School-Live! is a special show that follows the lives of four girls and their dog that are in the “School Living Club” headed by their imperceptible teacher. So is this just another moe slice of life show? Or is it really something more?


Ok, just to be blunt, if you haven’t seen the first episode of this show yet (or know what happens), DO NOT READ ANYTHING WHATSOEVER ABOUT IT, AND GO WATCH IT ASAP BEFORE YOU ARE SPOILED. This review can wait. Now for some Toramaru approved spoiler protection~!

Still here? Guess I should explain what the show is actually about then. School-Live! is an utterly depressing, cutesy anime that pulls no punches. Our pink-haired heroine is actually delusional and the entire school campus and its inhabitants have been inexplicably turned into zombies, leaving her and the rest of the cast trapped on the top few floors. Awesome right? Now let’s get what makes this show tick.

Advertisement

The Fear Factor and Atmosphere

Advertisement

Hands down this has to be my favorite part of this show. As you can see in the gif above, without even seeing any facial expression of the character, you can tell EXACTLY how she is feeling in this brief encounter. This type foreboding fog also plays an incredible role in the censorship process. Instead of just getting a black wash everywhere that reeks of BUY THE BLU-RAYYYYYYYY, we get this which makes complete sense in context. (She makes the fog up in her mind to lessen the thought of having to hurt something that was once human like her.) Even if you aren’t into cute girls getting thrown into horrifying scenarios or zombies in general, you have to hand it to Lerche for making the chainsaw fodder (realistically) scary again.

Foreshadowing and Visual Direction

Advertisement

Another one of the best parts of the show, the foreshadowing (especially in episode one) is done very nicely and never lingers around longer than it needs to. Also, different camera angles and intentionally produced shots make the show stand out in comparison to the average anime which only really shows what’s happening at the moment.

Characters that Act and Think Realistically

How many of you would be emotionally scarred if your friends suddenly died right in front of you? What about if practically everyone around you did instead? That is what happens to our main heroines and makes them much more relatable because of that. There’s pretty much not a single horror show stereotype to be seen here.

Advertisement

Soundtrack and Effects

As a few of us here have stated, School-Live! has one of the best OSTs of not only this season, but of this year overall. Nearly every single important event in this show is accompanied by an appropriate backing track that doesn’t get lost in the overall mix. Aside from that, the SFXs are really good too with the groans of the zombies and hisses of falling rain.

Advertisement

Fanservice (“Pool” Episode Especially)

Advertisement

Really guys? Really? This blatant sexualization junk wasn’t in the manga so why is it here? Sigh... At least the entire episode doesn’t revolve around it. (Looks back at it while making gifs.) X-| At least separate your plot and PLOT when making a serious anime next time Lerche.

As for the rest of the show it’s not as bad, but for the type of show this is, whenever T&A pops up, it really takes your focus away from the emotional and disturbing scenes at hand.

Advertisement

In the end, School-Live! is an impressive show that time and time again managed to make waves here among us at Ani-TAY and stands really high in many of our personal top shows of the season. If you have the time and want a good zombie show or something similar to Madoka Magica, check it out. You won’t regret it.


You’re reading Ani-TAY, the anime-focused portion of Kotaku’s community-run blog, Talk Amongst Yourselves. Ani-TAY is a non-professional blog whose writers love everything anime related. Click here to check us out.

Advertisement

Also, credit to Unimpled for the Ani-TAY Review flourish in the first gif, and Ascendant Izanagi for the animated review card. ^^;