Hyôryu Kyôshitsu
1987 / 104m - Japan
Adventure, Fantasy
The Drifting Classroom poster


February 18, 2022


Most people will hit Obayashi's oeuvre thanks to the reputation of Hausu, once you start to dig a little deeper it turns out that his signature is a lot more toned down. The Drifting Classroom is a notable exception. I wasn't really prepared for the onslaught of bafflement, which made it all the more fun.

Shou leaves for school after a fight with his mom. It will be the last time he sees her, as a freak storm envelops his school building and transports it to a foreign dimension. Shou ends up in a strange desert where time works differently, and giant insects roam the premises. Shou, his classmates and teachers will have to adapt to their new life.

The mix of Japanese and English-speaking actors feels random, the special effects are all over the place (but they're mostly subpar) and a couple of musical intermezzos just add to the overall weirdness. It's not a very technically accomplished film, but Obayashi's vibrant direction, the fantastical elements and somewhat surprising ending add a lot to the appeal. Fun.