You probably heard about Gakkou Gurashi and how it is one of the shows that look like a normal moe show with cute girls doing cute things at first and ends up being a dark show after a while.
The anime is about four girls trying to survive a zombie apocalypse. They are trapped in a school building and are surrounded by zombies. One of the girls wanted to call themselves the ‘School Living Club’ to try and pretend like they were still living a normal high school life and living in the school was just part of their club activities. While I was impressed with Hotaru no Haka (Grave of the Fireflies) for doing the same thing, I couldn’t help but think that the girls acting like everything was okay looked really fake. It was more like they were ignoring reality.
Gakkou Gurashi is an okay show. It does have many unrealistic parts and unnecessary fan service. It can be pretty boring at times but it does have some interesting parts. It is like the show cannot decide whether it wants to be dark or nice and funny. So what makes this anime different from everything else I’ve watched so far? It is Yuki. The zombie apocalypse was too much for her to handle. Her head got messed up when she lost someone important to her. She retreated into a tiny place inside her head where the zombie apocalypse never happened, a place where none of her friends died. She only saw things she wanted to see. If she saw something bad, she immediately forgot about it and pretended like it never happened. She continued attending classes even though there were no more teachers around and she continued talking to people who were no longer alive. She walked through blood covered hallways but she never saw the blood. She stood in front of broken windows but didn’t know that they were broken. In her head, the hallways were sparkling clean and the windows were never broken. She thought that the zombies walking around in the school playground were normal students.
Spoilers start from here. I’ll be writing the rest of the post assuming that you have already watched Gakkou Gurashi. If you haven’t watched it, it is better not to continue reading since I will be spoiling pretty much everything about the show.
From the beginning I didn’t really trust anything the anime showed us since we are looking at the world through Yuki’s eyes, a girl who would rather live in a fake fantasy instead of a harsh reality. I believed that in the worst case scenario, the anime will tell us that everyone was dead from the start and Yuki had been living all alone in the school, fighting zombies by herself while pretending like it was actually Kurumi who did the fighting. So I wasn’t very surprised when it was revealed that Sakura was only alive inside Yuki’s head.
My feelings about Yuki are a bit mixed up. I don’t exactly dislike her but I don’t like her either. I admit that coming to terms with reality when you are forced into an absurd world is difficult but by running away and pretending not to see what was right in front of her, Yuki was only putting the rest of the girls in a difficult position. She expected them to play along with her and protect her when something bad happened. Remember what Sakura told her when they ran into a zombie in the library? ‘Your friends really care about you. They are trying to save you.’ Sakura was no longer alive at that point. Whatever words she spoke were words that Yuki put in her mouth. Maybe Yuki wanted to believe that it was okay for her to pretend to be normal and her friends would be happy to protect her. The rest of the girls are also normal high school students. Not only do they have to fight the zombies, they also have to make sure that Yuki’s world remains pretty. Asking them to go that far for her when they are already working so hard seems pretty unreasonable. Pretending to talk to a person who is not actually there is pretty difficult.
There are some other parts I didn’t like. When Kurumi killed her crush and kept on hitting him with the shovel even after he died and Yuki stopped her, she asked Yuki why she was the one crying and said that Yuki’s hat is weird. I felt like Kurumi should have gotten more attention there instead of Yuki. It was more like the mangaka wanted the viewers to know what kind of person Yuki is and he didn’t really care that Kurumi wouldn’t have actually been in a position to make a remark about a strangers hat, right after she murdered a person for the first time in her life. It didn’t feel real. Also remember when Kurumi was attacked my Sakura and walked in with an injured shoulder? Yuuri was asking Kurumi if she was okay while Miki was worried about Yuki. It was like all the other girls pay attention to Yuki so much that they don’t have enough time to worry about the rest of the members.
None of the girls actually tried fighting a zombie before Kurumi got hurt. They were okay with leaving all the dirty work to her. Also the blood smeared classrooms didn’t bother them. They have plenty of time on their hands. So why not try and clean it up? If they wanted to live a normal life, shouldn’t cleaning the blood come first? You can’t exactly pretend that everything is alright when you are sitting in a classroom covered with blood. The walls being damaged looked pretty fake too. Do you know how much force it takes to damage a wall? Not to mention that there were cracks in the roof too. Just how did the roof get damaged?
The girls never tried to contact their families. Who do you think you will be more worried about if a zombie apocalypse actually happened? Your family or some random girls you just met that day? You will be more interested in knowing if your family members are staggering down the street feasting on random people than ensuring some stranger’s safety. The only time their families were mentioned was when Yuuri asked Kurumi if she didn’t want to visit her house when they were coming back from that shopping mall. Kurumi just stayed silent. So we are supposed to assume that they were all dead. Now how did she know that? They never contacted their families. Even assuming that she knew they were all dead, it still makes her behavior unnatural. Do you think a normal person will be able to pretend like nothing has happened even after losing all their family members and being targeted by zombies?
I did like Gakkou Gurashi but I also feel like they should have done a better job with the story. What do you think?