“School Living Club members are not only to attend classes but live their whole lives at school, to grow closer to the school’s many departments, and with them foster self-governance and independence and set an example for all to follow.” -School Living Club members
***Contains some spoilers***
Yuki Takeya loves her school so much that she does not want to ever leave! Megurigaoka High School is a unique and lively place where Yuki enjoys her carefree life as a third-year high school student and member of the School Living Club. The club, consisting of the president Yuuri Wakasa, the athletic Kurumi Ebisuzawa, the mature junior Miki Naoki, the supervising teacher Megumi Sakura, and the club dog Taroumaru, prides itself on making the most of life at school.
However, this illusion of endless bliss is just a bubble waiting to be burst because Yuki is unable to perceive what is truly happening around her. In reality, all is not as it seems—the real purpose of the School Living Club is to escape from the shocking and disturbing truth. The girls are in the middle of a zombie apocalypse and have barricaded themselves inside the school as the sole survivors.
Gakkou gurashi! (School-live!)
A japanese animated series with 12 full episodes. Produced by Lerche, who gave us our personal favorites such as Persona 4: The animation and Danganronpa. Gakkou Gurashi doesn’t stray far from its sister animations, ranging from comedy to horror genres. So don’t be fooled by the kawaii-ness vibe this anime gives off. Seriously guys, you need balls to watch this anime.
The first time I saw this anime in another Anime Reviews page, I thought, Oh? This falls on the Psychological genre. *evil grin* Being an avid fan of Psychological anime and manga, it caught my attention at once. I gave it a try, of course. I took some snacks, lay stomach-flat on my bed and started streaming it at once.
At first, I cringed.
This lovely girl’s voice greeted me. It was ear rape, I swear. Sugary, child-like and…moe, that was Yuki Takeya’s voice. Personally, I thought it was trying hard, unnatural, but along half of the anime, I got used to it. And when that girl got serious at the last part, ooh boy, her voice got strong and solid and I was loving every bit of it.
But I’m not about to spoil what happened, to you, peeps. This is a review, not story-time!
All I have to say to those who are interested is: Don’t judge this one based on face value. I dare you to watch even just the first episode, and tell me if it’s your typical girly-girl anime.
The story was good in and of itself. The way it was presented on the first episode– sugar-coated– only made the reality of the whole thing a lot more chilling. The story was two-faced, and oh, how I love ironies. With a dash of comedy and just the right amount of drama, you get this mixed feeling of happiness, relief, and fear for the characters.
Although they don’t go into full detail about the background story of the experiment, the characters, or even the School, this just adds to the mysterious atmosphere of the anime. It just need a bit more of everything, horror and tragedy mostly, since its main story flows along with the Living Dead concept.
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To each their own
I mainly focus on how the characters are individualized, and for me, it was done impeccably. Yuki was presented as a genki type of person, contrasting Miki, who was serious and cautious. Kurumi was one of the most traumatized characters, but also the strongest of will and physical ability. Yuuri stood as the big sister of the group, but was also psychologically frail (as seen in the 10th episode, when Kurumi lays on the couch, suffering from the infection).
But I wouldn’t rule out Yuuri as the most weak in psyche here. Yuki takes the crown, as she uses illusions and hallucinations to cope with their reality.
Megu-nee was also well hidden as just Yuki’s imagination. It never struck to me that she might be dead… well, not until later into the series, anyway. She acted as their beacon of light, and was the main catalyst of Yuki’s fall and rise from psychological stress.
It’s a solid 5/5 for this.
It’s usual to use school as a setting for zombie apocalypse (High School DxD), but this one had done it on purpose. Easily accessible resources? An emergency underground panic room? Hmm… something’s VERY fishy here…
I didn’t see that coming.Although I DID wonder about the solar-powered electricity and underground water supply…
Though a change of scenery would have been nice, the reason Megurigaoka was chosen was for a good purpose. The club members wouldn’t have survived anywhere except that school, and the secret of the school’s weird abundant resources was there too. It’s just the little things that your eyes miss, you know? At the first part, these scenes just flash on by and if you aren’t observant, you’ll miss them 100%. Funny thing is, if you did, the anime will have a greater impact on you. Like a “I NEVER NOTICED THAT!” kind of reaction (I mean, I did. ^^;)
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Soothing to the ears
Every soundtrack had a personality to fit every scene and every dialogue perfectly. The opening song especially. It contrasted the series with it’s lively tune and lyrics, just like Yuki’s attempt to cover everything up in sugary sweetness. The opening had some scenes of gore though, but very fleeting that you couldn’t see it the first time around. It’s actually cool, as it transitions and changes as episodes go by, like a little easter egg. Check it out next time!
My personal favorite is Kyou wa Oyasuminasai, which is the soundtrack that is the music-box type. This is the only soundtrack that has a distorted version, played at the end of the ninth episode when Megu-nee is shown as one of the Undead. She and the dog (Yes, there’s a pupper in this anime!!) fell in the hands of the zombies. It hurt to see the doggo slowly die and say goodbye to the gang at the end…
A Lasting Impression?
The impression left by this anime was considerably deep, but not as deep as the anime that really touched my heart (Angel Beats, Hanasakeru Seishounen). I personally like tragedy and feel-sy anime myself, on top of horror and Psychological, so this is just a biased opinion. This anime just lacked a bit in those genres, and isn’t really a major flaw. It was perfect the way it was, but basing on the impression it left on me, it won’t be the first anime I’d give if ever someone would ask for recommendations.
Overall, the anime is 3.5 out of 5!
It has a hooking element that will keep you guessing from episode to episode, not to mention the surprise at the beginning. It’s an anime that has a lot to tell, and you would personally ask for more once you’ve finished all 12 episodes, like I had! It’s still too early to judge it as a whole though, as it is still incomplete, but for now, this is my rating.
NOTE: I am aware there is a manga, and I’m planning to read it soon~! ’till then!
The post It Can’t Get Any Worse Than This: Gakkou Gurashi! Review appeared first on UNOTAKU Anime Blog.