Gakkou Gurashi / School-Live – Review

A lot of people have spent hours upon hours thinking about various methods of dealing with a zombie outbreak. Many purely for fun, others for the purposes of creating a story around it, and a small exception out of paranoia that it’s a real possibility. Yet, all those people and all those hours, days, and even years of college students and writers wondering about the best plan of survival never thought up the correct answer; one that, amazingly, Gakkou Gurashi has found.

Tell the zombies that school is out for the day.

WELCOME TO HELL

I wish I could end the review there, but you might think that’s a joke or missing context, well it’s not, it is literally the answer in the finale and it fucking works. The zombies hear it and they go, well, shit, time to go home! Sadly, this isn’t the stupidest thing in the show, nor the worst, it’s just one of the most hilarious examples of how fucked the writing for this entire series is throughout and a godawful climax. What next, a rabid zombie dog saving the day? Oh wait, that’s also an integral event in the plot.

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You know what, before I continue on that path, I want to give some praise where it’s due. The directing is pretty damn good, nothing in this show is something I can blame on that and for a very new director I have to really say this was actually pretty good. If this was someone with more experience I’d expect them to pull a Bokurano and say “this story fucking sucks, I’m going to make an entirely original story instead”, but someone with almost no prior work I can see why he didn’t go for that. Now, there are some issues that are definitely his fault, but overall the directing itself is solid and even at incredibly rare times can be fantastic. The cinematography throughout is easily some of the better and more, well, cinematic that you’ll find in most anime – nothing compared to something like Railgun S which is in a realm all on it’s own in the department, but still pretty good. Yuki’s mental problems in episode 1 and the way they were shown to us, rather the way they WEREN’T shown to us, was also just incredible. Even knowing the twist it didn’t change the impact of how it was executed and it’s probably one of my favorite first episodes ever along with Ga Rei Zero. However, at times, the director was too heavy handed with “subtle” things, making them lose any subtlety they were clearly meant to have because of trying too hard to include things from the manga that clashed with them or simply making it too obvious too early. It’s not a perfect showcase of directing talent, but for someone fairly new this was mostly pretty good in that aspect, and those few amazing moments lead me to believe this guy has a lot of potential. This may sound contradictory to some things I’ll say in a bit, but what I’m saying is up until the parts he had to “reveal” things because of following the manga, subtlety was something he handled greatly.

Another positive would be…uh…Miki’s seiyuu is very new and does great – but most importantly she’s also the lead girl Futa-Futa from Sore ga Seiyuu, a show about new seiyuu. It’s nice to see the real her hitting it big in a popular show as the character does too, it reminds me a bit of Macross Frontier and Megumi Nakajima. Miki herself is also cute and is the only character with any sort of believability to her logic. While the rest of the cast happily lets a girl suffer in her delusions, decides to have a pool party instead of going to an emergency shelter, and in general ignores the looming threat, Miki actually constantly tries to be proactive about survival (albeit the others usually get in the way of that).

nummy stick

Moving on from those things to the harsh reality – the show is shit. I was so excited for this, it seemed like such a fresh concept that could be really unique; a slice of life story set in a zombie apocalypse about four girls surviving. More frustrating, that first episode really did pull me in in a very strong way, yet a week later I saw something not even half as good, then again the next week, and this continued until it became exponentially worse with each new episode and ending up as one of the worst shows I’ve seen in a very long time. Rather, there are some way worse shows, but this was the most offensively shitty out of all of them – something like Arslan being total trash doesn’t really upset me or anyone else, it was clearly going to be bad from the get go and had no potential and nothing to not live up to…this though is the type that stings because it deserved to be so much more yet the creator didn’t manage to make it five feet before accidentally dropping it into a storm drain where it flowed all the way into the depths of the sewer system.

