259th G-View: Gakkou Gurashi

The next anime getting a review involves an unusual union of two completely different genres. The question is whether this union delivered a show worth watching or not. Let’s find out as we take a look at Gakkou Gurashi.

gakkou_gurashi

Alternate Title: School-Live!

Genres: Slice of Life, Comedy, Horror, Drama, Psychological

Themes: School, Moepocalpyse, Apocalypse, tragedy

Number of episodes: 12

G-Rating: 10/10

Plot Summary: Four girls decide to stay over at school: the energetic Yuki Takeya, the shovel-loving Kurumi, the center of the group Yūri who brings everyone together, and the spacey school adviser Megu. However, through mysterious circumstances, the girls find themselves the final survivors of an epidemic and live their lives in the school trying their best to stay alive and emotionally sane.

Four protagonistsRii-san bikini top

The first thing that must be mentioned is also the most important fact readers must understand while watching the show: GG is BOTH a Girls Club AND Moepocalypse anime. It is both moe and sinister. There are admittedly times when the moe does take priority over the somber but that is commonplace in anime starring cute girl nowadays so it is to be expected. However, when the show focuses on the direness of what is going on in the main story…do not expect any hand carrying. Long story short this a Girls Club anime in an apocalyptic where it is both a life filled with cuteness and a battle to prevent one from losing their sanity due to the the horrors behind the barely stable walls.

Let me put it this way. Viewers who have seen Yuki Yuna wa Yusha de Aru and were okay with how it combined the Girls club and Moepocalpyse subgenres will be fine watching this show.

Let’s go over how the show handles both genres.

I hate you sempai

First the GC aspect. It is not that hard to present an anime about “cute girls doing cute things” and GG has no problem getting a passing grade here. The lighthearted scenes, the occasional sexiness are all handled as well as one would expect. That being said these segments do serve a greater purpose beyond “pandering to the masses”…though there is definitely some pandering, swimsuits and the like but nothing new for GC featuring some physically appealing girls.

Discussing Summer Vacation

And now for the other, more appealing half of the show, the moepocalypse. Firstly it is worth mentioning how well the show used the setting the story takes place in. After the viewer has an idea of what is going on the show continues throwing more clues and revealing even more of the world the girls are in and how it is done is praiseworthy. See, in a show like this it would be easy to throw typical violent scenes to torture the girls and call it a day. Not so here. The more serious and sinister scenes are less scary and more creepy like Another. Like said show GG uses the environment and its dangers to great effect giving the viewer more a sense of dread and fear for the girls’ lives rather than pants soaking jump scares. Another way to compliment the daily terrors our heroines must do their best to overcome when forced to face them is that the four leads are not trained warriors. Yes, Kurumi is skilled with a weapon but she is not overpowered in the slightest. She is just as vulnerable as her friends, which makes the more tense scenes legitimately mortifying and, thus the threats are not taken lightly compared to say High School of the Dead. The serious moments are part survival, part sanity rather than mortal combat.

Yuki destroyed

The second praiseworthy part is the how the show conveys the girls’ emotional turmoil throughout their lives. As mentioned above the girls’ lives are at times fun but mostly a battle to maintain their sanity. Being thrust into a world they were not prepared to face at all and every day the hope of regaining a peaceful existence becoming dimmer the possibility of “losing one’s mind” is very understandable. One of the main themes covered on the emotional side of the show is the mental health condition Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). See, this show gives an example on what it is like for someone to “suffer” from such a condition and how one lives with it. The question is also brought up on whether it is a good idea in to “snap the girl out of it” in the world they are in. PTSD has been used in other shows before but those shows have an environment where a “cure” would be beneficial, but here…does one really need to be found as soon as possible? The other girls have their own personal struggles but the one with PTSD plays a more pivotal role in the story and the world. Also like any good Moepocalypse show it is not without its “DEM FEELZ” moments. They are there…oh are they ever. Again, when this show wants to torture our heroines and the viewers…eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.

Basically this is more a character driven story than a plot driven one.

