Gakkou Gurashi! is a Slice of Life anime based on the manga bearing the same name written by Kaihou Norimitsu. The story revolves around a club of three girls and their club advisor who are all part of the ‘Living at School’ club which promotes the idea that school can be fun if you can make it so through friendship, proper management of schoolwork, and taking care of the place that you learn inside of every day. The shows starts out very cheery and presents each character one by one as their school day goes on starting with the goofy ball of sunshine, Yuki, the genki and dependable Kurumi, the kind leader, Yuuri, and then finally their club advisor, Megumi-sensei. Now, this is all that I am able to present to you without giving away too much, but, please, go watch the show in its entirety as it evolves into something much bigger than it’s presenting at first, and for very good reason. The rest of this review will be flooded with spoilers, so like I said, please do not read beyond this if you have not seen it, just go watch it because I can promise you this will be the most unique show you have watched that has come out of this year, if not the last few years in anime.
SPOILERS! PLEASE SKIP THIS AND "STORY" IF YOU DON'T WANT TO BE SPOILED
This show is pretty much season one of The Walking Dead, but with cute anime girls. There’s constant twists, zombies, people dying, people being added to the group, internal strife, etc. The thing is though, it doesn’t try to be edgy; it truly portrays how a group of young schoolgirls would probably act if they were abandoned in their school and stays consistent with it.
The story revolves around the girls I mentioned in the beginning starting their day out at school, and then all of a sudden, by the time school is letting out for the day, a zombie outbreak happens and several of the girl’s classmates become zombies, and they have to fight back against all of them and barricade themselves inside of their school and try to survive until they can formulate a plan to get out and scout out the town around them. What is very interesting about the initial presentation of the show, is that it seems as though it is going to start out like any other Slice of Life anime with its very brightly colored environment, cheery characters, school setting, and very upbeat opening theme, and then it begins to slowly darken as the show progresses, throwing the viewer off, especially with the theme song changing three times as the show goes on to reflect the events thus far in the story, the final change being the most dark, and yet the most reflective of what the rest of the show will be, just like how reflective each Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure opening is to the story.
The animation director, Makoto Iino, who was the animation director and did key animation for the final Madoka Magica film, Rebellion, called the shots with this show, and I think with his help, and the studio’s experience with a popular show which has a similar setting, Danganronpa, allow them to paint a world in which the viewer may immerse themselves into the mysterious and dark world of the anime, without breaking that immersion by having a weird bit of CG when they’re having to run, or using the same three frames to animate their walking or anything like that. It’s not too crazy though only because the very high-speed scenes are the major zombie confrontations during the beginning of the show whenever the zombie outbreak starts, the middle when they go to the mall to scout out for supplies, and then the finale whenever the group finally leaves the school.
The soundtrack is very cheery most of the time, especially the opening theme, which counteracts the show and gives the feeling that these young girls are really trying to continue through life at school and enjoy their youth despite being in a dangerous situation. It gets grim when it needs to be, but for the most part it is meant to be a counter to the current predicament that the characters find themselves in, in order to build up the atmosphere of ‘happiness in darkness’ and makes the intense, sad scenes even more impactful.
I really liked this show. Even though it’s not something as dark or thought provoking as Berserk or Kaiji, it still had a consistent tone, understood what it was and stayed with it, and never crossed the line between dark and edgy, which a lot of horror-mystery shows cross and cause their downfall. It’s really unique and well done, and I certainly hope once the manga progresses some more, there will be a second season and I can write about it again.
4 out of 5 Tacos
Post By: Christian/Himecatherine