One of the biggest flaws with this show is the inability to hide twists before “reveals” of them, such as Megu having been dead most of the show. This was something I genuinely thought was meant to be obvious to the viewer, and it seemed that way for many episodes – as if the show was aware that it was understood by the viewer and wasn’t trying to hide it or trick you…but then they do try a “big reveal” of it and the result is embarrassing. It treats you like an infant as if the past entirety of the show hadn’t happened and she hadn’t continually been VERY CLEARLY shown to not really be there – while it was handled subtly it wasn’t something hard to see, they outright show her as not being real multiple times and continually push the fact that she phases in and out of existence and that nobody ever speaks to her aside Yuki and they all look uncomfortable and awkward when she does, and the fact she never once interacts with anything. It’s not fucking difficult to see her teleport around constantly as a sign that maybe she isn’t alive. Yet, apparently, you were not meant to realize it. This is more terribly done than the MGSV reveal which almost everyone figured out from the trailers alone, not to mention the fucking prologue. Up to the reveal I thought this was handled not that bad, yeah it was obvious about it but because it knew you were aware of the truth it was fine that it didn’t try being disingenuous with the viewer, but then you realize they were more being disingenuous with themselves in believing the viewer is literally fucking retarded. In a show that was already going a bad way this whole big deal even with a special ending and insert song and change of the OP after – it all felt hilarious and a bit insulting rather than touching.

Then there’s the loads of fanservice awkwardly and clunkily shoved in; it’s all so out of place and pointless that it still confuses me why they even added it. Did they really believe the show couldn’t get views without it? Worse, it’s the most just fucking STRANGE fanservice they could have done. For example, what’s up with Miki wearing the sluttiest prostitute-worthy lingerie imaginable to school every day even before all this happened? I mean thigh-highs, sure, but really? And worse, why do we see her in just them and her panties with no skirt on so many times without any actual reason for that to be the case? On panties, we see hers a fuck ton and in various angles from what feels like a dedicated “Miki-ass-cam” half the show. The amount of service with her is far more than anyone else, leaving me to believe she was the director’s favorite. Not only is she half naked all the time and wearing just the sluttiest thing possible, she also gets a full dedicated scene to showering…for no reason. Literally none. There is no monologue, there are no thoughts, there’s nobody speaking or doing anything, and nothing happens. It is just a scene of a kid taking a shower and barely avoiding showing a few special spots going on for minutes without purpose. Even later in another episode when there are more of the girls in the showers (also pointlessly, though this time they at least speak) the only one we see in any capacity to SEE SOMETHING is her, the rest cover their bodies or are at angles you can see nothing anyway. It’s so fucking tasteless and out of place.

Then there’s a time where fanservice completely changes the entire main story and their lives, yes, they made an ENTIRE FANSERVICE EPISODE integral to the main plot and survivability of the cast. We find a notebook that explains about this virus that’s causing the zombies, that it’s a bioweapon (real original!), and that there is a second basement made specifically as an evacuation and survival facility fully equipped with food, water, and medicine both normal and to combat the virus itself. They make a promise to look there tomorrow. The very next day they decide instead of looking into this basement thing they’ll go play around in the water basin on the roof in their bikinis. The full episode is nothing but that – harmless, right? No, because the next episode more days have passed and none of them bothered to check the place still even though they are also aware their barriers are fucked and that more zombies have shown up lately, but hey, fuck it. In the end, the entire climax of the series happens thanks to them spending their time showing the viewer their bodies and rubbing up against one another instead of going to the basement – the dog would not be dead, they would have already taken care of Megu’s zombie form, shovel girl would never have been hurt, they would have strong as shit barriers and a security system protecting them, and they’d have medicine, food, and drink for a long time to come (as this facility was made to safely hold the entire school and there’s only 4 of them instead). Yet, again, the show decided to put that off to give otaku something to grip their tiny little dicks to and then – thanks to the shit writing – even after that still not have them actually go to the basement.

5rcmstv

It’s awful, not because it’s sexualizing some teenagers, who gives a fuck they’re cartoon characters – but because it just has no place in this show. This is an overall serious show about the horrible mental state of four girls trying to survive in a world that threatens them at every turn. It’s fine to have some fun even in that situation for a series like this…but entire episodes dedicated to nothing but gravure bullshit and multiple nude shower scenes with no purpose? No. It’s like if Black Hawk Down had a half hour randomly thrown in of Grimes stumbling into a strip club and relaxing awhile while the camera sits stubbornly zoomed in on some ass.

