Anna Tomi, the anatomical model, for one.
    • Brandi Aid, the school nurse. Pun on Band-aids.
  • Race Against the Clock: When Students graduate from The School, they are herded into the inescapable black hole that is the Principal's Office, never to be heard from again.
    54: In 9 class cycles, we graduate…
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: #54 and the Pink Girl develop this kind of friendship between themselves, with the former serving as Blue Oni, and the latter as Red Oni.
  • Robotic Reveal: To quote Word of God; "Students are a varying mix of human parts and robotic replacement parts, the amount of human varies for each one." It's all the more jarring because when undamaged, Students appear to be completely human.
  • RPG Mechanics 'Verse: With new 'game rules' being added in as the story progresses. Sometimes through 54:
    54: Oh, I just remembered. When you die, Ms. Board will confiscate most of your inventory. If anyone that is considered an ALLY is present, they may be able to get some items back for you and get BRANDI'S BAND AIDS to revive you. I managed to get three items back.
    [You received your NOTEBOOK, PEN, and LOLLIPOP from 54!]
    You: Wh-Why were you talking like an NPC or something?
    54: Huh? I just zoned out there, did I say something?
    • In the fight against Ghoulash:
      You: ..You're doing it again.
      54: What?
      You: That thing you do where you talk like an NPC or something, it's kinda weird.
    • In the fight against Equatoo:
      54: Equatoo has another nonstandard battle system. His defense is very low, and knocking him down to low health in one hit is easy. However, Equatoo has methods to make up for that handicap. Attacking Equatoo will also inflict damage on yourself because his teeth get in the way. He can also regenerate his own health, but he cannot do this in battle if his HP reaches zero, once the battle ends he can regenerate himself if Mr. Jacques is present. Equatoo can also inflict the RAGE status condition, which will make you hit harder but drop your defense significantly.
      42: ….Wow, Error was right.
      54: What???? Was I saying something?
      42: Yeah…
      54: WHY DO I KEEP DOING THAT????
  • Second Person: As befitting an Interactive Comic.
  • School Idol: According to #54, there are four especially popular Students in this School: #7, #28, #73 and #104.
  • Shout-Out: Multiple:
    • Merchant's Intermission makes references to the Harry Potter novels.
    • By Chicka, Waxing Lyrical to the Vocaloid song, "Matryoshka":
    • To Undertale: To the Sans fight's:
      • When talking to Iris: The fight's line "kids like you... Should be burning in hell.":
        Iris: ….But beings like him…..should be burning in hell.
        You: …That sounds vaguely familiar-
      • The return of Meatlet Jr: The fight's line: "You're gonna have a bad time":
        Meatlet Jr: …ur gonna hab a bath tim
  • Signature Headgear: Error gave #54 a cutesy barrette to help distinguish her from her other classmates. It might well have been made by the same company that produced Dr. Phage's bow tie.
  • Simultaneous Arcs: Two arcs branch off right after Error meets with #42, #54, and #73 in the Art Room.
    • Arc One follows #54 and #42 while they're in Gym. Arc Two follows Error and #73 while they're in Language Arts. Both Arcs take place during the sixth period of the 2nd-to-last class cycle before graduation.
  • Slave Brand: All Students have their respective numbers inscribed upon their forehead, (though usually hidden by their bangs.)
  • Sound-Effect Bleep: Whenever a measurable unit of time is uttered by a character, it is written in a mysteriously garbled fashion... with one notable exception; school hours. note  This is a nod towards Awful Hospital, which did the exact same thing sometimes.
    Ms. Yuu: Remember, next time we meet we're doing our y@#rly dissection unit! Exciting!!
  • Speaks in Binary: Mx. Lator. Lesdan and Gretadan act as its translators.
  • Splash of Color: White, gray, and black are very predominant colors within the School; both with the Students and the School's interior décor.
  • Stranger in a Strange School: This webcomic in a nutshell. It's not a nice sort of strange school, either.
  • The Secret of Long Pork Pies: Before Error first awoke in the School, there was an incident where several disobedient Students simply refused to leave the cafeteria. There are more insinuations than solid facts about what happened next... except that the Principal was most displeased, the cafeteria disconnected itself from The School for a time, yet the obedient students still got to be fed.
  • The Sleepless: As said when the audience is talking to the Principal: Students are programmed to study, study, study without ever needing to slumber in between.
  • Talking Is a Free Action: During the Enraged Meatlet Jr. fight:
    73: …Hey shouldn't we do something? Won't it attack while we're talking.
    Enraged Meatlet Jr: NO̴̼̞̝͍̲͓ ͍̰Ǹ͎͈̬̩̮̖ͅO͚͎͚̰̘ ̧̪̬͇̦̝̬̰I ̠̖͔̳ͅW̲O͇̗͢N͔̭̘͈T̙
    Enraged Meatlet Jr: I̷͕͉̲̞̫͎ ̧̣͖K̹N̜̥Ò͎̮͈̼̺̬͈W͞S̜͚̥̻̺̝͢ ͙͞T̵̫̗͉̘̞H̴̹E̪̟̠͉̖̳ ̢R̭̪U͈̲̩̥̳̫LE̸̥̲̲̲̮S̢͍̥̹̘̼͔̳ ̪̜̗̝͝ͅO͓͙͖̠̞͜ͅͅF͏̜̠̟̹̙̣̞ ̭̘̠̙͎̩F̫̘̩͕̭̕I̵͍̘̣͎̳̝G̷̭̦͍̱H̝̥͖̠̬̪Ṱ͖̼S̠̳̲̤̼.̪.͙̫̝͖̺͘.̀ G̥̖̦̯O̡̫̤̯T̶̙͎̣SA͍̟̣͎̹ ̛W̜A̼̹̝͓̤͇͡ÍT̯ ̭M̠̭͇͙͝Y̦͇͢ T̼̤͙U͖̼̖͢R̶̲͎̻̪̻ͅN!̥̟̩͔̻̘ ͇͈̠̥̝̼͇͘S̴̱T̰͔͝I̸͇̝̜͖̘ͅL̻̮̩L̯̯͍̕ U T͔U͙R̢͔Ṋ̳̺
  • Truce Zone: The cafeteria. Kinda. See, the cafeteria here is technically not part of The School, but rather an attached offshoot of Burgrr, Inc. And unlike The School, Burgrr has no problem with its patrons expressing their individuality, a policy which Students are all too happy to take advantage of. Of course, this being Burgrr, Inc., kids still can't entirely let their guard down here either.
  • Weird Currency: Merchant will give whatever he happens to have on him in exchange for anything edible.
  • Wingding Eyes: After The Big Damn Kiss, the kissed has Cardiovascular Love-type Heart Symbol pupils.
  • Would Hurt a Child: All too many of the teachers.
  • You ALL Look Familiar: All the School's Students are factory-produced clones, lucky to be distinguishable by gender.
  • You Are Number 6: Students are all numbered, not named.
  • You Have Failed Me: Perhaps one of the scariest aspects about The School is its threadbare-thin tolerance for rule-breaking. All it takes is a single reprimand point.
  • You Wake Up in a Room: The Pink Girl wakes up in the School infirmary. Neither she nor anyone else in the School seems to have the faintest idea how she got there in the first place.
  • Younger Than They Look: All the Students. Physically, that is.
    Ms. Board: Our students are usually one or two y3%3s old! No more, no less before they graduate!