The Undead Blue

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The Undead Blue
Author: Otsuichi
Specifications: ISBN  978-4344401631
212 pages
10.2 x 14.8 cm / 4.1 x 5.9 in (WxH)
Category: Fiction
Publisher: Gentosha Inc.
Tokyo, 2001
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The year Masao Sasaki enters the fourth grade, a new teacher has arrived, fresh out of college: Mitsunori Haneda. Being good at soccer and more like a big brother figure than a teacher, Haneda quickly establishes a close rapport with the class, and makes a good impression on the parents as well. Although Masao is as fond of his new teacher as anyone else, he gets on Haneda’s bad side when he lies about the feeding of the classroom goldfish. It becomes increasingly apparent that the new teacher does not really know how to manage the class, and when he telephones the parents of a student who is doing poorly, the children’s opinion of him starts to drop.

Soon Haneda is scolding Masao sharply for the slightest mistake. He comes down on Masao even when it is someone else who causes a commotion in class or forgets his homework. When Masao protests, Haneda wallops him in the face. Soon Masao starts seeing a blue-skinned boy?“Blue”?whose face is covered with scars. He is Masao’s alter ego, visible only to him. When a classmate is mean to him, Masao beats him up, leaving the boy seriously injured. “Blue did it,” he says. When summer vacation comes, Blue tells him, “Kill Haneda.”

Masao learns where Haneda lives and stakes out the place. He waits for Haneda to leave and finds out where he hides the key. The following day, when Haneda is once again out, he enters the apartment as Blue tells him to do. But when Haneda returns, he finds Masao and locks him in the bath. After pondering what to do with him, Haneda puts Masao in his car and heads into the mountains to kill him. Egged on by Blue, Masao pretends to be asleep until he sees his chance, and when he strikes, he and Haneda end up tumbling over a 20-meter cliff. The fall leaves Haneda unable to move, and Masao is about to go in for the kill, but his teacher’s cries arouse pity in his heart, and he changes his mind. Suddenly, Blue is gone . . .

A grade-school class tormented by its own teacher is an unusual premise for a work of horror, but it is all the more terrifying because a teacher’s absolute power in the classroom, especially in the early grades, hits so close to home. The book was turned into a feature film in 2008.