One thing I’ve heard to defend the story a lot is the idea that “they are just teenagers so they wouldn’t always make the right decisions” but it doesn’t apply. Nobody, not even a fucking 6 year old, would think “yeah let’s play in the water instead of finding medicine and safety”, and these are girls that are in their very late teens. The same applies to almost all their decisions really, none of them make sense. One of the most dangerous things you can have in a survival situation is someone who isn’t mentally stable and who can put you all in danger and will react in ways you can’t predict – yet they fully help Yuki stay insane, and big tits even physically threatens Miki to play along as well when she first arrives or else be tossed out to the zombies after being beaten. There are so many examples – I’m not going to sit here summarizing 90% of the fucking show, but the point is it’s unbelievable. I understand it’s not a real situation, that it’s an anime, that it’s teenage girls, but there are things that are beyond the ability of suspending your disbelief – these characters are shown to NOT BE as fucking stupid as the show then decides to make them at important points just to inorganically force the show in some retarded melodramatic direction.

TOTALLY MISLEADING, HOW COULD I KNOW SOMETHING WAS WRONG WHEN THERE WERE ZOMBIES IN THE FIELD?

And oh boy, do I have to remind you about the start of this review? Well it’s true. The ultimate answer in this show to the climax is simply saying over the speakers that school is out. That’s the finale. That’s the solution to the zombie hordes. Tell them work is over, school is out, mom’s in the hospital – they’re very good listeners and they’ll act on what they know MORE THAN THE MAIN CAST OF LIVING HUMANS who couldn’t be fucked to go to a secure EVACUATION FACILITY MADE SPECIFICALLY FOR THIS SITUATION. Speaking of which, Megu is canonically aware of the evacuation facility and even the cure for the zombie virus…yet never leads the girls there in all the time she was still alive. Maybe this is explained in the manga, but from what I can tell the writer just didn’t realize what a fuck-up he made the moment he had a map that Megu marked for other secure places that the organization had set up to survive this event in, not to mention it’s never explained why she’s the only person with information on this.

Then my favorite thing in the entire show, and I do very much mean that sarcastically – Yuki’s change in the final episodes. She magically without any emotional or mental impact comes to realize the truth of things and is not only completely fine and handles it without any shock or fear, she BECOMES FUCKING DARYL DIXON. She is the MOST CAPABLE person in this entire group the moment she snaps out of it, saving the lives of everyone in the process after fighting through hordes of zombies all by herself to do so. Now you might think it’s explainable by fight or flight instincts – but that is actually the reason it’s NOT explainable. The entire reason her head put her into the state of extreme denial she was in was thanks to the fact her instincts realized she COULD NOT HANDLE picking “fight” and so it chose to run away to keep her alive, keeping her aware subconsciously of danger but never letting her understand the truth as she’d break instantly. Yet instead the moment she sees things for what they are she becomes an unstoppable force who is not only the most capable, but the most intelligent and most courageous of all of them. She even, somehow, summons the support of a zombie dog who leaps out and saves her even though it just tried killing the shovel girl earlier. It is fucking ridiculous in the worst way.

Speaking of shovel, she’s been bit and for awhile been ‘turning’ – while everyone else seems to have done that instantly, she’s taking years over here and somehow magically the medicine undoes all of it and she’s fine aside the initial wound hurting. Same for the dog after everything, who is turned back into a real dog, unzombied via magic, and dies from likely having bled out during zombification. The show is so afraid of death they only killed off a character who started dead to begin with and a dog.

gakkougurashied

This is a show that DESERVED to be a 10/10, hell the first episode itself IS without a doubt one of the best first episodes out there alongside Ga Rei Zero. Everything after that still could have followed up with that same level of quality and content…instead we got what we got, which was a miserable pile of shit and something I genuinely regret watching. This is a series that shows very clearly the impact the audience – or perceived audience – can have on the way a series is created. They figured they had to pander to otaku with shoved in loads and loads of fanservice and just enough friendship to make retards start their delusions of lesbians, they couldn’t kill anyone because it might be someone’s precious waifu and he won’t buy the blurays anymore, and they also figured they had to explain each and every single thing in the most offensively childish manner to the viewer as if everyone watching is too stupid to figure anything out.

It’s a tragedy that this ended up so fucked when it has so many things about it that could be amazing, but there’s no changing how it turned out.

