School-Live! / Gakkou Gurashi! Review

Finally, I’m actually writing a review of an anime I’ve recently watched!

Honestly, if I just remember to take a couple screencaps as I go, my desire to actually write the review goes up because I don’t have to go back and get some screencaps after the fact. Even if that would only take a few minutes.

Anyways, the anime this time around is School-Live!

Due to the nature of the anime, while this is going to be a mostly spoiler-free review, I’m going to warn that there may be spoilers anyways. This is the type of anime that I feel is best gone into completely blind.

Overview

The overview is that Yuki, a third year in high school, is in a club called the “School Life Club” with three other girls. The purpose of the club? To live at school. Completely. Sleep, eat, bathe, et cetera. All at school.

And so we get to watch the wacky and fun lives of these four girls as they do all sorts of things as part of the School Life Club!

Sort of.

Genre Spoil

I can’t think of a worse anime for spoilers than School-Live!. Perhaps Madoka is up there too. And what I mean by this is that just by having a “psychological” tag on MAL, or via a recommendation for a good psychological anime, or whatever, the fun initial surprise is spoiled! I went into this anime knowing one thing: it’s a psychological anime.

Luckily, just like with Madoka, it’s not the end of the world if you know this, because the first episode lays everything out anyways, for the most part. If you didn’t know, you will know by the second episode. But I still like to go into an anime with my guard down if possible, and the first episode of School-Live! is designed to catch you completely off-guard. The cutesy, slice of life tone of the anime has you thinking that this anime will be much different than what it is, a psychological anime.

Tension

My absolute favourite aspect of School-Live! was the tension you get immediately after the first episode. See, I knew it was a psychological anime, but I didn’t know HOW it was going to be such a thing. But then we see – the world we saw was not reality, but instead a delusion.

And that delusion is the source of some thrilling tension, because from the second episode onwards, you can’t help but wonder what is real, and what isn’t. I won’t spoil anything further than that though. I just had to mention that I really loved that feeling of being forced to experience certain elements of the story through one character’s eyes. It’s like being held hostage as a viewer, and I loved it.

There’s just something thrilling about being shown a cutesy scene, and knowing that “this isn’t real, something bad could be happening but I just can’t see it!”. I feel like we need more of that, because there’s such an exciting aspect to it. And naturally, it was very well done in School-Live!.

Progression

One last element that I’ll bring up is the progression we experience in School-Live!. Things aren’t what they seem, and then as the story moves forward, things change. That’s about all I can say without giving anything away!

So I’ll just say that I really enjoyed the progression. It’s not something that you typically get in slice of life anime, but this is far from your ordinary slice of life! And the type of progression we get, well, it’s tailored specifically to the genre that School-Live! falls under. Which is why it felt so different from almost anything I’ve seen before, why it felt so fresh to get this sort of progression in what overall still feels like a slice of life anime.

Rating

Before I give a rating, I’ll sum up the rest of my thoughts. What I’ve already mentioned are aspects that feel more unique to School-Live!. And then in addition, I’d just like to add that School-Live! feels great: the animation, the characters, the slice of life feeling that is preserved despite the overarching circumstances… it feels like such a high quality and well produced anime.

Even if this was a standard anime, I would probably be giving it a positive rating because the typical elements we see from a slice of life anime are all there, and the foundation of this anime is strong. It’s all just very well done.

With that said, I’m going to give School-Live! a 9 / 10.
It’s just an exceptional anime that manages to combine the slice of life genre this crazy psychological curveball, and it just works perfectly.

In the words of an esteemed anime reviewer, it was a “breath of fresh air”. Something that we seem to really look for in anime. School-Live! is an absolute home-run and if you are looking for an anime that’s sort of relaxing, but also sort of thrilling, this is the anime for you!

And there you have it.
School-Live! was a win in my books, and it makes me want to explore more anime in the genre, although I feel like I would be hard-pressed to find a psychological / slice of life as well done as this!

Oh, and just a heads up that I also wrote a quick post pointing out all of the differences present in the ever-changing OP! You can find that here.

Until next time,
Thanks for reading!

18 thoughts on “School-Live! / Gakkou Gurashi! Review

      1. Yeah, there’s so much to watch out for and I love breaking down the storytelling mechanics. This one was really interesting, even on the first viewing and I saw the big twist coming fairly early.

        Liked by 3 people

  1. I love this series. I went into the first episode blind and it completely floored me, I still get a kick out of rewatching that episode and spotting all the clues I missed the first time around. I’d also recommend the manga, there’s a few differences with the anime at the start, but you get more details in the manga and of course it carries on the story beyond the anime. There’s only one volume left to go now.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Manga is pretty dope, and I’m hype for it to finish. That said, I actually like the way the anime chose to change things for the sake of adaption. It has a bigger impact, even though you lose out on some of the details/character. I hope that we can see the rest of this series adapted, it would be great!

      Liked by 3 people

  2. Pingback: Other Posts to Crow About – 2020 Week 1 Edition

Leave a Reply to Jon Spencer Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s