School-Live! An Undead Delusion


The anime adaptation of the manga Gakkou Gurashi kicked off this week to a surprisingly interesting start.  Taking what looked to be a silly cutesy club show into something that managed to break a few hearts.  However the surprising twist at its first episode conclusion may have been a bit less shocking if you seen the writing on the wall.

e1schoollive17The following contains insight into the entire first episode of School-Live!  Knowledge of the following may break the surprise of the first episode, so some may want to refrain from viewing this article until they have watched the entire episode.

Kicking off the episode, we meet the overly energetic Yuki Takeya who is running a bit late to class.  Waking up in an empty room within the school, we realize quickly that she and her club mates actually sleep in a school Resource Room.

This doesn’t immediately throw up flags since she runs past many students.  The immediate thoughts may be that the invasion hasn’t happen yet.  The feeling of a normal school life returns and Yuki enjoys a nice breakfast (spaghetti??) with her club mates.

e1schoollive08There are three things to note in this breakfast scene: one being Rii’s cooking of preserved food; the second being Kurumi’s shovel and comments about kill count; third being Mii’s Steppen King’s The Standard book which is a spoof of Steven King’s The Stand; and finally the group’s shock at Yuki mentioning that she almost left to go home rather than going immediately to the club.  Though the other interesting element is in Megu having stopped her, but that’s for another time.

After Yuki rushes off to her class, we get the first real perspective of Yuki’s possible slow deterioration or inner turmoil.  After Mii shows little care for interrupting an obviously empty room, but yet respecting Yuki’s mental state, Yuki asks for permission to leave class and exits the room.  However, after she walks out of the ce1schoollive01lassroom, the chalkboard reads of her fears.  A projected image of her delusion, or perhaps something currently on it.

“I enjoyed studying with everyone.  Let’s study together again.  But it done not come all true at all.  All is in the darkness in the past.  Please don’t throw me away.  Help me.” (heart breaking!)

During the next segment of the chase after Taroumaru, there’s a few things to note: First, we get a brief sign of the shattered windows throughout the halls; second is Mii’s continued struggle with having to apologize to empty classrooms for Yuki’s delusion; third is possibly signs of scratches on the floors; and finally the barricade which is holding back the zombies.

Entering the roof garden area, we get a few unnerving aspects that are a bit of a toss up if you’ll spot them.  What appears to be students playing ball on the grounds is actually hunched over zombies.  After they are stopped by Rii, she asks them to state their club motto, which solidifies the element of staying at school for Yuki.  Then, as Rii uses the fake element of disturbing other clubs to calm Yuki down, a sign of dread is seen in Kurumi’s face.

The final element in the garden is a brief showing of a grave marker with a long white ribbon hung upon it.  Possibly a sign of a certain member Yuki’s delusion is in fact dead.

e1schoollive15After everyone is reunited in the club room, Megu gives another surprise visit to express her frustration.  However no one but Yuki responds to her.  Instead, she only responds to Kurumi’s comment about having no casualties.  What seems like a joke, is probably more serious than one would imagine.

After this gathering, we get the final moment where the curtain is drawn and we see Yuki standing in a destroyed classroom talking to the girls in her mind.  A truly upsetting scene that is only solidified by the markers that identify that the girls once existed.

User @mikko367 on Twitter has been credited for showing off quite an interesting element in the show in regards to Yuki’s uniform. What originally would be assumed as a student taking refuge in another school, may have more meaning. As the introverted colors match, it creates for a contrast to Yuki’s introvert state.


Credit to @mikko367 on Twitter

Well, there you have it!  Quite a few interesting tidbits sprinkled about the episode that are really fascinating.  A very well done twist that made a cutesy show into something a bit more.  Clever placement, interesting writing, and definitely something that has a bit to live up to as it moves on into its second episode.


Which, of course, begs the question as to where it goes from here.  Will Yuki ever come to grips with things?  Is Megu really dead?  Will Taroumaru continue the legacy of dogs dying in post-apocolyptic stories?  Does The Stand have some sort of insert into this story?  Okay, some of those are a bit silly.

How many of the signs did you catch the first time around?  Did you end up watching it a second time to catch the references?  Leave us a comment!

Co-Founder of and Co-Host of the OtakuSpirit Animecast. A huge fan of anime since the early 1990s, consuming over 1300 shows. Outside of Otaku Spirit, he has been a judge for the Anime Awards and aided in reviewing titles for some publishers. While he's late to the collecting scene, he's found a lot of joy in filling his DVD/Blu-ray collection as well as collecting figures. Sharing this joy, he posts unboxing and feature videos on anime goods to YouTube.