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9 responses to “Gakkou Gurashi / School-Live – Review

  1. I have to agree with foreshadowing showing a bit too much, and the fan service with Miki was unnecessary.
    However, your review didn’t really say anything good about the show and I feel you only pointed out parts that you didn’t like and then dramatized them.
    I think that some of the more playful scenes were too show that the teenage girls are still teenage girls. I don’t think you’re giving them enough credit. I can see why Rii-san and Kurumi-chan would want their friend to not see things how they really are. They’ve never been put in this type of situation before and they probably think that as long one of them still believes everything is okay, then everything will be alright. I know if my friends are I were put in this situation we’d not want to leave the safety of floor either.
    Most people let fear drive them, and even if they did somehow get to the basement. If the three other girls because Mii-chan saw Megu mee they’d probably do the same thing Kurumi did.
    As for the ending it was a bit sloppy and seemed a bit rushed.
    Now before I close off I just want to say one more thing, you’re probably gonna bring up the fact that even if they are teenage girls they should still know how stupid they’re being, but coming from a teenage girl’s view I can actually see how they would handle it a lot better than every girl and grown adults would.
    Anyway, your review although didn’t set well with me I still respect your opinions although next time take into a fact that not everyone has the same mindset as you.
    Have a nice day

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    • Thanks for reading and taking some time to leave a comment! However the idea you leave off with of “next time take into fact that not everyone has the same mindset as you” just isn’t something I could pass by without responding to.

      The entire point of a review – both writing one and reading one – is to show EXACTLY that. A review is meant to be a personal experience with something and how it was to you and explaining why your experience came out how it did (at least in the case of fiction/art/other non-objective things or non-objective elements of things). Taking other people’s experiences into account in a review (aside, at most, mentioning them for comparison if you’re dealing with a product for example) invalidates the entire point of a review because you’re no longer speaking about your personal feelings and the experience you specifically had with it.

      People form their own opinions; reviews are meant to show you opinions of others, they should never take into consideration the mindset of others because the whole point is to see the mindset of someone else.

      As for why I didn’t say anything good about the show – well that also ties into what I just said though I also disagree. I have a massive overly-long paragraph and a normal sized paragraph both dedicated to stating what I found good with the show. Is that a lot? No, but it’s not a little either. I made sure to give fair time to the very very very little positives with this show that I could, but again – a review is about your experience with something plus the reasons you had that experience, and there was just not much good in my experience with this series. I didn’t say much good about the show because the show is shit, it’s not any more complicated than that.

      Doesn’t mean at all that you aren’t free to enjoy it or anything – just that I certainly didn’t.

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  2. What a shitty review.

    Telling the zombies school’s out? Did it not occur to you that Yuki was finally understanding them because she finally understood herself? Or do you need more fast-paced music and explosions to be satisfied with an ending?

    Twists ‘revealed’ too soon? Of course we’re supposed to know Megu-nee is dead! It’s what makes our view of Yuki more dramatic. Is irony out of your capabilities?

    This show is ‘about’ the horror? Sorry, wrong! These girls are trying their hardest to live a normal high school life. When they find a threat to that – in the basement – they run away to the roof, as far away from horror into the biggest clichés of slice-of-life. You even get Miki giving your very argument, but neither she at that point nor you know what it’s like to be a teenager.

    This show is a 10/10 for people who can view it without their heads up their asses. It had its flaws, but you can’t identify then; you just go for the dumbest things to rant about without giving anything a second thought for how it might be important to the story.

    Thanks for the laugh.

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    • Sorry for hurting your delicate fanboy sensibilities again, it’s okay, we all have opinions and you’re welcome to think this is an amazing show in your axis and write about it on your blog all you want, but my axis clearly doesn’t align with yours and I’d thank you to not try telling me mine isn’t allowed as much right to exist as your own after all the stuff you said before as you’d be contradicting it all. You’re outright telling me I’m wrong, rather than disagreeing with me, which is quite oppressive for someone who was just here not too long ago telling me the freedoms we all should have in regard to our feelings, thoughts, and interpretations of things – even going as far as saying the author themselves can be seen as ‘wrong’ if you disagree with it. Yet here you’re telling me I’m wrong in exercising my own feelings, thoughts, and interpretations and even attacking me on my personal blog for it. It’s very telling of the type of person you actually are.