Zombie granny

The animation quality and soundtrack, as readers have figured out are for the most part top notch. They have to be in order to properly convey the environment, story and emotions the show wants to convey. I especially liked the shadow effects covering the more alarming threats our heroines faced. Just enough to give the viewer the “heeby jeebies”. It is a “What cannot be clearly seen is more dangerous than what can.” approach that is well executed. That is not to say all threats are covered in shadow. There is blood but not an exaggerated amount. Just enough to get the point across. As mentioned the soundtrack is superb, especially during the tense and somber moments. The EDs in particular for certain episodes…WHEW! Also make sure to always pay attention during the OP.

I noticed it too

Now for the yuri. It is certainly there no doubt about it. However, the way the show presented it it feels like a “ship sport”, meaning any ship is viable because all four girls are paired up with one another in some manner…though viewers can agree “Mii-kun” is the gayest throughout.

UPDATE:  Apparently there ARE established couples on the show. Alrighty then. Viewers will have to see for themselves which ones they are.

Overall I would say School-Live! implements the combination of Girls Club and Moepocalypse very well. Yes there are times the moe takes center stage more than the somber but again it is to be expected nowadays. The important thing is that both subgenres are used to the fullest and neither one feels half-assed. Moepocalypse experienced animeniacs will easily pick this up. As for everyone else it all depends on how tolerant they are of Girls Club shows and accept that this show does not always focus on the “Hell on Earth” setting it takes place in.

About OG-Man

Yuri and Slice of Life are my anime passion.
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58 Responses to 259th G-View: Gakkou Gurashi

  1. cirno9fan says:

    It’s going to be hard to choose between this and Symphogear for my AotS. I loved this show sooooooooooooooooooooooooo much

    Really gonna miss it ;_;

    Hoping dearly when the manga gets further we’ll get another season.

    What is this “ship sport” you speak of? I only saw the continual reinforcement of YukiMiki and KurumiYuuri, with friendly interactions between all of them at times. >.>

    Though, I will have to admit that Shovel-KunxKurumi did take center stage for a time.

    Anyway, man this show was like perfect for me. My two favorite genres made into one glorious show~

    Like

  2. goodboy64 says:

    This was a fantastic show, in the sense it knew how to make you feel happy and then completely destroy that happiness all in the same episode.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Trans Homura says:

    AOTS possibly year

    Like

  4. nonbi says:

    Well, that was a fun ride. Since the anime changed a lot of things I highly recommend reading the manga. Not that the anime was bad- just to have the full Gakkou experience.

    Like

  5. EasyO's says:

    Taroumaru is the hero we deserved, AotY for being the only anime this year to make me bawl my eyes out. These gems only appear every so often. 😀

    Like

  6. mirrorpurple says:

    I can relate that Yuuki Yuuna reference.

    Like

  7. Star Light says:

    9/10!? Excuse me, have you cleaned your glass yet! I’ll rate this anime 11/10! BTW, who wanna wait the S2 with me :3

    Like

  8. kracen says:

    This show was a masterpiece…
    I don’t normally recommend anime to people because I only really like the Yuri, SoL, Girls Clubs etc, and I know most people don’t so I tend to keep quiet about it, however… Gakkou Gurashi, every single person I knew who watched anime, I recommended this to, from episode 1 to the finale, I recommended it to all my anime watching friends, and I will do so for a very long time.
    There have been animes in which tug at the heart strings in their finales, or at a few moments during it, but this was non stop, every Thursday, I would be thinking ahead to watching this, knowing the emotional trauma was coming… I think I may have gotten a bit of PTSD from this show.
    Megu-nee, you will remain with us always in our way…
    The final episode ended on a somewhat happy note, with everyone moving on, but of course, the loss of Taroumaru, and the reveal of Kei as they drove away, couldn’t let us be too happy could they.
    Also, looks like its setting up for season 2 if you stayed to watch after the credits…. Looking forward to that.

    Oh and of course I have the mention manga differences…. It seems it covered 4/(currently)6 volumes, and did so very well, in my opinion, nothing major really missed out… The reason they’re leaving is different. In the manga the school was practically destroyed.

