We’re over the halfway point and now the mystery continues for our cast in A School Frozen in Time Volume 3. Are they any closer to figuring out a way to escape the school they’ve found themselves trapped in? Let’s find out!
In Volume 2, the cast was whittled down from eight to six and we’re no closer to figuring out if those who are disappearing are safe or if protagonist Takano and his remaining friends will be able to escape with their lives. Takano and Akihiko were starting to realise that Mizuki may have been the one to take her own life, but before they can explore the theory further, Akihiko finds himself split off from the group…
From here we get to see Akihiko relive that day at the school festival and he finds himself confronted by Yutaka Sawaguchi, a student whom Akihiko often saw being bullied. Although Akihiko used to intervene and stand up for Yutaka, at one point he let the bullying continue, thinking there was nothing he could do to save Yutaka which may have led to the boy killing himself.
As far as we can tell from seeing Akihiko’s past, Yutaka was the one to kill themselves that day – but if that’s true, why are Takano and the others still trapped in the school? After Akihiko’s flashback is done, he disappears as the other students have, so the cast doesn’t get the opportunity to hear what he’s discovered.
I think there is still more to it and Akihiko’s story is simply a red herring. Those left behind with Takano are unaware of what Akihiko has gone through and continue to suspect Mizuki, which leads to a clear divide between them and Takano who knows how hard Mizuki worked to overcome her demons. Takano just can’t believe that Mizuki might have killed herself and left them behind after everything they went through together.
Compared to Volume 2, this one is at least more focused on the mystery at hand, which is a welcome improvement. It divides its time between Akihiko’s story, Takano’s group and Rika who also disappears in this instalment. Rika’s storyline doesn’t add anything of particular note to the bigger picture, but since she’s been one of the more outgoing personalities in the cast since the beginning, I’m sure some readers have been wanting to learn more about her.
I’m still concerned that the conclusion won’t be satisfying after all we’ve seen so far (especially with only one book left to bring it to an end) but if you’ve read this far, then you’ll certainly want to find out how it ends. Even if you don’t like any of the characters except Takano and Mizuki, I think that attachment will see you through, since it seems the mystery surrounds them more than anyone else. Everyone has their demons, but these two in particular certainly seem to be central to whatever’s holding them hostage.
A School Frozen in Time Volume 3 comes to the West thanks to Vertical and continues to be translated by Michelle Lin. The translation reads well with no issues to note. There are no translation notes this time around, but there isn’t a whole lot to require them either. Volume 4 is currently scheduled for release in November.
Overall, A School Frozen in Time Volume 3 proves to be an improvement on Volume 2 and brings us a little bit closer to solving the overall mystery. A lot is riding on the final instalment in terms of offering a satisfying conclusion, but for now, at least things are looking up.