If Grisaia no Rakuen is remembered for it’s use of trauma and drama as a sledgehammer in the hands of an old muscleman whose been blindfolded, spun around seven times, and told to split a watermelon 20 feet away to succeed in getting the viewers to feel for it’s characters then School Live (Gakkou Gurashi!) will be remembered as being the wet noodle in the hand of a little kid, similarly blindfolded, spun around, and then tied to cinder blocks who nonetheless splits that watermelon into perfect little squares.
This is a long winded – I’m getting close to my bedtime – way of saying that I frequently had more than a few tears in my eye as I watched Gakkou Gurashi!. What could have been a lowly one-trick “what a twist” series or a generic knockoff of better series turned out to be one of best series of the year.
Earlier, I promised to cover the moment that was the biggest emotional gut punch of 2015 and here we are.
To me there was no contest as this one moment of Gakkou Gurashi! might as well have literally punched me in the gut since it left me in pain, gasping for breath, crying, sorrowful, and in awe. And that moment was in episode 11 where, after establishing that those that have been inflicted with the disease that turns them into “zombies” might retain a small shred of old selves, the camera pans over to notebook that Zombie Teacher Megumi has been scribbling in; and, we see that she has scratched the names of her three students and the word “live”.
It hurts just thinking of that scene.
I don’t have the time to go through a catalog of all the anime I’ve watched right this minute so I can’t entirely be sure but I can’t think of another anime that assuredly packed more of an impact into a single scene. The height of the Key/Kyoto Animation juggernaut – Clannad – might have but it’s been too many years to reliably measure.
There are plenty of other moments I could have picked from Gakkou Gurashi! (like that moment when I realized they were changing the opening as the series became more and more grim) that accomplished something of note for the year but this moment – the moment with the biggest emotional gut punch was too important to the show and to me to pass up.
And they now need to make a sequel where the main characters bring to justice whoever was behind the disease so I can do something with the anger and rage this series managed to create.
(Using that screenshot up top remains me, what idiot goes about building an expensive emergency shelter stocked with everything needed for a zombie apocalypse then forgets a build a wall around the school?)