    Overall this was a 20/10, by far my #1 for the year (Unless Sakura Trick season 2 comes out in the next 3 months, I know it wont but I have to live in denial for this one until the end of time).

    Like

    • cirno9fan says:

      The school was basically uninhabitable by the end of the anime anyway. It’s pretty much the same situation.

      Good that it ended in a way that can continue when the manga gets far enough. Really want another season of this ;_;

      Liked by 1 person

      • kracen says:

        I only noted it was different, not that could’ve stayed… Either way, the show ended well, in fact I prefer how it ended in the anime anyway…
        To my surprise though, they did something in the anime that was darker than in the manga, in the manga the dog was already bitten and was thus never around for even an entire chapter, whereas in the anime, they let us get attached to the dog before taking it away from us…. So cruel… but so well done.

        Like

      • cirno9fan says:

        They also seemed to give more Megu-nee stuff. Or I could be remembering the manga wrong.

        Like

      • OG-Man says:

        Maybe someday.

        Like

    • OG-Man says:

      Hopefully your friends will like it.
      Bittersweet end.

      Like

  9. Kai says:

    Best anime of the season for me :p Those feels at the finale were unreal.

    Like

  10. x says:

    This is one of the best so far and demands a second season and if not read the manga to continue.

    Like

  11. elkat4 says:

    I could go on comparing this to the only other zombie apocalypse anime in existence (that I’m aware of), but I think many a reviewer has probably beaten that horse to death, reanimated it and beaten it to un-undeath (I dunno, because I until finally get around getting internet at home again, my usage is veeeery limited).
    Instead I will would like to compare this to more classical horror. The focus of the story and zombies are not make us sick and give jump scares, but instead pose a nigh unstoppable threat that is constantly looming over the heroes heads. The only real departure here is that there is likely to true “slaying” on the monsters here and the heroes manage to keep their spirits up in spite of facing the monsters on a near daily basis.
    I will also point that any anime that makes want to cry over a character’s tragedy has something right, but Gakkou Gurashi wasn’t satisfied with making me mourn over one character’s noble sacrifice. No, it went as far as to “cure” one of the more minor members of the cast only to allow that Character to pass away peacefully! Even now, thinking of it is making choke back tears and restrain my emotions! For that, I will pray for this anime to get a second season (and be licensed over in the states so I can buy it). I’m looking forward to what direction the girls would go and what hardships they will overcome.

    Like

    • OG-Man says:

      It certainly implemented its material better than the usual we see nowadays.
      Gotta work super hard to keep a level head under those kind of circumstances.
      Two courageous heroes that will always be remembered in our hearts.
      It is a show deserving of a second season in the future.

      Like

  12. DrAnimaniac says:

    I’ve heard about this, but never checked it out. But reading your review and to see it get such a high rating, I have to check it out now for sure.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. K says:

    In my eyes, Gakkou Gurashi is the best anime of the summer. Taroumaru’s death and the sadness the girls felt, especially Miki’s, was done well. Burying him alongside Megu-nee’s grave marker was a nice touch. May they both rest in peace. The graduation ceremony was also neat .

    Now that they have graduated, how will they fare out in that dangerous world? It’d be interesting to see it animated, but I’ll just read the manga in the meantime.

    I alluded to this before, but Megu-nee really does remind of Yui Shishido from the Corpse Party games (not sure if you know about it). Two teachers that cared a great deal about their students.

    On a side-note, I saw something interesting concerning Yuki’s reflection.
    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CPv_0ndUsAEtT3Y.jpg:large
    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CPr2gWbUYAAN-eF.jpg:large
    If you look carefully, the reflection looks like Megu-nee.

    Like

  14. Corrupted Purity says:

    This was awesome. The last time I felt this was while watching Madoka (cliche I know). Yuuki Yuuna also kind of rekindled this feeling but this was the anime that definitely reignited it.

