Saturday, November 19, 2016

Zombies meet Slice of Life Anime in School Live!

I think School-Live! is now one of my favorite anime's that I have ever watched. I live for slice of life anime so when I found out that there was a moe slice of life zombie horror anime my two worlds of horror anime that I watch for the blog and happy anime I watch for my own entertainment collided. Basically the synopsis I read online about this anime was that this is about a group of girls living their everyday lives at school except that there was a zombie apocalypse that also happened. One of the main reasons I loved this anime so much was that it was continually changing based on events that had happened in the show. The first episode's theme song is a normal happy intro with a super catchy song about loving each other and then as soon as we find out that there's an apocalypse the intro changes to reflect the darkness occurring around the girls. This continues to change throughout the show so when people die their previous happy face in the intro instead shows them dead or missing entirely. I should also mention that the main character with pink hair was so mentally disturbed by all of her friends and the rest of the world becoming zombies that she just chose to block it out and pretend as if none of that actually happened and continued to live her regular life at school.

School-Live! really really messed me up. The first episode is literally the main character, Takeya Yuki, going through a normal day at school talking about the "School Living Club" and how they were chosen to live at the school because they love it there so much that they want to enjoy every possible aspect of it. She goes to her classes, she hangs out with her friends, and then at the end we find out that she is mentally deranged and that none of that happened and she was just standing in the classroom talking to herself. She's not in any of the pictures I posted above, but the club also has an adviser who is more of a friend than a teacher to the girls who helped them survive the initial start of the end of the world. She is kind of a comedic relief and also kind of serves as the guardian of the girls. Six episodes in to the anime and we find out that the teacher died and is just another figment of Yuki's imagination. She sacrificed herself to save the girls and is now a zombie dwelling in the underground shelter of the school. Again, this traumatized Yuki so much that she chose to ignore the fact that her teacher died and continues to speak to her as if she were still in the room with them and at one point starts handing her objects to hold because she believes that she will be able to.

Another reason I really liked School-Live! is because it managed to still have all of the tropes a regular anime like this minus the zombies would have. What I mean by that is that there is still a swim suit episode where everyone goes to the pool (except their pool is the water reservoir on the roof of the school), they have the shopping episode at the mall (where they meet another survivor and a dog, and have to escape through a horde of zombies to get back alive), they do the test of courage (which is an excuse to go to the school store and get more food to keep surviving off of), and they even hold a graduation ceremony (which left me in tears). I liked all of the characters and I liked that they each had their own character arcs and developed throughout the story. I also appreciated that they even started to question things around the time that I did. I started to wonder why their school was so well equipped to handle to apocalypse (they have water tanks, back up generators, solar panels, etc.) and then they started to question it and found out that for some reason their school happened to know that the apocalypse was going to happen. They just weren't ready for it in time and everyone turned into zombies before the people who were trained in the situation could start acting and helping people to the underground shelter.

I also really liked the rules of the universe regarding the zombies. The main thing that set this anime apart from other zombie anime's (and even mainstream zombie culture) was that the zombies in this were kind of aware of what was going on and retained some of their mental capacity from when they were alive. What I mean by this is that the zombies would show up at the school as if they were attending class and would go home when it was time for classes to end. The zombies that used to be in sports clubs would go to their clubs and some would even try and play their sports again. I haven't watched too many zombie things, but from what I have seen I thought that this approach was really unique and I liked the dilemma it presented to the characters in that they couldn't actually be sure if their former classmates had lost all of their sensibility or not and were really just shells of themselves. 

I am just really really happy that I watched this anime. There were some tragic deaths and sad backstories, but there were also funny moments that probably shouldn't have been in an anime like this one. I can't believe that someone made the anime I've been looking for. Every week I watch a new anime for this post and they're usually very serious and very depressing so I was so relieved to find a mixture of my favorite genre of anime and horror. It was kind of like mixing business with pleasure in a way if that makes more sense. If you like slice of life anime's like K-On! and Haruhi Suzumiya and you also like horror animes like Dangan Ronpa, Highschool of the Dead, and Sankarea then you will probably like this. Even if you don't like anime's like that I recommend this one to you anyway because I loved it so so so much and it's a nice break from some of the more serious horror anime's out there.


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