      The fact that you of all people can sit there saying what sounds a lot like “it’s objectively factually a 10/10 as long as you aren’t retarded” is kind of disappointing, as you seemed – even with everything else you said and how stupid it all was and how much I made fun of you for it in the past – to understand at the very least how stupid believing something like that really is just because you personally enjoyed it. I guess you couldn’t handle yet another show you somehow enjoyed being shit on without completely going against everything you set forth in your comments before.

      If you can’t act like a grown up and respect other people’s opinions I’ll have to ask you not to read my blog anymore, let alone not to comment – both things you already said you were no longer going to do last time yet for some reason couldn’t help but come again. I hope you can work on your inability to keep to the decisions you make in life and the things you believe yet go against, it shows that you as a person are very insecure and uncertain and that must suck.

      Another thing I’d like to mention is the fact I have never gone to your blog aside the first time you commented on mine because I was interested in an “oh who is this person” kind of way, as I do for any people I don’t recognize. Further, I’ve never gone there, insulted you, and told you you’re an idiot. If you can’t handle having even a semblance of basic respect for someone else, don’t expect me to give you any back – yet I’m doing so now, for the nth time with you. The only times I have ever been remotely aggressive with you or made jokes about you were directly in open response to you after you instigated issues (even on twitter), you’ve constantly done nothing but show up, say some really dumb shit, then claim to never come back again before coming back again and repeating the process. Grow up, learn some manners, learn some basic respect, and learn how to interact with people better before jumping at them – maybe then I would actually be able to appreciate what you say on any level, but as it is now I just see insults and whining about how right you are because you say so.

      My thoughts are with you, thanks for reading all the same, but please reign yourself in a bit if you would like to continue. If you don’t, I’ll do it for you, but I’d rather you be able to handle yourself better given you aren’t 13. This is the last and surely more than the tenth time I’m saying all this to you.

      Like

      • Don’t tell a blogger you’ve called a ‘cunt’ to reign themselves in on your blog. If you think you’ve ever sounded respectful of anyone’s opinion, you’re sadly mistaken.
        And of course your opinion has a ‘right to exist’. So does my opinion on your opinion. If you’d stop straw-manning through semantics people might be able to hold a conversation with you, but alas.
        Remember, I only come back here for a laugh. If you can’t handle a guy sniggering at your silly attempts at having an opinion, you should question who you should be calling a child.
        Grow up and take criticism like a man. Maybe then this place wouldn’t smell of diapers.

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        • >heh i only came back here for a laff ;^)

          Could have just said ‘u mad’ and let me know you’re busy memeing and not able to handle acting like an adult.

          Like

        • Also, you stupid fucking cunt, I’m adding you to the spam list – rather I’ll just mark all your shitty comments as spam until it auto blocks you. I called you a cunt in reply to you acting like a cunt both times now, again, I’ve never gone out of my way to insult you – only reciprocated.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. >Tell the zombies that school is out for the day.

    GOD DAMMIT.

    Oh and HMMMM I dunno I guess episode 2 wasn’t as good as episode 1 but remember the first 3 episodes I think were basically the same overall good quality. It was 4 when they started shoving the flashbacks in and fucking up the shows structure and tension that it took the long slope downward.

    >the creator didn’t manage to make it five feet before accidentally dropping it into a storm drain where it flowed all the way into the depths of the sewer system.

    ALSO THIS IS A REALLY GREAT ANALOGY.

    >the show then decides to make them at important points just to inorganically force the show in some retarded melodramatic direction.

    Yeah I mean that shows one of the ways this show is ridiculously lazyily written? I mean that’s what you do when you have drama and plot points you want to have happen but don’t want to be fucked to find a good way for it to happen. Just make the characters act dumber than they are or worse: out of character. IT’S FINE WHO CARES LOOK MY STORY IS GOOD IT HAS DRAMA LOOK AT THESE SERIOUS THINGS THAT HAPPEN.

    I mean yeah just look at that final thing. Megu had a map with safe spots marked on it but never decided to take them down to the shelter or to one of these other spots? Why you ask? Well it’s a plot contrivance. The author just didn’t care or made it up as he went along and then said EH PLOTHOLES WHATEVER.

    Also I think “tell the zombies to go home” is now my trigger phrase I’M SO TRIGGERED RIGHT NOW IT MAKES ME SO ANGRY.

    Like

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