    I enjoy these sort of innocent children undergoing traumatic events genre of anime. Madoka was my first, then I continued with stuff like Yuuki Yuuna, Selector WIXOSS, Higurashi etc. This anime definitely hit the criteria and the execution was spot on. The balance of Moe to show how pure these and sweet these girls are and the dark, twisted events that they are forced to withstand contrast so well. They beautifully but scarily show how these girls are pushed to their limits, beyond their thresholds and maybe even beyond the brink of sanity and still try to cope. I’ve never cried to an anime before and this is no exception but it brought me to the verge a couple of times.

    Sincerely hoping for a season 2 as this is in my personal opinion, the Anime of the Season and Anime of the year so far.

    Like

  15. yurimylove says:

    this is one moe show with surprisingly well handled character development, I must say. I’ve enjoyed watching it, though zombie isn’t my favorite genre (I like some zombie movies, Resident Evil being a series I’ve kept up through all sequels and animated films).

    The characters are all likeable, I still really like Megu-nee, and Yuki has risen up to be a brave little girl too!

    Like

  16. DrAnimaniac says:

    So I finally watched and finished this and now I see why you gave it such a high rating. This was seriously amazing! You know that I’m a horror enthusiasts just as much as I am a yuri fangirl, so this was heaven for me. There really isn’t any doubt about if the shipping is there and I’m pretty sure my pairings are the official ones. Also I completely agree that Miki was certainly the gayest of the girls and you could easily see it from her first scene. I think thi’ll remain as one of my favorites for a while and I will recommend this to everyone I possibly can. Thanks for doing your review!

    Like

    • OG-Man says:

      Oh yes. The presentation and extra touches on the anime version helped make an already great story even better.
      Two cute pairings.
      Just doing what I do Doc. Glad you enjoyed the show.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Hanneman says:

    This is one of those shows that made me realize how much spoilers can ruin your experience. Although i spoiled myself for the first episode, the rest was new stuff for me. All was going well, when i took a break during episode 8, and got back in time for the final episode to be released. But tiny spoilers i had seen on the internet, like what would happen with Kurumi, really damaged the experience. And i never quite got the feels everyone here had watching the late half of the show.

    Besides that, Gakkou Gurashi is great, another moepocalypse show that is quite different from the others in the genre. Too bad there wasnt any yuri moments here that made us go kyaa, but the plot makes up for this fact. Great review as always!

    Like

  18. It’s unbelievably difficult to make me cry. I’m barely into the series. Why do I find myself tearing up almost every few minutes? I think it might be the whole gravity of the situation. The world’s gone to all hell and one little girl refuses to accept truth. This is probably the second most bittersweet experience I’ve had yet.

    Yuki’s frame of mind. It can’t go on forever, right? She’ll have to wake up someday, right? Speaking of one’s frame of mind, that’d be a pretty fitting song for Yuki from a 3rd person perspective.

    “For now you can stay, right here will play until somehow you can find a slightly different frame of mind. Right here in my arms, away from all harm. You’ll be safe from all the flares… Although I know you don’t care.”

    Anyway! That was depressing! But I can no longer take zombie apocalypse scenarios 100% seriously thanks to “7 Scientific Reasons a Zombie Would Fail (Quickly)” That site, Cracked, it’s freaking hilarious. Go there if you want a little laugh and some knowledge. (Not advertising, I’m just tired and wanna get my thoughts out.)

    http://www.cracked.com/article_18683_7-scientific-reasons-zombie-outbreak-would-fail-quickly.html

    “But why would they even bother? When they could just roll over swaths of zombies in tanks, blast them with cluster bombs and MOABs and mow them down with miniguns from the god damn Air Force that every zombie flick seems to forget about.” – David Dietle, 2010.

    Like

  19. Umm, is something bugged with the comments?

    Like

  20. Guess it was just me… I’m copypasting my last comment that didn’t go through. Here we go.

    (Did my last comment not go through or something? I’ll just re-write it)
    It’s unbelievably difficult to make me cry. I’m barely into the series. Why do I find myself tearing up almost every few minutes? I think it’s whole gravity of the situation. The world’s gone to hell and one little girl refuses to accept that. Living in a frame of mind where nothing is wrong. It can’t go on forever right? She’ll have to wake up someday, right?

    On the subject of one’s frame of mind. That song seems to fit Yuki from 3rd person point of view. “For now you can stay, right here we will play. Until somehow you can find a slightly different frame of mind. Right here in my arms, away from all harm, you’ll be safe from all the flares… Although I know you don’t care.”

    Anyway! That’s depressing! But thanks to “7 Scientific Reasons a Zombie Outbreak Would Fail (Quickly)” on a website called Cracked, I can never take a zombie apocalypse scenario 100% serious again.

    http://www.cracked.com/article_18683_7-scientific-reasons-zombie-outbreak-would-fail-quickly.html

    If you’re looking for a good laugh and some knowledge after a hyper depressing anime, go to Cracked. (Not advertising, just tired and wanna get my thoughts out.)

    Like

  21. (Did my last comment not go through or something? I’ll just re-write it)
    It’s unbelievably difficult to make me cry. I’m barely into the series. Why do I find myself tearing up almost every few minutes? I think it’s whole gravity of the situation. The world’s gone to hell and one little girl refuses to accept that. Living in a frame of mind where nothing is wrong. It can’t go on forever right? She’ll have to wake up someday, right?

    On the subject of one’s frame of mind. That song seems to fit Yuki from 3rd person point of view. “For now you can stay, right here we will play. Until somehow you can find a slightly different frame of mind. Right here in my arms, away from all harm, you’ll be safe from all the flares… Although I know you don’t care.”

    Anyway! That’s depressing! But thanks to “7 Scientific Reasons a Zombie Outbreak Would Fail (Quickly)” on a website called Cracked, I can never take a zombie apocalypse scenario 100% serious again.

    If you’re looking for a good laugh and some knowledge after a hyper depressing anime, go to Cracked. (Not advertising, just tired and wanna get my thoughts out.)

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Oh. And I bawled my eyes out when I saw Yuki crying on the school roof. Not really because it’s a little moe girl crying but because those were her final moments before she…”died.”

    “I don’t fear a physical death, but when my conscience dies, that is a real death.” – Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale

    Liked by 1 person

  23. In a way, Kei did find help for Miki at the cost of her life. (Inb4 they address that a little later in the show.)

    Liked by 1 person

  24. I’m partway through episode 9 now. Returned from my heartache hiatus. Jesus H, shit just got real. How could they have anticipated it? I really like it when there’s a situation where the characters think they have a grasp on the situation or are just unaware that there is something much bigger behind all of this…

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Partway through episode 10: No. She’s not living. There’s no way she’s surviving. Medicine? Pff. I know how you work, show. You think you can fool me still? What do you take me for? Ha… Ha… crying

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Finished:
    Excuse me. What?

    You know, I think it may be a coincidence but ever since the first few episodes, I always Yuki bore those wings on her backback for a reason. The ending is truly poetic with Yuki filled with newfound courage and the strength to SAVE what means most to her. And I don’t think I’ve ever cried this much in any anime. With Kurumi and Taroumaru at the end, I tried to make out-load comments to myself and all that came out was incomprehensible gibberish. Literally everything about this anime is perfect. And when Yuki said to Mii that Taroumaru told her “Thank you.” I counted AT LEAST 4 tears run down my cheeks nearly instantly. Everything about this anime is perfect. Literally genius. Modern-Day-Epic/10.

    Someone said the girl after the credits was a university survivor. Does the manga actually continue into what would be like another season? If so, I’m that manga.

    BUT IN THE MEANTIME! My heart aches far too much. It should be quelled by something cute and I’ve been eyeing “Is The Order a Rabbit?” after seeing some very short clips. My heart will no longer be hurt by sadness but by DIABETUS.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. And I also hoped this to myself but then I saw some others say it too: We think Megu-nee might just be a soul.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. cyan says:

    Wow, I didn’t expect much but wow… this was a great show.
    The pacing was just about right, nothing felt rushed or too slow, the music even builds up the scene, even the OP helps me keep my sanity whenever the episode was going to drag me into the dark part of the plot.
    Wew! I got too attached to the characters that the last few episodes put me on the edge hoping for the best outcome.

    Great show, hoping for another season.

    Liked by 1 person

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